Man VS Train
It's history in a way you've never read before.

Warning: This post contains material that may be offensive to some.
Contains graphic material.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Woman pushed off Train

Woman Identified

Victim Identified
A young woman who fell or was pushed from a train and was killed near Layton 30 has been identified through fingerprints sent to the FBI in Washington.
DAVIS County Sheriff William Peters identified the victim as Mrs Kathleen Russell, 21 of Omaha, Neb.
 He said witnesses told of the woman being accompanied by a man shortly before her death  but police thus far have no suspects.  The woman's estranged husband is being held for questioning by Utah authorities but no charges have been filed the sheriff said.
"WE STILL are not certain
if Mrs. Russell's death was accidental  suicide or homicide," said Sheriff Peters "All we know for certain is that she fell from a moving train and landed face down in a mud puddle where she drowned."
The victim was reportedly seen boarding the northbound freight out of Salt Lake City shortly before her death.  She was reportedly accompanied by a male who witnesses said left the train at Clearfield.   He never has been found.
Mrs. Russell,  unidentified until a few days ago was buried in a pauper's grave in Farmington City Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tragedy with a train, Train Wins

A woman in Morristown TN. got flustered when she was stuck on the tacks as the lights came on and the arm came down.  So flustered she couldn't put her car into reverse.  Sad situation


6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A woman was killed Tuesday morning when a train struck a vehicle near downtown Morristown.

The accident was reported just after 11 a.m. on Liberty Hill Street just off Main Street.

Morristown police say at Mary Devotie, 79, was killed in the accident. 

Officers say Devotie was driving over the railroad crossing as the flashing lights were activated. At some point, the top bars were fully in the down position, leaving Devotie unable to continue. They say she tried to put the car in reverse when she realized what was going on, but put it in park by accident.

The train pushed Devotie's vehicle more than 80 feet. Police say her airbags did not deploy.

Neighbor David Gulley says he knew Devotie for years and couldn't believe it when he heard the news.

"She's always been a dear, dear friend to me. I had close relationships with the family. This is certainly another tragedy for the city of Morristown," said Gulley.

Officials say it's important to pay attention at railroad crossings. 

"The old adage: stop look and listen at all the train crossings to make sure nothing is coming," said Morristown Police Captain Charles Letterman.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Deadly Trax Accident spurs changes in UTA crossings.

WEST JORDAN — Two years ago, when a teenage girl was hit and killed at a TRAX crossing in West Jordan, neighbors demanded better safety.
In June 2011, Shariah Casper and her cousin were crossing TRAX at 3200 West and 8600 South. The Utah Transit Authority was testing its TRAX trains on the line at the time.
After an eastbound train went by, Casper stepped out to cross the tracks. She never saw the speeding westbound train that hit and killed her.
Casper's death helped further the process of finding a safety standard for rail and pedestrian crossings.
"Every accident plays a role in our continuous improvement of pedestrian safety," said Todd Provost, with UTA's Engineering and Project Development department.
Ultimately, UTA decided to upgrade not only that deadly rail-pedestrian crossing at 3200 West and 8600 South, but all similar rail crossings system-wide.
"We were not happy with the pedestrian crossing standards that were out in the industry," Provost said.
Enlarge image
The new crossing is designed to grab a pedestrian's attention. As they approach the crossing, he or she will run into a fence. The pedestrian is then forced to change his or her line of travel, look up, and step to the right to proceed to the crossing.
He and a team of safety engineers set out with the Utah Department of Transportation and Union Pacific to build better pedestrian crossings for TRAX and FrontRunner lines that did not already have signaled crosswalks.
"The focus and emphasis over the last two years has really been on the pedestrians," Provost said.
UTA is upgrading 160 crossings in all; 70 are already complete. FrontRunner South was built with the crossings; FrontRunner North and the mid-Jordan and Draper TRAX lines are getting the upgrades now. UTA expects to finish them all within a year.
"The simplicity of this design is really the key," Provost said, pointing out the clear signage and simple fencing at the already upgraded 900 South and 600 West crossing.
"What we're looking to do is keep the pedestrian from making a straightforward move across the intersection without looking to the left or right," he said.
The crossing is designed to grab a pedestrian's attention — it takes into account the fact that too many people walk around with their heads buried in cellphones. As people approach the crossing, they run into a fence. They are then forced to change their line of travel, look up, and step to the right to proceed to the crossing.
"I think it's a good idea because the kids don't pay attention. And when (engineers) make it a little harder, they have to pay attention," said Terry Robinson, who lives in the neighborhood where Casper was killed.
"By having to move around a little bit, they have to pay attention," she she said.
UTA engineers believe that is exactly what will save lives.

Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=24580788#Go6U1T1MBpdSUsVy.99

Other accidents where people were injured.

April 30, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — An accident involving a car and a TRAX train caused delays in downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday afternoon.
A car was hit by a TRAX train near 100 South and Main Street around 12 p.m., according to Utah Transit Authority officials. No injuries were immediately reported in connection with the accident.
UTA officials said that commuters should expect delays on the Green Line heading west to the Salt Lake City International Airport.
More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29704138#51x77Khg1CZiZOFC.99

This story was originally published Nov 05, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.
MIDVALE — Three people were injured Tuesday night when a TRAX train crashed into a train car that had become separated from another TRAX train near 8100 South and 100 East.
Utah Transit Authority spokesman Remi Barron said the conductor of the oncoming train spotted the lone train car and attempted to stop but was unable to do so in time. All of its lights were out, and the operator didn't realize anything had been left behind.
The subsequent collision injured a TRAX operator and two passengers, but none seriously. Barron credited that to the slowing of the oncoming train.
UTA is conducting an investigation to determine what caused the train car to separate from the first train, Barron said.
It was unclear how long the car was sitting on the tracks before it was hit — the operator may not have even been aware of the problem — but TRAX trains usually travel about 15 minutes apart, Barron said.
Wednesday morning TRAX northbound blue line experienced 15 minute delays as a result.
Update: Nov. 13, 2013
UTA released the following statement about this accident:
A cause has yet to be determined for the TRAX accident that occurred on the Blue Line on Tuesday Nov. 6 at approximately 8100 South in Midvale. The collision resulted from the last car of an out-of-service TRAX train becoming uncoupled. This kind of incident is extremely rare, and UTA is conducting a thorough investigation to determine what caused the TRAX cars to uncouple.
UTA is working with the vehicle manufacturer on the investigation, along with the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. The coupler on the vehicle in question will be completely dismantled and inspected in an effort to identify any mechanical or electrical issues that may have contributed to the incident. With no initial determination of cause, this is likely to be a time-consuming process that could take several weeks or even months to complete.
Safety is UTA's number one priority. Each TRAX vehicle is thoroughly inspected each day, and UTA is committed to making sure all safety policies and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of our riders and the public.

Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=27523681#0bM5srWegUerDFbG.99

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Young Kennedy Cody

Beaver County News 1916-07-21

        The NEWS has received details of the death of young Kennedy Cody, son of C. H. Cody, formerly station agent in Milford, which sad event followed an accident to the young man at Helper, on the 12th instant.  It appears that the lad, who was nineteen years of age and a student at the Wasatch Academy, Mr. Pleasant, had been assisting his father in the station at Helper during his vacation.  On the day he met his death, he had run out to a passing caboose to get some freight bills, and in trying to board the car, he had been thrown under the wheels and both legs and one arm cut off.
       A special train for Salt Lake was made up to rush the injured young man to a hospital but at Thistle death ensued.  The boy's father saw the accident which resulted in his son's death and both he and the mother were prostrated by the terrible catastrophe.  The body was taken into Salt Lake, where funeral services were conquoted last Saturday.  Six fellow Wasatch students acted as pall bearers and the floral offerings were many and beautiful.  Mr. and  Mrs. Cottrell of  this city, were called to the stricken family returning on Sunday.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fearful Fatality

Ogden Standard 1882-06-10

     About six o'clock, last night a fearful fatal accident occurred at Market Lake, Idaho, on the Utah Northern Railroad.  The particulars as far as our reporter could learn, were as follows:

      It appears that at the station above-named, the freight and passenger trains meet; the freight rests to let the express pass.  They met, as usual, last evening, and after the passenger had moved forward, the freight train put on steam and continured its trip to the North.  While the train was in motion, the conductor, a young man named Wyatt Poole, in attempting to get on the cars, slipped and fell to the platform and was thrown beneath the ponderous wheels and mangled in a fearful manner.
     Both legs were severed from the body.  Of course, the alarm was given, the engine was reversed, and the train was stopped as quickly as possible.
      The unfortunate young man was taken from under the machinery, and all that could be done for his relief was done, but without avail - he died shortly afterwards.
       The deceased was a youth of good character.  He was, we believe, born in Ogden; he was well respected by all who knew him.   His father, Mr. John R. Poole, was for many years a resident of this city, and was formerly the owner of the property known as the "Globe Hotel."
        We are sure that Mr. Poole and family have the sympathies of their numerous friends and former fellow citizens of this place in this sad and serious misfortune.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Horrible death


Ogden Standard 1905-08-11

Locked in a car where he had concealed himself for the purpose of stealing a ride, a colored man, supposed to be William Anthony met an awful death by suffocation at Morgan, 30 miles east of here, yesterday.
The car in which the man had concealed himself was loaded with furniture and was being hauled west on train No. 53, known as the California expedite, one of the fastest freight trains running over the Union Pacific lines.  Yesterday the train was in charge of [sic] conductor Miller.
When near Morgan station smoke was discovered coming from a crevice in the door of the car.
  This discovery led to the belief that something was wrong and a special stop was made at Morgan to set out the car and to investigate the origin of the smoke.  The seals on the car were broken and the door swung open.  As this was done a great volume of smoke issued from the doorway.  After a short time, during which pails of water had been secured, employees were able to enter the car where a gruesome sight met their gaze.

      Ling [sic] upon the floor was the body of the colored man, his features showing plainly the torture that he had endured, as he struggled to make himself heard above the rumbling of the train.  It is supposed that the fellow had lighted a cigarette and then, fallen asleep, the lighted cigarette fell from his fingers, setting fire to the excelsior used to pack the furniture.
  One can only imagine the poor fellows agony, when he was awakened by the flames and realized that he was in a position where nothing short of a miracle could save him from an awful death.  The inside of the car showed evidence of Anthony's struggle against a horrible fate.  His hands bore traces of being bruised by his efforts to free himself, which he is supposed to have made after he saw that it was beyond his power to extinguish the flames.
   The fire was put out by the railroad men and an investigation showed that a large portion of the contents had been badly damaged.  The car, containing the body, was held at Morgan.  Efforts are being made to locate Anthony's relatives.

Click here to read another story from the Operation Lifesaver Website.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last Fridays Freaky Friday Post

March 28, 2014.    Copied From Operation Lifesaver and Christian Science Monitor


Teen Couple Struck By Train
Mateus Moore and his girlfriend, Mickayla Friend, were walking on railroad tracks on their way to a dance at the Marysville Charter Academy For The Arts in Marysville, Calif. Reports suggest they were walking in the same direction the train was traveling and did not notice it approaching them from behind until the last moment.
At that point, Mateus pushed Mickayla off the tracks, saving her life, according to eyewitnesses who were at a Little League baseball game nearby. Mickayla was taken to a local hospital with traumatic injuries but is expected to live. Mateus died at the scene.
Pedestrian train accidents increased dramatically in 2013, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Through Aug. 31, there had been 352 pedestrian deaths compared with 281 during the same period in 2012, a 25 percent rise. The newspaper reported that the fatality rate in the first eight months of 2013 was the highest in a decade.
In a three-part series on pedestrian train accidents, the Post-Dispatch reports that pedestrian accidents are a problem without an easy solution. Railroad tracks are private property, which means victims are trespassing at their own risk. Yet train operators take few if any measures to mitigate the risks, such as building fences to block trespassers in some high-traffic areas, the newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, USA Today has reported on the growing phenomenon of "distracted walking," with pedestrians losing a sense of their surroundings as they text and chat on mobile phones.
"Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported," the paper reports, referring to pedestrians in general, not just those on train tracks. "There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, but there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics."
That did not appear to be the case in California. Union Pacific, which owns the tracks, is conducting an investigation. So far there is no evidence that the couple was intoxicated or wearing headphones, according to KXTV in Sacramento, Calif.
Union Pacific spokesperson Aaron Hunt said the teens had their backs to the freight train. He said there was ample time for the teens to leave Union Pacific property after the horn sounded. It is unclear why they didn't realize the train was approaching.
"Sometimes these trains, when you're directly in front of them, can sneak up on you," Marysville Police Chief David Baker said, according to KXTV."

 This was posted by Operation Lifesaver Utah
Which is a nonprofit group, raising awareness of train safety.   Amazing group!
At The Station  applauds Operation Lifesaver and hopes to help them spread the word about train safety.

Please be train safe.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Freaky Friday

The Lucin Cut Off a freaky kind of bridge.

  Celebrating the day 112 years ago when construction started on the Lucin Cut-off the bridge across The Great Salt Lake.
    I'm compiling these chapters of my book "Death At The Station".  I've found so many interesting things to share about how difficult it was to build this cut off.
     The cut off was proposed to save money by avoiding the Promontory Mountains, where the grade was steep and there were many curves making it difficult for the trains.  They had to be broken apart and each section had a helper train that would take it through the curves and to the other side.
    The cut off was 46 miles shorter than the route through Promontory Mountain but the most significant saving was time.   Any where from 6 to 12 hours could be saved with the cut off.
    $61,000 in operating costs compared to the same month in 1903.  The cut-off would pay for itself in  eight years.

Several places in The Great Salt Lake had black holes that seemed to be insatiable.

      Bear River Bay on the east side of the lake is where fresh water mixed with the salt water of the lake.
The Bear River drains into the bay and filters into the lake.  A tressle was built to cross this bay.
While filling in the piles at the eastern arm of the lake, two pilings (70 foot long logs) one one top of the other were driven into the lake floor and disappeared.  The lake at that point was less than ten feet deep.  In Bear River Bay, over one hundred feet of sand, salt and silt, something other than the solid bottom that they needed,  had collected .  It seemed no amount of fill would ever be enough to stabilize the bottom of the lake here.
     During this stage of construction the tracks in this section settled continually, each time being built back up again.  The fill material was coming from a site on the lake's east shore, just west of Ogden, Little Mountain.  It was said by the newspaper, that Little Mountain, Just keeps getting littler.
       The continuing settling of the tracks created momentousness problems.  December 10, 1902 the newspaper reports "Sixteen cars and one engine dropped into the water. . . this occurred in the same place where similar accidents have happened so many times before.  No one had lost their life. . . . yet.  For weeks the ballast train has been dumping hundreds of carloads of rock in an effort to make the track solid enough to sustain the heaviest loads.
       On March 26th, 1903 As the result of the continual sinking of the Ogden Lucin cut-off, an engine went under.  The track settled over night, the engine started across, when it reached the soft spot the heavy engine lurched and then dropped falling over on its side and settling.

      In April 1903 another larger sink hole was found west of Promontory.  This is where the Rambo Station was suppose to be constructed.  
       On April 3, 1903, five hundred feet of tressle work gave way.  Four cars of gravel and an engine were precipitated into the lake.

      In October of 1903 it was reported by Scientific American that the principle trouble was in two main areas comprising nearly ten miles in all.  It was said Rambo had consumed 2,500 tons of rock everyday for a month without showing any significant change in depth.  By the time Rambo finally stabilized, it alone had consumed 70,000 carloads of rock.  In the end, the section at Rambo proved to be too unstable for an embanked roadway and it was bridged by extending the trestle a mile on its western end.

More on the Lucin Cut off later.    For now, Please be train safe.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Answer to March 17th, question

The answer to the question earlier in the week is The Lucin Cut Off.
 The bridge that spanned The Great Salt Lake
Construction officially started on March 17, 1902.

In conjunction with that, does any one know what "Rambo" was? I'll give you a hint, it had to do with the Lucin Cut off and the wooden tressle.

Which, by the way, the company Tresslewood has reclaimed most of the wood from the tressle that went across the great Salt Lake. They have made beautiful mantel pieces and beams for homes. The Lodge by Maddox Ranch House is built with some of this reclaimed wood from the tressle.

Monday, March 17, 2014

112 Years Ago Today

       112 years ago today, March 17, 1902  a project started that was so monumental it was touted as one of the most ambitious and successful engineering feats of the era, a herculean project.

"one of the most remarkable and courageous engineering accomplishments of the time."
Thomas Edison wrote: "Certainly a bold piece of engineering and well worth seeing."

It is still viewed today as a monumental achievement by engineers

Nay-sayers said it was not possible. 

 It would take two years to complete, with over 3,000 men working around the clock, that also had to be housed and fed,  almost unfathomable amounts of rock, gravel and timber were used. 
Over 500,000 gallons of water per day had to be brought in.
Estimated cost $3,000,000,   final cost, over $8,000,000,  today that would equal $22,000,000 

Do you know what it is?


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Repost from Union Station Blog

I admit, I am cheating this week.  But I had to share this Blog from Ogden's Historic Union Station.  The Blog is about Negatives of pictures.   But it tells of the day a street car ran into the Broom hotel.  No deaths, no horrific body smashes.  Just a streetcar run a muck.   Enjoy!!!

The Union Station Library is a fantastic resource of Ogden history, Train history and the Union Station history.   Check out the Station and it's museums sometime, Especially the library.

Street Car Wreck! Old negatives are a time machine

The wreck of the 25th Street street car. Photo by Lester Perry

So, we know that on the afternoon of Nov. 14, 1918, four days after Armistice Day, Lester was in downtown Ogden, probably hoping to cash in on any post-war optimism by selling bricks, when the street car  crashed into the Broom Hotel.

The street car had been going east, up past Adams Avenue, and stopped when its crew got out to help another street car in front of them. The car’s brake let go and back down the hill it went, careening towards the busy intersection of then-Washington Avenue and 25th Street.

It flew through the intersection, jumped the tracks and bashed into a hat shop on the south side ground floor of the Broom Hotel. The newspaper said it was a miracle hundreds were not injured. As a matter of fact nobody was injured, but its more fun to say a miracle occurred.

And there was Lester, off to the side, taking pictures.

I think his are as good as the one the paper ran.

Nov. 15, 1918 Ogden Standard
                                                                          Click to go to the actual article. 

I love Lester’s pictures. Because I have the negatives, I can make good prints, dodging and burning, working the contrast to bring out details.

Why is this important? Almost nobody saved the negatives back then, which means every image we have from years ago is a copy. Copies from prints always lose some of the original data, and copies of copies lose more.

Detail from street car photo
To put it in digital terms, think of saving an image as a jpg, then expanding it, then saving it again, over and over. Every time you save it, you compress it digitally, meaning your computer is taking out pixels. Every time you open it, your computer expands it again, replacing those pixels with what it thinks goes there, but it is just guessing and after a while things degrade.

Same with copies of photographs. Every iteration gets worse.

So when someone has the original negative, that’s treasure. The actual light from the actual subject came through a lens and nudged a few silver atoms on the negative.  Ninety nine years later you can still see the mark that light left: The US Liberty Bell, a row of army barracks at Fort Douglas, a street car wreck in Ogden, farms in fields long gone but the mountains behind, still familiar.

Look at the buildings in the street car photos, the store fronts, the details of life.  I love the hats everyone is wearing, and notice all the men have on white collars and are dressed well? Nobody wore jeans and t-shirts back then.

Check out the bicycles. And $3 hats!

Liberty Bell in Ogden. Photo by Lester Perry
In 1915 the Liberty Bell made a national tour on its way to an international exposition in San Francisco. Of course it had to go through Ogden, and talk about excitement. The paper ran dozens of stories, people from all over the state came to see, an estimated 30,000.  This at a time when the population of Ogden was about 30,000.

And there was Lester. He got the bell, the crowd, and an amazing shot of the train leaving Union Station. I love the women wearing their bloomers.

And on and on. He shot the new army camp in Salt Lake City up at Fort Douglas. He took the camera along when he and some other guys went rabbit hunting, killing hundreds of the critters.

Liberty Bell train. Note the
Autographic notes
Yes hundreds. Back then rabbits were a major scourge. Parties would  shoot thousands of them. During The Depression those rabbits fed a lot of Utah’s poor.

We’re still sorting and scanning negatives. Bruce brought his dad’s pocket diary down, so we also have some details of daily life, and I recorded an interview of Bruce talking about his dad’s later life. The brick yard had to lay off all its workers when The Depression hit in 1929, and his dad traded bricks for a few years to buy food.

In the 1940s Lester set up a flower shop on Grant Avenue between 24th and 25th Street. Bruce said his dad always wanted to be an artist, and in flowers he found an outlet that paid the rent.

Flowers wilt, but a good photograph lasts forever. When Lester died he left his camera and his negatives. His children, being wise, didn’t throw either out, but saved them, a window to his time.

Thanks Lester, for your good work. And thank you, Bruce, for bringing it to us in the Union Station archive so it can be preserved and admired in the future.

Detail, Liberty Bell train leaves Ogden. Note the original station’s tower and the ladies’ bloomers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Random Weird Things in Utah Histoy

Just after I posted this I saw a news story that was much more interesting.  It didn't happen here in Utah as most of my posts do but it was far better a story for those with a macabre mind like mine.


Ogden Standard 1894-08-17


Information was received today by the standard that the remains of an unknown man had been found by some boys lying with the head pillowed on a kind of cushion in a shady nook near the Baldy Watch, a stream some five miles south east of Huntsville and South of the Langsdorf ranch, on the afternoon of august 16th.  The body was badly decomposed and deceased had evidently been dead for at least a week.
  When the news of the discovery was brought to Huntsville it caused intense excitement.  The authorities have started to the scene of death, but as the Standard goes to press the result of their investigation is unknown.  Mr Angus Wright, of W. H. Wright sons and Co.  who had been to Huntsville on business, and who was interviewed regarding the ghastly find stated that from the meager particulars learned of by him it is probable the dead man may have been a camper-out as he was fairly well dressed and was thought to be a Scandinavian by birth.

Ogden Standard 1894-08-18

Jess G. Langsdorf came down from Huntsville this morning with the bottle which was found with the remains of the dead man discovered near there, as reported exclusively in the Standard yesterday, to have the contents analyzed by a chemist.  No further particulars have been developed in the case.

July 13, 1889  Milford Utah

A lamentable accident occurred on the Utah Central near Milford early Saturday morning, resulting in the death of a young man named Stephen Stephenson.  The first announcement of the sad affair in Salt Lake city was the following telegram, received by Hon. John Sharp.
     "Milford, Utah,  July 13 1889.  Steve Stephenson, one of the train hands south of Juab, was killed this morning.  He was riding on the back of the tender after putting the freight on a switch, and must have been crossing the draw head when he fell off the tender.  Part of the engine passed over his body.  One leg
was cut off, his bowels cut open and several bad cuts made about his head.  He died instantly.  His parents and family live at Levan."
   An inquest was held at Milford, the result being announced in the following dispatch:
"The coroner's verdict is that Stevenson came to his death by falling from the tender of an engine, the same passing over him, while in the performance of his duty and that no blame can be attached to anyone."
      The Utah Central sent a special down with a coffin, and the body will be taken to Levan for interment.
-Deseret News.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Crash That Changed the Laws

In headlines all across America.
23 Killed in School Bus Train Crash.  17 injured in Utah's Worst Traffic Tragedy.

Salt Lake City Dec. 1 1938
A Denver, Rio Grande and Western Railroad freight train traveling at almost a mile a minute through a snowstorm smashed into a school bus at a grade crossing near here today, killing 22 school children and the driver and injuring 17 other children, some critically.
  Not a single person of the 40 on the bus escaped injury of death in Utah's worst traffic tragedy.  The accident occurred at a crossing near Lampton, 15 miles south o Salt Lake City.
  The highway parallels the railroad ad then cuts across the tracks at this point.
  Harold Silcox, driver of the bus carrying the students to the Jordan high school, stopped his bus at the crossing and then went onto the tracks.
  The train, bearing down on him at 52 miles an hour, struck the bus in the center, crushed it and carried the wreckage several hundred feet.
  The bodies of some of the children were entangled in the running gear of the locomotive.  While the exact cause of the crash probably will never be know, it is likely that in the swirling snow Silcox had neither seen nor heard the approach of the west-bound freight.
  A dozen ambulances were summoned to carry the dead and the injured to the Salt Lake City General hospital.  It was here the full impact of the tragedy was felt as the parents and relatives of the children gathered to identify their dead and comfort their injured.  Some of the children were crushed so severely they
could not be identified and their names were obtained only by comparion of the school rolls and a check of those who started for classes.
  The arduous task of making a house-to-house canvass of this district will start tomorrow.  They said such a check was the only means of determining definitely the number and identification of the dead.
  Several of the children died en route to the hospital or after they reached there.
  Twenty other children, had been on the bus earlier in the morning, but a few minutes before the accident they had left the bus to enter the Riverton Junior high school.
  Rail officials, through W. E. Speakman, said they were confident the train crew was not responsible or the crash.
  They said the train's speed of 52 miles an hour was "normal" and the engineer sounded his whistle as he approached the crossing.  There was no obstruction at the crossing which would interfere with the driver's vision.
  The railroad officers said a formal investigation probably would start tomorrow.

Lawrence Journal world Dec. 1, 1938

Salt Lake City, Utah
A fast freight train "The Flying Ute"  crashed into a loaded school bus near here today, killing 26 and seriously injuring at least a dozen others.
  W. E. Speakman, . . . .said the 26 dead had been counted.  The bodies were taken to mortuaries thruout the city and attempts were being made to locate relatives to assist in identification.

Sarah Bergstrom, business superintendent of the Salt Lake General hospital, said she personally aided in the recovery of 18 bodies.  Estimates of the number of persons on the bus ranged from 40 to 60.
The crash occurred at Midvale, a small community about 10 miles south of Salt Lake City.  A snow storm that started during the night reduced visibility and made the highways slick.  The crash occurred at a rural grade crossing.  The students were enroute to their classes at Jordan high school.
  Salt Lake County Sheriff S. Grant Young ordered all deputies to the scene.

  Railroad officials said the train was an hour behind schedule because of the weather.
  Young said the frame of the bus was rammed underneath the engine and dragged down the track.  He said slowness in determining the number of dead resulted from difficulty in getting beneath the engine.
  "There probably are bodies lodged under their"  the sheriff said.
Doctors and Nurses from all surounding towns were recruited.
  Driver of the bus was Farrel Silcox.
At Salt Lake general hospital  Dr. Lionel W. Sorenson said seven of the 1 children taken there "are in an extremely critical condition."  The students ages ranged from 14 to 18 years.  Most of them are children of farmers.

 The accident occurred in a rural area over a mile from telephonic communication.  This made a quick survey of the death toll and injured list impossible.  All children taken to the hospital were reported unconscious but alive."
 It was the worst school bus tragedy in Utah history.
  The children were picked up by the bus at Bluffdale, Riverton, South Jordan, Crescent and Herriman, all small communities south of Salt Lake City.  Silcox was believed to have been unable to see the approaching train because of the sleet.  He was among the 1 injured taken to the hospital.  The cab of the bus was tossed to one side, about 100 feet from the crossing.  Bodies were strewn every where for a quarter of a mile down the track.
  "Grief stricken parents, hysterical and weeping, rushed frantically up and down the 85 car train, trying to find their children,  There were 12 ambulances at the scene an hour and a half after the tragedy."

Margie Groves, 16 year old unior student from South Jordan, described the crash"

"I got on the bus at 8:30 about two miles from the crossing.  I think there must have been about 40 others in the bus with me.
  "When we came to the crossing, we stopped and Mr. Silcox, the bus driver, started u again.  I was sitting in the very back in the center but I couldn't see much because of the snow.
I thought I heard someone yell 'train!' then I saw something black coming from the right and then it hit us.
When I woke up I was lying in the snow near the bus.  Two students I knew, Mack Bateman and Mabel Smith, were nearby Mabel was lying near the bus and Mack was lying by a fence.  I guess the;re all right now.
There was an awful lot of screaming and moaning.  They were all just kids 15-18 years of age.
  And then they came and brought me to the hospital."

  The hospital was jammed with parents father wept openly and mothers were screaming.  Attaches had to set aside a special room for person who fainted.  One entire floor of the hospital was filled with crash victims.

Last Dec. they remembered this crash that happened 75 years ago.  There are still people alive that remember that crash. Here are some links to more of the story.

A monument was erected to remember those who died in that Train VS Bus crash.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Warning this one is really sad.

Check out my other blog Confessions of a Ghost Hunter

Out of all the stories I've posted on this blog and put into my book "Death At The Station" this one actually got to me.   :-(    I can't imagine how the conductor felt for the rest of his life.   I'm sure it must have been terrible.
My question is where is the mother?  who let s a three year old play in the street?  I realize children can move very fast but they should have had some supervision.

The Daily Enquirer 1895-04-12 vol.11 No. 10  http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/de2/id/105218

A tiny form, its face mangled beyond recognition, its arm crushed and the body filled with ghastly contusions, tells the story of three-year-old Leona B. Hilbert's tragic death yesterday afternoon, shortly before 5 o'clock, beneath the wheels of a car on the line of the West Side Rapid Transit Company.

Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04 -12

The accident by which the babe met her death was a heart rending one.  The car was returning from the southwest portion of the city, and had reached a stretch of First West between Fourth and Fifth South when the motorman T. C. Armstrong, who was also acting as conductor, and collecting fares with in, felt it going over some obstruction and stopping the car discovered the bleeding form of the child.  Life was extinct.
Coroner Offenbach was notified, and the remains were removed to the undertaking rooms of Joseph William Taylor. From the funeral chapel of which the interment will take place at 3 o'clock this afternoon.
  The particulars of the sad affair are quickly recited.  The ill-fated child had it is said, by those who witnessed the tragedy, been playing in the streets through the day, and had seated herself behind one of the telephone poles to tie her shoe, when the car approached.  She rose suddenly and had just started on her way when the car came tearing down upon her. dragging her under its wheels, and carrying her form some fifty yards.   The child was borne to the sidewalk where expressions of indignation that a company, holding a franchise under the city was allowed to operate without reference to the safety of human life.  The victim was the child of Leonard Hilbert trunk-maker, who resides at 430 South first West.

W.J. Armstrong, the motorman-conductor, when seen last night was greatly affected y the shocking affair.  He stated that he was obliged to collect tickets and attend to the motor and had gone back into the car to collect fares from some children who had got on at the Grant school.  Before leaving the platform he had looked ahead and with the  exception of an old woman on one side of the street, there was no one in sight on the entire block.  When he had collected the fares and was just about to return to the platform, the car struck some obstruction.  He did not realize what had happened, but stopped the car and upon looking back saw the body of the child lying on the track.  The two Hilbert children, boy and girl, he said had been in the habit of running across the tracks and getting too close to the car, he had repeatedly cautioned them against it.  The boy would frequently stand with his car against the trolley pole as the car approached ad yesterday morning the motorman had stopped the car and warned him against the danger.  Armstrong supposed the little girl was following the example of her brother and was standing behind the pole so that she was hid from view, as she was not in sight when he left the platform, and her body was found about six feet from the pole.  "The children are so thick on that street,"  said Armstrong, "that it takes all my time to watch the little ones from one end of the track to the other."

The company was in direct violation of the franchise by having only one man on the car. It was the only way they could stay in business.  The dangers had been explained to the company president but he stated there was nothing else they could do other than close down.

Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04-14 http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/slt15/id/28132
Economy caused the death.  Why street cars were run by one man.
  Coroner Offenback's inquiry into the death of baby Leaona Hilbert, killed by a car on the line of the West Side Rapid Transit, was resumed yesterday and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon adjourned until 10 am Monday for the purpose of procuring additional evidence.
   Ali Sibley testified to having witnessed the accident, but was ignorant of the whereabouts of the motorman-conductor.
    Mrs. Mary Hilbert, the mother of the child, testified that Leona was pressing her ear to the pole and listening to the hissing of the currents when the crewless car bore down upon her.  The mother's testimony was frequently interrupted with her sobbings, and the situations were at times, pathetic.
W. J. Armstrong, who filled the double position of motorman and conductor, repeated the story recited by him to a Tribune reporter.  President Jacobs of the company had represented, he testified, that the earnings of the road would not justify the company in employing more that one man Witness had cautioned him of the dangers of "short help" but it was simply a question of operating the line in this way or suspending it altogether.
  He left the power on upon going into the car, as was customary, and, as near as he could judge it was then moving at a speed between six and eight miles an hour.

Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04-17  http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/slt15/id/33675
Company Held responsible, Coroner's   verdict on the death of Leona Hilbert.

  The inquest upon the remains of Leona B. Hilbert, who met death under a West Side Rapid Transit street car, was concluded yesterday, the jury inding that it was due to the negligence o the company.  President Jacobs testiied that he was president of the company, but a year ago had turned the line over to Armstrong and his partner, since which time he had paid no attention.  There might have been he confessed something said about paying the men $1 a day if they failed to derive it from the earnings.
An action for damages is threatened.

Check out our other blog
Confessions of a Ghost Hunter

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Freaky Friday Story . . . a little late. So there are several stories.

Peter Otterson
American Eagle 07/22/1904
Became bewildered and sprang onto the track in front of a backing engine.
Peter Otterson, aged 58, died at 10:40 this morning at the Ogden General Hospital, from injuries sustained by being crushed beneath the under-workings of engine No. 581, in the railroad yards at 7:40 this morning.
 The deceased hadn’t been long in the country, having but recently arrived from Denmark.  This morning the old gentleman was walking along the railroad track near the Twenty Seventh street crossing.  He stopped, facing southward, to tie his shoe string which had become loose.  Switch engine 581 with Engineer Hestmark at the throttle, had just left the Union Depot going south.  When the engine neared the street crossing, Foreman Bradley of the train crew saw the old gentleman in the stooping posture and yelled to him to get out of the road.  Otterson must have become bewildered and lost his head, for he jumped right in the middle of the track in front of the approaching tender.  He was knocked down, and immediately the engineer reversed his engine, but before he could stop it the tender and half of the engine had passed over the man.  The injured man was pulled out from under the engine and it was ascertained he hadn’t been touched by the wheels at all. The injuries which cause his death were the result of being crushed by the fire box and other low projecting parts of the engine and tender.  As soon as possible after being taken from under the engine, the injured man was taken to the hospital, where after suffering much pain from the internal injuries received, he passed away at 10:40 o’clock this morning.
 The switching crew of engine No 581 Is made up of Engineer Hestmark,  Fireman Murphy, Foreman Bradley,  Helpers Poorman and Baxter.
  The family of the deceased  lives at no 164 Twenty-Sixth Street.

                                                                                   Joseph Frew

Davis County Clipper 11/18/1904
Joseph Frew of Syracuse, Brother to County Commissioner William Frew, was one of the fourteen unfortunate persons who were killed in the terrible wreck on the U.P. just east of Granger Wyoming, at 9 o’clock, Saturday morning.  His body was badly crushed and mangled and his face disfigured.   His neck and back were broken.  After being extricated from the debris, the remains were laid out where the sun shone on them all day while other bodies were being taken out from under the wreck.  He was sitting in a chair car when the collision took place and it is thought he was thrown to the farther end of the car.
 The remains reached Ogden Monday evening and were taken to Hooper where the funeral services were held Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.  under the auspices of the A. O. U. W.
 Mr. Frew was forty-four years old. He was born in Franklin, Idaho, being the second child born in that town.  He spent most of his life, however, in Hooper.
Not quite two years ago, he moved to Syracuse, where he was making himself a fine home.  He was also engaged in the sheep business and was on his way home from Chicago where he had been to market some of them when he met with his sad fate.  He had also worked at the Syracuse and Roy Canning factories, being a mechanical engineer.  He was well liked and highly respected.    He leaves a wife and seven children.

Joseph Alexander Frew was born 10 July, 1860 in Franklin Idaho to Jane and John Frew.  Jane was born in Ireland and John was born in Scotland.   
John had died just a few months before Josephs accident.  In February of 1904. Joseph’s mother Jane had passed away when Joseph was only 12.
Joseph married Mary Ann Smith 11 February 1885 in Hooper Ut where his parents lived until their deaths.
Joseph’s wife Mary Ann died in at 68 years old in may of 1932

John C. Van Why
Ogden Standard 1904-05-07
In a collision in railroad yards between a switch engine and passenger coach
Dr. Tavner of Salt Lake is injured.  Engine is completely demolished.
In a wreck in the railroad yards at 7:0’clock last evening, John C. Van Why, an engineer for the Southern Pacific company, met with a frightful death by being crushed and scalded.  The accident happened on the Southern Pacific crossing of the Oregon Short Line track.
A car load of passengers also had a narrow escape from serious injuries.  Dr. Tavner of Salt Lake was injured about the small of the back.  The cause of the accident is probably due to the fact that engineer Van Why did not see the emphatic stop signals given to him.  The engine, No. 1036 Southern Pacific which he was running was struck by a passenger coach loaded with passengers and completely overturning the engine, crushing him between the tender and the boiler head where he was scalded to death by the breaking of a steam pipe, In the presence of about fifty people who were unable to go to his rescue on account of the great volume of steam.
The story of the accident is as follows; Union Pacific switch engine No. 1101 in charge of foreman Boyle, was pushing a number of passenger coaches over the right leg of the “y” preparatory to making up Union Pacific Train No. 4 east.  The cars were taken from Oregon Short Line train No. 11 from the north.  Engine 1036 was on her way to the U. P round house to have her fires cleaned before going to work for the night.  Switchman M. L. Hailey was riding on the front foot board of the engine for the purpose of opening any switches that might be closed against them, and seeing the oncoming train and realizing the danger began giving Van Why signals to stop shouting at the top of his voice but in vain.  Stepping off the footboard he again shouted to Van Why “for God’s sake get back”  The engine ran by him but a few feet when he heard Van Why reverse it but it was too late, for the engine was on the crossing square in the way of the oncoming train and the crash came, knocking the engine over on its side several feet to the west of the track.  Fireman Daily of the 1036 noticed the predicament and jumped in time to escape injury.
The scene that followed was one that can hardly be described, the screeching of the escaping steam from the demolished engine preventing any one from hearing the agonizing screams of the engineer who was pinned tightly in the ruins and no one dared attempt to save him.  General Yardmaster cunningham, Switcheman Satchell, Baxter and Hailey together with several others displayed great courage in trying to rescue the unfortunate man.  After the service of another engine were used in pulling away the tender and cab of the ill-fated engine, the body of the deadman was reached and removed to the yard office and later taken to Richey’s undertaking parlors.
The several employees and eye witnesses of the affair gave very graphic
accounts, Switchman Hailey giving the following statement:
I was following engine 1036.  Had orders to take her to U. P. round house to have her fire cleaned.  We were in S. P. Yard.  On approaching O. S. L. crossing saw No. 11’s connection backing down the right leg of the “Y”.  Was on the front end of our engine and gave the engineer a signal to stop, but for some cause he did not and ran over the crossing.  I got off and told him to back up and get out of the way of the other drew.  He had just reversed the engine and started her back when she was struck by the coaches and turned over, killing Van Why.
Switchman Satchell’s account of the affair is as follows;
“When we first started to work Van Why said ‘We will have to clean our fire the first thing’ I said all right go ahead.”  I told Hailey to take him around and get his fire cleaned and that is all I know about it.”
Switchman Baxter stated as follows:  “When we started to work I heard the engineer tell Foreman satchell that he wanted his fire cleaned and was told to go and have it done.  Switchman Satchell got on the front foot-board to take him in and I went down into the U. P. years with Satchell.  We went about twenty-five car lengths when we heard the crash and both went back as fast as possible and found Van Why caught between the cab and the boiler head.”
Fireman Dailey, who jumped, left the scene a few minutes after the accident  and his statement could not be procured.
In Union Pacific chair car No. 506 which struck the engine, the wildest confusion reigned, as it was thought that the car would turn over on its side.  However the car was turned partly over and remained in that position.  As soon as the car struck the engine the passengers all began rushing for the doors, and the sound of the escaping steam seemed to make them frantic.  Dr. Tavenor of Salt Lake received internal injuries about the small of the back.  The other passengers, outside of a good shaking up and a few slight bruises were not injured.
Everything possible was done by the train crews for the excited passengers.  Hurry up calls were sent in for physicians and surgeons and the ambulance, but it was found there was no need of them, for as soon as the excitement passed off it was found that there was only one case, that being Dr. Tavenore, who required attention.
The horror was witnessed by a large number of people who were at the Union Depot, and with in ten minutes after the collision occurred, several hundred people were upon the ground and later in the evening it required a detail of eight police officers to keep the crowd back so that the large steam wrecking crane, with a large force of men, could clear the track.
 Municipal Judge Howell together with the officers, visited the scene and an inquest  was ordered. The following jurors were summoned by Deputy Sheriff Seabring who was upon the ground:
L. H. Becraft, Tom Matthews and Robert Wilson.  The jurors viewed the remains of Engineer Van Why.
 John C. Van Why was about forty years of age and leaves a wife and a small family
residing at 2273 Adams Avenue.  He has been in the employ of the Southern Pacific Company for about four years.
 Dr. Tavenor’s injuries were considered such as to necessitate his being removed to the hospital.
Judge Howell states the inquest will take place either Monday or Tuesday probably on the latter date.( )