Valley Falls, RI Awful Railroad Accident, Aug 1853
AWFUL RAILROAD ACCIDENT.
FOURTEEN LIVES LOST.
THIRTY OR FORTY SERIOUSLY INJURED.
Disagreeable necessity obliges us to shock the sensibilities of our readers, by the recital of another horrible calamity from a collision of Railway trains.
At 8 o'clock, yesterday morning, a collision occurred on the Providence and Worcester Railroad, which caused the death of fourteen persons, and seriously injured about forty more. The collision occurred between the regular up train and the excursion train from Weeting's. The latter was out of time, and met the up train at Valley Falls.
The collision occurred at a sharp curve beyond Central Falls; the down train was behind time, and proceeded at the rate of 40 miles an hour to reach the switch, from which there is a double track to Providence. In one minute the train would have reached the switch. The up train waited the usual time at Pawtucket, and then, having the right to the road, proceeded at a slow rate round the curve.
The spectacle presented was most horrible. The wreck of engines, both of which were totally demolished, and the killed and the wounded all lay together in one unsightly mass. The cars of the down train suffered most. Several were broken in pieces, and two of them were run together as you would close a spy-glass. The up train received but little damage, and, fortunately, no persons in it were killed or seriously injured.
The excursion train consisted of six long passenger cars, densely crowded; and the cries of those who were within, and who were not instantly killed, were heart-rending. As they were taken out, some with broken arms and some with limbs and bodies otherwise mangled, the painfulness of the scene presented cannot be described.
There was soon a large number of persons on the ground, doing all they could to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded, and to see the remains of those who were dead properly cared for. The Boston train coming in stopped nearly an hour to render assistance. For a time, an intense excitement prevailed, and imprecations were hurled at the heads of railroad companies, directors, conductors, engineers, and all who are in any way connected with railroads.
The first passenger car, which was next to the engine, contained about sixty passengers, nearly all from Whitinsville, and many of whom were either killed or wounded.
The third car, on the downward train, was driven over and into the car preceding it some twenty feet, crushing everything human within. The killed and wounded had to be dragged from beneath.
The dead bodies were all placed in neat coffins, and as many as were known, sent to their various homes for interment. With the exception of two or three, the killed were all factory operatives. The greater number of the wounded, it is thought, will recover, though some of them will lose and arm, or a leg, or be otherwise crippled.
Thousands of persons visited the place during the day, to see the bodies and the ruins of the cars.
The accident occurred near a curve, where the embankment was thirty feet high. Down this embankment an old man and his grandson were precipitated but both miraculously escaped injury.
A MR. GOULDTHWAIT was taken to the dwelling over the Railroad station at Central Falls, where he was cared for, but it is doubtful if he can long survive.
MR. PUTNAM, conductor of the downward train, was in the rear car, and escaped unharmed.
The engineer escaped by jumping off, but the fireman, as already stated, was killed.
Very few on the upward train sustained material injury.
MR. HOPPIN, a cigar-maker, crawled out from beneath the Worcester train, but little injured. Two men were killed by his side. MR. CLARK, manager of the coal mine at Valley Falls, who was on the same seat with MR. PENNY, escaped uninjured. MRS. CAROLINE R. E. DIKE, who was taken to the house of Mr. George Jenks, died in about two hours, in great agony.
The dead and dying were principally conveyed to Valley Falls, and the wounded to Pawtucket. The body of MR. PENNY was taken to the house of Rev. Mr. Taft at Pawtucket.
The Ohio Organ Cincinnati 1853-08-19