Collision, wreck on Shenandoah Valley Railroad

HISTORY train Luray

September 19, 1889 — Two freight trains on the Shenandoah Valley Railroad came in collision at Buena Vista station, last Thursday, making a bad wreck of two engines and a number of cars, killing instantly one of the firemen, James Callian, a young man of Roanoke.

The northbound freight, a heavily-loaded train, stopped at the Loch Laird water tank, a mile below where the accident occurred, for water. They left the tank just after daylight, and as they approached Buena Vista, slowly moving up the grade, a southbound freight rapidly moving turned the curve and the collision resulted.

The two engineers and one fireman jumped and escaped without serious injury, but Callian failed to get off and was caught in the wreck and crushed to death. The wreck caught fire but was put out before consuming much.

On Friday evening the southbound passenger train on the same road was thrown from the track at Wheelright’s Crossing, badly wrecking the engine and several cars, which went through this place on Sunday evening on their way to the repair shops at Milnes, accompanied by a large wrecking corps. No one was hurt.

The passengers were detained at that place about 16 hours, and there being no hotel nearby they were cared for and fed by the people who live in that community.

The train at the time of the accident is said to have been running a mile a minute. It was thrown from the track by cattle on the road. 

~ From the public archives of the Page News and Courier


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