The switching yard of the railroad
at Andover, while in perfect keeping in size with the stations, is
entirely too small for the amount of business, especially at this
time. A car load of rails for contractor Valz [on the Lackawanna
Cut-Off] were unloaded beside the west side switch and were being
transferred across the track to the east side by means of a horse,
one rail at a time, a short chain hooked to the end and dragged across.
On Saturday afternoon, just as Conductor Zeek's train was due, a rail
was being moved, when the hook slipped out, leaving the rail squarely
across the track. The train was on them before it could be flagged
or the rail moved. A dozen men were working just in front of the rail
on the block system being installed on the road. Two of the iron signal
tower bases, bolted to a concrete foundation were less than ten feet
ahead of the rail. The pilot of the engine picked up the rail almost
in the center, striking the signal towers, tearing one out clear and
clean and mashing the other, then the station was hit with one end
and the switch tower with the other and bending the rail nearly double.
The workmen just had time to save themselves by jumping to either
side and no one was hurt. Result: As stated above, two signal towers,
with all their batteries and paraphernalia, knocked to smithereens,
a switch torn out, a rail only fit for a turn table, a lot of profanity,
and perhaps railroad orders more strictly observed.