Friday, May 15, 2009

1854 Railroad Collision at Bath-On-Hudson

155 Years Ago: from the Archives of the New York Times (free registration required to read the full articles, which are quite detailed and interesting):

May 15, 1854, Wednesday. Collision on the Troy and Greenbush Railroad--Car Smashed and Several Persons Injured.
From the Troy Daily Times of Saturday Evening. A collision occurred on the Troy and Greenbush Railroad this morning, by the Hudson River 8 1/2 o'clock express train down, running into the Troy and Albany train at Bath. The latter train had started about five minutes ahead of the Hudson River train, which is in accordance with the time tables. The locomotive of the Hudson River train ran half through the passenger car of the Greenbush train, which was stopping at the time at Bath. There were some thirty passengers in the Greenbush car, all of whom escaped with their lives - none, it is believed, receiving fatal injury.
The blame, we should judge, rests with the Hudson River Company - for allowing trains to run in this manner - there being not much more than five minutes difference in the time of starting both trains. Some blame also rests upon the engineer of the "Croton." He was aware of the fact that the Greenbush train was a mile ahead, and should, therefore, have run his locomotive with more caution - instead of which, it is stated, he must have been running at the rate of sixty miles an hour.

May 17, 1854, Wednesday, The Railroad Accident at Troy--Additional Details
To the Editor of the New-York Daily Times: Troy, Saturday, May 13, 1854. This morning at 8 o'clock and 31 minutes, the Troy and Greenbush train left the Union Railroad Depot, followed by the Hudson River train at 8 o'clock and 35 minutes. The former drawn by the very small and inefficient engine "Ariel," consisted of one passenger and one baggage car; and the latter train consisting of two passenger cars and one baggage car, was drawn by the "Croton," a powerful engine compared with the "Ariel." ... After making their usual delay at the Nail Works and at Bath for the accommodation of travelers, and having hardly attained its usual speed after stopping at the latter place, the train was overtaken by the Hudson River train, and without the previous warning of the whistles of either train, was dashed into by the latter, which instantly resulted in the tearing up of the entire flooring and seats, and throwing forward of passengers, seats, splinters, from the rear end of the car, &c. ...
See this model of the Croton, manufactured in 1851 at the Lowell Machine Shops, at the America On The Move site of the Smithsonian Institution.

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