Train Wreck

In August of 1907 a brakeman at Cajon Summit station failed to secure a train while unhitching helper engines and over fifty cars began rolling out of control down the grade into the Victor Valley.  After seven miles of plummeting down the tracks thirteen cars derailed.  A few miles further thirty more cars failed to make the curve before passing through the Upper Narrows. One after another they hurtled into the river bursting into flames.  There were cattle on the train too. Many survived the initial accident, but died soon afterward.  The last nine cars, with a frightened local rancher on the lead caboose, rolled to a stop in Oro Grande.mojave desert train derailment

In the ashes of one car that burned for over a week, there were four hats found. The brakeman, it was discovered, had been selling rides to hobos for $1.  Those at the scene agreed that there were at least that many that died.599-train-wreck-2Photos – courtesy B.F. Minister