Virginian in 1912--Fatality

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Dec 1 17:44:20 EST 2011

Gordon: The end sills still couldn't bump each other unless the couplers passed
beneath them, and I don't think that would have been true of the equipment
running in 1912. Just a thought. But what was his head doing that low in the
first place?    Jim Nichols

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Subject: Virginian in 1912--Fatality

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
March 1, 1912

Fireman L. S. Shipley Instantly Killed at Fagg
    Wednesday evening last at Fagg, a small station on the Virginian Railway,
near Christiansburg, Fireman L. S. Shipley, of this place was instantly killed
by having his head mashed to a jelly between the car bumpers of a freight
train.  Mr. Shipley was attending to some duty connected with his train and
there being no eye witnesses to the accident, it is unknown how his head became
caught between the bumpers when the train backed.  He had been in the employ of
the Virginian for sometime and was a son of Engineer Shipley, of Page, where the
remains were shipped for burial on yesterday morning.  He had many friends and
acquaintances in this city.  His age was about twenty-four and he leaves a
father, mother and several other relatives to mourn his tragic death.
[It seems unusual for a fireman to be attending to some duty about the train. 
Maybe the report was incorrect and he was actually a brakeman.  I am not sure
what the "bumpers" are, but I would guess that in an attempt to couple two cars
the couplers somehow  bypassed, allowing the end sills of the two cars to "bump"
into each other.]

Gordon Hamilton
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