Tacoma, WA Train Derailment, May 1913

RAILWAY COMMISSION WILL PROBE CAUSE OF THE TRAIN DISASTER.

SPREADING OF RAILS MAY HAVE DITCHED TRAIN WHICH BROUGHT DEATH TO FOUR PERSONS.

A searching inquiry into the causes of yesterday's O. W. R. & N. train wreck near Tacoma will begin tomorrow morning at 9:30 under direction of the state railway commission in the north federal courtroom. Judge Godman of Seattle, chairman of the commission, and Jesse S. Jones of Tacoma, a member, visited the scene of the wreck this morning and spent several hours obtaining information concerning the causes.
It was reported to the commissions that a section gang had been working on the track at the very spot of the wreck yesterday, and that it was believed the rails had spread because new ties had been insecurely fastened. Neither of the railway commissioners would express their views regarding this information, but said that all facts concerning the wreck that could be obtained would be brought out at the hearing.
Death and destruction stalked across the level prairie at 1:50 Monday afternoon, met the northbound Oregon & Washington train flying into the city a mile a minute. There was a jerk, then a grinding crash of wood and steel and bang. The whole train came to a dead stop and eight cars were piled up.
What caused it no one may ever known.
The Dead:
F. A. TOWN, Silver Creek, Wash.
R. H. McMURRAY, brakeman, Seattle.
ANDREW NILSSEN, Portland.
C. E. REYNVAAN, Woodland, Cal.
The Injured:
J. W. WARDEN, Sacramento, Cal., head, legs and body injured.
T. J. QUINN, Sacramento, Cal., leg wrenched and face cut by glass.
MRS. MAGGIE JORDAN, Hillhurst, Wash., serious internal injuries and crushed.
ELMER JOHNES, Meskill, Wash., broken arm.
CHARLES BENNETT, Dryad, Wash., scalp cut.
FRANCIS C. RAE, Seattle, slightly bruised.
ADOLPH SWANSON, Portland, legs bruised.
A broken rail lay in the mass after the accident. Workmen putting in new ties and the rails may have spread.
"I saw nothing out of the way. We were making a mile a minute when the trucks suddenly left the track, the engine swayed and then plunged into the ditch," said Engineer D. D. Dunlap.
Dunlap and Fireman D. Garner stuck to their posts, turned off the steam and then crawled out of the cab after the engine had been thrown onto her side, its nose buried five feet in the gravel. They did not have a scratch.
The wreck came half a mile south of the Seven Mile house out on the open prairie, near the automobile race course, 200 yards south of the prairie road running west from the end of the city's asphalt pavement of Union Avenue.

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