Southern's Wreck which killed Samuel Spencer

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Oct 17 13:05:30 EDT 2011


The story of Spencer's untimely death has been fairly well-documented
and it was covered with all the gruesome details in the papers.
However, even they left out most of the worst when it came to fact
that Spencer had literally been horribly burned and was probably
killed in the rear-end collision and not alive for the aftermath.

The newspapers of the day were really detailed compared to what we see today.

However, it was the combination of Spencer's wreck and one in
Washington, DC a little over a month later which led to the ICC
getting the necessary regulations outlawing wood cars and mandating
steel frames and bodies, which took something like 15-20 years to
fully implement with various grandfather laws as part of it.

Bob Cohen

Today's Topics:


>   1. N&W in 1912--Accident at Dry Fork (NW Mailing List)

>   2. Re: N&W in 1912--Accident at Dry Fork (NW Mailing List)

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> Message: 1

> Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 20:01:10 -0400

> From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>

> Subject: N&W in 1912--Accident at Dry Fork

> To: "3N&W Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>

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> Bluefield Daily Telegraph

> February 10, 1912



> ------

> Conductor and Two Brakemen Cremated in Smash-Up Near Belspring

> ------


> ------

> Operator is Generally Blamed by Railroad Men for Letting No. 15 Pass His Station When Another Train Had Not Cleared Block

> ------



[This was a rear-end collision at Dry Branch, next station west of
Belspring along New River on the Radford Division. The newspaper
article was over two columns long and most was too indistinct on the
microfilm to transcribe. It was possible to make out some gruesome
descriptions that elaborated on the primary headline above. The ICC
report on this accident can be viewed at



> Gordon Hamilton

> ------

> There was a similar rear-end collision which occurred on November 29, 1906

> at Lawyers, VA on the Southern Railway (south of Lynchburg) caused by the operator at

> Rangoon (near the Lynchburg airport) allowing  No. 37 to enter a block

> occupied by No. 33. At the investigation, the  Rangoon operator  claimed the

> operator at Lawyers had reported No. 33 clear, but the Lawyers  operator denied

> it and the blank slot on the train sheet confirmed his  statement. This collision was

> notable because seven of No. 33's passengers were killed, including Samuel Spencer, Southern's president.

 Harry Bundy

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