The T&T Wreck of August 9th, 1908

"Tonopah Daily Bonanza" -- August 11th, 1908

"Rhyolite Herald" -- August 12, 1908



(Special to The Bonanza}
GOLDFIELD, Aug. 10. -- A washout on the Tonopah and Tidewater Sunday night near Shoshone, a small station eight miles below Tecopa (Shoshone is 9.3 miles north of Tecopa by the ROW - Ed.) caused the wrecking of the passenger train due at Los Angeles Monday morning. The engine was derailed and several of the coaches smashed. Engineer Hamilton was pinned under the engine and his life crushed out. Fireman Broadwell was so severly scalded that he died on the way to the hospital. A tramp named Moore, who was riding on the brake beams was caught in the wreckage and received injuries from which he died shortly thereafter. Several passengers were slightly hurt. The injured were conveyed to the hospital at Ludlow, California. The dead engineer was well known in this city among railroad men, he having occupied a position on the Tonopah and Goldfield for some two years.
The 100 ton wrecking engine and crew passed through this city from Tonopah on the way to the scene of the disaster.
{Pictured as a T&T Ghost}
Tonopah Daily Bonanza - August 11th, 1908
Courtesy of the Central Nevada Historical Society
Newspaper photo by John A. McCulloch



The Dead
W.E. MOORE, riding on blind baggage.

RHYOLITE, Aug.12. -- The first fatal wreck on the Tonopah & Tidewater railway took place Sunday evening about 7:30 o’clock near Shoshone station, about 18 miles south of Death Valley Junction. The engineer, fireman and a young man who was beating his way were killed, and fortunately none of the passagers was injured seriously.

The ill-fated train pulled out of Rhyolite on time, 5:05 p. m. Sunday. Near Shoshone it encountered the washouts, caused by a cloudburst and heavy rains which swept down from Eagle mountain. The raging torrents of water had scooped out two or more paths down the foothills and flats, one of the paths being about foor [sic] feet deep and at places 50 feet in width.

The first washout was only about 10 feet wide, and the water had honeycombed the roadbed, which gave way when the rear trucks of the baggage car reached that point. The baggage car, which was next to the engine, broke loose, and turned almost at right angles to the track, the chair car crashing into the side of the baggage car, and both going into the ditch, one on either side of the track.

The engine, freed from the train, sped on, with the emergency brakes set, but before the engine came to a standstill, perhaps 100 yards distant, it struck the big washout and turned turtle into the ditch. Engineer Hamilton stuck to his post and was pinioned under the engine. His left leg was severed in the crash and he was otherwise mutilated and also badly scaled by the steam. Perhaps 15 minutes elapsed before the engineer was lifted from the wreck, meantime he had breathed his last. "I guess it is all up with me, boys," is what he moaned when death came.

The fireman was thrown out of the cab and fell into the wreck alongside the engine, right below a steam pipe which had burst. In this seething death-trap, young Broadwell struggled for several minutes, with the hot steam and water enveloping him from head to foot. He rescued himself, however, and exhibited as great nerve as men ever exhibit under the severest torture. Broadwell was literally scalded and baked to death. There was scarcely any skin left on his body, and yet he was able to walk from the Pullman berth into the smoking room when the doctor arrived to care for him and held up bravely to the end.

Moore, who was on the blind baggage with a companion, was thrown some distance, landing on his head, his neck being broken. His companion fell to the ground, but escaped uninjured, and proved himself the hero of the catastrophe by giving valuable aid to the injured men.

The wreck occurred at some distance from means of communication, and despite heavy rain that was falling, a plucky passenger walked 18 miles to Death Valley Junction, where a freight train was standing, waiting for orders. A special train was made up and rushed to Rhyolite, taking Dr. Fred P. Bowen and George Myers on board, and the scene was reached with all possible speed. It was midnight when the special arrived here and at 3 o’clock Monday morning the wreck was reached. During the hours that intervened, young Broadwell had been unattended, except by the passengers who gave him drink and offered what little consolation they could. Dr. Bowen says that he has never seen such nerve displayed by any man.

Young Broadwell died about 10 o’clock that morning, his father reaching him about ten minutes before he expired. Broadwell’s father, mother and a sister reside at Ludlow, and he was their only support. Fortunately he took out $3000 life insurance a few days previous to the accident.

Engineer Hamilton was a man of about 40 years, was married and had two children, the family living near Provo, Utah. He was a Knight Templar, an Elk, an Eagle and an Odd Fellow.

Another man, beating his way on the train is said ot [sic] be missing.

Traffic on the T. & T. was tied up for several hours. Additional washouts below Zabriskie delayed the northbound train Monday several hours, the train arriving at the wreck about 11 o’clock. Arrangements were made to transfer the passengers, baggage, etc., and traffic was resumed, the northbound train Monday reaching here about 5:30 p. m. A temporary track has been laid around the wreck, and it will require several days to remove the wreck and place the track in condition for traffic.

Ghost of the Alkalai Express



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