Connellsville Train Wreck
The most appalling disaster in the history of the Pittsburg Division of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad occurred at Laurel run, two miles west of Dawson, last evening.
Sixty-eight passengers and three trainmen were killed in a mad plunge of the Duquesne Limited on a sharp reverse curve, caused by some heavy timbers falling from a west-bound freight train to the east-bound track, along which the Limited was speeding at the rate of 50 miles an hour. Forty-three passengers met instant death of were cooked by hissing steam escaping from engine No. 1465. Five passengers died on the relief train between the scene of the wreck and the Connellsville station. Eight passengers and Conductor HELGROTH died at the hospital.
The scenes at the wreck were harrowing. Half a hundred passengers, most of them English speaking, were literally cooked alive in the smoking car. A second disaster was averted by the presence of mind of Conductor HELGROTH, fatally burned at the time, Conductor EDWARD BAKER, who was dead-heading over to Cumberland on the Duquesne, and Baggagemaster THOMAS DOM. They rushed up the track the instant the wrecked train had come to a stand-still and with matches flagged train No. 49, which was stopped by Engineer MOSE JOHNSTON only within half a car length of the wreck. HELGROTH fell fainting alongside the track after No. 49 was stopped and died at the hospital at 3 o'clock this morning. DOM was bleeding from a wound eight or ten inches long on the head and suffering from internal injuries when he realized the danger of a second disaster after his car had toppled over almost into the Yough river and ran up the track with HELGROTH and BAKER. The latter was riding in the rear of the train and was not injured.
In a wreck as terrible as any ever known in railroad history, the Duquesne flier of the Baltimore and Ohio, from Pittsburg for New York, was hurled to utter destruction Wednesday night at Laurel Run, two miles from Dawson, its locomotive and six cars sent plunging in a tangled, rended heap over an embankment and into the Youghlogheny [sic] river.
The death list of the awful horror has reached the appalling figure of sixty-three, almost half of the 150 persons who were on the train. The number of injured is not so large.
The train left Pittsburg early in the evening, running a few minutes late, in charge of Engineer WILLIAM THORNLEY of Connellsville. When passing Laurel Run, which is a particularly fine piece of roadbed, the train was running at a high rate of speed. Suddenly the passengers were thrown from their seats by the lightning like application of the air brakes, and a moment later there was a terrific crash.
The wreck was caused by the breaking of the castings on a car load of bridge timbers on a westbound freight train which had passed Laurel Run not more than fifteen minutes before the ill-fated passenger train.