Archive for Monday, October 14, 2013

100 years ago: Driver tried to beat train to crossing, witnesses say

October 14, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 14, 1913

  • "It has developed that the opening act of the tragedy on the Union Pacific yesterday was a race with a high power auto matched against a speeding railroad train, number 35 Rock Island, known as the fastest train through Lawrence. The scene shifted to the crossing, the goal to which the two were racing. At this juncture Death stepped in and claimed the victory.... Passengers on the train noticed the auto speeding along the road which runs almost parallel with the railroad tracks at this point. The driver seemed to be getting every bit of speed which his six-cylinder machine was able to produce. The car was dashing wildly down the road bent on carrying its two passenger to their doom. Unconscious of the fact that he was a party to the race, the engineer was pulling his train at high speed. He was on the opposite side of the cab from that from which the car was approaching. He did not see the motor, did not know there was a contest until his engine struck the car and the race was over. He had sounded his whistle for the crossing, according to witnesses, but he knew nothing of the two in the car attempting to beat his iron monster.... Rock Island train number 35 travels between forty-five and fifty miles an hour at this particular place. Passengers say that the auto was traveling perhaps as much as forty miles an hour. Evidently over-estimating their own speed, or under-estimating that of the train, the men figured that there was plenty of time to cross ahead of the train and determined to make the run.... One of the passengers on the train stated last night that he saw the car approaching the track, saw the collision and an instant later one of the doors of the car flew past the window of the rear coach in which he was riding, so violent was the impact."
  • "'The gas situation in Kansas is no longer, it is a coal situation, for the simple fact that there is no gas.' At least that is the opinion of City Attorney J. H. Mitchell who represented Lawrence at the gas session in Kansas City yesterday. 'The conference accomplished nothing,' said Mr. Mitchell. 'It was a good meeting, there was much enthusiasm and all seemed to be harmony between the cities and the Kansas Natural Gas company,but that did not solve the gas problem.'... On the whole it seems that Kansas cities have enjoyed the luxury of natural gas about as long as possible and that hte wood and coal furnace will come back into favor again this winter. And in the meantime the previous warning might be repeated: 'Get a supply of auxiliary fuel in the basement before winter comes.'"

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