The March 17, 1953, issue of The Interior Journal features the intriguing headline “Train wreck injures five slightly.”
It’s odd to think of a train wreck being “slight” in any way — it seems similar to saying a bomb went off “just a little bit.” But the odd wording actually represents what happened fairly accurately — a very bad accident with surprisingly few injuries and no deaths.
The subhead on the story reads “Crash visited by thousands,” but there’s no further explanation of this in the article and the writer doesn’t get into great detail concerning the immediate aftermath, so that part is left up to our imaginations.
Also of note in this issue, there is a ticker box at the top of the page comparing annual rainfall amounts between 1953 and 1952 and listing the number of fatal vehicle wrecks.
TRAIN WRECK INJURES FIVE SLIGHTLY
Crash Visited By Thousands
Five persons were hurt, none seriously, Friday morning when two trains—a passenger and freight—collided on the Southern Railroad tracks at the southern end of Lincoln County near Eubank.
The injured were identified as Engineer Jo L. Brummett and Conductor Ray Clarkson, both of Danville; Baggagemaster Naster Lindloff, Covington; Fireman Richard Smith, Oakdale, Tenn., and Postal Clerk Claude Rochat, Knoxville.
Postal Clerk T. E. Mullins, Knoxville, in the same car with Rochat, said he, Rochat, Lloyd Gregory, Covington, and John Rouse, Bellevue, were in the car next to the engine with the passenger train.
“The crash shook me down and each checked on the other to find out how bad each were injured. We discovered that Rochat was hurt and helped him out that hole,” he said pointing to the car. (pictured elsewhere).
According to reports the freight train, headed north, had a car to run off the track somewhere back in the train. It come on the main line and the southbound passenger train smacked it almost head on. Crewmen on the passneger saw the obstacle on the tracks, applied the brakes and jumped.
Approximately 19 cars, a locomotive and four mail cars were involved in the crash, undoubtedly the worse to occur in this county as far as damage is concerned.
Talking to Mullins early Friday morning as he still guarded the registered mail, this reporter was very impressed with his calmness. He and his fellow clerks had watched the mail all night. He said the accident happened around 1:30 a.m.
Monday morning traffic was moving over the rails but the wreckage still lays along the track. First traffic to come over the tracks was around 2 p.m. Friday.
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Interior Time Machine is curated by IJ¿Editor Ben Kleppinger. Send your comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.