On the 1 Oth inst. a terrible collision took place on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, New Jersey, between the train from New York and the one from Philadelphia, by which four persons were killed and seven others wounded. On the New York and New Haven Railroad the next morning (11th) the night train came in contact with a mass of rock which had rolled down on the track, by which the engineer was killed and the fireman severely wounded. The Coroner's Jury in the case of the New Jersey collision inquest, was composed of no less than twenty-one persons, sixteen of whom, in our opinion, have returned a morally wrong verdict. The inquest was held at Oldbridge, Middlesex Co., and the' substance of the decision is, (tt.haj bhn tiollimnn urn rcmirn3 *-y tu— - grow carelessness of John Anderson, the engineer of the New York train running at an unusual speed by the station and around the curve at Oldbridge. They also found the conductor censurable for omiting to compare his watch with that of the engineer, and the standard clock at the New York station." The Jury exonerated the company from all blame and censure in regard to the said collision. Five of the Jurors refused to sign the verdict, because they thought the company were censurable, and they were right. The evidence went to prove that the accident was caused by a difference of 2J minutes time in the watches of the engineers and conductors oi the two trains. The conductor has the control of running a train, and the engineer is under his orders, and no evidence w-is presented to prove that the engineer Anderson disobeyed orders. The cause of the accident indirectly was the miserable railroad system which so extensively prevails in our land.— We have been the stern advocates of double tracks, and.have frequently called attention to this question. Had this railroad been a double track, would such an accident have occurred'? No. Bad must that system of railroad management be, which, as in this case, is the cause of a collision, by a difference of two and a-half minutes in the watches of the different conductors. The State of New Jersey has become infamous by her railroad system, at once the most contemptible and mean in our land, fit only for Fejee Legislators, and Dahomy exactors. Many'new inventions have been brought before the public within the past five years, for the preventing of railroad accidents. No new invention is required to prevent ninety-nine out of every hundred railroad accidents. Double tracks fenced in, no crossings, well laid rails, good bridges, and plenty of steady active guards on the lines, with competent engineers and conductors, will do all that we have asserted for the prevention of accidents. Many of our railroad companies are " penny wise and pound foolish;" by a short sighted economyj " they leap over bundles to gather straws." A single collision by the smash ng of two locomotives, will cost about 20,000—a dead loss—and perhaps five times his amount for the payment of dama-;es to the relatives of the killed and injured. Such accidents as those mentioned we expect, will' take place until our railroad system is eformed. The people can do this by legisla-;ion, and until they do it, we will hold them :ulpable. In connection with the above cases, another melancholy collision took place on the Provi-lence and Worcester Railroad, on the morning of the 12th inst, by which 12 persons were killed, and 25 more or less injured. An excursion train out of time, was met by a regular train, running at a rapid rate, and both trains were dashed together and interlocked. This accident could not have taken place on a double track. Our railroad system is bad, and many of the lines are mismanaged with the most glaring recklessness mixed with gross stupidity. Our people should awake to a true sense of their duty ; the remedy for railroad accidents is merely a performance of duty.
This article was originally published with the title "Railroad Accidents—The Remedy" in Scientific American 8, 49, 389 (August 1853)