Engine And Electric Collide: Destructive Accident on Main Street Crossing Hampton
Fireman Injured but No One Killed. Trolley Off The Cause of Accident
Blame is not Attached to Anyone
Hampton Union, September 2, 1899
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Few as are the accidents which have occurred at the Main Street crossing during the past twenty five years, the separation of grades, now contemplated, cannot become a fact without at least one serious accident.
It occurred on Monday night last about eleven o'clock.
The last car from the Beach for Exeter came upon its regular run in charge of Conductor Meyer and Motorman Hall on the front end, and proceeding, in the usual manner, so far as can be learned, the car entered upon the tracks of the B. & M. railroad.
When right upon the crossing the trolley left the wire and the car came to a stop with the rear end directly upon the racks. Just at this time, the Bar Harbor express, which does not stop here, hove in sight and the railroad hands did all in their power to start the car and to flag the train. The night was very foggy and before the conductor was able to replace the trolley of the car, the engine crashed into the rear end of the electric turning it upon end and dropping the heavy car upon the end of a freight car which stood on a siding, breaking a big hole in the end and snapping the flanges of the wheels so that one set of trucks of the freight car were forced off the rails into the dirt as the swiftly moving passenger train crowded the electric and freight car together. The steps of all the passenger cars on that side were torn off, a great deal of glass in the windows was smashed and the locomotive badly injured, although she was able to pull her train to Portsmouth. The shock and grinding of the passing train shattered the electric into fragments and pieces were found a long distance away. Neither Hall nor Meyer were injured as they knew the train was due and escaped in time to get clear of the flying splinters. Fortunately there were no passengers on the electric. The fireman on the locomotive, Brown, was badly injured by flying glass, and narrowly escape death as he was just about to climb to his seat when the danger was noticed. Had he been on the seat it would have been certain death, as that side of the engine was badly crushed.
The speed of passenger trains approaching this point is necessarily rapid as the steep grade which begins some ways back towards the river continues well towards North Hampton and express trains to make the grade easily must run at heavy speed across this street to make the full grade easily, and it is for this reason that the company wishes to do away with a crossing at grade.
Both engineer and fireman heroically stuck to their posts although both saw the danger and could have jumped. Brakes were set and the engine reversed, which no doubt saved it from leaving the irons when the collision took place.
It was the luckiest thing of the whole that there were no passengers on the electric, for if there had been they would surely have met a horrible death. If the accident had happened earlier in the evening when there is a good deal of travel on the electric line to and from the beach, the result would have been much different.
The street railway company was notified and at once had a large gang of men at work clearing the wreck so that at seven o'clock the next morning but little remained of the demolished car, number 11.