The Commission’s Report On The Wreck At Blaney

Responsibility Placed on Freight Trains Crew – Practice of Overworking Crews Condemned.

The railroad commission yesterday gave out the report on the wreck at Blaney. There is nothing new in the report, the responsibility for the collision being placed on the freight crew and the practice of working crews after time being condemned.

The report in full follows:

“In complying with law in such matters the railroad commission visited the wreck on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Four Miles South of Blaney, S. C.,  on the morning of Jan. 30th, 1906, and made a thorough inspection of the same.

“The superintendent, train crews and operators were summoned to appear before the commission on Feb. 13th, 1906, at  which time they appeared and all of them were examined on oath.

“After a full hearing on this subject, the commission finds that Engineer J. A. Smeck of train No. 658, Fireman A. J. White, colored, of train No. 658 and Mail Clerks H. A. Pattillio and M. C. Watkins of train No. 66 were killed  and Engineer John Robinson and Fireman Dan Douglas of train No. 66 were seriously wounded.

“The commission is of the opinion that this wreck was caused by the freight crew leaving Blaney sidetrack against orders, as the testimony clearly shows that this crew had orders to remain in the sidetrack at Blaney until both trains Nos. 81 and 66 had passed, train No. 81 going south and No. 66 going north.

“However, we must condemn the practice of working crews as long as the crew of extra freight No. 658 were worked. The testimony clearly shows that this crew was on duty for 25 hours and 32 minutes. Conductor Sonley of the extra freight No. 658 admitted that he was asleep and that all of his crew were asleep while the freight was in the sidetrack at Blaney (55 minutes) and that they thought train No. 66 had passed. WE believe that the whole crew was asleep, thus losing sight of the fact that two trains were to pass instead of one. This is the second serious wreck which has occurred within a year on account of the overworking of crews on freight trains, and we must condemn this practice, not only because it endangers the lives of the crews, but on account of the danger to the traveling public.

“Respectfully submitted.
“J. H. Warton, Chairman,
“B. L. Caughman,
“Jno. H. Earle,

“Feb. 14, 1906.”

1906.02.15 - The Commissions Report On The Wreck At Blaney
February 15, 1906 State (published as The State) Columbia, South Carolina News Article Issue 5370 Page 10

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