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Accident on North Coast Line.



In the grey light of dawn yesterday the Townsville mail train, bound for Brisbane with 144 souls on board, crashed head on into a stationary goods train at Eudlo Station, North Coast Line. Passengers were hurled from their sleeping berths by the impact, and the screams of terrified travellers mingled with the tearing and grinding of crumpling wood and twisted steel.

The fireman of the express (L M'Cartney) was badly cut about the   face and legs and an elderly lady sustained abrasions and shock but otherwise no casualties occurred al- though many persons including the two train crews had miraculous escapes.

Both locomotives were derailed and trucks laden with merchandise were splintered to matchwood, their con- tents being strewn over the permanent way. The debris blocked the tracks for several hours, but breakdown gangs were rushed to the scene from Brisbane and Gympie and by 11.20 o'clock the line was reported clear for   traffic. An officer on duty at Eudlo has been suspended pending an in- quiry.

The collision occurred about 4.15 a.m. The Townsville mail, known on the railway time-table as No 266, was running on time. She had slowed down to round the curve into Eudlo, and approached the station at a speed variously estimated at from eight to 12 miles an hour. It is pre-

sumed that the express should have swung on to the loop line as a goods train, bound for Gympie was stand- ing stationary on the main line about 20 yards from the points. The two engines crashed with a terrific impact the tearing and grinding of splintered

These two children were asleep on the floor or their carriage on the Towns- ville mail train when the collision occurred at Eudlo yesterday morning.   The little girl narrowly escaped being crushed by falling baggage. They are

not likely to forget October 13, 1933.

timber and iron rousing the slumber- ing residents of Eudlo from their beds in alarm.

The goods train, 161 down, had reached Eudlo about a quarter of an hour before the smash, and, with the brakes off, was waiting to begin shunting operations. The driver of the mail train did everything possible to avoid a collision, and remained at his post, instead of jumping clear, when he saw a smash was inevitable.

Impact of Projectile.

Even at the slow speed at which it was going, the powerful engine of the express, with the weight of a long string of Pullmans behind it, struck the stationary goods train with the impact of a projectile, forcing the lighter engine of the goods train back twice its own length, crumpling like a piece of cardboard an A.L.G. wag- gon loaded with merchandise and forc- ing what was left of it on to the top of the engine tender; splintering to match-wood an F.G. truck loaded with sugar cane for the Nambour mill, which had been coupled on at Mooloo-

lah, a molasses truck tank telescoping two empty C waggons, one of them being hurled as with a giant hand clean across the loop-line, through which the express should have passed. The cow-catchers of both locomotives were wrenched off like bits of wire, and the buffers dented and buckled like tin plates. Both engines were derailed, and the parlour car, which was placed between the baggage van and the first sleeper, was also de- railed and forced on to the veranda of the sleeping car, the occupants of which were hurled out of their beds. The leading end of the sleeping car was also thrown from the rails. The contents of the smashed trucks were scattered in inextricable confusion, and wreckage from them fouled the loop-line.

Fireman's Experience.

The application of the Westing- house brakes at full pressure brought the contents of the luggage racks toppling down on passengers, and threw the sleepers violently from their bunks. Several sustained bruises or minor injuries. Mrs W. Graham, an elderly woman, of Gawler, South Aus- tralia, sustained abrasions on the head and shock, and Mr. H. T. Mewing, of Crow's Nest, was cut on the fore- head. The most seriously injured man was the fireman of the goods train, Mr. L. Macartney, of Gregory Ter- race, who hurt the muscles of his left arm, and sustained severe gashes on the ear and the leg. He had just stoked the fire, and was stooping down to clean away the coal left on the engine cabin floor when the impact occurred. He was buried in an ava- lanche of coal that poured from the top of the tender, and had to be rescued by the driver and members of the other train crew. The force of the impact tore the shoes from his feet. It was fortunate for him that he was not looking out of the cabin, as the air was full of flying wreck- age, and he would have been de- capitated.

Driver's Escape.

The driver of the goods train (Mr. J. Wallace) had a miraculous escape. He was near the front of the engine, attending to the sand box, when he saw the express rushing down on the same line. He jumped and landed in the side drain. He must have been rendered unconscious, but picked him- self up shakily about 10 minutes after- wards, suffering from shock, but otherwise unhurt.

H W. Reaney, driver of the ex- press, sustained a cut on the face. The

first thing his fireman (J Power) saw after the collision was Reaney sit- ting half-dazed in his seat, with blood streaming from a gash on his cheek.

The injured were attended to by honorary ambulance bearers at Eudlo, and the Maroochy Shire ambulance were summoned by Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Adams, of the Eudlo Post Office.

Breakdown Gangs.

Amid scenes of wild confusion the passengers were assisted out of the carriages, and accommodation was pro- vided for them pending the arrival of a special train from Brisbane, enabling them to resume their inter- rupted journey about 8 a.m. Then   the great task had to be faced of dealing away the debris and mak- ing the line clear for traffic. Break- down trains from Gympie and Bris- bane, in charge of Mr. J. Bongers (loco foreman) and Messrs. J. Reese (divisional superintendent) and S.   Green (traffic superintendent) respec- tively, raced to the scene, and were soon at work aided by district rail- way fettlers in charge of Mr. S. Bar- tett (acting district maintenance in-


Under the glare of powerful incan- descent lamps the crews worked feverishly at a twisted mass of crumpled wood and iron, of bent rods, of steel bars that had snapped like  

carrots of upturned bogies and splin- tered planks, piled in a gigantic pyramid of destruction like a Gar- gantuan meccano set that a giant had trampled on in a fit of petulance. Five waggons were piled pell-mell on top of one another their ends look- ing frayed and chewed as if a bite had been taken out of them. Corn sacks had been torn open, and the golden grains lay scattered along the   permanent way for yards; and heaps of sugar cane lay alongside a C wag- gon that had been reduced to so   much kindling wood.

"Line Clear."

Hour after hour the perspiring workers toiled on, until at last soon after 9 a.m. the loop siding was cleared, and the morning passenger     train from Gympie to Brisbane was able to pass through. At 11.20 o'clock   the remainder of the rails, including the main line were cleared of the debris, which was stacked in great piles on the side of the permanent way. The partly damaged trucks were replaced on the rails, and both locomotives were utilised for shunt- ing operations. Little damage was done to the tracks, only a few rails and sleepers being twisted and broken.   These were rapidly replaced, and, as a consequence only slight delays oc- curred to up and down traffic. Be- fore the morning passenger train from Gympie could get through, how- ever, the carriages of the northern ex- press had to be drawn back to Palm-   woods, three miles distant, and were dispatched to Brisbane later by spe- cial train.

It was announced officially that there were 144 persons on the mail train, 10 of whom were on their way to New South Wales. The Kyogle train was delayed about three-quar- ters of an hour to enable these south- ward-bound travellers to continue  

their journey. The train which brought them from the scene of the accident reached the Central station about 10.30 a.m.  

Officer Suspended.

"I was given the signal for the main line; that is all I will say," said Driver Reaney when The Courier- Mail representative asked him how it had happened.

The officer on duty at Eudlo sta- tion recently went from Brisbane to relieve the Eudlo stationmaster (Mr J. Madden), who is on holidays. He has been suspended, pending an in- quiry.

Official Statement.

In an official statement concerning the accident, the Commissioner for Railways (Mr. J. W. Davidson) said:-   The mail train from Townsville, which was due at Brisbane to-day at 6.10 a.m., collided with a goods train       standing in Eudlo station. The en- gines of each train met head-on, and were both derailed as well as a num-   ber of waggons of the goods train. The force of the impact was not severe, as the mail train was travelling at a slow rate of speed passing through the station. The parlour car of the mail tiain, which was travelling in the lead during the night, was slightly dam- aged and also the sleeping car ad- joining. No one was seriously in- jured. The passengers of the mail train were transferred to a relief train and were brought to Brisbane, which was reached at 10.35 a.m."  


Mr. Davidson said that it was satis- factory to note that train accidents were exceedingly rare in Queensland. The last big and probably one of the

most serious railway smashes in Queensland occurred early on June 9, 1925, near Traveston, on the North Coast, when 10 passengers were killed and 28 were injured.