Lackawanna Limited Wrecked at Chadwicks
On June 30, 1906, Train No. 806, which is the New York and Philadelphia Limited, left the Utica station at the scheduled time, 11:10 a. m., with a hundred or more passengers.
Everything went well until the train had passed the station at Chadwicks. Then suddenly the last car was seen to lurch toward the tannery switch which joins the main track over the tannery raceway. It all happened so suddenly that those who actually witnessed the accident were so dazed that they had difficulty giving a satisfactory or comprehensive account of it.
The crash aroused the residents of Chadwicks who quickly ran to the scene of the disaster only to return to their homes to get axes, bars and any implement of leverage by which they hoped to release the imprisoned passengers and crew.
The train was made up of an engine, baggage car, smoker,' and day coach. The rear coach after taking the points of the tannery switch wrenched itself free from its couplings with the baggage car ahead and plunged along over track and ties of the switch until it was brought to an abrupt halt by crashing into the end of a freight car which it demolished. The runaway coach then careened toward the creek proper and brought up with its end resting on the abutment of the bridge.
It was generally conceded that the cause of the wreck was due to an imperfect switch which joins the main track on the temporary bridge over the tannery raceway. It was said by bystanders and for that matter by some railroad men, that the defective switch threw cars from the track while the train was running at 40 miles an hour. The switch had not worked right for a week or more.
Three battered, twisted and torn cars lying beside the track a few hundred feet south of the little station of Chadwicks and about fifty persons with broken bones, sprains and contusions, sums the story in a nutshell. There were no fatalities outright.
A relief train, with physicians and nurses, sent from Utica with emergency hospital supplies. By the time the train had arrived, three area physicians from the area had attended over 26 injured, who needed immediate attention.
A big crowd of persons awaited the arrival of the relief train at Columbia and Schuyler streets in West Utica, where the Westcott Express Company's ambulance and a number of carriages were held to convey the injured to the hospital. Some of the more curious endeavored to climb aboard to learn particulars and see whether friends had been hurt. It was a relief to see most of the injured persons occupying seats, which gave evidence, even though several were swathed in bandages, that they were not in a serious condition.