VERDE HERITAGE 1917: CLARKDALE; Train Wrecks, December
VERDE VALLEY RAILROAD HAS BAD WRECK IN THE TUNNEL, December 3
"The Verde Valley Railroad had a little package of grief handed to it on Monday night, the package being in the shape of an accident which under normal conditions would not have caused much trouble, but coming as it did in a tunnel, caused the railroad much difficulty in getting rid of the mix-up."
"A heavy freight train was going in the direction of Clarkdale at about 6 o'clock Monday evening, and when the long tunnel which is situated about midway between Clarkdale and Cedar Glade was reached, 7 of the loaded cars left the rails, probably because of a weak place in the track and were prevented from being overturned only by the fact that the walls of the tunnel held them in an upright position. Two of the cars contained ore bound for the smelter, two others contained coke, and two were oil tanker cars. The other car contained merchandise of some description."
"The wreck occurred a few hundred feet from the south end of the tunnel, and the fact that the wreck occurred in this location, made it very hard to clear away. Traffic on the railroad was suspended until the wrecking crew had gone from Prescott and braved the dangers of smoke and the gas-laden tunnel and got the derailed cars back onto the track."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; Wednesday, December 5, 1917; page 3.)
"IN THE DITCH AGAIN: Only 3 cars were ditched on the incoming Santa Fe train last night, so the report says. The first class mail was brought in." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; Wednesday, December 12, 1917; page 4.)
"ANOTHER ACCIDENT: On account of an accident on the Santa Fe railroad there was no mail reaching Clarkdale on Wednesday. However, the train came in last night, or rather this morning, bringing in 2 days' mail." (Verde Copper News; Saturday, December 15, 1917; page 4.)
SANTA FE WRECK, Friday, December 14
"Caught in the wreckage and crushed when a Santa Fe extra freight train, north bound, went through the Agua Fria bridge about 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. C. F. Kizer, derrick engineer, whose home was in Prescott, was so severely injured that he died shortly afterward at Glendale where he had been taken for medical attention."
"The freight train, in charge of Conductor Shanghnessy, had left Phoenix for the north shortly after 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. It was composed of about 20 cars. Near the front of the train was a derrick car on which was riding C. F. Kizer, the derrick engineer. Reaching the Agua Fria bridge, 20 miles northwest, about 4:30 o'clock, 5 cars safely passed over when spreading rails let the next 5 cars through the bridge to the dry bed of the river 25 feet below."
"First word of the accident was received at the office of W. S. Goldsworthy, general agent for the Santa Fe, by long distance telephone, the telephone wires having gone down with the wrecked bridge, cutting off all stations to the south."
"A wrecking train was immediately sent to the spot where the crew labored all night in an effort to clear up the bridge and track in time for the passenger train which leaves Phoenix at 7:45 this morning. In the meantime, passengers were transferred at the bridge."
(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; December 15, 1917; page 1.)
SANTA FE HAS A SMALL WRECK, Sunday, December 17
"A broken wheel on a Pennsylvania freight car caused a bad wreck 3 miles west of Prescott at about noon Sunday, 6 loaded cars having been derailed and the track torn up for 300 feet. A freight train was traveling toward Phoenix, and while going at a fairly good rate of speed, the flange of the Pennsylvania car suddenly broke off and allowed the car to topple over, taking 5 other cars and the caboose along with it. The wreck occurred near the powder house, and was visited by many persons during the day."
"Four of the cars were loaded with ore bound for the Douglas smelter and 2 contained the belongings and livestock owned by an immigrant who was moving to the Salt River Valley. The car contained several mules, and following the extrication of the animals from the wreckage they were tied to trees near the track. During the excitement attendant to the clearing up of the wreck, the animals took fright and ran away into the adjacent hills, and were seen no more. The wreck caused the suspension of traffic and the train from the south did not get into Prescott until late in the evening."
"Advices also were received Monday that the main Santa Fe line was a sufferer from wrecks, and near Winslow a bad freight smashup had taken place, disturbing traffic eastward, but the extent of the loss was not ascertained."
"The local office stated yesterday that transferring over the Agua Fria bridge near Peoria would be discontinued today, when through trains north and south would again run on scheduled time."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; December 19, 1917; page 5.)
CLARKDALE LINE HAS ANOTHER BAD WRECK, Sunday, December 17
"The Santa Fe, which has been having all kinds of hard luck during the past few days, had another bit of grief heaped upon in on Sunday night when a bad wreck occurred on the Clarkdale line, about a mile and a half north of the smelter city, 6 loaded cars having been derailed and the track torn up for quite a distance. A train which was going towards Clarkdale contained a car which was loaded to the roof with heavy slab wood, and in rounding one of the sharp curves on that line, the top-heavy car lurched outward and toppled over, pulling 5 other cars into the ditch. Three of the derailed cars contained coke, 1 was a tank car and the other one was loaded with a certain popular brand of soft drink."
"The Clarkdale smash-up was the third wreck which the road has suffered in about as many days, a fatal wreck having taken place on Friday at Marinette, when a steel bridge collapsed, and another wreck occurred near Prescott on Sunday."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; December 19, 1917; page 5.)
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