Disasters · New York · Newspaper clippings

Train crash kills a dozen in fire

From the New York Herald
Published January 14, 1882
An article is published describing a railway accident which claimed the lives of a Senator as well as several others

The accident happened the day before, on Friday the 13th. It involved a train carrying 13 cars, mostly filled with politicians. The train was running late, but one of its air brakes had ceased functioning. Knowing the Spuyten Duyvil curve was ahead, a notoriously sharp turn that has derailed trains even in recent history, the conductors were able to bring the train to a halt before the curve. However, another train unaware of the previous one being stalled on the tracks and missing a signal, barreled into the first 13 minutes later causing a catastrophic fire that killed at least a dozen people. One victim was State Senator Webster Wagner whose body was describe in detail by The New York Truth (January 15, 1882):

“The body of Senator Wagner was a spectacle never to be forgotten. The head was burnt and charred beyond the possibility of recognition, the legs were burnt off and the trunk bruised and disfigured…Later in the night he was identified by his gold watch, bearing the initials “W.W.” his diary and several newspaper slips giving the election returns of his Senatorial district.”

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