Maine Genealogy Archives

Maine Railroad Accident Reports, 1874

Source: Reports of the Railroad Commissioners of the State of Maine for the Year 1874 (Augusta, Me.: Sprague, Owen & Nash, printers, 1875).

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Maine Central Railroad.
February 20, 1874. The 1.30 P. M. train from Portland for Augusta, while crossing Spring street, Woodford's Corner, struck a wagon containing Mr. Myrick Emerson of Stroudwater, an old gentleman of about 70 years of age. It is supposed Mr. Emerson's horse took fright just before reaching the crossing, as he dashed across, escaping injury. It was impossible to stop the train before it reached the station at Woodford's, when the body of Mr. Emerson was found dead, lying on the cow-catcher. No blame was attached to the employees.

October 8. Mr. Wm Marriner, employed in the Maine Central freight yard, Portland, was attempting to unshackle some freight care, when the heel of his boot caught in the track. He was thrown down under the train and several cars passed over his legs, crushing them both in a fearful manner. He was taken to the station and both legs amputated. He was 26 years of age.

October 7. A man driving a jigger in Richmond, attempted to cross the track, when the jigger was hit by the engine and smashed up, and the man thrown some distance, sustaining serious if not fatal injuries. His shoulder and several ribs were broken.

February 19. E. Wheeler, an old man of 70 years of age, and deaf, was struck by the Farmington train while attempting to cross the track with a horse and sled, about three miles north of Leeds Junction, and instantly killed.

February 20. George Smith, a freight train conductor, had his right arm crushed while shackling cars at South Gardiner.

July 31. As the shifting engine of the Maine Central was running round the curve near Centre street, Bath, it encountered a hand-car, upon which were seven men, coming in at full speed. All jumped from the car but one Martin McDonough, who was at the time turning the crank. He was very badly bruised about the head, shoulders and back.

April 3. Mr. Enoch Elliot, while walking on the railroad track a short way from the station was run over by the Bath train and instantly killed. He was about 75 years of age. The Coroners' Jury exonerated the company from all blame, and found that Elliot was carelessly walking on the track.

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February 22. Hiram Silver, about 24 years of age, was instantly killed at Bangor, near the Maine Central depot. He attempted to cross the track in front of the train, but his foot slipped and he fell and the cars struck him.

November 12. Sidney Keith, an engineer, attempted to jump from the locomotive to the platform, which was covered with frost, slipped, and his right foot was caught under the wheel and badly crushed.

January 16. The night express train from Boston was thrown from the track near Newport station, and ran along for a short distance, tearing up the rails and badly frightening the passengers. Frank Jackson, a brakeman, was thrown on to the ground with great violence and injured internally. Charles Estes, also brakeman, was thrown off and his ankle sprained. None of the 49 pass[e]ngers on board were injured.

March 31. Construction train from Burnham, when backing into Waterville, struck a team on crossing north of Waterville bridge. The driver of the team, Mr. Stevens, was instantly killed. Verdict of jury, that all precautions were used that could be, and no blame attached to employees of road.

September 24. A passenger on train from Lewiston to Brunswick jumped off the train at Lisbon, and on attempting to get on afterwards, was thrown down and had his leg crushed, caused by his own carelessness.

October 10. Passenger train from Waterville to Skowhegan struck a team at Currier crossing; horse killed, and a man in the wagon seriously injured.

March 30. Capt. Gross attempted to drive across the track at Harding's Station, below Brunswick, when the engine struck the wagon and threw him some distance, badly injuring him.

Portland Railroad Corporation.
In answer to the 23d interrogatory in the road's return to the Railroad Commissioners, the Treasurer says: "One caused by falling out of a car." And in answer to 24th, "it did partly, the person is not retained."

Boston and Maine.
July 21. A workman by the name of Hans Johnson, on the gravel train, was thrown under the cars by the sudden stopping of

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the train. The train passed over him cutting off his right arm and badly mangling the right leg. The leg was amputated, but the sufferer died in a few hours.

Portland, Saco and Portsmouth.
April —. Nelson Hardenbrook, a caulker, was struck by a locomotive on Commercial street, Portland; one leg was broken off near the hip and one arm fearfully mangled; he died.

Grand Trunk.
June 22. Israel B. Adams, about 45 years of age, was walking on the track of the road. The engineer saw him and whistled down brakes, but was not able to stop the train. The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict that Israel Bradbury Adams came to his death by his own carelessness while unlawfully walking on the track of the Grand Trunk Railroad, and exonerated the company from all blame.

September —. ______ Needham of West Bethel, brakeman, fell off the cars; his legs were broken, and he died immediately.

Portland and Rochester.
December 26. A young man named Green tried to jump on a passing train at Cumberland Mills. He slipped, and his foot was run over and so badly crushed as to necessitate amputation.

European and North American.
May 4. Albert P. Chipman, a brakeman, jumped off the train to shackle on a car as the train was backing slowly towards the bridge on the west side of the Kenduskeag, and by some means tripped and fell face downward across the track. The train, though moving slowly, could not be stopped until eight of the wheels had passed over his body, near the hips. He lived but three minutes when taken up. The Coroner's Jury found that "the deceased came to his death by accidentally falling under a train of cars while in motion, and that no blame is attached to the officers or employees of the road."

August 30. Charles B. Skinner, baggage master, was assisting conductor Lunt in shackling cars; a car started, and a projecting timber struck young Skinner in the neck and instantly killed him.

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George L. Spaulding of Great Works, was badly injured by an overhead bridge between Lincoln and Lincoln Centre.

December 19. A very serious smash-up near the Basin Mills, about two miles above Veazie. The down freight train, conductor W. Maling, due at Bangor at 11.30 A. M., was delayed and could not make up its time. Superintendent Angell telegraphed him to pass the up train from the city at Veazie at 11.45. Superintendent Angell should then have directed conductor Lunt of the 11.45 up train to switch off at Veazie and let the down freight pass him. This he says he did do; but unfortunately the order was verbal, and Mr. Lunt did not so understand him; hence he kept on without going on to the turn-out at Veazie, and the two trains collided with terrible force, and destruction of engines and cars, about two miles above. Some of the employees on the trains were slightly injured, but miraculously none of the passengers were hurt. Conductor Maling, though behind time, had the right of way, and was therefore without fault. Superintendent Angell either was greatly negligent in the manner of giving his order, or conductor Lunt was greatly heedless in the manner of receiving it—indeed, one or the other was fearfully at fault; for lives and property were placed at hazard by the inattention. The railway company, to be sure, are liable for all damages arising by reason of the collision, whether the negligence was on the part of the Superintendent or conductor, for both were its agents. But had a life been lost, who could atone for that to surviving relatives and friends? Both were retained in the service of the company—it was difficult, we suppose, to decide that both were in fault, or that one was wholly so, and the other not at all—and both were distinguished for care and attention to their respective duties always before; and in this case, no doubt, intended, both of them, conscientiously to do their duty. But the order unfortunately was not in writing, as it should have been, nor was it repeated back, if given orally, as it should have been. Hence a misapprehension, and hence the catastrophe.

Portland and Ogdensburg.
September 22. G. C. Smith, engineer, a young man about 22 years of age, of fine character and much respected by the railroad company, as we understand, was instantly killed by an explosion of the boiler of his engine, the "Saco." The finding of the Coroner's Jury was "that deceased came to his death by accident,

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on the morning of the 22d day of September, 1874, at Deering, in Cumberland county, on the line of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, and that his death was caused by the explosion of the boiler of the locomotive engine 'Saco,' of which he was then in charge as engineer; and that from the evidence in the case the jury are of the opinion that said explosion was due to a latent defect in the iron of the boiler, which could not have been discovered by any of the ordinary tests which are applied in such cases, and that from the evidence, it farther appears that said accident was not due to any improper management of the engine, or to any unusual strain to which the boiler was subjected, but rather to the continuous strain and concussion of the boiler, which gradually resulted in what is termed an internal grooving of the iron."

As the train of the P. & O. road, with the half-fare excursionists on board was coming in a few miles beyond Cumberland Mills, a man about 35 years of age was on the platform and was making believe apply the brake, when he lost his balance and fell between the cars. The wheels cut off both legs near the hips, and the body was found dead upon the track upon return of men to ascertain the nature of the injury.