Wellington, WA Avalanche and Train Wreck, Mar 1910

Wreckage of the Wellington Avalanche Wreckage of the Wellington Avalanche Wellington WA Wreckage Wellington WASH 1.jpg Wellington WASH 2.jpg WELLINGTON WA TRAIN WRECK


Melting Snow Reveals Red Stains of Bodies Mangled by Avalanche at Wellington - Foreign Laborers Caught Looting Bodies of Victims - Number of Dead May Reach 100.

WELLINGTON, Wash., March, 4.--Thirty-one of the thirty-five bodies of avalanche victims recovered have been identified among them being BERT MATTHEWS of Cincinnati and F. W. TOPING of Ashland, Ohio, whose bodies were found this afternoon.

A fearful storm is raging here to-night, and snow is falling and is being whirled into drifts by a furious wind. The change in the weather will make the trail from Scenic difficult and will hamper the men who have been digging for bodies.

The snow plows working on both sides of Wellington made good progress today. A rotary on the west side is four and a half miles from Wellington, between Korea and Alvin. On the east side of the Cascades another rotary is near Gaynor, eight miles from Wellington.

The tunnel being open, there is a good prospect that the line to the east will be opened first, in which case the dead and injured will be taken to Spokane.

WELLINGTON, Wash., March, 4.--A list of passengers, trainmen and postal employes who were carried down by the avalanche that destroyed two Great Northern train Tuesday morning and who are dead or missing, contains 86 names. Statements of the number of laborers engaged in fighting the snow and who were sleeping on the ill-fated trains varies from 20 to 30. Consequently, and estimate of 100 dead seems conservative. No one who has looked at the wreckage has the slightest hope of finding any of the missing people alive. The explorations have uncovered only dead and some of these shockingly mangled.

At day a stream of men with packs strapped to their backs wound up the mountain path from Skykomish to Scenic and Wellington reminding Alaskans of the caravans that crossed the Chilcoot trail in the Klondike days. Ten men carried food and supplies for the injured and some went up to dig for the bodies of friends or relatives. A few were sight-seers, and these were told that they were not wanted.

A laborer was caught taking trinkets from a dead woman's body and was compelled to start down the trail at once.

One hundred and fifty men dug for bodies in the avalanche debris to-day.

If the searchers locate the Pullman cars intact in the snow they may take out many bodies in a short time, but it is likely that the dead are strewn all through acres of debris. At the present rate of progress it would require weeks to recover all the bodies. After the track is open engines and tackle will lift the huge trees and boulders.

There are no coffins at Wellington, and the dead, wrapped in blankets, lie on the snow, well preserved. Supt. O'Neill of the Great Northern today said he expected the railroad to be in operation about April 1.

Trace Blood Stains in Snow.

Workers searching for bodies frequently find victims by following blood stains through the snow. The melting snow has carried the stains from the mangled bodies down to the stream at the bottom of the gulch. Men with shovels upon finding one of these crimson leads, start at the edge of the stream and tunnel through the snow until they come to the body of the victim. The snow is packed like cement and the bodies that were not mangled by the wreckage of the cars were horribly crushed by the weight of the icy mass.

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Wellington Train Disaster

The town of Wellington was renamed Tye after the Tye river in the valley where the town sits. The town was abandoned after they built a new longer tunnel in 1929 that bypassed the town. The town was later intentionally burned to such an extent that almost no remnants of the town remain.

Wellington Train Disaster

My maternal grandfather, Verne Fahlstrom, worked as an electrician in the Cascade Tunnel; he & my grandmother, Carrie Foote Fahlstrom lived in the community of Cascade. Grandpa told us that after the wreck, the town of Wellington was renamed to help distance it from the negativity of the disaster. I don't remember what the new name was and don't know if the town still exists now (2010).