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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Porter County Railroad Wrecks and Accidents

Construction of railroads in Northwest Indiana began in 1837 after the Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad received a charter from the Indiana State Legislature in February 1835 to construct a railroad along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. After surveying an appropriate route, which largely followed a well worn Indian trail, the Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad began to grade some land around Michigan City, LaPorte, Indiana, for the laying of track. The Panic of 1837, however, ignited a major financial crisis that lasted well into the mid-1840s. The resulting depression put a brake on all railroad construction in the area, as well as across the United States.

Incidentally, Daniel Webster, a statesman who later became a United States Senator and Secretary of State, reportedly turned the first shovel full of railroad grade dirt at Michigan City on July 4, 1837, while on a tour of frontier country. That same day, Webster also visited Porter County's first platted community, City West, which was located approximately where the pavilion parking lot is now situated at the Indiana Dunes State Park.

The construction of a railroad through Porter County, Indiana, began in 1851 by the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad. By May 22, 1852, the company had laid 15¼ miles of track through the county. Much of the track was laid on the Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad's chartered right-of-way. The track traveled through the southern section of Pine Township, then ventured west to Porter and Baillytown, and continued northwesterly through the northern section of Portage Township before entering Lake County. As a result of mergers and acquisitions, this first rail line was owned and operated by the Lake Shore & Northern Indiana Railroad (1852-1855), Northern Indiana & Michigan Southern Railroad (1855-1869), Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway (1869-1915), New York Central Railroad (1915-1968), Penn Central Transportation Company (1968-1976), Consolidated Rail Corporation (1976-1999), and Norfolk Southern Railway (1999-).

Other early railroads traversing Porter County included:
  • 1852 - Michigan Central Railroad, 17 miles of track
  • 1858 - Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, 4½ miles of track
  • 1865 - Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad, 15½ miles of track
  • 1873 - Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 16½ miles of track
  • 1874 - Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad, 7¾ miles of track
The construction of railroads in the 1800s was vital to town and regional development. If the distance was not prohibitive, then it was not uncommon for an entire community to uproot and move adjacent to a railroad that had bypassed their village.

Townspeople would also raise funds to attract a railroad through their community. Some citizens would give their land away to the railroad or sell it at a highly discounted rate knowing that their other real estate holdings nearby would substantially increase in value with the construction of a railroad. Citizens would also petition their town boards to purchase stock in railroads so as to entice the companies to install tracks and infrastructure, such as depots, repair shops, and sidings, in their town.

Newspaper item concerning the construction of the
Michigan Southern Railway  through the northern
portion of Porter County, Indiana.
Source: Plymouth Pilot, November 12, 1851.

In June 1880, the the citizens of Valparaiso and surrounding area petitioned their town board to purchase $20,000 in stock in the Joliet & Valparaiso Railway Company. Before an investment decision could be reached, however, this railroad project was abandoned.

If the railroad bypassed a community, then citizens of that community would often petition the railroad company to stop at the next nearest village. For instance, the following article was published in the May 25, 1855, issue of the Practical Observer, a Valparaiso newspaper, whereby the residents of Valparaiso, who had no local train service at that time, requested that trains stop for them at Calumet Station (Chesterton):
Railroad Meeting.
At a meeting of the principal citizens of Valparaiso, held according to previous notice, at the Court House, on May 23d, 1855, T. A. E. Campbell, Esq., was called to the Chair, and G. Z. Salyer and Wm. C. Talcott appointed secretaries.

The object of the meeting was explained by the Chair to be to take measures to make known to the Superintendent of M. S. & N. I. Railroad the inconvenience and damage suffered by the citizens of this town and county by the trains on said road not stopping at Calumet Station, and endeavoring to induce him to make such a change as to have all passenger trains stop at Calumet Station when there are passengers to get on or off.

On motion, the following gentlemen were appoint a committee to prepare an appropriate Address on the subject, to be sent to the Superintendent of said road, to-wit: T. A. E. Campbell, Wm. C. Talcott, J. Dunning, M. M. Fassett, Dr. R. A. Cameron, T. Freeman, T. Windle, A. R. Gould, and S. Carr.
Within a few days of this meeting, the railroad was stopping to take on passengers at Calumet Station. For six years, goods and people were hauled between Calumet Station and Valparaiso over rather crude roads.

So crude were the roads that the Porter County Commissioners granted the Valparaiso & Michigan City Plank Road Company the right "to construct a plank road from Valparaiso to Michigan City on, over or across any or all state or county roads which they may desire." The plank road company commenced construction in Valparaiso, closely following the route of Old State Road 49 northward through and past present day Chesterton, and then east to Michigan City. Nearly all the road was planked between Valparaiso and Chesterton, with a toll station located near Flint Lake. Very little roadbed was planked between Chesterton and Michigan City, however, most likely since travelers could catch a train in Chesterton to travel to Michigan City.

The construction of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway though Valparaiso in 1858 partly remedied the travel inconvenience for Valparaiso businessmen and citizens. Many residents of Valparaiso would still catch the stagecoach to Calumet Station even after the establishment of the railroad through their village due to better railroad schedules and connections that were offered by the train service there.

Scrip currency issued by Molby Carr. Carr operated a stagecoach
between Valparaiso and Calumet (now Chesterton). Since
currency was scarce during the Civil War, many businessmen
would issue scrip that could be used for goods and services.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Goodspeed and Blanchard write in their 1882 history of Porter County the following concerning the enthusiasm generated by the proposed construction of a railroad through the community of Valparaiso:
In July, 1852, there was great excitement among the citizens of Valparaiso, and indeed throughout the whole county, in response to the report that the "Ohio and Indiana Railroad Company" had out its surveyors, and the line of the projected road was sure to pass across the county. The prospect of connection by telegraph with the outer world was very encouraging, especially to the editor of the Observer who endeavored by notices in his paper to excite the citizens to the pitch of substantial help to the railway and telegraphic enterprise. When the projection of the road through Valparaiso became a certainty, that little town could scarcely contain itself, but indulged in bonfires, bell-ringing, drum-playing, gun-shooting, and general noisy, public rejoicing.
While railroads certainly generated plenty of anticipation, exhilaration, and joy due to their propensity to spur economic development, they, at times, were also the source of great misery when disasters occurred on the tracks. Citizens of Porter County have not been immune to witnessing the terrible consequences of railroad wrecks. 

Given the significant miles of track laid in Porter County, numerous train wrecks have taken place within its boundaries. In particular, four of these wrecks, accounting for at least 119 deaths and 244 injuries, have been noted in numerous publications concerning train disasters as being some of the worst to have taken place in the United States. These disasters include: Boone Grove-Kouts wreck of 1887, Woodville wreck of 1906, Baillytown wreck of 1909, and Porter wreck of 1921.

The enumeration and description of Porter County train wrecks that follows does not include collisions with vehicles (e.g., automobiles, trucks, buses, carriages, wagons, farm equipment). Nor does it include the very large number of cases of individuals that were killed or injured while walking on the railroad tracks within county boundaries.

Wrecks are ordered by date of occurrence. Descriptions of the wrecks have been developed through the use of various published accounts. Note that many newspaper accounts of the same wreck often conflicted with one another, leading to discrepancies as to the cause of the wreck and the casualty count. Thus, what is presented here should not be considered a definitive list and description of Porter County railroad wrecks.

It is likely that several Porter County train wrecks have been inadvertently omitted from this list. Please use the comment section at the end of this post if you have corrections and/or additional information to share.

1855
April or July 13 - Baillytown (Westchester Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A passenger train operating on the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad from Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana, to Chicago derails at a poorly installed track near Baillytown. The rails began to spread too far apart as the train traveled over them causing a passenger car to violently jerk and derail. One person, Hubert Williamson, was thrown against an obstruction and killed as a result of the derailment. Reportedly, Williamson was owner of Green's Tavern at Tremont in Porter County. A Native American named Spotted Buck had entered Williamson's tavern and began helping himself to alcohol behind the bar. Angry, Williamson struck Spotted Buck in the head with a fireplace poker and the Indian dropped dead. Spotted Buck's death was soon discovered and Williamson, who was already known by the county sheriff for other misdemeanors, made an attempt to escape the area. Williamson boarded the westbound train at Tremont, but the train derailed near Baillytown. A newspaper article published in the July 11, 1957, issue of The Vidette-Messenger mentions this train wreck. The article reads in part: "Somehow, in one of those cases of co-incidences, the train struck an ill-made bit of track at the vicinity of Baillytown. The rails spread, the train was derailed with an emphatic jerk, and the only person injured was the fugitive, Hubert Williamson, who was thrown against an obstruction and killed.... Thomas G. Lytle was the sheriff in 1855, Ruel Starr was one of the commissioners, and Sylvester Smith was the auditor. The county records of that year show a remuneration to John Lunberg for coffin and burial of a man named Williamson, killed in a train wreck at Baillytown. The burial was apparently in a cemetery at Baillytown, and a Rev. French, officiated." A nearby railroad construction crew placed the passenger car back onto the track, spiked the rail back into place, and the train departed one-half hour late toward its terminal destination of Chicago. This accident reportedly took place on a Friday the 13th. In 1855, the months of April and July had a Friday the 13th, hence the date listed above.


1883
February 7 - Baillytown, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis:
A freight train operating on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway collides with the rear of another freight train at Baillytown, smashing its caboose. No deaths or injuries resulted from this collision.

1887
October 11 - Between Boone Grove and Kouts, Indiana (Boone Township)
Killed: 11
Injured: 20
Synopsis: A heavy refrigerator freight train carrying dressed meat collided into the rear of a passenger train on the Chicago & Atlantic Railroad at a water tank next to Sandy Hook Ditch in Section 2 of Boone Township, located about two and one-half miles southeast of Boone Grove. The Chicago & Atlantic passenger train No. 12 had left the Polk Street Depot in Chicago at 7:45 pm consisting of the locomotive, tender, and five railcars, the two rear cars being sleeper cars. Soon after departing, the engineer found that an eccentric strap on the locomotive had broken. The eccentric strap affixes to the rotating axle of the drive wheels and converts rotary motion into linear reciprocating motion. Given the situation, the engineer continued the journey by working only one side of the locomotive's drive, which drastically reduced the train's speed. Upon reaching Boone Grove, the passenger train was more than two hours behind schedule. The engineer continued past Boone Grove to the fill the locomotive with water at the tank between Boone Grove and Kouts. A red semaphore lamp was activated about one-half mile behind the train as a warning to any potential oncoming train that a train was ahead standing idle on the track. Engineer Dorsey, operating a freight train behind the now idle passenger train, failed to see the red semaphore lamp and was traveling at full steam. Just prior to ramming into the rear of the passenger train, Engineer Dorsey and his fireman detected the faintly burning lamps affixed to the passenger train's rear sleeper car. Sensing disaster, the engineer and fireman leaped from their locomotive's cab prior to impact. The force of the impact was apparently quite incredible. It was reported that the freight train engine plunged nearly through the rear Pullman sleeper car. The rear sleeper car telescoped into the sleeper car ahead of it and the next three passenger cars were splintered to pieces. The upper works of the freight engine were torn away, and its tender was thrown across the track. All of the freight train railcars derailed and "piled up for twenty rods about the prairie were hundreds of pounds of meat." Coals in the stove heaters on the passenger train soon ignited upholstery, and within five minutes the entire passenger train was ablaze. Witnesses reported that several trapped passengers, some only slightly injured, wailed and screamed as the fire overtook them, rescuers unable to assist them due to enmeshed nature of the wreckage and the intensity of the flames. Local farmers and the train crews attempted to extinguish the flames using buckets and water from the nearby tower. First-hand accounts of this disaster published in newspapers nationwide are heartrending to read. The injured were taken to the Kouts Hotel on the east side of Main Street for treatment by local physicians, all but one suffering head injuries. Local farmers prepared rough pine boxes and placed the remains of the 11 killed in them and delivered them to Kouts for a coroner's inquest.


1889
November 16 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A passenger train traveling on the Chicago & Atlantic Railway rammed into a Wabash Railroad freight train traveling on the tracks of the Chicago & Erie Railroad where the two tracks cross one another in Kouts. The locomotive of the passenger train was severely damaged, as were several railcars. Though the passengers were badly shaken, no deaths or serious injuries were reported.

December 6 - Dune Park, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 2 
Synopsis: A westbound New York Central Railroad limited express passenger train, traveling over the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad, wrecked at Dune Park at about 8:00 pm. During this time period, Dune Park was a major sand shipping station owned and operated by the Knickerbocker Ice Company; most of the sand was sent to Chicago for construction projects. The passenger train came across a misplaced switch, which caused it to travel to an adjacent side track. The engineer of the passenger train immediately reversed the locomotive's engine and set the brakes, but he was unable to stop the train before it collided at 40 miles per hour with several empty sand cars The train consisted of the locomotive, tender, one baggage car, a chair car, two coach cars, and two sleeper cars. The new locomotive, which had just entered service, was thrown across the main track and destroyed, and the three cars behind the locomotive were splintered to pieces. George "Tug" Wilson, the fireman on the locomotive, died approximately two hours after the collision. A flying timber had completely amputated Wilson's left arm, while another large wooden splinter lodged into his mouth. The engineer, A. M. Beckett, and the conductor, a C. C. Harris, were injured. Brakeman Jack Dempsey, working with a sand train crew, was blamed for the accident. When ending the work day, the sand train crew was returning to Chesterton. Dempsey was told by his foreman to close the switch and lock it. It is believed that in his rush to return with his crew to Chesterton that Dempsey mistakenly locked the switch in the open position. Furthermore, the switch light was not burning, thereby providing no notice of the switch position to the crew on the New York Central passenger train.

1890
January 11 - Wheeler, Indiana (UnionTownship)
Killed: 2
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Henry Reimers, a section hand on the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate Road), and his brother Martin Reimers, a section hand for the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, decided to travel to Hobart, Lake County, Indiana, using a velocipede that was located at the depot at Wheeler. While traveling westbound on the tracks of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, the brothers ran into an eastbound gravel train just west of Wheeler that was traveling in reverse at about 30 miles per hour. The train consisted of the locomotive and a coach for the crew; lights had been placed upon the tender to warn those on the track of the train's approach. As the train was entering Wheeler, another train passed through on the Nickel Plate Road, which is believed to have distracted the brothers. When the velocipede was hit by the gravel train, the collision caused the wheels of the locomotive and tender to leave the track. The bodies of the Reimers brothers were terribly mangled, Henry's head being decapitated.

An example of a velocipede being used at Kouts. Brothers
Henry and Martin Reimers were killed while riding a similar
velocipede when they collided with a train on the tracks of the

Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway immediately west of Wheeler.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

1892
March 11 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Eastbound freight train No. 84 derailed approximately two to three miles west of Kouts on the Chicago & Erie Railroad after breaking an axle on a heavily loaded railcar. The crew of the freight train lightened the load on the disabled railcar and pulled it along the tracks to the nearest siding located at Kouts. The accident delayed freight and passenger service by three hours. No deaths or injuries were reported for this wreck.

March 14 - Dune Park, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: At 2:00 am, the No. 71 freight train exited the sidetrack of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway just west of the Dune Park depot heading eastbound and was hit by another eastbound freight train traveling about 30 miles per hour. Train No. 71 was hit about midway of the train, which resulted in the destruction of six railcars; the locomotive of the other train was derailed and severely damaged. No deaths or injuries resulted from the collision.

March 18 - Woodville, Indiana (Liberty Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: An express passenger train traveling on the tracks of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad derailed at Woodville. Passengers were reportedly "badly shaken," but no deaths or serious injuries resulted from the derailment.

June 26 - Valparaiso, Indiana (Center Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 13
Synopsis: The celebrated Keystone passenger train, traveling eastbound on the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, derailed just west of the Joliet Road bridge at 12:08 pm while traveling at 60 miles per hour. The locomotive was thrown across the track a complete wreck, while the coaches, a United States mail car, baggage car, smoking car, day coach dining car, and three sleeper cars were badly smashed up and scattered along the track and down a steep embankment. The cause of the derailment was believed to have been a faulty bridle on a switch, which resulted in the signal showing that the switch was closed when instead it was open. Fireman Charles Miller was instantly killed in the wreck, while 13 other crew and passengers were injured.

December 2 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Freight train No. 79 traveling on the Chicago & Erie Railroad collided head-on with another freight train traveling in the opposite direction at 7:35 am. Crews from each train believed that they had the right-of-way to proceed. However, dense fog is believed to have obscured the signal for one of the trains. The engineers of both trains were able to reverse their engines and set their brakes, but the trains could not avert a collision. Damage was light, smashing the pilots on both engines. No deaths or injuries resulted from this collision.

1893
April 20 - Hebron, Indiana (Boone Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Five railcars of freight train No. 87 traveling on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad derailed due to a spreading of the rails. The rails were spread as a result of heavy rains that caused the railbed to partially wash away. No deaths or injuries resulted from the accident.

October 13 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: The second section of freight train No. 82 operating on the Chicago & Erie Railroad ran into the rear end of the first section near Kouts at 2:00 am. The engine of the second section was severely damaged, while the caboose of the first section was demolished upon impact. The track at the site of the collision was also torn up. The accident was attributed to dense fog. No crew members on either train were killed or injured.

1895
April 28 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: The locomotive and 12 railcars of freight train No. 77 traveling on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad derailed at Kouts at 4:30 am. Engineer Kloenne failed to observe that the interlocking switch was closed against his freight train. As a result, the train hit the derail switch. Five of the 12 wrecked railcars were entirely destroyed. Two of the railcars were hauling window glass, which broke into small pieces. No deaths or injuries resulted from this accident.

1896
February 1 - Crocker, Indiana (Liberty Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 1
Synopsis: An Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway (E.J. & E.) train left Porter at about 12:00 am heading westbound. The locomotive was running backward and pulling a light train. At Crocker, the tracks of the E.J. & E. and the Wabash Railroad cross one another at grade level. The rule at the time of the incident was that trains of the Wabash Railroad were to always give right-of-way to trains traveling on the E.J. & E. The E.J.& E. train was traveling at full steam with no lights. The towerman at the Crocker crossing saw a train approaching on the Wabash Railroad and signaled this train to proceed, unaware of the approaching E.J. & E. train. Thus, the switch on the E.J. & E. was changed to the open position, activating the derail mechanism, and causing the train on that track to derail as it approached the crossing. It it believed that the engineer on the E.J. & E. train died from injuries sustained when the locomotive flipped bottom side up. The fireman on the E.J. & E. also sustained injuries when he leaped from locomotive just prior to the wreck

August 14 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 1
Synopsis: A Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway sand train departed eastbound from Dune Park to the scene of a major train wreck at Otis, LaPorte County, Indiana. When the sand train entered Burdick, it broke into two. Immediately, a telegram was sent from Burdick to Chesterton in the attempt to warn train crews at Chesterton that a "wild train" was headed in their direction. At approximately 5:00 am, the crew of a livestock train in Chesterton jumped to safety just as the 20 railcars of the broken sand train rolled into town at 40 miles per hour. The livestock train's locomotive and eight livestock cars were demolished in the collision with the sand train, killing 20 head of cattle. No train crew members were killed or injured in the wreck. However, trainmaster J. D. Brannon sprained his ankle while assisting in aid efforts after the wreck. Due to the wreck at Otis, trains were occupying every side track of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, and Michigan Central Railroad from Chesterton and Porter westward to Crocker.

September 4 - Babcock, Indiana (Liberty Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 2
Synopsis: A westbound freight train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad derailed on the grade east of the milk station at Babcock between 8:00 and 9:00 pm. The cause of the accident was the breaking of an axle of one of the railcars near the middle of the train. Sixteen of the railcars derailed, but the engineer of the train did not notice anything was wrong until his train reached the next station at McCool. Most of the upturned railcars were hauling coal. Three men stealing a ride were found in one upturned railcar; two with slight injuries were rescued by the conductor, while the dead body of the third man was not found until 44 hours later. The derailed railcars were so badly wrecked that they were disposed by burning at Babcock.

1897
February 4 - Hebron, Indiana (Boone Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 3
Synopsis: The coupling between two railcars on a freight train entering Hebron broke separating the train into two sections. The two sections soon crashed into one another wrecking several of the railcars. Engineer Pierce Richason sustained injuries, as did Brakeman Kahler (leg bone fracture) and Brakeman Drake (broken nose).

1898
November 25 - Between Chesterton and Burdick, Indiana (Jackson or Westchester Township)
Killed: 3
Injured: 1
Synopsis: During the evening of November 24, a group of ten residents from the community of Burdick attended the Independent Order Of Foresters' Thanksgiving Ball in Chesterton. The group departed Chesterton at 3:30 am on November 25 using two handcars that were placed on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway's tracks. Riders on the front handcar were R. C. Hobb, Louis Kressel, Albert Miller, Edith Sabinsky, Mary Sabinsky, and William Sabinsky. Riding the rear handcar were August Fausch, William Kemper, Henry Reynolds, and George Sabinsky. Considerable noise was being created by the handcars and their merry riders as they made their way home to Burdick. The eastbound Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway train No. 44, referred to as the fast newspaper train, soon came bearing down upon the handcars. August Fausch yelled for everyone to jump just as the train demolished both handcars. Killed were William Kemper, William Sabinsky, and ten year old Edith Sabinsky. Mary Sabinsky, age 12, suffered critical injuries with a broken elbow, inured neck and spine, and two broken ribs. Fausch was a section boss for the railroad in the immediate area and knew that the railroad company's policy was that handcars were not to be used on the tracks except on railroad business.

1899
November 23 - McCool, Indiana (Portage Township)
Killed: 3
Injured: 4
Synopsis: A westbound passenger train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, consisting of two locomotives and twelve coaches, rammed into the rear of a westbound freight train that was backing eastward at about 7:00 am. The collision occurred slightly west of where present day State Road 149 crosses over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (now owned by CSX Transportation) on property then owned by August Bernhard Hoeckelberg. Upon impact, one passenger train locomotive plunged down one side of a 25 foot embankment and the second locomotive plunged down the other side; four mail and express cars were heavily damaged. None of the passenger cars derailed and no passengers were injured. The passenger train engineer on the first locomotive, Harry Bradford, was instantly killed, and the engineer of the second locomotive, E. Sarber, and Fireman John Stine, soon died from injuries they sustained from the crash. Four other crew members of the passenger train were injured. A flagman was blamed for causing the collision by mistaking the call of another train for his own. An eastbound freight train had sidetracked at McCool for passage of the passenger train. The westbound freight train was heading to McCool to sidetrack for the passenger train. When passing the Barney Hoeckelberg farm, the westbound freight train broke in two and the forward end arrived at McCool. Crew on the rear end of the broken freight train sent out a flagman to warn the oncoming passenger train. When the front end of the freight train arrived at McCool, it reversed to connect again with the rear portion at Hoeckelberg's farm. At about the same time, the eastbound freight train at McCool called in its flagman with its steam whistle. The flagman on the rear portion of the broken freight train mistook the signal as his own train's and ventured back to his train. Thus, there was no warning signal to alert the passenger train as it approached the backing freight train at McCool.

1901
August 25 - Burdick, Indiana (Jackson Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 1
Synopsis: At 3:00 am, 17 railcars of a westbound Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway freight train were demolished at Burdick after the air brakes failed, closing up on the wheels. The brake failure resulted in the train breaking into two sections. The two sections then collided with one another with terrific force causing considerable wreckage. J. C. Teeter, tending a cattle car, was severely injured after being pinned by the wreckage.

1902
Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A westbound freight train ran into the derail mechanism on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad at Kouts. The locomotive and 12 railcars were damaged. No deaths or injuries were reported for this accident.
  
1903
October 18 - Hebron, Indiana (Boone Township)
Killed: 2
Injured: 1
Synopsis: Head-on collision between two trains traveling on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad took place at 6:15 am approximately one-half mile east of the town of Hebron. The New York-to-Chicago No. 1 Panhandle passenger train was traveling in two sections. Charles Truman was the engineer of the second section of this passenger train and had the right-of-way. Ira Ford, the engineer of an eastbound freight train, had taken to a siding to wait for the passenger train to pass. After the first section of the westbound passenger train passed, Engineer Ford pulled out of the siding having forgotten that the second section of the passenger train had yet to pass. Both trains were running under a full head of steam, resulting in a spectacular collision. All the crewman, except Engineer Truman, leaped from their trains prior to the impact. Truman was discovered in the wreck with a broken leg and bruised face. Chester Stanley, a tramp riding on one of the freight trains, was also injured. Both of the injured men were taken to Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, for treatment of their injuries. Both died the following day. Engineer Ford sustained severe injuries to both of his legs as a result of leaping from his locomotive. Some accounts of this collision state that a second tramp was instantly killed by flying pieces of wreckage and that he was never identified, his remains laid to rest in the Hebron Cemetery. Research concerning this collision has been unable to verify the casualty of this second tramp. Note that the date of this wreck has been widely published as having taken place on October 23, 1903; this date is incorrect, the wreck took place on October 18, 1903.

Photograph of Pennsylvania Railroad train wreck
east of Hebron on October 18, 1903. Photograph
taken by C. H. Hathaway of Hebron. Locomotive on

right is an E2 Atlantic, while the other locomotive
appears to be a 2-8-0.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

1905
January 26 - Valparaiso, Indiana (Center Township)
Killed: 0
Injured:0
Synopsis:A westbound Grand Trunk Railway freight train pulled into its Valparaiso rail yard and stood idle on the north track. A second freight train was following this train about five minutes behind. The brakeman of the idle train was sent back to provide a warning signal to the engineer of the second train. The warning was not heeded and the second train collided with the rear of the idle train at 5:45 am. The engine of the second train was thrown into the air and landed diagonally across the two tracks. The train crews jumped prior to the collision, saving their lives. The colliding engine jumped into the air when it struck and plunged diagonally across the tracks, landing in a ditch. Six freight cars were reduced to kindling wood. A third engine, standing on the south track was knocked off its tracks, and disabled. After the collision the debris caught fire. Before the railway company could get the flames under control, several cars were burned. While the brakeman said he made frantic efforts to signal the engineer, the engineer says he saw no signals.

February 12 - Willowcreek, Indiana (Portage Township)

Killed: 0
Injured: 8
Synopsis: A Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train collided with a Michigan Central Railroad wrecking train at the grade level Willowcreek crossing of the two railroads. The interlocking signal tower at Willowcreek had been destroyed by fire several weeks prior to this wreck. Thus, all trains were required to stop at this crossing until signaled by the crossing gatekeeper to proceed. The wrecking train, consisting of four cars, had been dispatched to Ivanhoe, three miles east of Hammond, Lake County, Indiana, where an engine had derailed. The wrecking train had stopped at the Willowcreek crossing as required and was given a clear signal to proceed westward. Engineer C. A. Gifford of the wrecking train soon observed that a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad freight train was bearing down at the crossing, and accordingly immediately increased throttle in an effort to get his wrecking train clear of the crossing. He was unsuccessful. The freight train collided with the tool car that was just ahead of the caboose of the wrecking train. The tool car was demolished and the caboose was thrown over on its side; the wrecking crew, conductor, and rear brakeman were tossed out of the caboose. The engine of the Baltimore & Ohio freight train traveled about 60 feet beyond the crossing where it ended up facing in the opposite direction across the adjacent Wabash Railroad tracks. Eight men on the Michigan Central wrecking train were injured, the most seriously injured man was Conductor A. S. Hill, who sustained a fractured elbow, a broken rib, and numerous bruises. The wrecking train, with reinforcement workers from Michigan City, remained at the site of the collision to make repairs to the track. Note that the site of this collision was commonly referred to as Joy's Run during the last three decades of the 1800s.

February 18 - McCool, Indiana (Portage Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 2
Synopsis: At 8:30 am, a freight train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was standing idle on the track at McCool while the engine was being used to rearrange some railcars on the siding. Meanwhile, an express freight train came along and crashed into the caboose of the standing freight train. The caboose was reduced to kindling, while another eight railcars of the idle freight train were heavily damaged and destroyed by a subsequent fire. The engineer and fireman on the express freight train were injured and taken to Garrett, DeKalb County, Indiana, for treatment.

December 1 - Suman, Indiana (Jackson Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 5
Synopsis: An eastbound passenger train being pulled by two engines collided head-on with a freight train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Suman. The engineers on the passenger train were increasing speed as they traveled up a slight grade; a sharp curve in the track and heavy timber blocked the approaching freight train from their view. Blame for the crash was placed on a misinterpretation of orders. The freight train was supposed to have taken a siding at McCool in Portage Township. Four employees on the passenger train and one passenger were injured in the collision, all suffered from rather serious internal injuries.

1906
February 10 - Burdick, Indiana (Jackson Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 2
Synopsis: A freight train on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway was following orders to side track at Burdick to allow for an eastbound passenger train, the Lake Shore Limited, to pass. The locomotive of the freight train, however, did not entirely clear the main line and the passenger train, traveling at a high rate of speed, side-swiped the freight train's locomotive at 7:00 pm. Both trains' locomotives were lifted from the track. The passenger train, after traveling more than 4,000 feet, came to rest with the train's locomotive and seven of its passenger cars derailed over the embankment. The engineer of the passenger train, J. R. Valance, suffered broken legs and internal injuries, while the engineer of the freight train, W. H. Brady, was also seriously injured. Amazingly, no passengers were reported to been injured in the accident.

April 6 - Wheeler, Indiana (Union Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A wheel flange on Chicago-bound "boomer" coal train No. 39 operating on the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate Road) failed. The broken wheel flange caused five railcars to derail as the train approached Wheeler. No deaths or injuries resulted from this accident.

November 12 - Woodville, Indiana (Liberty Township)
Killed: 55 to 61 (some estimates state 100+)
Injured: 77 (33 critical, 44 slightly)
Synopsis: This has been the most deadly train wreck in Porter County history. The disaster involved a head-on collision on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad between eastbound freight train No. 98 and westbound passenger train No. 47 approximately 600 feet west of the Woodville milk station. The freight train crew was unaware that the westbound passenger train was running in two sections. While stopped at a siding at Babcock in Liberty Township, the first section of the passenger train passed the idling freight train at the Babcock siding. The freight train then proceeded from the Babcock siding onto the mainline during a blinding snowstorm. The engineer and brakeman of the freight train were confused by signals at McCool in Portage Township and at Babcock, while the engineer of the first section of the passenger train also failed to properly signal the freight train of the presence of an oncoming second section. A coroner's inquest investigating the disaster found that the engineer of the first section of the passenger train and the conductor and head brakeman of the freight train were the direct cause of the accident. The official death toll was placed between 55 and 61, almost entirely represented by immigrants from Bohemia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Serbia. Many remains were not recovered since they were completely incinerated by flames that consumed several of the passenger cars immediately after the collision. Numerous newspapers actively covering this disaster reported that more than 50 passengers could not be accounted for in the rescue and recovery efforts. Given that many children and infants were riding free with their parents and had no tickets issued to them, some estimates of the death toll exceed 100.

Photograph of the locomotive and debris at
the site of the Woodville train wreck.
Source: Chicago Daily Tribune, November 18, 1906.

Composite sample of newspaper headlines
concerning the wreck on the Baltimore & Ohio
Railroad at Woodville on November 12, 1906.

1908
September 14 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 37
Synopsis: A eastbound Lake Erie & Western Railroad excursion train traveling from Chicago to Indianapolis collided with a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway theatre train at 12:55 am in Chesterton. The excursion train was pulling out from a siding at Chesterton where it had waited for a freight train to safely pass. As the last coach on the excursion train crossed over the tracks Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, a suburban train known as the Theatre Dummy, struck the rear of the Indianapolis-bound coach. The cause of the collision was dense fog and smoke that had settled over the area for an extended number of miles. The engineer on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern train, H. E. Stockwell, was unable to see the block signal, which had been activated when the Indianapolis-bound excursion train backed into the siding. Thus, the crew of Lake Shore & Michigan Southern train believed that they had a clear signal to proceed at usual speed and quickly came upon the excursion train's last coach, containing 50 passengers, crossing its path. The rear coach of the excursion train was completely demolished, and the two coaches in front of it were heavily damaged. Esther Hecox, a passenger sitting at the rear of the last coach of the Lake Erie & Western's train, was pinned between two walls of the smashed coach; she was rescued but very shortly afterward passed away from her injuries. At least 37 other passengers on the Lake Erie & Western train suffered injuries, mostly cuts, internal injuries, and bruising from the crushing nature of the collision. Local physicians R. H. Axe, Joseph Von Osinski, and Charles O. Wiltfong were immediately on the scene treating the crash victims. The Club Cigar Store, located on the south side of present day Broadway Avenue, served as a triage center. According to an account of the collision published in The Chesterton Tribune, "The scene at the Club Cigar store was such as to nauseate the most vigorous person. Billiard tables were converted into operating tables and the floor was strewn with the wounded." No passengers or crew on the Chicago-bound Lake Shore & Michigan Southern train suffered injuries, and the locomotive sustained very light damage.

The Club Cigar Store, the brick building in the center of this postcard
image, served as a triage center for victims of the September 14,
1908, wreck of the Lake Erie & Western Railroad excursion train.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Interior view of the Club Cigar Store, which served as a triage center
for victims of the September 14, 1908, wreck of the
Lake Erie & Western Railroad excursion train.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

1909
June 19 - Baillytown, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 11
Injured: 40
Synopsis: The eastbound Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway train No. 59, near the Shadyside Crossing at Baillytown, overran a crossing point of the track and caused a head-on collision with westbound train No. 58. The collision occurred at a point where the tracks curved and a number of small hills were believed to have completely obscured the view of the trains' motormen. Passengers on the eastbound train were returning home from the Cobe Cup automobile race in Crown Point, Lake County, Indiana. Responsibility for the accident was placed upon the motorman who was killed, who reportedly disobeyed orders. Ironically, the general manager of the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway was in the cab with the motorman and was also aware of the orders.

Head-on collision of eastbound train No. 59 and westbound
train No. 58 on the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway
near the Shadyside Crossing at Baillytown on June 19, 1909.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

1910
July 2 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: The second section of the No. 80 express freight train derailed near Kouts throwing several railcars into the ditch and across the mainline tracks of the Chicago & Erie Railroad. No death or injuries resulted from the accident.

1912
July 2 - Valparaiso, Indiana (Center Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 3
Synopsis: A tower operator at the crossing of the Grand Trunk Railway and the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, mistakenly threw open a switch as Nickel Plate passenger train No. 2 was approaching. Traveling at 40 miles per hour, the locomotive and baggage car of the Nickel Plate train derailed at 1:00 pm, with the locomotive turning over onto its side. The fireman and brakeman jumped from the train when they saw that the signal changed. Engineer Frank Telley remained with the locomotive, however, and was able to reduce the speed of the train before it struck the derail mechanism. Three crew members were injured, but there were no deaths as a result of this derailment. Engineer Telley was scalded by the release of steam from the damaged locomotive. Fireman F. A. Tew and Brakeman Earl Harper were badly bruised. This accident occurred near present day County Road 250 West, south of Indiana State Road 130.

July 16 - Furnessville, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 20
Synopsis: The westbound Pere Marquette Railway passenger train No. 4 departed Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana, at 3:19 pm. As the train passed Fuller's Crossing south of Furnessville, a loose board at the crossing got drawn under the wheels of the forward trucks on the first coach causing three coaches, a dining car, a baggage car, and the locomotive to roll down a five foot embankment. Over two hundred passengers were on the westbound train. It was estimated that about 20 passenger and train crew members were injured. Engineer William Davidson suffered serious injuries after being buried under coal from the upturned tender. Ironically, local resident Claude Williams had traveled over Fuller's Crossing just prior to the accident and noticed the loose plank. The Chesterton Tribune states in its coverage of the derailment that had Mr. Williams thrown the "loose plank that he noticed there into the ditch, he would have saved the railroad company in the neighborhood of $100,000, averted a wreck that placed two hundred lives in danger and saved the life of one man, and he would have laid himself liable to arrest and prosecution for destroying railroad property in addition. As it was he looked the plank over, noted its condition and drove on...." Though this newspaper coverage implies that one man died, there is no evidence that this was the case.

1915
November 26 - Jackson Township
Killed: 2
Injured: 1
Synopsis: The No. 95 westbound freight train on the Wabash Railroad was operating as two sections. The first section passed through Westville, LaPorte County, Indiana at 3:50 am. Twelve minutes later the second section of the freight train, consisting of forty railcars, passed through Westville. An investigation led to the conclusion that the second section of the train was operating too fast or that the lead section was operating too slow. Regardless, at 4:10 am the second section rammed into the rear of the first section approximately three miles east of Chesterton in Jackson Township. The engine of the second section, operated by Engineer Gould, telescoped through the caboose of the first section and wrecked several other railcars. The second engine and twelve railcars came off the tracks. Brakeman Benjamin H. Carr and Conductor Howard Sylvester Little were riding in the caboose of the first section at the time of the wreck and were killed instantly. Little died due strangulation caused by wreckage that was pressured against his neck. Carr, age 25 years, died as a result of a broken neck; his remains were discovered buried in water and mud under the engine tender. A newspaper report states that "His [Carr's] neck, arms and one leg were broken, the other leg having been cut off and carried fifty feet away from the body."

Newspaper headline concerning the November 26, 1915,
fatal wreck on the Wabash Railroad in Jackson Township.

Source: The Chesterton Tribune, December 2, 1915.

1917
April 1 - Porter, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A Pere Marquette Railway freight train traveling west bound at 10 miles per hour cleared the Lake Shore & Michigan South Railway tracks just west of the Porter depot when a brake beam failed. Men at the depot witnessed the accident and frantically waved down the engineer. One railcar loaded with hardwood lumber derailed and turned 90 degree across the tracks. A total of ten railcars derailed and three sets of tracks were badly torn up. All the railcars that derailed were either hauling barrels of oil or lumber. No injuries or deaths resulted from the accident.

December 14 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 1
Synopsis: A freight train ran into the rear of another freight train standing idle on the Erie Railroad tracks near Kouts. B F. Doudna, of the idle freight train, attempted to flag the oncoming freight train as it approached his train. Owing to a blinding snowstorm at the time, Doudna's flagging signal could not be seen. The caboose, a railcar packed with oranges, and another railcar filled with meat were demolished on the idle freight train. The citizens of Kouts were provided with an early Christmas treat of oranges, as they were strewn along the tracks for several hundred feet. One of the crew members in the caboose was slightly injured from the impact. 

1918
May 30 - Valparaiso, Indiana (Center Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A switch that was inadvertently left open caused the derailment of the eastbound No. 4 express train's locomotive, tender, and two railcars on the Grand Trunk Railway immediately west of the Washington Street crossing in Valparaiso. It was believed that the switch was left open by a freight crew that had previously traveled across the line. No injuries resulted from this derailment.

Derailment of Express Train No. 4 on the Grand
Trunk Railway immediately west of the Washington

Street crossing in Valparaiso on May 30, 1918.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Derailment of Express Train No. 4 on the Grand
Trunk Railway immediately west of the Washington

Street crossing in Valparaiso on May 30, 1918.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

1921
February 27 - Porter, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 37
Injured: 100+
Synopsis: New York Central Railroad No. 151, known as the Interstate Express, rams directly into passenger coach of Michigan Central Railroad No. 20, known as the Canadian. The engineer and fireman on the Michigan Central train disregarded stop signals, passing a point where the New York Central and Michigan Central tracks crossed at grade level. A total of 35 passengers were killed, as well as the engineer and fireman on the New York Central locomotive. More information concerning this wreck is available in another post on this blog. George E. Neeley, in his book Valparaiso: A Pictorial History, declares that this particular wreck was the deadliest in Porter County history. That statement is incorrect, the Woodville wreck of 1906 was the deadliest rail disaster in county history.

Collision of the Michigan Central Railroad's Interstate Express 
passenger train with the New York Central Railroad's
Canadian passenger train at Porter on February 27, 1921.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.


Collision of the Michigan Central Railroad's Interstate Express 
passenger train with the New York Central Railroad's
Canadian passenger train at Porter on February 27, 1921.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Composite sample of newspaper headlines concerning the collision
of the
Michigan Central Railroad's Interstate Express 

passenger train with the New York Central Railroad's
Canadian passenger train at Porter on February 27, 1921.

1923
August 27 - Suman, Indiana (Jackson Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 4
Synopsis: A washout of the railbed on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks approximately one-half mile east of Suman resulted in the westbound six-car No. 13 express train to derail. Engineer George Novinger was killed in the accident when he was crushed between the ground and upturned engine.

Derailment of Express Train No. 13 on the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad at Suman on August 27, 1923.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Derailment of Express Train No. 13 on the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad at Suman on August 27, 1923.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Derailment of Express Train No. 13 on the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad at Suman on August 27, 1923.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.


1927
October 23 - Tremont, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A passenger train traveling westbound on the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway crashed into the rear of a freight train at 9:00 pm about three miles east of Tremont. Heavy fog prevented the engineer from seeing the signal lights of the freight train, which was slowly traveling eastward. The caboose and two freight cars were completely demolished. The engineer spotted the oncoming freight train and ran into the smoking car just prior to impact. No injuries resulted from this collision.

1936
November 22 - Burns Ditch (Portage Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: At 5:30 am, a Wabash Railroad freight train jumped the tracks on the Burns Ditch trestle, paralleling U.S. Route 20, in Portage township derailing sixteen boxcars. The wreck tore up more than one mile of track. The derailment was attributed to barrels of soda ash shifting from side to side in a boxcar near the center of the train. The barrels created sufficient momentum to roll the boxcar to its side and pull others off the tracks. Numerous police were called to the scene to prevent looting of merchandise contained in several of the derailed boxcars. Goods included clothing, hats, shoes, baby carriages, and furniture. Two tank cars filled with gasoline also derailed. No injuries are believed to have resulted from this wreck.

1938
January 13 - Liberty Township
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A freight train traveling on the Wabash Railroad derailed at 2:30 am between Crocker and Chesterton in Liberty Township. A total of nineteen railcars were strewn along the tracks; only two railcars remained on the tracks. The wreck was attributed to a split rail caused by cold weather. Indiana State Police assisted the railroad in guarding the wrecked railcars from looters. Reports indicate that no injuries resulted from this wreck.

September 9 - Dune Park, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A freight train operating on the Outer Belt Line of the New York Central Railroad derailed near Dune Park. Twenty-six freight cars left the track and several hundred feet of rail was torn up. Numerous railcars contained livestock and agricultural goods, such as oranges. About 150 head of cattle were killed in the derailment. None of the crew members of the freight train were killed or injured in the wreck.

1941
April 26 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A New York Central Railroad freight train derailed in downtown Chesterton and slid on its side for some distance before coming to rest just short of the Calumet Road crossing. The locomotive fell on its side and several freight cars were destroyed. The train was hauling hogs and cattle; the hog car was immediately behind the locomotive and its derailment resulted in killing 40 hogs. The crew of the train escaped injury by jumping from train as the derailment was taking place. The engineer of the locomotive, Harvey Barnhart, believed that his train was running on the mainline. Instead, the train was traveling on a side track and hit a closed switch that resulted in the derailment.

Onlookers at the site of the April 26, 1941, derailment
of the New York Central Railroad freight train
derailment at the Calumet Road crossing in Chesterton.
Source: Westchester Public Library,

Images of America: Westchester Township. [see p. 77]

1942
December 2 - Porter, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 2
Synopsis: An axle snaps on the fourth passenger coach of the eight coach Wolverine Flyer traveling eastbound on the tracks of the Michigan Central Railroad. The broken axle caused the railcar to drop to the tracks and derail, while the other coaches were leaning over at a 45 degree angle. Two passengers were injured, a man with a fractured shoulder and woman suffering from shock. 

1956
March 6 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Four railcars derailed at 11:58 am on a westbound 100-car freight train operating on the tracks of the New York Central Railroad. The freight train blocked the Calumet Road crossing for about 75 minutes. No deaths or injuries were sustained in this wreck.

1957
February 15 - Kouts, Indiana (Pleasant Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: A wheel came off a freight train railcar derailing several of the railcars on the Pennsylvania Railroad. No deaths or injuries resulted from this derailment.

1963
October 1 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: During the evening hours, five railcars on a 124-car freight train on the tracks of the New York Central Railroad derailed. The drawbar between the 44th and 45th railcars broke and dropped down onto the track, which tore up a trestle and track for a considerable distance. Two of the five railcars that derailed tumbled into Coffee Creek, just east of Calumet Road. A passenger train leaving Chesterton very soon after the freight train derailed hit one of the derailed cars. The passenger train received some slight damage, but no deaths or injuries resulted from this wreck. 

1965
April 28 - Chesterton, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Three diesel locomotives derailed at 7:00 am on the tracks of the New York Central Railroad between 15th Street and Waverly Road. No deaths or injuries were sustained in this wreck.

1966
April 5 - Porter, Indiana (Westchester Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Three railcars on a Michigan Central Railroad freight train derailed at 6:30 am while the train was crossing the New York Central Railroads tracks. No deaths or injuries resulted from this wreck. 

1998
April 19 - Suman, Indiana (Jackson Township) and McCool, Indiana (Portage Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Ten railcars of an 80-car CSX Transportation freight train derailed at a fatigued stretch of track near County Road 350 East at 8:15 pm. No death or injuries resulted from the derailment. The following day, a boxcar filled with lead sulfate was righted and placed back upon the rails at the wreck site. The boxcar was then pulled by cable down the tracks a short distance using a bulldozer so that other railcars could be lifted back onto the track. The cable came off the boxcar and it began to roll westward along the slight downhill grade. A locomotive was sent after the runaway boxcar, sounding its horn at roadway intersections while traveling at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. The boxcar traveled west a total of seven miles when it then crashed into a train that was stopped just west of Indiana State Road 149 at 4:45 am. No injuries resulted from this secondary accident.

June 18 - Portage, Indiana (Portage Township)
Killed: 3
Injured: 5
Synopsis: At approximately 4:31 am, a Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) two-car passenger train No. 102, traveling westbound, collided with the second trailer of a tractor-trailer hauling steel coils from a crossing located within the boundaries of National Steel Corporation's Midwest Steel facility. Upon colliding, the second trailer broke loose from the first trailer and was dragged along the tracks by the NICTD passenger train. The single chain securing the 19-ton steel coil on the second trailer failed and the steel coil entered the passenger train (car 11) at the front bulkhead and partially traveled into the passenger compartment of the railcar. Thee individuals on the passenger train, including the NICTD employee, were killed; two were killed instantly and the third passed away 43 minutes after the accident while still pinned under the steel coil. Names of those killed in the accident were Gary G. Berndt, William John McCombs, and Glen Walker. Five other passengers suffered minor injuries and were treated and released the same day of the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident "was ineffective action by Federal, State, and private agencies to permanently resolve safety problems at the Midwest Steel grade crossing, which they knew to be a hazardous crossing."

Damage to car 11 of Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation
District westbound train No. 102 after colliding with a
tractor-trailer hauling steel coils at Portage.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, 1999.

Nineteen-ton steel coil lodged in the passenger
compartment of Northern Indiana Commuter District
train No. 102 after collision with tractor-trailer at Portage.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, 1999.

2003
February 20 - Wheeler, Indiana (Union Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Twenty-six railcars of a 122-car Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in Union Township one-quarter mile west of County Road 475 West. Some derailed cars struck two other railcars containing hazardous material that were standing on an adjacent track. All of the derailed cars remained upright. No deaths or injuries resulted from the incident, but three-quarters of a mile of track were torn up. 

2007
June 27 - Liberty Township
Killed: 0
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Four railcars of an eastbound 114-car freight train on the CSX Transportation tracks derailed at approximately 8:30 am about 100 feet east of the County Road 50 West viaduct, located north of County Road 900 North. No deaths or injuries resulted from the derailment. 

2010
June 16 - Suman, Indiana (Jackson Township)
Killed: 1
Injured: 0
Synopsis: Fourteen railcars derail on an eastbound CSX Transportation freight train composed of 42 railcars at 4:00 pmWhile there were no death or injuries as a result of the derailment, Michael Bowling, of Dyer, Lake County, Indiana, was killed on June 17 when a crane fell on him while he was overseeing the clearing of the tracks of railcars and shipping containers.

The June 17, 2010, toppled crane incident that resulted
in the accidental death of one worker at the site of the
CSX Transportation derailment at Suman.
Source: Jon L. Hendricks, The Times.

2012
January 6 - Coburg, Indiana (Jackson Township and Washington Township)
Killed: 0
Injured: 2
Synopsis: At 1:18 pm on January 6, 2012, CSX Transportation freight train Q39506 collided with the rear of standing westbound CSX Transportation freight train K68303 between Suman and Coburg. After the crew of train Q39506 had escaped their locomotive, which had derailed onto its side, a third train, westbound CSX Transportation freight train Q16105, struck the derailed locomotive. Seven railcars derailed from train K68303, two locomotives and six railcars derailed from train Q39506, and three locomotives and 12 railcars derailed from Q16105. Diesel fuel from the derailed locomotives ignited resulting in a fire. Total damage from this collision of three trains was approximately $5 million. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was "a failure of the crew of train Q39506 to maintain vigilant attention to wayside signals, communicate effectively, avoid distractions from prohibited text messaging, and comply with the speed restrictions required by the railroad signal system. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a positive control system that would have stopped the train and prevented the collision regardless of the crew's inaction."

Site of January 6, 2012, CSX Transportation collision
and derailment. Jackson Township is to the right of
the roadway and Washington Township is to the left.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, 2013.

View of derailed CSX Transportation train Q16105 locomotives.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, 2013.

View of video take from CSX Transportation train Q16105
lead locomotive as it approached the first collision.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, 2013.

Note that this blog post will be periodically updated as additional historical Porter County train wreck information is discovered. Please contact me if you have additional information to share.

Source Material

Book and Reports
Anonymous. 1990. A Quarter Past One: 125th Anniversary, Kouts, Indiana. Kouts, Indiana: Star Printing. 100 p. [see p. 14]

Aldrich, Mark. 2006. Death Rode the Rails: American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1828-1965. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 480 p. [see p. 403]

Bibel, George D. 2012. Train Wrecks: The Forensics of Rail Disasters. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 368 p. [see p. 310]

Haine, Edgar A. 1994. Railroad Wrecks. New York, New York: Cornwall Books. 235 p. [see pp. 96-97]

Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Lake and Porter, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey & Company. 771 p. [see p. 58]

Hardesty, A.G. 1876. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: A.G. Hardesty. 90 p. [see p. 31]

History Committee. 1990. Charter Centennial: Hebron, Indiana, 1890-1990. Hebron, Indiana: Star Printing. 120 p. [see pp. 3-4]

Meints, Graydon M. 2011. Indiana Railroad Lines. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 402 p.

National Transportation Safety Board. 1999. Collision of Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Train 102 with a Tractor-Trailer, Portage, Indiana, June 18, 1998. NTSB/RAR-99/03. Washington, D.C.: National Transportation Safety Board. 76 p.


Neeley, George E. 1989. Valparaiso: A Pictorial History. St. Louis, Missouri: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc. 200 p. [see p. 42]

The Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Volume 1. Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company. 357 p. [see pp. 54-57 and 334-336]. 
 

National Transportation Safety Board. 2013. Railroad Accident Brief, Accident No. DCA-12-FR-002. NTSB/RAB-13/03. Washington, D.C.: National Transportation Safety Board. 18 p.

Railroad Commission of Indiana. 1907. Second Annual Report of the Railroad Commission of Indiana. Indianapolis, Indiana: William B. Buford. 553 p. [see pp. 191-196]

Shaw, Robert B. 1978. A History of Railroad Accidents, Safety Precautions and Operating Practices. Kirkwood, New York: Vail-Ballou Press, Inc. 473 p. [see pp. 106-108 and 462]

Westchester Public Library. 1999. Images of America: Westchester Township. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. 124 p. [see pp. 73 and 77]

Periodicals
Anonymous. 1887. The Kouts Disaster -- The Coroner's Verdict. The Railway Review 27(43):619.

Anonymous. 1921. Disastrous Collision Wreck at Porter, Indiana. Railway Review 10(68):347-349.

Anonymous. 1921. Obituaries. The Railway Clerk 20(4):188.

Anonymous. 1921. Railroads Cause Many Fatalities: More Than One Thousand Persons Killed in Wrecks or by Trains Last Year. The Spectator: A Weekly Review of Insurance 106(1):3-4.

Anonymous. 1921. Safety First: The Porter (Ind.) Wreck - Michigan Central Engine Crew Must Have a Square Deal. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazine 70(6):19-20.

Anonymous. 1921. Unusual Accident Happens on Interlocking: New York Central Train Ploughs Through Coach of Michigan Central Train, Resulting in Many Fatalities. Railway Signal Engineer 14(1):88-90.

Anonymous. 1968. Photo Section. Trains: The Magazine of Railroading 28(5):36-37.

Meints, Graydon M. 2000. Race to Chicago. Railroad History 183:6-29.

Stonex, Wilber L. 1912. An Old Indiana Railroad Charter: The Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad Company. The Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History 8(2):51-65.

Newspapers (listed by date of publication)
Plymouth Pilot, Plymouth, Marshall County, Indiana; November 12, 1851; Volume 1, Number43, Page 2, Column 2. Column titled "Michigan Southern Railroad."

Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 2, 1852; Volume 4, Number 1, Page 2, Column 2. Column titled "Extension of the Ohio & Indiana Railroad Westward" 

Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 25, 1855; Volume 3, Number 22, Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Railroad Meeting."

Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 29, 1855; Volume 3, Number 23, Page 2, Column 1. Column titled "All Right Again at Calumet."

Daily Elkhart Review, Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana; February 8, 1883; Volume, Number, Page 3, Column 1-2. Column titled "Local Brevities."

The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; October 12, 1887; Volume 47, Page 1, Columns 1-2. Column titled "An Unknown Number Die. Terrible Railroad Accident Near Kouts, Ind."

Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, Licking County, Ohio; October 12, 1887; Volume 17, Number 76, Page 1, Column 1-2. Column titled "Did Not See the Signal. Frightful Railroad Wreck Near Kout's, Indiana."

Wichita Eagle, Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas; October 12, 1887; Volume 7, Number 125, Page 1, Columns 3-5. Column titled "A Railroad Horror. A Fast Express on the Chicago & Atlantic railroad, Near Koutts, Ind."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; October 13, 1887; Volume 4, Number 27, Page 1, Columns 3-4. Column titled "The Kouts Horror."

The Daily Democrat, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; November 18, 1889; Volume 4, Number 198, Page 4, Column 4. Column titled "Lime City Sizzlings."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; December 12, 1889; Volume 6, Number 35, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "Wrecked by Carelessness. The New York Limited Express Runs Into an Open Switch at Dune Park."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; January 16, 1890; Volume 6, Number 40, Page 1, Column 2. Column titled "A Horrible Accident. Two Men Mangled by a Fort Wayne Work-train Near Wheeler."

The Daily Democrat, Huntington, Huntington County, Indiana; March 11, 1892; Volume 6, Number 294, Page 2, Column 4. Column titled "Slight Wrecks on the C. & E. Little Damage Done, But Trains Greatly Delayed."

Logansport Daily Pharos, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; March 18, 1892; Volume 17, Number 263, Page 1, Column 6. Column titled "Wrecked, But No One Hurt."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; March 18, 1892; Volume 8, Number 49, Page 5, Column 2. Column titled "Talk of the Town."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; March 18, 1892; Volume 18, Number 49, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "About the County."

The Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; July 1, 1892; Volume 9, Number 12, Page 1, Columns 5-6. Column titled "Rushed to Its Doom. The Pennsylvania Limited Wrecked at Valparaiso."

Logansport Daily Reporter, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; December 2, 1892; Volume 7, Number 53, Page 3, Column 5. Column titled "Head End Collision. Two Pan Handle Trains Meet in a Heavy Fog. Narrow Escape from a Bad Accident at Kouts."

Logansport Daily Reporter, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; April 20, 1893; Volume 8, Number 17, Page 4, Column 3. Column titled "At Full Speed."

Logansport Daily Reporter, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; October 13, 1893; Volume 9, Number 11, Page 5, Column 5. Column titled "Railroad News."

Logansport Reporter, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; April 29, 1895; Volume 12, Number 25, Page 5, Column 2. Column titled "Bad Wreck at Kouts."

The Daily Journal, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; April 30, 1895; Volume 20, Number 102, Page 5, Column 3. Column titled "Wreck at Kouts."

The Daily Journal, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; May 2, 1895; Volume 20, Number 104, Page 16, Column 4. Column titled "Rail Roads."

Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; February 7, 1896; Volume 12, Number 43, Page 1, Column 5. Column titled "Wreck at Crocker. One Man Fatally Injured, and the Train Wrecked."

The Westchester Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; August 15, 1896; Volume 8, Number 18, Page 1, Columns 3-4. Column titled "Wreck at Chesterton. Runaway Sand Train Crashes Into a Freight Standing at Chesterton Friday Morning."

The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; August 18, 1896; Volume 27, Number 219, Page 2, Column 3. Column titled "Twelve Head of Cattle Crushed."

The Westchester Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; August 22, 1896; Volume 8, Number 19, Page 5, Column 3. Column titled "Chesterton Chips."

The Logansport Journal, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana; February 5, 1897; Volume 22, Number 31, Page 24, Column 3. Column titled "Wreck on the Panhandle at Hebron Last Night."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; December 3, 1898; Volume 15, Number 34, Page 4, Columns 3-4. Column titled "The Sad Story of the Terrible Collision Between a Fast Newspaper Train and Two Handcars Loaded with Pleasure Seekers."

The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; November 23, 1899; Volume 26, Page 1, Column 3. Column titled "Two Men Are Killed."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 23, 1899; Volume 16, Number 33, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "A Flagman's Mistake. Sends a Double Header Passenger Train Down a 25 Foot Embankment Near McCool, on the B. & O." 

The Argos Reflector, Argos, Marshall County, Indiana; September 5, 1901; Volume 21, Number 5, Page 3, Column 2. Column titled "Record of Week. Indiana Incidents Tersely Told. Freight Wreck at Burdick."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; September 5, 1901; Volume 18, Number 21, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "Chesterton Chips."

The Daily News-Democrat, Huntington, Huntington County, Indiana; December 16, 1902; Volume 6, Number 221, Page 3, Column 4. Column titled "About Town."

Huntington Weekly Herald, Huntington, Huntington County, Indiana; December 19, 1902; Volume 54, Number 25, Page 3, Column 2. Column titled "Railway Items."

The Daily News-Democrat, Huntington, Huntington County, Indiana; October 19, 1903; Volume 7, Number 172, Page 1, Column 1. Column titled "Killed in a Wreck. Charles Truman, of Logansport, Dead."

The Garrett Weekly Clipper, Garrett, DeKalb County, Indiana; October 8, 1903; Volume 18, Number 51, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "Local and Personal."

The Indianapolis Journal, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; October 19, 1903; Volume 53, Number 292, Page 2, Column 5. Column titled "Two Hurt in Collision. Engineer and Tramp Victims of Wreck Near Hebron."

The Indianapolis Morning Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; October 19, 1903; Volume 1, Number 136, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "Three Injured in Crash of Trains. Second Section of Panhandle Passenger Collides with a Freight."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; October 23, 1903; Volume 20, Number 29, Page 5, Column 5. Column titled "Chesterton Chips."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; February 2, 1905; Volume 21, Number 44, Page 4, Column 1. Column titled "County Seat News." 

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; February 16, 1905; Volume 21, Number 46, Page 1, Columns 3-4. Column titled "Three Wrecks in 12 Hours. Michigan Central Railroad Has More Than Its Share of Troubles." 

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; February 23, 1905; Volume 21, Number 47, Page 5, Column 5. Column titled "Local News of the Week."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; December 7, 1905; Volume 42, Number 36, Page 1, Column 8. Column titled "Bad Wreck at Suman."

The Waterloo Press, Waterloo, County, Indiana; February 23, 1905; Volume 47, Number 28, Page 2, Column 1. Column titled "Wreck at McCool." 

The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; February 12, 1906; Volume 37, Number 58, Page 4, Column 3. Column titled "Two Engineers Hurt. Lake Shore Limited Side-Swipes a Freight Train."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; February 15, 1906; Volume 12, Number 46, Page 1, Column 5. Column titled "Flyer is Wrecked. Lake Shore Limited Collides with Freight Train."

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; April 7, 1906; Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Traffic Delayed By Freight Wreck."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 15, 1906; Volume 23, Number 33, Page 1, Columns 3-4. Column titled "Woodville's Awful Horror Shocks the Entire Country."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 15, 1906; Volume 23, Number 33, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "A Head-On Collision on the B. & O. Railway Destroys a Passenger Train Filled with Immigrants."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 15, 1906; Volume 23, Number 33, Page 2, Columns 5-6. Column titled "Fifty Immigrants Killed in Wreck."

Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; November 18, 1906; Section III, Page 8. Full page advertisement for the Electric Signagraph and Semaphore Company.

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 22, 1906; Volume 23, Number 34, Page 2, Column 4. Column titled "Wreck Victims Number 59."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; November 22, 1906; Volume 23, Number 34, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "Engineer Ganauer Held. Breaks Down and Weeps Like a Child When Coroner Carson Announces His Decision."

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; September 15, 1908; Volume 6, Number 102, Page 1, Columns 4-6. Column titled "Victims of Indianapolis Excursion Wreck at Chesterton. 

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; September 15, 1908; Volume 6, Number 102, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "Wreck Victims Here. Some Come Home Injured."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; September 17, 1908; Volume 25, Number 25, Page 1, Columns 5-6 and Page 2, Columns 3-4. Column titled "One is Killed and Thirty-four Injured in Lake Shore Wreck."

Marion Weekly Star, Marion, Marion County, Ohio; September 19, 1908; Volume 24, Number 18, Page 1, Column 7. Column titled "Two are Killed and Many Hurt. Theater Train Crashes into Rear of an Excursion."

The Plymouth Tribune, Plymouth, Marshall County, Indiana; June 24, 1909; Volume 8, Number 38, Page 2, Column 1. Column titled "Ten Lives Crushed Out."

Daily News-Democrat, Huntington, Huntington County, Indiana; December 28, 1910; Volume 14, Number 232, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "Fast Erie Freight in Wreck Near Kouts."

The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; July 2, 1912; Volume 39, Page 1, Column 3. Column titled "Nickel Plate, Train Number 2 Overturned Near Valparaiso at 1 O'clock."

The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; July 3, 1912; Volume 39, Page 5, Column 1. Column titled "Mistake of Operator Causes Wreck."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; July 18, 1912, Volume 29, Number 17, Page 1, Columns 4-5 and Page 6, Column 6. Column titled "Bad Wreck on Pere Marquette. West Bound Train No. 4, Goes in Ditch South of Furnessville."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; December 2, 1915, Volume 37, Number 37, Page 1, Column 6. Column titled "Trainmen Killed in Collision. Two Sections of a Wabash Freight Train Have Rear End Collision East of Chesterton."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; April 5, 1917; Volume 34, Number 3, Page 5, Column 4. Column titled "Chesterton Locals."

Fort Wayne Daily News, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; December 18, 1917; Volume 43, Page 15, Column 2. Column titled "Huntington News."

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; February 28, 1921; Volume 18, Number 268; Page 1, Columns 7-8 and Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "28 Die in Wreck at Porter. Passenger Trains Collide; 100 Injured; Enginemen Held for Ignoring Signal."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; August 27, 1923; Volume 40, Number 25, Page 1, Column 8. Column titled "Engineer Killed in Wreck Caused by Washout."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; October 27, 1927; Volume 44, Number 33, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "South Shore Trains Crash in Thick Fog."


The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; March 13, 1930; Volume 3, Page 1, Columns 2-7 and Page 11, Columns 5-7. Column titled "Porter County Train Wrecks Have Killed Over 100; Injured 75," by Al Collier.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; November 22, 1936; Volume 10, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "16 Freight Cars Derailed on Trestle Over Burns Ditch."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; January 13, 1938; Volume 11, Page 1, Column 8. Column titled "Train Wreck Near Crocker."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; September 10, 1938; Volume 12, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "150 Cattle Killed in County Train Wreck."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 28, 1941; Volume 14, Page 1, Column 3. Column titled "$15,000 Loss in Chesterton Train Wreck."

The Hammond Times, Hammond, Lake County, Indiana; December 2, 1942; Volume 37, Number 142, Page 1, Column 5. Column titled "Man, Woman Hurt in Wreck. Broken Axel Is Cause of Derailment."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; March 6, 1956; Volume 29, Number 207, Page 1, Column 5. Column titled "Four NYC Freight Cars Jump Tracks."

The Hammond Times, Hammond, Lake County, Indiana; February 17, 1957; Volume 51, Number 205, Page 3, Column 4. Column titled "Wreck at Kouts."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; July 11, 1957; Volume 31, Number 6, Page 1, Column 1 and Page 6, Column 1. Column titled "New Train is Delayed in County."

The Greenfield Daily Reporter, Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana; October 2, 1963; Volume 55, Number 135, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "NYC Freight Jumps Track at Chesterton."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 28, 1965; Volume 38, Number 200, Page 1, Column 6. Column titled "NYC Diesels Derailed Today at Chesterton."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; November 3, 1965; Volume 39, Number 103, Page 1, Column 3 and Page 6, Column 2. Column titled "Tells of 1921 Train Wreck in Porter."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 5, 1966; Volume 39, Number 231, Page 6, Column 8. Column titled "Train Derailment Ties Up Traffic."

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; February 21, 1993. Column titled "122-Car Train Derails in Union Township."

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Illinois; April 21, 1998. Column titled "A Case of the Boxcar Willies," by Ken Kosky.

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; October 30, 1998; Column titled "The Haunting of Hebron. Angry Hobo and Prissy Lady Said to be Among Spirits in Town," by John Reed.

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; October 9, 2003. Column titled "South Shore Case Settled," by Bob Kasarda.

The Post-Tribune, Gary, Lake County, Indiana; June 28, 2007. Column titled "Four Train Cars Derail Near Bridge in Liberty Township."

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; June 18, 2010. Column titled "Dyer Man Killed in Train Derailment Cleanup."

© 2016 Steven R. Shook. All Rights Reserved.

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