N&W in 1911--Funeral train derailed

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Sun Jun 27 10:47:27 EDT 2010


The wreck of President Johnson's train, (the first wreck
that is), occurred on the curve at the station. It smashed into the
structure which was afterward rebuilt without its bay window.

Mason Cooper

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Subject: N&W in 1911--Funeral train derailed

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 8, 1911



Special Bearing Body of Railroad President's Mother Suffers an Accident




None of The Coaches Turned Over And No One Was Hurt. According to Official
Reports Train Proceeded After Delay of 6 Hours.




Train Was Running at Moderate Speed When it Crashed Into a Rock

[The article with the Bluefield dateline was too indistinct on the microfilm
to transcribe, but it was followed by the following article with a Roanoke

Roanoke, Va., January 7 (Special)--A special train of President Lucius
E. Johnson, of the Norfolk and Western Railway, composed of five coaches,
which left here at 9 o'clock this morning for Aurora, Ill., bearing the
remains of President Johnson's mother, who died here yesterday; members of
the family and a number of friends, was wrecked at 3:30 o'clock this
afternoon near Kermit, W. Va., between Williamson and Kenova. Nobody was
injured according to reports given out by the officials here. A wrecking
crew was ordered to the scene and it was expected the track would be cleared
early tonight.

While the train was running at a moderate speed, the engine crashed into
a rock that had rolled from the mountain side upon the track. The
locomotive, tender and all of the coaches were derailed. The coach bearing
the corpse is said to have been damaged more than the others, but none tuned
over. The accident occurred near the scene of the wreck some months ago
[Sep. 13, 1910, at Delorme] of President Johnson's special train which was
on an eastbound trip and at which time two men were killed, but President
Johnson and other officials on the train escaped injury. That wreck was
believed to have been caused by the breaking of a bolt about the engine.

The news of the wrecking of the train today was not received at Roanoke
until 6 o'clock and the announcement caused intense excitement and sympathy
for President Johnson who is extremely popular here.

[As I noted when I posted the article on the Sep. 13, 1910, wreck of the
President Johnson's train at Delorme, "Unfortunately most of the article on
the microfilm copy was too indistinct to transcribe, but enough was
decipherable to provide the following summary:" Since then I have received
a copy of the newly published book "Wheels Aflame, Whistle Wide Open--Train
Wrecks of the N&W Railroad (1892-1959)" which referred to a Roanoke
newspaper article mentioning that President Johnson's mother was on the
special that wrecked at Delorme and that she was resting on a couch and was
uninjured in that wreck.]

Gordon Hamilton

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