Terrible ride

Transcription of newspaper article from the Mining journal (Marquette, Mich.), Feb. 18, 1888, regarding the Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway Company., Electronic reproduction of: Transcription from Mining journal (Marquette, Mich.), Feb. 18, 1888., Source: The Mining Journal Marquette, Mi. February 18, 1888                      Saturday  A Terrible Ride  At 7:30 Thursday evening that thrilling locomotive shriek was heard which instantly told people in Marquette that there was a runaway train coming down the grade from Bruce mine and whose blood-curdling intonations brought men to their feet at a bound as soon as they struck the ear. Nearer and nearer came the long shrill shrieks, rising higher and higher in pitch and louder and louder, until the very air seemed to quiver in sympathy, and almost human agony seemed expressed in the wild danger signal which a brave engineer and fireman, facing a most cetain death themselves, were sending ahead to warn men along the road and to clear the main line for the mad rushing train. Quicker than it has taken to tell it the train came thundering down through the yards into the city, the engine still sounding that awful danger signal which will never be forgotten by those who heard it then or last summer. Hundreds were in the streets by the Front street yards when the train came down past the Fourth street crossing like a hirlwind and with a blaze of flame, which made every car seem on fire, pouring from under every wheel from the two-fold friction between the rails, the wheels and the tightly set brakes. Men shuddered as they thought of the sharp curves by the rock cut on the east side of Front street and realized that sure distruction awaited the whole train there, while there seemed no possible chance for stopping its mad career before crossing that street. Like a meteor the train rushed across Third street and was lost to sight behind the buildings. Then a sudden silence came. There had been no crash, the train did not cross Front street. Each turned to his neighbor with an expression of amazement on his face, then a wild rush for Superior Street began.  In two or three minutes the street was choked with excited men. There at the depot just where each east bound passenger train engines stop, stood the big mogul freight engine No. 32 as quietly as if obedient to the will of its fearless engineer, James Ahearn, who stepped from the cab as calmly as if he had not come down the grade for five miles with certain death staring him in the face. Sitting quietly on the box at his side of the cab was his young fireman, Frank Kelly. Each said that he never expected to be numbered among the living at that moment for each knew that if the yards were passed safely the runaway train could never strike the curve by the approach to No. 3 ore pier without going into the lake. Ahearn said that he had expected to bring up there anyhow, but was amazed at finding his engine still on the track when the little curve by Third street was passed. He felt over his engine, trying every wheel and piece of mechanism as carefully as a man feels of a favorite horse just stopped after a runaway. Borrowing his lantern the Mining Journal representative passed back with a trainman to see what was left of the train, and find what had caused its almost miraculous stoppage. The three box cars next to the engine were empty. The forward truck of one had left tbe track and was turned across it. Then came the flat cars, which were loaded with square timbers for the new ore pier. Some of these were on the track, others had lost their trucks and others were buried under the box cars of copper, for this was the "copper train" which passes through here every evening, east bound. The wonderful stopping was soon discovered.  When the cars began to jump, the timber was buried in every direction. Some of the huge sticks had become massed under the trucks of one of the cars, and acting as a mighty brake, had brought the engine and the few cars still on the track to a st and still. Clear up to Third street the cars were scattered. Timbers had shot through the air in all directions. The whole end of the railroad barn was crushed in by same; Jensen's place on Spring street was badly damaged by others; some were buried deep in the snow; while one could walk home from the depot to Third street on the big sticks without touching the ground. One box car stood squarely across the street by Kraemers's and seemed to have been just checked in an attempt to demolish his place. All the cars were badly damaged but the financial loss is not heavy. The confusion shown in the wreck from the depot to the Third street flagman's box was indescribable. Mr. Ahearn and his fireman stated that they had resolved to stick to their engine come what might. They were powerless to control the train but with rare courage they stuck to their post of duty when death seemed certain and although the deep snow made a leap for life almost surely successful. Sharkey, the head brakeman, and whose brother was killed on the Mackinaw division last summer, stuck to the train until it reached Fourth street, when he leaped in the dark, fortunately l and ing in the huge snow drifts by the crossing. He was pale and quivering with excitement when he got out and went home at once, but uninjured. The conductor and other brakeman cut loose the caboose when they realized the danger, and thus saved themselves. The train got away from them at the five mile post; Spring and Third streets were blockaded by the wreck. The men who man engine No. 32 have no need to ever vouch for their courage; there are no braver men in Mi., for the terrors of that ride can never be pictured in words.  DSS and A Locomotives
Abstract/Description: Transcription of newspaper article from the Mining journal (Marquette, Mich.), Feb. 18, 1888, regarding the Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway Company.
Subject(s): Railroads
Marquette (Mich.)
Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway Company
Date Created: 1888-02-18