Electric Light Cord


Baggage Car Leaves the Track and is Followed by the Long String of Coaches— Gasoline Tanks Explode and Cars Burn— Fifteen More or Less Injured— Luckily There Were Five Doctors on the Train

No. 3, the fast west bound Flyer on the G. N. was wrecked at Springbrook, a station 11 miles east of Williston at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon July 5. The long train consisted of engine, baggage and mail car, seven coaches and a special coach at the rear. Every coach excepting the last one was burned.

Engineer Connely and fireman Conrad Larson were pulling the big train down the 23 mile grade into Williston at a forty-five mile clip, when the baggage car which was not loaded heavily enough jumped the track at the Springbrook switch. This pulled the other coaches from the track, but they did not go over into the big ditch. The gasoline tank in the front coach exploded and soon that coach was in flames. The other coaches caught fire in the same manner. The train was worth $75,000.

The story of the wreck was told to an Indepdendent man by Conrad Larson, the fireman. It is as follows:—

"We left Wheelock seven minutes late and were trying to make up time, when we came into Springbrook, the baggage car which jumped the track. We were going along very fast, fifty miles an hour when it happened and the coaches followed the baggage car off the track. They jumped around something awful and I thought every minute that every person in the train would be killed. The engine tore loose from the rest of the train and jumped the track at the switch. We did not feel the jar to amount to anything however. The baggage car went into the ditch. It was empty and did not hurt any body. I counted seven coaches that burned up the fire lasting till midnight. The gasoline tanks in the coaches exploded and the noise was terrible, worse than those firecrackers in Minot on the Fourth, the last coach was a special sleeper containing a party from Kansas City bound for the coast. It happened that in that coach there were five doctors and the injured were taken right in their coach and their injuries were attended to. One fellow got on the coal car at Wheelock and he was hurt badly, I heard that he was thrown fifty feet. He was not killed, but will remember his experience a long time. He was not a hobo, but had a claim near Wheelock. I guess he will not steal any more rides. Some of the passengers got out of the windows and others walked cooly out of the doors. I was particularly amused at a man who had three little children, the fellow carried all three in his arms and was laughing. The jar on the cars was said to be something awful. People were scattered all over the coaches. Mrs. Hines, the wife of an engineer from Devils Lake was on the train, going with her husband to Portland. She was badly burned and otherwise uninjured. When her clothes caught fire, she ran and jumped in a ditch of water near the track and was saved from burning very badly. Harry Thomas, the breakman {sp}, was burned about the face badly. He is in Minot now. Wm. Young, the baggagemau {sp}, was hurt about his back but not very seriously. I think there were fifteen or twenty who were injured more or less, in fact there was not a person on the train who did not get a good jolting. I cannot help but think of the gasoline tanks as they exploded. The fire and smoke went up fifty feet or more. It was a pretty sight. I was kept pretty busy killing the engine after the wreck occurred, for the water supply was cut off. Of course I was a little frightened, but that didn't do any good."

Judge Murray and the wrecking crew went out from Minot immediately and began clearing away the wreck. A track had to be put around the wreck and by six o'clock the next morning, the trains were passing. A good picture of the burning wreck was secured.

Ward County Independent, 7/12/1905

Picketing A Cow

Posted 07/22/2015