Chicago Elevated Train Wreck
Twenty persons were killed and more than 60 injured here late this afternoon when a North Shore elevated electric train crashed into a wooden train, 'Shopper's Special'. Officials said that it was feared that many of the injured would die.
The wreck, described as the worst in years, came when elevated trains were packed with shoppers and workers. The special train which was made up of wooden cars, was crashed into by the steel train and was telescoped and splintered into kindling wood. The cars were hurled from the tracks and many of them were dangling on the L structure when the police, firemen and rescue squads arrived. Some of the dead were lying in the street, hurled from the cars to the pavement.
Shortly after the crash occurred all lights went out in the cars and along the elevated railway. This added to the horror. One man was hurled through a car window and into the street. His body was badly mangled.
On Nov. 24, 1936, 10 persons were killed and 234 injured on the Howard Street line when a Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad interurban train smashed into the rear of a rapid-transit train at the Granville Avenue station.
Motorman VAN R. GROOMS was held in technical custody tonight while representatives of city, state and federal governments investigated the most disastrous wreck in the history of Chicago's elevated railroad.
GROOMS was at the controls of a North Shore flier last night when it plunged into the rear end of a crowded Evanston express train -- killing ten persons and scattering sixty-five injured passengers along the right of way.
Two officers were detailed to his hospital room. His physicians said shock and injuries made it impossible for him to tell his story at an inquest.
Fifty-seven persons were confined to hospitals, three in critical condition.
On the night of November 24th, however, it seems the Granville towerman had a change of heart. The local was stopped at Granville station and the Mundelein Express was closely following the Loyola Express, as usual. The towerman then set the signal against the Loyola Express - contrary to custom - and allowed the local to proceed on track 3. The motorman of the North Shore train, a man named Van Grooms, soon realized that the Express was being held and made an emergency brake application, but the distance he was keeping was too short. Hearing the frantic whistling of the North Shore train, the "L" passengers looked behind themselves to find the heavy steel interurban bearing down on them.