N&W in 1911--Wreck witnessed

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Thu Mar 31 17:07:49 EDT 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
August 10, 1911

Four Engines, Thirteen Cars and a Caboose Piled in a Heap--Fireman Slightly Injured

Over a hundred people saw a spectacular wreck in Keystone yesterday noon, when a double headed train, west bound, making thirty miles an hour crashed into two engines, a caboose and a train of thirty-five cars [also westbound], which were standing underneath the coaling station. The presence of mind of Engineer Midkiff, who was on the head end of the train of empties, saved No. 86, a fast freight, east bound, from crashing into the wreck which was spread on both tracks. Engineer Midkiff, who was sitting in his cab, felt the jar caused by the impact of the swiftly moving train, thirty-five car lengths in the rear, and realized that something was wrong. He jumped down and signaled No. 86, which was approaching, to stop. As the east bound train was rounding a curve it never could have stopped before crashing into the wreck if it had not been for the stop signal, which reached the engineer about 100 car lengths from the wreck.
At least twelve lives were imperiled by the wreck, but fortunately but one man, Fireman James Main, was injured. His injuries were not serious. He was burned about the face by escaping steam.
Four engines. Thirteen cars and caboose were wrecked and the monetary damage will probably reach $20,000.
Gordon Hamilton
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