Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24, 1936 -- Nine Killed In Elevated Smash-Up

November 24, 1936 – Nine people are killed and 58 others injured as a North Shore Line train crashes into the rear of an Evanston express elevated train.  The Evanston train is standing at a switch 50 feet north of the Granville Avenue station when the first car of the North Shore train slams into the back of it, plowing “all the way through the wooden rear coach of the Evanston train, shearing off its roof and splintering it like a match box.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 25, 1936]  The wreck occurs at about 6:30 in the evening, and the horrors unfold in near total darkness.  The motorman of the North Shore train, Van R. Grooms, says, “I was traveling about 40 miles an hour.  Then I saw the rear of the Evanston train.  The lights were very dim.  I put on my brakes, and that’s the last thing I know.”  Firemen, working with flashlights, raise ladders along the elevated embankment and carry passengers from the wrecked trains.  Eventually, more than 600 police are at the scene, along with two companies of firemen, 20 police ambulances, and three fire department ambulances.  A regular rider on the Evanston train says, “I’ve been taking the train almost regularly for a number of years.  Each evening a few moments after the express switches onto the local track the North Shore roars by on the express track.  I have often thought that the timing of the two trains was too close for safety.”

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