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 Post subject: Online info for accident investigations circa 1909-CNE Ry
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:56 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:28 pm
Posts: 350

A group of enthusiasts of the old Central New England Railway (CNE) is conducting a tour of the remains of the old roadbed in the spring of 2011. One of the historical sites/aspects they will be investigating is a wreck that occurred in Simsbury, CT between 1909-1911. Details from one of the group historians:

"One wreck has me stumped and that is one that occurred in West Simsbury near the grist mill involving an eastbound passenger train with 4-4-0 #229 on the point. It ran in to a local freight that had not completely cleared the main line in to a siding. I have some great photos of this wreck; however, what I need is the exact date of it and I am hopeful that you might know. The year that this wreck occurred was sometime between 1909 and 1911.".

We will be investigating the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association (NHRHTA) for possible info. However, any tips that RYPN readers can share would be greatly appreciated.

 Post subject: Re: Online info for accident investigations circa 1909-CNE R
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:45 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1446
I have done that type of research on wrecks. Prior to 1900, there are hundreds if not thousands of collisions and serious derailments that are entirely lost history. The historical record becomes more complete as time moved forward. For the 1909 wreck you are referring to, there may very well be no on-line record and no other official historical record anywhere. Your best bet is the old newspapers. If there were any fatalities, the wreck is all but guaranteed to have been covered in the newspapers, depending on how close the wreck site was to the coverage area of the newspapers, how large their circulation was, and how frequently they were published.

Some of these newspapers are on line as searchable databases, but this is a new endeavor, and I have seen some that seem to have a less than adequate search engine. But most of the newspapers are available on microfilm for manual searching. Searching these papers on microfilm is a time consuming and tedious affair, but your search window of 1909-1911 is rather small and manageable.

The newspapers are likely to be daily or weekly, and depending on their proximity to the wreck site, the wreck might be covered in several of them. Daily papers take longer to search, but are more likely to contain more details of the wreck. I have searched for a wreck with a 33-year-time window, and only daily papers in the area. This has taken an enormous amount of time with no find so far.

Check with the local libraries and historical societies for these old newspapers. Of course, if you happen to find the wreck in one paper, then you will have the date, so you will be able to go to all the other papers and search directly for that date.

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