Train wreck at Hanover Junction

TrainWreckHJ

The account below, from the May 26, 1913 York Gazette tells of a train wreck caused by human error. It also illustrates how stories become exaggerated as news travels.

It is rather remarkable that, with the damage and injuries cited, the train and passengers were able to travel on in a very short time. The report reads:

EXCURSION TRAIN RUN BY DANGER SIGNAL
ELEVEN PASSENGERS SLIGHTLY INJURED IN WRECK OF SMALL CONSEQUENCE AT HANOVER JUNCTION SUNDAY MORNING

Failing to heed the danger signal at Hanover Junction, a southbound passenger train carrying more than five hundred passengers sped past the station and plunged into a pusher engine standing on the tracks a short distance below, shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday morning, resulting in the injury of eleven passengers. The engineer of the passenger train applied the air brakes in an attempt to prevent the collision. The railroad men escaped without a scratch. The injured were:

James Siler, Parsons, Pa., bruises and lacerations on the body and face.
John Torney, Wilkesbarre, bruises and contusions.
John A. Griffith, Edwardsville, Pa. lacerations from glass.
John Creighohler, Wilkesbarre, bruises and cuts on face.
Andrew Base, Wilkesbarre, gashes on head and bruises.
Leo Corrity, Scranton, slight gashes on head and arms.
Adam Yeskell, Wilkesbarre, laceration on head and contusions.
William Bannigan, Wilkesbarre, several gashes on head.
Nathan Sisonan, Wilkesbarre, gashes on head and contusions.
Edward Wilkes, Scranton, gashes on right arm near wrist.

The pusher engine was waiting on the main track below Hanover Junction to help pull the excursion train over the summit. The red signal was shown at the station, but the fireman of the passenger train took it for a white signal, designating a clear track. A moment later the collision occurred. The York wreck crew was called out and cleared the tracks so that the excursion train was able to continue its trip at 6:10 a.m. All of the injured were able to continue on the trip after their injuries were attended to by Dr. G. M. Fickes, of Seven Valleys.

The impact of the locomotive and train resulted in the damaging of both engines and smashing in of the front platform of the first coach and the breaking of nearly every pane of glass in the coaches of the train. The injuries to the passengers were caused by the sudden stop of the train at the time of the collision and by the glass from the broken windows.

All day yesterday many exaggerated rumors were circulated here, some having it that as many as fifteen people were killed in the collision.

A worse train wreck seven years later on the same line.

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