• A research Question in Connection with a DLW Wreck?

  • Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.
Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.

Moderator: blockline4180

On August 30, 1943

DLW Hudson Engine 1151 pulling train No 3 the Lackawanna Limited pulling the following consist

Eng 1151
1 Tender
2 Mail Baggage
3 Pullman Sleeping Car
4 Pullman Sleeping
5 Coach
6 Coach
7 Coach
8 Coach
9 Dinning Car
10 Coach
11 Coach

Broadsided a Mikado No 1248 Switching an Industry Spur at approximately MP 312.8 on the Buffalo Division just West of Wayland, NY. Railroad was Double Track ABS, Cab Signal Territory Tracks not reversible and Yard Limits were in effect. Trains and Engines could use the Main Track clearing Passenger trains by 10 minutes.

The Division Superintendent and Chief Dispatcher instituted a new procedure on the Buffalo Division modifying the rules to allow an Engine to use the time on verbal authority that the scheduled train was late.
The Conductor on the Switcher knew that No 3 was down 10 minutes but said he didn't relay this information to the rest of the crew account that he thought No 3 would run off the delay. The brakeman however; had heard No 3 was late and signaled the engineer to foul the WWD Main track on the time of No 3. The Conductor had not communicated to the rest of the crew not too use the time of No 3. In fairness to the officials The crew on Switch Engine 1248 never checked with anybody to ask if they could use some time on No 3's schedule. They fouled without operating the switch to the mainline. By the time that the Engine activated the signal system No 3 had passed the last signal governing movement over this switch. The cab signal went restricting on Number 3 when they were 800 feet from the switch and doing 80 Mph. The Engineer did put the brakes in Emergency however; they still struck Engine 1248 at 50 MPH. The sixth car of No 3 ended up adjacent to the derailed engine 1248 which was leaking steam and hot water. Most fatalities in this accident were the result of the people in the 6th car a coach being scalded to death.

27 people were killed 1 of which was a Road Foreman of Engines riding in the cab of No 3.

114 were injured.

The cause of the accident listed in the report was this new procedure instituted by local officials which the Accident report said

Failure of Operating Officers of the Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company to adhere to and enforce operating rules which are essential to safety. The report came out 10/16/1943

The practice was suppose to work as follows:
The train dispatcher could give time on first class trains either orally or by message instead of issuing train orders as required by carriers rules. A train order would be delivered to the first class train whose time was being used informing them that they were running 10 minutes late and must not attempt to make up time. Under the new procedure Permission had been issued without train orders 347 times that year many verbally.

Example of Time order that should have been issued under carriers rules.

TO C&E ENG 1248
Operator Cohocton
Opr Wayland

NO 3 Run 10 minutes late Cohocton to Dansville

Complete 5:10 PM

My querry???

Does anyone have a set of Buffalo Division Employee Timetables for
1942-1944 If so on the back should be a list of officers and dispatchers. Could you look at the latest timetable prior to August 30, 1943 and check the names of the Divison Superintendent and Chief Train Dispatcher than consult a Buffalo Division timetable closest but past the date 10/16/1943.

I'd like to know if those names of the Division Superintendant and or Chief Train Dispatcher are the same or are they different?

I've had some querries about this. We figure either two things. The top operating officers had no idea what was going on in which case somebody got fired. Or the procedure had been going on a long time and they did know but didn't act on it because it had worked for years. This is not the only case of local officials making variations to operating rules and people looking the other way because it worked.
  by s4ny
The New York Times archives has 6 articles about this accident in 1943:
1) Front page Aug 31, 1943, headline and excerpted:

23 DIE IN COLLISION ON LACKAWANNA; LIMITED DERAILED; INJURED PUT AT 60 Engine From a Siding Runs Into Side of Flier Near Wayland, N.Y. Many of Victims Scalded by Steam From Locomotive ---Near-By Towns Rush Aid TRAIN CRASH IN WHICH TWENTY-THREE PERSONS WERE KILLED 23 DEAD IN WRECK ON LACKAWANNA
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 31, 1943. pg. 1, 2 pgs

Abstract (Document Summary)
WAYLAND, N.Y., Aug. 30 -- At least twenty-three persons were killed and an estimated sixty were injured, many seriously, when the Lackawanna Limited, fast through train of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, was wrecked by a collision with a freight locomotive near here this afternoon.

2) Sep 1, 1943 page 20, headline, excerpt:

Twenty-two Dead Are Identified
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 1, 1943. pg. 20, 1 pgs

Document types: article
Dateline: WAYLAND, N.Y., Aug. 31

Abstract (Document Summary)
WAYLAND, N.Y., Aug. 31 (AP) -- Twenty-two of the twenty-seven persons who lost their lives in the wreck of the Lackawanna Limited were identified tonight. Efforts to complete the identifications were slow, because so many of the victims were badly scalded.

3) Same day, later edition, page 20:

DEAD IN WRECK 27; CAR A STEAM TRAP; All Except One of Fatalities Blamed on Vapor From Smashed Locomotive
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 1, 1943. pg. 20, 1 pgs

Document types: article
Dateline: WAYLAND, N.Y., Aug. 31

Abstract (Document Summary)
WAYLAND, N.Y., Aug. 31 -- The toll in the wreck of the Lackawanna Limited here yesterday was put tonight at twenty-seven dead and 150 injured. It was the view of railroad men that there would have been only one death except for one adverse circumstance...

4) Sep 8, 1943 page 14 headline:

Lackawanna Wreck Toll Now 29
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 8, 1943. pg. 14, 1 pgs

Document types: article
Dateline: ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 7

5) Oct 11, 1943 page 15, headline as follows:

REPORTS ON RAIL WRECK; Investigator Questions Lack of 'Derail' on Lackawanna
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 11, 1943. pg. 15, 1 pgs

6) Dec 24, 1943, headline as follows:

ROAD BLAMED IN WRECK; Coroner Charges Negligence Fatal Lackawanna Crash
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 24, 1943. pg. 15, 1 pgs

The Wayland wreck would have had more press had not an even worse railroad wreck occured near Philadelphia on Sep 6, 1943:

By FRANK S. ADAMS, Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 7, 1943. pg. 1, 2 pgs

Document types: front_page
Dateline: PHILADELPHIA, Tuesday, Sept. 7

Abstract (Document Summary)
PHILADELPHIA, Tuesday, Sept. 7 -- At least forty-three persons and probably more than sixty were killed when eight cars of the sixteen-car Congressional Limited, famous Washington-to-New York express of the Pennsylvania Railroad, were derailed at 6:08 last night at Frankford Junction, within the city limits, but four miles east of the North Philadelphia Station

New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 7, 1943. pg. 22, 1 pgs

Document types: editorial_article

Abstract (Document Summary)
The wreck of the Congressional Limited at Philadelphia last night with heavy loss of life is a tragic shadow at home with which to match the casualty lists of war. Coming close upon the wreck of the Lackawanna Limited at Wayland, N.Y. on Aug. 30 it bids us take every precaution possible to safeguard the enormous travel which war makes necessary.

This was obtained from NY Times archives. Full articles are available for a fee. This info was free. I searched for lackawanna wayland.


I also attempted a search of the Buffalo News, Rochester D&C and Hornell Tribune, but was not successful.

Your question remains unanswered.
Last edited by s4ny on Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by s4ny
2 pictures of the wreck, additional details, fatality list...

Interesting that the scalded passengers were in a Nickel Plate coach.

I assume that both pictures were taken with the photographer facing east.

http://www.paintedhills.org/STEUBEN/Way ... Wreck.html

In the 1960s I did quite a bit of research on this wreck. I read all the NY Times articles on microfilm and searched the archives of the "Wayland Register." I recall that there was an article in the Sunday Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in Aug/Sep 1963 to commemorate the 20th aniversary of the event. I have no recollection about what might have happened to the careers of any DL&W employees.

I think that the picture of the locomotive alongside the NKP coach was on the front page of the New York Times.

Both of these pictures also appear in "Our Heritage..Wayland Area 1976."

That book states that the Lackwanna Limited was 10 minutes late and going 70 mph when a switch engine (actually a mikado #1248) with six cars was backing into a siding to clear the way and failed to clear the main line. The switch engine leaned over on the Nickel Plate coach, sending scalding steam thru the shattered windows.

500 passengers were on the train. There was a long search for a baby that had been reported seen on the train. Only a doll was ever found.

This version where the freight locomotive was backing up is probably incorrect.

Other incorrect versions of the event state that the freight engine belonged to the PS&N. In fact, the PS&N only connected with the eastbound DL&W track: in the yard at Wayland Jct. and again further east of the Wayland yard with the eastbound main across from the existing Wayland Depot.

Paul Pietrak's "Pittsburg, SHAWMUT, & Northern has an excellent map of Wayland Jct., the old depot (when US 15 crossed at grade) showing the DL&W and the PS&N. This is on page 39. I have never been able to determine if the wreck took place at the point where a siding joins the westbound main at the water tower or further east where a siding joins the main just west of the depot. The term "industry spur" in the original post would lead me to believe that it was the siding just west of the Wayland depot.

Some versions state that the freight locomotive was unattended on a siding and "crept" onto the westbound main. This version is supported by 2 things: the statement in the original post that the switch engine
"... fouled without operating the switch to the mainline" and the Oct 11, 1943 headline in the NY Times: "REPORTS ON RAIL WRECK; Investigator Questions Lack of 'Derail' on Lackawanna."

Obviously, if the freight locomotive had been backing up from the westbound main onto the siding, the presence of a derail would have not been a factor.
  by s4ny
In Tabor's "Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the Twentieth Century" the author has the same picture and some information on page 123.

He states that "...the freight had gone into the clear after doing some switching and...thought he could get in another move before #3 arrived...(it had left Bath, 26 miles away, 20 minutes late but made up 4 minutes)...pulled up to the switch, fouling the main line.

"...Engine 1151...hitting 80 when she rounded a curve and saw No. 1248 fouling the main line..tore off the cylinder of the freight engine and both derailed..."

I don't know if the curve in question is 1.5 miles east of the station or the slight curve just west of the depot. (at the word "Western" near the 1362 elevation notation on the topo map, one mile south of Wayland)

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage. ... g&state=NY

  by tjdean
I grew up in Wayland in the 50's & 60's & railfanned the DL&W a lot in my youth as well as the Erie so I'm quite familiar with the trackage layout where the accident occured. There was a siding that came into to the westbound main at a point where is begins to curve just west of the station. This siding primarily served the Gunlocke Chair Co. & occasionally a coal dealer. IIRC, the siding switch was no more than 1000 ft. west of the station. The curve 1.5 miles west is approaching Perkinsville.

  by Erie2532
There is a book written by W. J. Rauber of Dansville entitled :"D&M and DL&W. Putting DANSVILLE on the Railroad Map." This was written in 1980 but was published privately so there aren't many copies around. I would imagine that the Dansville Library would have one. He devotes quite a bit of space to that wreck. Mostly, it deals with the efforts of local groups in caring for the victims immediately after the wreck. It does include a list of all the victims, a copy of the ICC report and a copy of the Coroner's report and a number of photos. He also says, " During the sideswipeing collision, a blowoff cock was stripped from the local locomotive - which afterward remained upright although derailed. This left a hole three and a half inches in diameter from which scalding steam roared under a pressure of 245 pounds per square inch. It sprayed passenger cars of the Limited as they moved by, slowly, like numbers on a revolving wheel of chance. Eventually Car. No. 62, a coach on exchange with the Nickel Plate Railroad, stopped directly alongside this searing jet which broke some windows and poured inside."
If there is anything you would like me to look up, I would be glad to do so. Ted

  by Cactus Jack
I have heard from some old DL&W guys that the crew of the 1248 had fallen asleep and the loco drifted out and fouled the mainline.

Certain statements were made to "protect" the crew.

I could not find solid info on the dispatcher or the Buffalo Division Supt., but think that the Supt. retired in about 1945 on age.

Never heard of anyone losing their job on this one, but right now can't prove that for sure, but am quite sure it was not the Supt.

  by uticajack
I just heard that same story from an old-timer in Syracuse this past weekend. The crew had been on duty for some time and simply fell asleep & drifted.


  by joshuahouse
Yes Dansville does have a copy, iirc it may even circulate.

My post is pulled from the ICC accident report and a locomotive roster
list of the engines involved.

I came up with a DLW timetable NO 81 in effect April 27, 1941 and an
Employee Timetable No 90 for Jan 26, 1947. The person listed as Chief Train Dispatcher for the Buffalo Division in Timetable No 81 is a train dispatcher in timetable 90. The spread of dates is to wide for me to
say with certainty that this accident accounts for the change of status of this employee. I will state however; that a management employee who is terminated or fired is given a set time limit if they have senority to return to the crafts. I don't know at this point if DLW dispatchers are ATDA represented employees or not (American Train Dispatchers Association) I suspect they were.

The Minneapolis Library is closed until May. When it reopens I will pull copies of the Pocket List of Railroad Officials for the Month of the accident and a month after the ICC Report was published. I will let you know what I find but I have the name of the Buffalo Division Supt from Timetable 81.
I will also be pulling the American Association of Railroad Superintendents proceeding. They list their membership this will give me an idea of the age of the people involved.

C.H. Youst was a trainmaster on the Buffalo Division in Timetable 81 and in timetable 90 is holding the position of Superintendent Buffalo Division, I can definitely say in his case the accident had no impact on his career.

I am pretty sure that President William White fired somebody unless this story about the crew falling asleep is true of which I am doubtful. The norm for that case is for the crew to refuse to talk to the investigators issueing false statements to Federal Government Investigators is Perjury. In a collision on the Long Island Railroad at Rockville Center in 1950 an engineer blew a signal at a gauntlet track and collided with another train. The conductor said that he could not remember that engineer blowing the whistle at the crossing just before where the accident occured. The engineer who survived is noted as refusing to talk to investigators per advice of his attorney. I am much more inclined to believe this crew fell asleep than the one on the Lackawanna.

I will let you know in May what I find.
  by s4ny
The New York Times headline "investigator questions lack of a derail" and the language "fouled the switch" would tend to indicate that the train "crept" onto the main from the siding.

If that was the case the crew may have been asleep, but would the whole crew have been asleep?

Or, they may have been away from the train. Perhaps the brakes were not properly set or malfunctioned. Beers at the Blue Goose? It was 5:30 PM in August.

Does anyone know how far this Buffalo based crew went? Buffalo to Corning, or less than that? Was Wayland as far as they went?

The investigator's question about the lack of a derail is important. I am curious why the Lackawanna didn't have one in place to protect such a busy main line.

Perhaps it is still slightly upgrade at that spot as the New York Lackawanna & Western reaches the highest point on the line. The highest point is within 1000 feet of the accident.

A mile to the north, in the Village of Wayland, the much less busy Erie RR had a derail in place to protect the main line from a siding that served Purina and Capron's.

I'd like to clarify some points:

The 1941 DLW Timetable Lists a WWD and EWD Siding at Wayland Tank

Wayland being MP 311.37
Wayland Tank MP 311.82

The Westward Siding held 93 cars.
The Eastward Siding held 85 cars

The Depot is East of the Sidings. There are industry tracks that come
off the WWD siding which the Switch Engine was servicing.

By 1947 the sidings were extended and the Wayland Tank Station
was deleted. The accident happened Towards the West End of the Westward Siding. The distance from the mainline switch to the clearance point on the siding was 103.3 ft. The engine was struck 81.5 ft from the switch. The Engineer gave testimony that they were in the process of shoving in the clear.

Derails are commonly employed to prevent cars left on spur tracks or industry sidings from rolling on the maintrack. Sidings used to meet or pass trains do not have them account cars are not left on such sidings unattended. The Sidings at Wayland Tank and than Wayland are listed in the timetable column under sidings meaning they were used to meet trains. That is why they had no derails. The industry stub tracks leading to the siding might have had them my track charts don't indicate that. I have the accident diagram and the condensed profile nothing detailed enough to answer that querry. The New York Times article may have been confused by the fact that an engine was switching on a siding and assumed it was an industry siding that should have derails.

Nothing is ever mentioned of the mainline switch position except that the engineer gave a statement that he thought it was lined for his movement.
It wasn't. An Automatic Block Signal System with a cab signal was in use on the territory. Block signals are controlled through track circuits. The track circuits are designed to show occupency if a main track switch is open. Since No 3 had a clear going past Wayland 310/9 the switch was definitely lined for the mainline at that point. Since No 3 was doing 80 mph at the time and the distance was .45 miles to the switch from the depot unlikely the switch was opened up in that timeframe so I said it was closed.

Lets look at a summary of statements from the crew of Eng 1248

Engineer: The engineer did not receive information No 3 was late. He was aware that this train was overdue at Wayland, but thought other members of the crew had received information authorizing the use of the westward main track on the time of No. 3. He thought the main track switch was lined for his engine to move to the westward main track, and was not aware of anything being wrong until his engine reached a point about 80 feet east of the lead track switch to the siding, where he saw the front brakeman giving stop signals. He immediately reversed the movement in an unsuccssful attempt to back the engine into the clear.

If his testimony is correct he got a foot in a half east as he was struck 81.5 feet from the main track switch. Considering how fast NO 3 was going the time between their entering the fouling point and the collision was very small maybe 10 to 20 seconds, because remember No 3 had a clear signal at Wayland the switch engine wasn't in the foul at that point and getting in the foul is 103.3 ft from the mainline switch. They basically came out there and fouled and got creamed they were 20 feet in the foul it doesn't take long to go 20 feet. He was able to make an assumption of authority because the rules on the Buffalo Division had been altered to allow trains to foul on the time of first class trains without a Timeorder. Had this modified procedure not been in effect there is no way the engineer would have fouled because he had no time order.

Conductor: received information from the train dispatcher that No 3 had passed Bath 25.73 miles to the east of Wayland about 10 minutes late. He said he did not inform the members of his crew that No 3 was late as he expected it to be practically on time at Wayland. The members of his crew were in the process of switching which would put them in the foul of the westward main track, but he expected the engine to clear the schedule time of No 3 by 10 minutes. He was a 1000 feet east of the lead track switch and did not know that his engine had fouled the westward main track.

Flagman and Swing Brakeman
Made a statement that they understood from the Conductor that No 3 was 10 minutes late. The flagman said he was on the rear car and when he realized his engine was in the foul tried to flag No 3 but the front of that train had passed him before he could reach a point where the signals could be seen by No 3's Engineer.

Swing Brakeman
Was on the 5th car and said he was giving stop signals to his engineer to stop the movement when the accident occured.

The accident happened at 5:23 PM No 3 was due at Wayland at 5:13 PM under the operating rules be in the clear 10 minutes before a first class train is due they should have been in the clear at 5:03. If they are assuming the train is 10 minutes late the 10 minute rule would mean be in the clear at 5:13. They took 20 minutes on the time of No 3 not 10. By being out there at 5:23 they are fouling exactly at the time they admit No 3 is expected not a very good decision.

Head Brakeman
Was at the Lead Track Switch He said he gave stop signals to his engineer to stop when the engine had gone 350 ft passed that switch.

The lead track switch is 582 feet from the mainline switch. Roughly speaking you have 479 ft of headroom you can take before you are going to be in the foul of the westward main track.

How far does a Mikado with 6 cars travel when you stop during switching if the head brakeman gave a signal to stop at 350 ft and the engine stops in the 500 plus radias I'm thinking that maybe that stop signal wasn't given 350 ft past the switch.
  by s4ny
You are right about the derail, it is designed to prevent rolling cars from fouling a main line. In the Village of Wayland the derail I mentioned near the back of the Legion Theater was installed to prevent cars from rolling downgrade from the feed store and fouling the Erie main.

I mistakenly imagined the Mikado in the switch, but from reading your last post I realize that the locomotive got 20 feet too close to the switch and reached a point (about 80 feet from the switch) where there was not enough clearance between the siding and the westbound main.

The Mikado crew should have heard Number 3 blow its whistle for the Sawdust Rd crossing about 1 mile east of the Wayland Depot. That would have been at least a 45 second warning.

I don't know if a Hudson pulling that train could go 80 mph where there is still a slight upgrade of about 6 or 7 feet per mile.

Do you know if this crew went further east than Wayland?

I would love to see those maps of the Wayland yard in 1943.

A question related to this wreck by geography only: does anyone know if coal from the PS&N went primarily east or west from Wayland Jct.?

I can only guess. But after sleeping on this I am really wondering if that crew intended to foul the main. I'm thinking 6 cars 40 ft is 240. plus an engine. Maybe the brakeman thought he had enough room and just figured he'd stop the engine after they cleared the lead track switch. The engineer doesn't know they are not suppose to foul so he is getting a signal to keep going west and does it. He says he knew something was wrong when he got the stop signal. Remember he thought he was going to the mainline switch. It must have occured to him not to foul at that point because he says he tried to back in the clear. None of the testimony from the other crew members say they gave the engineer a signal to back up.

Now if the railroad hadn't had this procedure of getting verbal authority without a timeorder the engineer would have questioned what was going on and not just gone into the foul.

The distance is still kind of large because they should have had enough room I wonder if these cars were longer than 40 ft?
  by s4ny
Here is a link to the DOT report on the accident filed Oct. 16, 1943. The link contains a detailed diagram.

Click on 1943...then Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western...there is more than one accident for the DL&W, so you may have to hunt for the right one if you don't get it on the first try.

http://dotlibrary1.specialcollection.ne ... _railroads