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New Jersey Herald - August 8, 1901 issue

Wreck On The Cut-Off


The first wrecking accident on the Sussex railroad in a number of years occurred on the new cut-off, at the junction of the Sussex road, on Monday morning of this week. The freight train that leaves Newton at 9 A.M. for Port Morris in charge of conductor Lemuel McCarrick and engineer Isaac Miller and fireman Lester Morris, had made its trip east and was returning to Newton where it is due at 11:45 A.M., as a passenger and freight train. In the meantime a gravel train had stopped at the junction of the cut-off and the Sussex road, the big "camel back" and one gondola car standing on the cut-off. While the men were unloading the gravel, Patrick Whalen, a brakeman, was sent out to flag the freight, which was due before the gravel train could be unloaded. The flagman, instead of remaining on the track in the performance of his duties, went to a patch of woods near the track to avoid the heat of the sun. It is believed that he fell asleep, as when the freight came over the cut-off at about thirty miles an hour no signal of danger was displayed and Engineer Isaac Miller reports seeing no flagman in sight. A few yards farther on the engineer discovered the gravel train on the track ahead. He applied the air brakes and made every effort to stop his train and avoid collision. The distance between the two trains, however, was too short and the freight engine dashed into the head of the gravel locomotive. Just before they came together the men on the latter train jumped and escaped injury. The engineer of the freight also sprang from his cab without receiving injuries, while Fireman Morris landed on his head and shoulders in a bed of cinders and was badly cut about the head and arms. He was brought to Newton and received medical attention at the hands of Dr. Morrison. Henry Loges, who was on top of a box car, jumped to the side of the track and ploughed through the gravel for several feet, resulting in some severe scratches to his arms and limbs. He recovered in a short time and remained at the scene assisting in the work of removing the wreck. When the two locomotives came together the fronts of both were raised high in the air, the front of the freight engine, now known as 122 and for years run over the road under the name of the Mt. Holly, landed on the front of the 'camel back,' while the tender mounted the cab of the engineer, the large driving wheels projecting under and supporting the tender. The Mt. Holly is the same engine that was in the wreck on the meadows east of Newton a few years ago and the judgement of railroad men is that she will now go out of service and be moved to the "morgue" yard and finally be sold for iron. The gravel train locomotive was also badly damaged. The front part was wrecked and the tender mounted one of the gravel cars. It will cost considerable money to repair it for service again. Only two cars left the rails and all escaped any great amount of damage. Conductor Whyms was sent down from Newton to the wreck with a train when all passengers were transferred and arrived here about 4 P.M. A wrecking train was sent up from Hoboken and a track was built around the wreck. The evening trains were all an hour late. A special train had to be made up and went out from Newton at 5 P.M. as a milk train and to do the work of two trains. The result was that the milk did not pass through Newton until 8:30, over an hour late. John Miller, the engineer of the gravel train, is a brother of the freight engineer. It is reported that Patrick Whalen, the flagman, was last seen passing through Stanhope. After the accident he was not seen by either of the railroad crews at the scene. The wrecking crews worked all night Monday night in removing the Wreck, but had made little headway Tuesday morning. The old Mt. Holly will have to be removed in pieces and as it is pulled away from the "camel back" it has every appearance of having been struck by a cyclone. The track was all cleared Tuesday afternoon and trains have since been running as usual.