100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Head-On Collision Of Trains In Vermont

Cows get milked morning and night when they are “fresh” – lactating. Farmers quickly consolidated the milk into cans which are cooled in a spring house or an ice house. The cans are brought to a creamery for processing or pickup point for later processing–almost always very early in the morning. The creameries process the milk, sometimes taking payment in by product like cream and butter and the creameries are the points at which the milk enters the rail system for transport to the large dairies in urban areas. These run are called “milk trains” and the help bring fresh dairy products to the cities of the US.

In Bennington, Vermont the Bennington Station closes at 6:15 each evening making it impossible for trains operating after that hour to receive orders and changes in their schedules.

On September 7, 1912 the milk train which traveled daily from Alburg, Vermont to New York City was nearly 2 hours late in leaving Rutland. The engineer was instructed to travel at as high a speed as he felt was safe. When the train was approaching Hicks Crossing near Bennington, it was now one hour and thirty five minutes behind schedule and had made up 25 minutes. The engineer thought if he hurried in leaving North Bennington he could make it to Bennington before the passenger train pulled out of the Bennington Station. He was one minute too late.

At 7:50PM the south bound milk train collided with the north bound passenger train in a head on crash killing 3 and injuring 12. The larger milk train locomotive traveling at 45 to 50 MPH pushed the smaller passenger train engine back turning it almost completely in the opposite direction and tipping it over exploding the boiler. The larger locomotive also tipped over on the same side of the tracks. Both were completely destroyed.

Aftermath of the Bennington Milk Train crash
Bennington, Vermont
September 7, 1912

 

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