Bryn Athyn, PA Paper Mill Station Train Wreck, Dec 1921


Local Passenger Trains Meet Head-On In Deep Cut, Engines Pile Up.


Indefinite Reports From Scene, Near Bryn Athyn, 15 Miles From Philadelphia, Indicate Death List May React 15; Injured Are Imprisoned.

By Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 5- Two passenger trains collided on the Reading railroad at Paper Mill station, near Bryn Athyn, today.
Early reports from the scene of the wreck were to the effect that about nine persons were killed and nearly a score injured. One report placed the dead at possibly 15. The accident occurred between Woodmont and Paper Mill station on the Newtown branch, about 16 miles from Philadelphia. It was a head-on collision between two local trains.
W. L. HELLER, station agent at Bryn Athyn, was among the first to be notified of the accident. He sent out hurry calls for aid as reports reached him that the locomotives of both trains were piled on each other and that coaches were burning.
The report stated many passengers in the forward coaches on both trains were imprisoned in the burning wreckage.
At the point where the wreck occurred the tracks pass through a deep cut, the embankment going up at a sharp angle. This made the work of rescue extremely difficult, and, according to reports, it was practically impossible to get to the imprisoned passengers.

The Daily Courier Connellsville, Pennsylvania 1921-12-05



Many Victims Burned to Death in Crushed Cars Next to Engines; Only 10 Identified.

By Associated Press.
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6- The death toll of yesterday's wreck on the Philadelphia & Reading railway near Paper Mill station where two passenger trains collided head-on stood at 24 today, with the possibility that it would be increased.
Eight severely injured are in a hospital at Abington and 11 more hut have been taken to their homes.
There are 22 bodies in a morgue at Jenkintown, of which only 10 have been definitely identified. Fifteen persons known to have been on the trains are missing, nine of them from the little hamlet of Southampton. No one knows the number of bodies represented in a pile of ashes and bits of bones gathered from the wreckage.
The wreck which occurred 17 miles from Philadelphia, between trains carrying passengers between this city and Newton, was cleared from the single track road at daylight, permitting resumption of service.
The large loss of life, according to witnesses, was due to the smashed forward cars of both trains catching fire from the live coals spilled by the locomotives as the reared in the air and fell upon the wooden coaches. The first crash did not kill many but the death total rose as the flames reached the helpless victims imprisoned in the wreckage.
Three investigations are under way as to the cause of the accident, one by the state, another by Montgomery county authorities and the third by railroad officials.

The Daily Courier Connellsville, Pennsylvania 1921-12-06

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