The Great Shohola Train Wreck Page3
Courtesy of Scott J. Payne, NY

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(2010-2) Enlarge Chaplain Scott J. Payne at the Shohola Train Wreck marker. The marker is about 1 mile from the actual wreck site


(2010-3) Enlarge Heading north, towards King and Fuller's Cut


(2010-4) Enlarge Heading north, towards King and Fuller's Cut

The train consisted of 12 box cars and 3 coaches. The train was scheduled to leave at 4:30 on the morning of July 15,1864. The first delay took place before the train even left Jersey City. Three prisoners escaped and it was after 5:30 before they were located. The train finally got underway at about 6:00 AM. A short distance from Jersey City a second delay took place, the prisoner train had to wait two hours for a drawbridge to close. The train finally arrived in Port Jervis, New York, at 1:00PM, four hours behind schedule. While in Port Jervis the train received water and wood for the wood-burning steam locomotive


(2010-5) Enlarge Stone wall shows the start of King and Fullers Cut

The train bed in this area of Pike County, Pennsylvania had been some of the most difficult to construct. Many “cuts” were made through the solid rock, often sending debris and stones across the Delaware River into New York. One of these “cuts” was named King and Fuller’s Cut, after the construction contractors. In this particular cut the track ran around a blind curve where forward visibility was very limited


(2010-6) Enlarge The middle of King and Fuller's Cut

Frank Evans, a guard on the prison train, later described what happened. "We passed through the little village of Shohola early in the afternoon, going something like twenty-five miles an hour. We and run a mile or so beyond Shohola, when the train came to a stop with a suddenness that hurled me to the ground.... It was followed by a second or two of awful silence, and then the air was filled by most appalling shrieks and wails and cries of anguish...


(2010-7) Enlarge ( Evans)  “I hurried forward. On a curve in a deep cut we had met a heavily-laden coal train, traveling nearly as fast as we were. The trains had come together with that deadly crash. The two locomotives were raised high in air, face to face against each other, like giants grappling. The tender of our locomotive stood erect on one end. The engineer and fireman, poor fellows, were buried beneath the wood it carried. Perched on the reared-up end of the tender, high above the wreck, was one of our guards, sitting with his gun clutched in his hands, dead!. The front car of our train was jammed into a space of less than six feet. The two cars behind it were almost as badly wrecked. Several cars in the rear of those were also heaped together.”

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