The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 22, 1906
This photo shows a train with passenger cars.
I.C. Limited in Collision; Fireman Cutting is Dead
Fast Passenger Train From Chicago Ran Into a Freight Train.
Disaster Occurs at Duncombe
Freight Train was Pulling into a Siding to Clear Main Line.
Freight Struck in Middle
Passenger Train Had Double-Header – First Locomotive Reduced to Scrap Iron – Fireman Cutting Jumped and Had Neck Broken.
Fireman Walter E. Cutting, of Waterloo. Neck broken.
Engineer O.M. Brown, of Waterloo. Cuts and bruises, not serious.
Engineer Ed Stark, of Waterloo. Back injured, cut and bruised. Will live.
fireman W. Wood, of Waterloo. Face badly cut. Not serious.
West switch at Duncombe. About 800 feet from depot.
Limited passenger train No. 1 west bound with double header. In charge conductor McCarthy of this city, and Engineers Brown and Stark, of Waterloo. East bound freight extra, in charge of Conductor McNamara and Engineer H.A. Smith, both of Waterloo.
Engien No. 1005, large passenger locomotive, stripped of all parts. Will have to be entirely rebuilt. Five freight cars entirely destroyed. Small section of track torn up.
No. 1 delayed over six hours. No. 6 delayed about two hours. All freights held until wreck is picked up.
The second serious accident on this division of the Illinois Central occurred at 4:00 o’clock this morning, when the crack limited train No. 1, west bound, struck an east-bound freight extra as the latter train was being pulled onto a siding at Dunccombe. Fireman Walter Cutting, of Waterloo, lost his life in the wreck, while Engineer O.M. Brown, Engineer Ed. Stark and Fireman W. Wood all of Waterloo received more or less serious injuries. The huge one hundred ton locomotive is dismantled, its parts being thrown for a hundred feet from the scene of the crash, while several fregiht cars were ground into small pieces, which would not make a decent sized piece of firewood.
The cause of the fatal accident is not yet determined. The crews of the two trains tell somewhat different stories, and as yet the officials seem to believe that the cause was improper flagging. Every employe (sic) concerned in the wreck has been in the service for years, and an examination of each man’s record shows it to be almost faultless.
A Messenger representative boarded the first trrain that left Fort Dodge, after the accident became known, and arrived at the scene, before the work of picking up the wreck had commenced. The injured men and the deceased firemen had already been taken to Fort Dodge, but the scene was yet decidedly gruesome.
A curious throng numbering as high as five hundred people gathered around the scene of the accident. Time and time again the crowd had to be shoved back in order to give the men space to work.
The first relief train pulled out of the Fort Dodge station about 6 .m., and had on board the company physician with a corps of assistants, and also the company officials. Within twenty minutes more a wrecking train with crew followed this train out. The first train was composed of baggage car wtih coaches, to transfer the passengers, but on arrival it was seen that the4 train could be brought through intact by waiting a few hours.
No. 1, the passenger train that was wrecked is the limited train of this road. It consisted of a mail, express, three sleepers, and two chair cars at the time of the accident. The train was somewhat late out of Waterloo this morning, and two engines were couples on to help make up time. The regular engine, No. 1005, was the lead engine, and was followed by a small engine, No. 916.
The passenger train was bout an hour late out of the eastern terminus of this division, and the dispatcher gave them running orders of forty minutes. Engineer O.M. Brown, or as he is more commonly known “Windy Brown,” is known as a fast runner, while engineer Fawcett, the man in charge of the No. 916, is a man who can handle an engine well.
Both men are from the freight service, although Engineer Brown is first extra passenger man, and spends over half of hi time in the passenger service. The two men were whipping their long train along in superb style, until the Duncombe station was reached, when a flagman signaled them to go carefully.
With a train running close to seventy miles an hours (sic), it is a hard matter to stop wtihin 1000 feet, but the two men shut off the steam, according to report, and Engineer Brown applied the air. The distance was too short and the big engines struck the freight train midways, as it was pulling onto the siding.
Four Enginemen Jumped.
After applying the air all of the four enginemen jumped, but not successfully. It seems that Walter E. Cutting the fireman on the head engine picked a poor place, for he struck on a log spanning the ditch at the side of the track. His neck was broken, and death must have been instantanous (sic).
Engineer Brown was badly cut about the face and body, but is able to move around. Engineer Fawcett on the second engine injured his back in the jump and was somewhat badly hurt. fireman Wood on the second engine struck on his face, which is badly cut.
The big 1005 is one of the 1600 class locomotives used on the fast passenger runs. It weighs about 135 tons, and is of the Atlantic type. The big engine rolled over on its side, the side underneath being the left of the side of the cab occupied by the fireman. The entire engine appears to be dismantled, the ponty truck wheels, being found about fifteen feet ahead of the engine body.
The big axles, which are about eight inches in diameter were bent and twisted as though they had been small wires. The wheels were torn and dented. The big boiler head is dented and cracked. The cylinders are torn and twisted, while even the driver wheels are dented. The shafts are broken, and warped, while the mechanism seemed to be ripped entirely from the engine.
The engine cab is filled with a mass of wreckage, and it would have been instant death for one of the men to have stayed within it.
The tender of the engine was also badly damaged, the wheels being torn off. The second engine escaped with scarcly any damage. The front end was crushed in to a certain extent, but the engine steamed into Fort Dodge, without aid.
The two big engines acted as a buffer for th epassenger coaches and escaped any damage.
The passengers in the sleeper were not even all awakened, while those in the chair cars wre badly shaken out of their seats. the express messenger, baggagemen and mail clerks all received severe jolts, but none wre injured.
The big passenger locomotive fell to the south side of the track, while the fregiht equipment was thrown for hundreds of feet along the north side. Four freight cars loaded with oats were totally demolished, while a flat car was ruined.
Two of the four freight cars were the first struck were so badly damaged that it would be hard to find a piece of either big enough to use as stove wood.
One other car seems to have suffered nearly as bad as the largest piece of it visible is a section of the roofing about ten feet long. the fourth box car is broken in two in the middle, and ruined. The car is to be found about 100 yards up the track, broken in two in the center.
In this accident it would have been impossible to tell how many cars were ruined were it not for the car trucks, and even some of these are so badly damaged that it would be hard to tell what purpose they served.
The grain is piled along the track for about one hundred feet; and in some places is four or six feet high. Railroad officials on the scene say that the cars will all be burned.
Master Mechanic Talks.
Master Mechanic R.W. Bell was one of the officials to accompany the steam wrecking outfit from Waterloo. When seen by a messenger representative he said that he estimated the damage at a little over $2,000. When surprise was expressed at this low sum, he stated that the iron apparatus on the cars, which are always the most expensive can be used over again. the engine while stripped of its fixtures, can be rebuilt for a comparatively low sum. The estimated cost of rebuilding it should not go much over $1,000 according to this official.
Mr. Bell expressed great sorrow at the death of Cutting. He said Mr. Cutting was a regular engineer who was working as fireman during the period of slack work. He has always been regarded as a most competent employe (sic) and is a man of excellent habits. He leaves a wife and small child.
Mr. Bell said Mr. Brown was also regarded as a very competent engineer and that the crew on the second locomotive were worthy men. He said that the company had been most fortunate in not having serious accidents and that an accident of this kind consequently caused more notice than it would on other roads where accidents were more frequent.
There are numerous stories of the cause of the accident and for anyone to sift out which is the correct one is almost impossible, until the official investigation is completed. Superintendent Jones was in Omaha at the time of the accident and did not arrive at the scene until afternoon today. He will return here this afternoon or evening and the investigation will be made.
The story that seems to be universally accepted is that the freight train stopped west of the switch, while the brakeman threw the switch for the siding. The train was an exceedingly heavy one, and the air stuck, which caused a delay of several minutes in getting it started. This train was in charge of conductor McNamara and Engineer H.A. Smith of Waterloo.
Before the train had gone onto the siding, No. 1’s headlight was seen in the distance, and a flagman hurried down the track to flag this train. Before he could get far enough down the tack, the grain met No. 1. He flagged the train, but the distance was too short and the heavy train could not be stopped quick enough to save an accident.
Another story was that the No. 1 had made up more time than the dispatchers order allowed, and when the train arrived at Duncombe, it was ahead of its schedule, and thus caught the men partially unprepared. Thsi latter part seems to be believed by several of the men, but the officials deny it.
the Fort Dodge wrecking crew with the smaller derrick were not needed after the big steam derrick from Waterloo arrived. The local men returned here shortly after noon, but the Waterloo outfit will probably remain on the scene until Friday evening at the earliest.
The big engine tender was first pulled away from the engine. It was then swung away, and will be taken to Wa- (its schedule, and thus caught the) terloo on flat cars. The big engine will be repaired, somewhat and will then be hauled to Waterloo. The big drive wheels will be able to carry the engine in, if slow time is made.
The freight equipment wrecked will all be burned. The contents of the cars will also probably be burned, and the scrap iron will be carried into the shops where it can be used again.
The Men’s Injuries.
Engineer Brown in speaking of the accident said that he saw the flagman about four hundred feet from the switch, and that the train was running about sixty-five miles an hour. he said that he applied the emergency and whistled for brakes. then he jumped to the left and remembered nothing more until he came to an a corn field about fifty or seventy-five feet from the track. His head is somewhat badly cut, while the muscles on his back and neck are sore and bruised.
Edwin C. Stark, the engineer on the second train said that they were running about sixty-five miles an hour when he heard Brown whistle for brakes. He reversed his engine and jumped. His left ankle was sprained, his knee was cut and he was injured about the hip and back. His injuries are not serious, but will probably lay him up for several days.
Royal G. Wood, the fireman on the second train stated the speed was about sixty to sixty-five miles an hour. He saw Stark jump from his side of the cab and followed him out. His face was badly cut.
The men in talking over the affair seem to believe that the whole affair was caused by the flagman being too close to his train, as the limited could not stop within four hundred feet under any possible circumstance when running close to a mile a minute. All were grieved over Cutting’s death, and one said, “I don’t care what happens to me know, I am so glad to be alive.” They say that when they picked Cutting up, his face was in water, which had escaped from the tender. Had he only been stunned he would have been drowned, as he had been there several moments when found. Had any man stayed in the 1005, he would have been killed, as the steam and boiling water was thrown all about the cab and for some distance around it.
Coroner McCreight impanelled (sic) a jury and after viewing the remains of Cutting, the jury went to Duncombe. This afternoon was spent in going over the scene of the accident, and viewing the wrecked engine and cars. The jury examined the train and engine before leaving, and will complete its investigations at the Court House this evening.
On the Coroner’s jury, besides Dr. McCreight the coroner, were Will Haire, Dr. Lowry and Louis Thorson.
Tags: 1906, Bell, Brown, Lowry, McNamara, Stark, Thorson, Wood