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14786Wreck at Beckers, North of Mayfield

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  • Paul Larner
    Jul 24 9:26 AM
      Good morning Smitty,
      Thanks for the follow up on Art and Will Smith.
      The wreck north of Mayfield occurred Oct. 12, 1926 when No. 14 hauling the mixed train took to the weeds at a place called Beckers.  What follows is the newspaper account:

      PASSENGERS ESCAPE INJURY WHEN SEVEN CARS FALL INTO DITCH IN A TRAIN WRECK BEYOND MAYFIELD – Engine Four Merchandise Cars, Coal Car and Passenger Car Topple Into Ditch – Accident Thought Result of Rail Spread – Air Brakes Immediately Applied Steel Cars Withstand Shock – Passengers Escape Injury – Wreckage Blocks Road – Bus Line Inaugurated On F., J. & G. Schedules Until Debris Can Be Cleared.


                       Train 15 which leaves Gloversville at 1:30 o’clock for Northville was entirely derailed yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock three miles north of Mayfield.  The train consisted of locomotive engineered by Louis E. Mushreal, four cars of merchandise, a coal car and combination baggage and passenger car.  While a thorough investigation as to the cause of the accident has not yet been completed, it is thought to be resultant from a rail spread.


                       Three passengers were on board, Dr. L. C. Perry of Albany; Mrs. George Lockhart of Cranberry Creek and Miss Eva Bovee of Mayfield, besides the claim agent of the F., J. & G. Railroad, William H. Hyland, the regular of the train, fireman Ernest Weaver, baggageman William Kane and Stewart Wood, conductor, all of Gloversville.  All escaped injury.


                       The incident is the only one in the last ten years on this road.  The train was proceeding north between ten and fifteen miles an hour when the engine left the track and the air brakes were immediately applied.  The engine ran almost 150 feet on the ties before it toppled in the ditch on the east side carrying with it three cars.  The two rear cars derailed at the point the engine left the rails and then after running a short distance toppled over on the other side.  The passenger coach remained on the track except the forward trucks which were derailed just as the train stopped.


                       So rapidly did the train leave the track that those on board did not realize what had happened.


                       The four merchandise cars carried general merchandise, and were not harmed.  As yet the damage has not been estimated but is not expected to be great as the cars were all steel.


                       Until the wreckage can be cleared away a bus service has been initiated running between Gloversville and Northville.  The schedule is the same as the one on which the trains run.


                  After the incident, Mr. Hyland secured an automobile from a nearby farmer by the name of Williams and took the passengers to their destinations.  
      This article tells a lot about the type of operation carried on by the FJ&G at the time.  Train 15, a daily except Sunday, early afternoon steam powered train brought the freight to the north country.  Three passengers, one car of coal for Northville and four cars of general freight, LCL. destined the Northville freight house.  The Brill M55 gas cars provided the five other round trips.
      No 14 was ill-suited for road work.  Its short wheel base and lack of a pony truck made the locomotive unstable at road speeds.  No. 12 the regular freight engine to the north/east after No. 11 was purchased must have been laid up.  The No. 7 retired officially in 1929 was most likely unserviceable for any of a number of reasons.  The Americans, Nos 8 and 9 were too light to handle that much freight tonnage.
      The substitution of a bus service causes me to wonder where the bus was obtained.  In 1926 the FJ&G through a subsidiary purchased their first bus for the Northville - Piseco Lake run.  Could this be the bus put into service for the time being between Gloversville and Northville.  I have yet to find any photos of this early bus.  This bus went to Schenectady Transit (not Schenectady Railway) IIRC in 1927.
      An excellent series of photo postcards documents this wreck.  See attached photo of No. 14 after its return to the shop.

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