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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Adams County: Two Milwaukee Road trains collide head-on, killing three

From our archives, 100 years ago

Two Milwaukee Road passenger trains crashed head-on 7 miles west of Lind, Washington, killing one of the engineers and two “unidentified tramps” riding on the engine.

Several other railroad men were injured, including the second engineer, but no other passengers were hurt. The two engines took the brunt of the damage and were wedged side by side in a rock cut. Most of the other cars remained on the rails and were undamaged.

The cause of the accident appeared to be a “mistake in giving orders at Othello.” The eastbound train had orders to take a siding at Vassar, 4 miles east of Lind, while the westbound train had been ordered to take a siding at Servia, about a mile beyond the place where the trains collided.

The trains met in a curve in a rock cut in the dark, and the engineers were only about a train’s length away when they saw each other.

One survivor, a fireman, said his engineer had time to say only, “I guess we’d better unload,” before the trains collided. The fireman bailed out and landed in a snowbank, but the engineer stayed with the train and died.

Officials estimated that one train was going 35 mph and the other 30 mph when they smashed into each other. The two engines were “telescoped almost back to the cabs,” and several of the baggage cars were wrecked.

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