Ingleside Train Collision

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 26, 1927

Wreckage Is Cleared From Virginian

Two Killed, Twenty Injured As Trains Collide; Investigations Of Cause Of Wreck Are Underway

E. G. Aldrick and F. M. O'Neal Are Scalded To Death by Steam

Steam Engine Mounts Atop Electric Motor

Hundreds View Awe Inspiring Wreck, High Up On Mountain-Side Near Ingleside; Ambulances from Princeton Hurried To Scene

Debris from the worst wreck in this section in years was cleared from the Virginian, at Ingleside, near this city, at 3:30 this morning, sixteen hours after two trains met, head on, killing two and injuring twenty, according to a statement from the dispatcher's office at Princeton.

Puffing noisily, a wreck engine apporached [sic] the scene of the disaster at 5:40 yesterday afternoon. Before its arrival, however, the east bound coal train had been removed to Princeton, in sections, and the passenger coaches hauled back to Ingleside.

One passenger train, east bound No. 4, went through Bluefield, transferring to the Virginian tracks again at Ingleside, the other side of the wreckage.

E. G. Aldrich, of Roanoke, Va., engineer on passenger train No. 3 and his fireman, Frank W. O'Neal, of Roanoke, were killed, J. L. Weaver, electric locomotive engineer was seriously hurt, and twenty passengers on train No. 3 were hurt when the passenger train and the freight train collided head-on near Ingleside on the Virginian railroad at 11:52 o'clock Tuesday morning.

The passenger train, engine No. 212, was enroute from Roanoke to Huntington when it collided with extra 103 east bound coal train enroute from Elmore to Roanoke. The trains met on a curve fifteen cars west of the first tunnel west of Ingleside. The freight train struck the passenger train with such force as to push it back down the grade for a distance of approximately 270 feet with the lead cab of the electric locomotive burrowing under the steam engine, hoisting it high in the air in which position it remained, penning Aldrich and O'Neal in the cab.

Scalded to Death

The engineer and firemen were scalded to death by the live steam. Weaver, engineer on the freight train, and his helper, Tom Buckhannon of Mullens, jumped from the electric locomotive, Weaver being struck by the wreckage. Passengers were tossed around in the steel coaches, and slammed up against doors and seats, and cut by flying glass.

Members of the crew on the rear end of the freight train report that the freight slowed down smoothly, and that they did not feel the jar of the collision. The electric wires overhead were torn down from the point where the trains met head-on to the spot where they stopped, with the steam locomotive on top of the electric locomotive. Damages to railroad equipment is estimated at $25,000.

Investigation Ordered

An investigation of the wreck will be made by J. W. White, superintendent of division, of Princeton, to determine the cause. It is rumored that the crew of train No. 3 had orders to sidetrack at Ingleside and wait for the freight train to pass, and the crew of the extra had orders for clear track.

E. G. Aldrich of Roanoke was 57 years old, and was the oldest engineer on the Virginian railroad in point of seniority. He entered the service of the Virginian in 1906 and has been continuously employed by the road since that time. He was married and is survived by a widow. Aldrich was considered a wealthy man and was a director in several banks in Roanoke, and although he was independently rich he like railroading so much he stayed on the job as engineer.

Frank O'Neal was single and lived at Roanoke. Both fireman and engineer carried group insurance.

The wreck train from Princetton [sic] did not reach the tangled locomotives until late yesterday afternoon. Several trips were required to haul the loaded cars back to the Princeton yards so the wrecking crew could get to work on the wreckage. The bodies of O'Neal and Aldrich were pinned in the cab during the afternoon and from one side one could see the bodies in front of the firebox as if they had been ready to jump when the engine buckled up and climbed the electric motor.

Hundreds See Wreckage

Hundreds of people walked and rode in automobiles from various points in this section to witness the wreck. Sheriff G. H. Crumpecker and four deputies were on the scene early to handle the traffic and help succor the injured. Staffs of the Memorial hospital and Princeton hospital, and nurses, were rushed to the scene. The crew of the passenger train included: E. W. Hamilton, of Roanoke, Va., conductor, and A. L. Agee, brakeman. H. L. Aumann, formerly of Princeton, but now of Roanoke, was conductor on the freight train.

Difficulties Met To Get Pictures

Seemingly insurmountable difficulties were overcome by Daily Telegraph representatives, in getting pictures of the Virginian railroad accident near Ingleside yesterday.

Armed with a camera, and requests from various national syndicates for photographs, they climbed a winding path to the scene of the wreck, high on a hill near Ingleside.

They were ordered to leave by armed guards, who worked under orders of Virginian officials, and were presumably employed by them.

Efforts at intimidation were not carried to the point of violence but they were told by high Virginian officials that they would not be permitted to take pictures, whether on or off the right of way.

When they asked for an explanation, it was not given, but they were threatened with arrest if they did not leave at once.

Their object was to get pictures of the epochal accident, not to get involved in trouble, even though they were within their rights, and so, when an appeal to county officials failed, they left the right of way, and kept the officials interested while other parties took the pictures for them.

They were successful in getting more than two dozen exposures of the wreck, most of which were good.

The Daily Telegraph had won.

The pictures will appear in an early issue.

Roster Of Wounded In Virginian Wreck

J. L. Weaver, 52, engineer electric locomotive, Christiansburg, Va., smashed through hips and injured about chest. Serious.

Mrs. B. F. Parrish, 42, Mullens, abrasion and bruises.

W. L. Poole, 50, Roanoke, Va., abrasions and strain.

A. M. Traugott, chief engineer, Virginian railroad, Norfolk, injuries slight.

Gordon Lester, 77, Cambria, Va., lacerated nose, contusion side, and face.

W. H. Powell, 60, Oakvale, sprained back, lacerated wounds both lower limbs.

J. B. Wills, 51, Charleston, W. Va., contusion right leg, sprained muscles neck.

T. P. Mabe, 42, Beckley, W. Va., contusions right leg.

C. E. Mathews, 35, line foreman, Princeton, Lacerated hands, sides.

Andrew M. Blankenship, 49, Ingleside, fireman, lacerations left side face above eye, abrasions left leg, contusions right side.

Sadie Blankenship, 24, Ingleside, abrasions both legs.

O. C. Mosrie, 40, Princeton, broken nose and wound over left eye.

P. F. Parrish, 48, Mullens, injured about legs and body.

Mathan Jefferson, colored, 25, laceration on scalp, contusions.

Princeton hospital:

Mrs. O. F. Vaught, Goodwin Ferry, and daughter Jewel, bruises.

A. J. McCoy, Peterstown, W. Va., bruises, leg and arm, and over right kidney.

Pete Hoston, colored, Glen Lyn, bruises, right shoulder, left leg.

Charles E. Moon, colored, Lynch's Station, Va., right ankle hurt and upper lip cut.

William Carper, colored, Glen Lyn, leg, knee and shoulder bruises.


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