Eau Claire, WI Train Wreck, May 1911


Omaha Limited Is Derailed At Crossing at Catlin Avenue.



Members of Wausau and Eau Claire Baseball Teams Were Aboard.

The second section of the Omaha's limited train from Eau Claire to Duluth with 58 passengers on board, was derailed at the Catlin avenue crossing yesterday afternoon at 12:30, and five trainmen injured, none fatally.  Victor Johnson, fireman, of Spooner, suffered the most serious injuries, being thrown with force from the engine.  He sustained a severe wrench of both legs, besides being cut on the forehead.  He was picked up covered with blood and grime, and rushed to St. Mary's hospital.

The others injured are:

William Walrich, engineer, Duluth, foot bruised and considerably shaken up.

F. E. Swartling, mail weigher, Black River Falls, bruised about the head and body.

L. H. Parker, Duluth, in charge of mail car, cut and bruised.

John McCarthy, St. Paul, mail clerk, severe injuries to head and body.

The train was running on schedule time, and was in charge of Conductor M. M. Tierney, who estimated the rate of speed at about 20 miles per hour.  Several doctors and two priests were on the scene immediately after the disaster.  Conductor Tierney attributed the cause of the wreck to the presence of a small bolt on the track, which after the front trucks had passed over it, caused the raising of the flange, which threw the engine on another track, after separating it from the tender and body of the train.

The position of the engine and the mail car would create the belief that the train was going at a terrific rate, but the trainmen would not admit this.  The engine, which was of the large type, was thrown about 20 feet in an exactly opposite direction to which the train was going.  The mail car was thrown across the track, the trucks being torn away from it, and forced on the other side of the track.  According to Head Brakeman Huick, the passengers were in a panic immediately after the first jolt, and it was with great difficulty that they were assured the danger was past.