Historical Images of Porter County
Derailment of No. 13
Date: August 27, 1923
Source Type: Photograph
Publisher, Printer, Photographer: Unknown
Postmark: Not applicable
Collection: Steven R. Shook
Remark: Information concerning this train derailment was published in The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana, on August 30, 1923 [Volume 40, Number 25, Page 1, Column 6]:
ENGINEER KILLED IN WRECK CAUSED BY WASHOUT
A washout on the B. &. O. railroad about half a mile east of Suman station on the B. & O., caused by the heavy rains of Sunday night, resulted in a serious wreck in which one man, George Novenger, the engineer lost his life; and four others received injuries. The train, No. 13, an express train of six express cars went down a twenty-foot embankment, the engine turning over and pinning the engineer underneath.
George Novenger, 58 years old, engineer on the express; lives in Garrett.
A. M. Farquhason, 30 years old, express messenger; lives at Deshler, O.
J. M. Sattenstein, 30 years old, special service officer for the American Railway Express; lives in Chicago.
H. A. Houtzer, 28 years old, train agent; lives in Lima, O.
N. E. Miller, 27 years old, fireman; lives in Garrett.
The train was going west. When within a mile of the fatal spot Novenger noticed a danger signal. He stopped the train and phoned for instructions, it is said. His train was then given clear passage.
When the wheels on the train began to grind the engineer began applying the brakes. It was too late, however. The road bed caved in, causing the engine and the first coach to go down the embankment. Miller, who was riding in the cab with Novenger, leaped out of the door. A heavy flow of water washed him more than two rods. He stopped when he struck a telephone pole. Novenger was entrapped in the cab. When found his head was buried downward in sand and water. The throttle of the engine had him pinioned. It was more than four hours after the wreck before Novenger's body was extricated. It was taken to Wellsboro and was to have been removed to Garrett this afternoon.
Miller suffered body bruises when he leaped from the engine. He was first to reach the engine after it overturned and made a futile attempt to rescue Novenger.
Farquhason, Sattenstein and Houtzer were riding in the second coach. This coach turned partly over. The three men were thrown against the side of the car causing minor injuries. Sattenstein stated it all happened so quickly that he or his fellow workmen did not have time to leap to safety.
"I felt that something was going to happen," Sattenstein declared. "And the first thing I knew I heard the wheels grinding. It seemed but a minute later that we felt our coach overturning. We certainly were lucky that it did not go all the way down. We suffered but minor injuries."
The wreck occurred about 12:25 o'clock. Word was immediately flashed to the nearby towns and help was sent to the scene of the accident. Early this morning a wrecker was in operation. It will probably take a few days to hoist the engine back on the right of way, officials of the railroad company stated.
Novenger has been in the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio System for more than thirty-five years. He was known as one of the most cautious engineers on the road an official of the company said this morning.
[Note: It is very likely that George Novenger's surname is misspelled in this article and should be written as Novinger.]
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