Maine Genealogy Archives

Maine Railroad Accident Reports, 1873

Source: Reports of the Railroad Commissioners of the State of Maine for the Year 1873 (Augusta, Me.: Sprague, Owen & Nash, printers, 1874).

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Fewer accidents than usual have occurred this year, and the roads have been managed with commendable care for the safety and lives of passengers. We give a statement of the casualties and the roads upon which they occurred.

European and North American.
In August last, about 7 o'clock in the evening, two spans of the bridge on the European & North American, between Oldtown and Milford, were blown completely away by a tornado. An engine and tender with five men, which was crossing from Oldtown to Milford, plunged into the river and the engineer, Geo. A. McLellan, was killed and the others escaped.

September 23. Robert W. Sawyer, while standing on top of a box car at Lincoln Centre, was thrown between two cars by the sudden starting of the train. His left foot and hand were crushed by the wheels.

September 30. Conductor, W. L. Breese, was killed at Finn Brook bridge, his head coming in contact with the bridge, while leaning from the train.

May 12. A. Sawyer, while attempting to get on to a moving train, at Oldtown, fell; one car passed over his left hand. James Elder, employee, was seriously injured at Webster, by being struck in the abdomen by a chain attached to the drawbar of the rear car of the train which he was shifting on to another track.

May 31. George Wallace, an employee, while making up a train at Bangor, was caught between two passenger cars and badly jammed. Left arm broken.

July 11. Willie Davis, while endeavoring to get upon a moving train in the yard at Bangor, fell; one of the wheels passed over his left foot, badly crushing it.

July 13. As the night train passed Winn, it struck an intoxicated man, John McDonald, crushing his foot.

Grand Trunk.
April 14. Martin Sheridan attempted to pass under a freight car, at Portland; the train started, passing over him, crushing him in a horrible manner.

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March 25. Two freight trains collided near West Bethel, the engines were badly broken up and several employees injured. A collision occured near Norton's Mills, between a passenger and freight train; one car badly broken, but no one seriously injured.

Portland and Rochester.
June 2. Frank Hurd's hand was caught, while shackling cars at Portland, and badly jammed.

Boston and Maine.
January 13. Gravel train ran off the track between Wells and Kennebunk. An arm of one of the employees was broken.

March 8. A boy while attempting to get upon a moving freight train at Old Orchard, fell, and his right leg was badly crushed.

August 28. A passenger and gravel train collided near Biddeford. was injured [sic].

Maine Central.
April 17. T. T. Coombs, employee of Grand Trunk Railroad, while walking on the track of the Maine Central, near New Gloucester, was struck by a train. He received severe though not dangerous wounds.

May 5. John Hamilton, brakeman on a freight train from Portland to Waterville, was struck by an overhead bridge at West Waterville, while the train was passing under it, and seriously injured.

May 20. A man named Unwin, 80 years of age, was run over just above Sabbattus by the Farmington train. He died from the effect of his injuries soon after.

April. The down train from Portland struck a man near Durham. It was thought that he was killed, but after being taken aboard the train he soon revived, and it was found that his only injury was a severe cut on the head.

July 19. Thomas Blake was killed in the yard of the Maine Central Railroad in Portland, while attempting to cross the track in front of an engine in motion. He was not an employee of the company.

September 8. Owen Clemens, brakeman on freight from Portland to Waterville, received severe injuries by his head coming in

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contact with an overhead bridge near Monmouth, while the train was passing under it.

April 8. Joseph B. Parsons, who was found by the side of the Maine Central track, near Brunswick, died the following day. The Coroner's jury report, death by accidentally falling from the train.

Portsmouth, Saco and Portland.
January 10. Mr. Williams, while coupling cars at Portland, was caught between the bunters and injured badly about the head.

January 29. Daniel Hadlock, employee. Hand caught while coupling cars at Kennebunk; also received a severe cut on the head.

December 2. Hiram D. Marshall, freight Brakeman, was killed by falling from the top of a car at Portsmouth.

December 20. Two freight trains collided between Kennebunk and Saco. Albert Bisbee, conductor, Milan C. Felch, and Abraham W. Shurburne, train hands, were instantly killed. The Coroner's jury decided that the accident was occasioned by a concurrence of the negligence and incompetence of Assistant Train Dispatcher, Henry B. Wing; gross error in judgment of Henry L. White, night operator at Kennebunk station; and the culpable recklessness of both Charles T. Pettee, conductor, and Wallace W. Morrison, engineer of down freight F.