Sylvia, KS Awful Train Wreck, Jan 1907
From the Newton, Kansan Jan 19,1907 The California Limited, due in Newton at 9.25 p.m. last evening, was wrecked at Sylvia, a small town west of Hutchinson on the Kinsley cut-off, about ten o'clock last night Engineer Martin Klabau Newton was instantly killed and his fireman, George H. Needler also of Newton was severely hurt. The limited was going at the rate of 60mph when the accident occurred. The train was late and have been given absolute right of way from Dodge City to Newton. At Sylvia a number of freight trains were in waiting on the side-tracks for the No. 4 to pass. As the fast-movig train reached the switch just west of the Sylvia depot,the engine suddenly veered to the right and startted across the switch track.On the second track stood two freight trains, the No.4's engine crashed into the rear-end of the front train and smashed three freight cars to kindling wood,also conductor Ham Hantz's way car.Plowing its way clear through the engine continued on the switch towarda the third track, but stopped it reached the train on that track.The tender of the engine went streight ahead nearly one hundred feet, were it stopped turned completely around. The mail car followed the tended but was thrown clear off the track and lay at right angles to the track. Being of the latest steel constuction,it stood the impact well and the body of the car was not much damaged.Following it came the compartment car, which was badly torn up, especially the front end, which was completely smashed. The dining car, No. 1617, and the sleeper Caliuro, left the track and side-swiped the freight cars on the adjoining track but did not turn over. They were badly scratched but not severly damaged. They did not turn over. The remaining Pullman sleepers, three in number, did not leave the track. The impact of the collision was something terrific. The rear train on the side-track, consisting of forty-nine cars, was knocked back four car lenghts by way of the train ahead being forced back. The mail car snapped of a telegraph pole and cut two rails almost as neatly as is done with some sharp instrument. The engine on the second freight, No. 642, was badly torn about the front end, losing the pilot and the smokestack. Engineer Klabau was faithful even to death. Even in the brief moment at his disposel, he rversed his engine and closed the throttle, thus endeavering to save the train even at the sacrifice of his life. The accident is another of those deplorable incidents of railroad life that have so many times shocked the citizens of Newton and awakended their profoundest sympathy. George Needler died the next day of his injury.