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Mail Train and Wild Cat Engine Meet Head On

Ulster & Delaware Railroad
"The Only All Rail Route Through the Catskills"

Mail Train and Wild Cat Engine Meet Head On
Catskill Mountain News
June 23, 1916

From the Catskill Mountain News, June 23, 1916


One Dead and Several Injured in Accident at Arkville Friday Afternoon


Accident Attracted Hundreds From this Section

The Ulster & Delaware eastbound mail train met engine 29 in a head on collision about a quarter mile east of the Arkville depot last Friday evening at 5:30 o'clock and the accident resulted in the death of Morrel Hoag, fireman of engine 29 and the injury of several other passengers and trainman.

Hoag was caught in the cab of the engine and crushed. He was released about an hour after the accident but died from his injuries as he was being put aboard a train for Kingston. Ferris Layman, the engineer, was also caught in the cab, but was easily taken out. He was taken to the Kingston Hospital suffering from a fracture and dislocation of the right shoulder, a broken right elbow and right ankle. It is said that he will recover. Neil Flynn, a mail clerk of Kingston, suffered a crushed right hand, all the fingers being broken and a part of the thumb requiring amputation. William T. Norwood, another mail clerk was badly shaken up and suffered a scalp would. Sebastian Shultis, an aged man of Arkville, was thrown against a door in the smoker and stunned. Several other passengers were badly shaken up and suffered from minor bruises and cuts.

That greater death toll did not develop is due to the fact that engineer Harry Lauren of the passenger train had slowed down for the Arkville yard and slammed on the brakes when he saw the engine bearing down upon him. The trucks of the passenger train did not leave the rails. The fronts of the engines were badly damaged. They had plowed into eachother about 1 1/2 feet and it took the wrecking crew from Kingston until nearly daylight the next morning to get them apart, and in the Arkville yard.

Railroadmen think that Layman of the light engine forgot that he was to meet the passenger train at Arkville. It seems that he was given orders to meet the special official's car at Roxbury and he was so anxious not to delay that train he forgot all about the regular passenger train. It will be recalled that there was a head on collision near Halcottville some years ago and it was said at that time that haste among railroad men to get out of the way of the official car was one of the contributing causes of that wreck. One man was killed at that time.

Many at Arkville saw the two engines come together with a terrific roar and the news soon spread. Hundreds of people hastened to the scene by automobile and an hour later there must have been 1,000 people at the scene watching the efforts of some of the bystanders to get the injured fireman out of the cab. Master Mechanic DePuy of the D. & N. went to the scene of the wreck and quickly told the men who had been laboring without avail to release the injured man, how to get him out. Otherwise he would have died where he was caught.

Dr. Telford and Dr. Allaben of this village and Dr. Gaul of Halcottville were among the first to arrive at the scene of the accident and they took care of the injured until the train for the hospital was ready. The body of the dead fireman was turned over to Borsch's Sons of this village and made ready for burial. It was sent to Oneonta Staurday evening and the funeral was held on Monday.


From The Ulster and Delaware ... Railroad Through the Catskills by Gerald M. Best, pp. 158-159

"...on the Afternoon of June 16, 1916, when eastbound train No. 18, due in Arkville at 5:31 P.M., collided head-on with a light engine which was westbound on the main track a half-mile west of the Arkville station. The cause was the absent-mindedness of engineer Ferris Layman on engine No. 29, who had fireman Merrel Hoag and flagman B. Brannan in the cab with him. Layman was handed an order to meet extra No. 20 , the inspection engine with superintendent O'Sullivan aboard, at Arkville before proceeding west. The orders were changed and the new order read that No. 29 would meet extra No. 20 at Roxbury. After receiving the roder Layman started the engine west, apparently not hearing the shouts and hand signals from the agent who knew that the regularly scheduled train No. 18 was due any minute, and the collision resulted several minutes later. Layman of No. 29 suffered broken bones but recovered quickly; flagman Brannan came out of the wreck with hardly a scratch, but fireman Hoag was buried underneath the coal in the tender and died of internal injuries a short time after he was rescued. On the passenger train, engineer Harry Lauren on engine No.22 was burned slightly by steam, fireman Eugene Riley was not injured but tore his jacket to ribbons on the reverse gear in his haste to jump off the engine. The mail clerks, Neil Flynn and Bill Armstrong were badly knocked around, as was Otto Mayes, the rear brakeman. Conductor Raymond Baldwin, sitting in the first coach, was not hurt but found his hat several seats ahead of him when he stood up. No passenger were injured, for luckily the train was running slow speed preparing for the Arkville stop. While both engines were damaged, they were rebuilt and continued in service for many years after the accident."



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