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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane County: Three killed in train crash on Northern Pacific line between Cheney and Spokane

Three trainmen died instantly in a fiery collision two miles east of Marshall, between Spokane and Cheney, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 18, 1917. (SR)
Three trainmen died instantly in a fiery collision two miles east of Marshall, between Spokane and Cheney, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 18, 1917. (SR)

From our archive, 100 years ago

Three trainmen died instantly in a fiery collision 2 miles east of Marshall, between Spokane and Cheney.

Both trains were westbound on the Northern Pacific line. A brakeman on the rear train said he looked ahead and saw the red lights of a caboose looming ahead. He frantically called out to the conductor, who immediately “pulled the airbrake valve, which set the brakes.”

Only then did the engineer see the caboose ahead. By that time, it was too late. “The crash came immediately.”

The locomotive slammed into the caboose, killing a conductor and two brakemen on the forward train.

“The wreckage took fire and the caboose was burned,” said the paper. “The bodies which were in the caboose were so badly charred that identification was only made possible by their watches.”

The engineer of the rear train said he had recently passed two automatic block signals, which apparently failed to alert him to the danger ahead. The forward train was going only about 16 mph, while the rear train was going 30 mph. A hearing was scheduled.

From the cigar beat: Spokane’s cigar dealers delivered the bad news: The nickel cigar was going up to 6 cents, and the “10-cent straight” cigar was going up to “two-for-a-quarter.”

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