Pieces of the Past
Artifacts, Documents, and Primary Sources
from Letchworth Park History

For many years two trains ran through the Park - the Erie and the Pennsylvania Railroads. As you can imagine, there were many train wrecks over the years in or near the Park.

You will find below a description of one just south of the Portage Bridge found in a Rochester NY newspaper in March of 1904.


Two engines were wrecked
Rapid head on collision of Pennsylvania railroad trains
At Portageville.
Engineers and firemen were seriously injured and one of them will die
W.E.Potts was pinned against the hot boiler

Fireman terribly scalded and could not be extricated from his periously position for four hours. Southbound train failed to get orders to Deep Cut to pass the northbound train at Lewis.

By special dispatch to the Herald

Fillmore, March 9th ­ Two Pennsylvania Railroad freight trains collided at 6:30 o'clock this morning on a sharp curve about one mile north of Portageville, and almost under the great Erie Bridge.

The southbound train failed to get orders at Deep Cut to pass the northbound train at Lewis', and passing the latter place met the northbound train as indicated. W.E. Potts of Olean, fireman of the northbound engine was pinioned against the boiler head by a freight car. His legs were crushed and almost his entire body scalded.

It was impossible to extricate the poor fellow for four hours, until the arrive of the Olean wrecker when he was taken out. He is still alive this afternoon but cannot survive his terrible injuries. A.J. Latimer, engineer of the southbound train sustained a fracture of the shoulder and his fireman, C. Blanchard, a dislocation of the shoulder. W. H. Rogers, engineer of the northbound train, had several ribs broken, and W. Weldy, A.T. Chapman and A. Clemons, trainmen, were all badly bruised and shaken up. The engines were completely wrecked.


The Rochester Herald, Rochester NY, Thursday March 10th 1904 page 3



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