New Haven Railroad Historical Events

Date
Category
Event

8/12/1853
Wreck On the morning of August 12th an excursion train consisting of seven passenger cars was loaded with 475 holiday goers en

route to Narragansett Bay via Providence, twenty-six miles away. On the same morning a train of two passenger cars left

Providence bound for Worcester. These trains going in opposite directions, were set to pass each other on a double track

siding near Pawtucket. The train out of Providence made its usual time, and on reaching Pawtucket, stopped for five minutes,

according to established company regualtions. It then proceeded slowly toward the single track. In rounding a sharp curve, the

other train going toward Providence came down upon it a full speed, about forty miles per hour. The two trains crashed head-

on at Valley Falls Station killing thirteen and seriously injuring thirty others. The first car of the excursion was shattered:

nearly every passenger was killed or badly hurt. The second car was not so badly damaged but was driven back through the

third car, where casualties were also heavy. A passenger in the excursion train recorded the horror of the wreck; I was in the

sixth car of the Uxbridge train. The first intimation we had that anything was wrong was three violent jerks succeeded by a

crash and, what we supposed, the explosion of the boiler. There was of course, a general rush for the doors, and passengers ran

in confusion. It seemed as though the cars had not more than come together, before a man was at work with an axe cutting

into one of the windows of the second car to take out the body of a woman who had been instantly killed while attempting to

escape. Two men were hanging between the roof of the second and third cars, lifeless, and another poor fellow caught while

attempting to get out of a window, was imploring for help. The wounded were taken to a grove nearby. The dead were laid

upon the grass. One young man,(Goldthwait, of Uxbridge,) presented a most piteous sight. His arm was torn off near the

shoulder, and he was left upon the grass, where he held up his lacerated stump, and begged for help.. The cause of the disaster

was bad judgement on the part of the engineer, Edwin Gates, of the Worcester-bound train. He though that since the

excursion would be scheduled to wait five minutes at the siding he would be able to make it to the double track before the

other started out. This was a fatal mistake. Even though Gates raced at full speed to make up time, he was caught on the

single track with the excursion train approaching just around a sharp curve. Again the cause of heavy loss of life was human

error. Referring to his accident at Valley Falls, one New York newspaper editorial concluded: "That a vast majority of railroad

disasters are directly owing to the stupidity and neglect of the employees, and the apathy and avarice of the officers."

8/6/1855
Lease Mortgage trustees of THE NORFOLK COUNTY RAILROAD took over the property from the BOSTON & NEW YORK

CENTRAL and leased it to the BOSTON & PROVIDENCE RAILROAD, by whom it was operated until March 2, 1857.

8/6/1855
Lease BOSTON & NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY leased its road to THE EAST THOMPSON RAILROAD

COMPANY, the latter taking possession March 2, 1857.

8/3/1863
Bankruptcy DORCHESTER & MILTON BRANCH RAILROAD COMPANY mortgage foreclosed and property transferred to OLD

COLONY & FALL RIVER RAILROAD COMPANY.

8/5/1863
Merger OLD COLONY & FALL RIVER RAILROAD COMPANY united with THE NEWPORT & FALL RIVER RAILROAD

COMPANY under name of OLD COLONY & NEWPORT RAILROAD COMPANY.

8/10/1863
Opening of Service ROCKVILLE RAILROAD, opened, Vernon to Rockville, 4.43 miles.

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