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COBWEB CORNERS: The train wreck of August 1907... and poor Miss Fisher

By Mel McFarland

       I thought this train wreck from 1907 was interesting. It was caused by the kinds of storms we've been seeing the last two summers.
       While running at a slow rate of speed, passenger train No. 15 on the Short Line railroad (now the Gold Camp Road west of Colorado Springs) had a derailment 2 miles west of Fairview, about halfway to Cripple Creek, at 10 o'clock on an August morning. The middle coach of the five-car train came off the tracks.
       Fortunately, the accident occurred in a small cut, which allowed the derailed car to remain upright, although it tilted slightly, frightening the passengers. If it had fallen over, a number of people would probably have been killed. The coach bumped along for about 100 feet before the train was brought to a stop.
       The only injury was to Miss Maude Fisher, a school teacher from Preston, Iowa, who was riding on the platform of the car. When it left the tracks, she jumped, and in doing so was thrown against the gravel beside the track. Her foot caught in some rocks and she immediately became hysterical. Two other women friends of Miss Fisher, who were riding on the platform with her, jumped but alighted feet first and were unhurt. As soon as the train had been brought to a stop, other passengers on the train rushed to Miss Fisher's assistance and removed her to the observation car.
       The dispatcher's office was at once notified of the derailment, and a wrecker with District Passenger Agent William Carruthers aboard was sent out from Colorado Springs. Fifty-five minutes were consumed in placing the car on the rails again.
       In the meantime, a train of five coaches - normally used to take the miners to work - was dispatched from Cripple Creek to the scene of the accident. Most of the passengers were transferred to it and brought to the district, arriving there about 2:15 p.m.
       The regular Cripple Creek-bound passenger train was ready to leave for Cripple Creek, but it was held until the derailed car had been placed on the rails and that train moved out of the way.
       Two hundred sixty passengers were on board passenger train No. 15 when the accident occurred. Carruthers' wrecker pulled the observation car back to Colorado Springs with Miss Fisher and her friends aboard. She was taken in a carriage to the home of friends in Ivywild, where upon examination it was found that she had sustained a slight wrench of the back, but was otherwise uninjured.
       A loose rail, resulting from rainstorms, is supposed to have been responsible for the wreck.
       This happened over a century ago. I wonder if Miss Fisher's grandchildren ever heard about the excitement on that trip!

(Posted 7/29/14; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

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