Crush, TX Staged Train Collision, Sep 1896
Then one of the trains backed up the hill on the south and the other on the hill on the north. Everything was now ready. The smoke was pouring from their funnels in a great black streak and the popping of the steam could be distinctly heard for the distance of a mile. People were standing on tip-toe from every point of vantage trying to see every movement of the wheels that were so soon to roll to destruction. The officials of the road were grouped about the little telegraph office not fifty feet from the place of contact, with watches in hand, waiting for the whistle which would tell them that the trains were ready to start on the fatal journey.
At 5:10 Crush waived his hat and a great cheer went up from the throats of all the people. The rumble of the two trains, faint and far off at first, but growing nearer and more distinct with each fleeting second, was like the gathering force of a cyclone. Nearer and nearer they came, the whistles of each blowing repeatedly, and the torpedoes which had been placed on the track exploding in almost a continuous round like the rattle of musketry. Every eye was trained and every nerve on edge. They rolled down at a frightful rate of speed to within a quarter of a mile of each other.
Nearer and nearer as they approached the fatal meeting place the rumbling increased, the blowing grew louder and hundreds who had come miles to see them felt their hearts growing faint and were compelled to turn away from the awful spectacle.
Now they were withing ten feet of each other, the bright red and green paint on the engines and the gaudy advertisements on the cars showing clear and distinct in the glaring sun.
A crash, sound of timbers rent and torn, and then a shower of splinters. There was just a swift moment of silence, and then, as if controlled by a single impulse, both boilers exploded simultaneously and the air was filled with flying missiles of iron and steel varying in size from a postage stamp to half a driving wheel, falling indiscriminately on the just and unjust, the rich and the poor, the great and the small.
The wonder was that there were not more broken heads and more bleeding hearts. How so many escaped is indeed little short of miraculous.
On the photographers' stand, situated not more than 100 feet from the track, and which experience has shown was dangerously near, were grouped the photographers, the reporters of The News and several railroad officials. Here the shower was particularly strong and one of the photographers, MR. DEAN, of Waco, will lose one of his eyes as the result of the sudden meating with a small piece of dlying steel.
When those nearest the scene had time to collect their facilities and look about them all that remained of the two engines and the twelve cars was a smoking mass of fractured metal and kindling wood, except one car on the rear of each train, which had been left untouched.
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