The Wreck of the Duquesne Limited

If you live in Fayette County, you likely heard about the railroad cars that derailed behind the courthouse last week. Happily, no one was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled. There were no disruptions at the library, though we did listen to the steady thrumming of an engine for a few days while part of the train idled nearby.

I often come across railroad and trolley accidents while working with the PA Room’s obituary index. Still, the deaths I see were usually caused by passenger error — a person attempted to hop onto a moving train and lost their grip, for instance, or they got hit while walking the tracks.

There is one local railroad catastrophe that has clung to my memory, however: the wreck of the Duquesne Limited.

“According to the Pittsburg Sunday papers a trolley car was blown off the track at Oliphant. Outside of the fact that the incident is not true the story is all right.”

— The Morning Herald, 18 Jan 1909.

Stories In Stone: Newell R. Allton

My favorite part of working in the Pennsylvania Room is that each and every day, I’m surrounded by stories. They’re tucked into yearbook pages, scribbled in the margins of ancestry charts, and hidden away in old family letters. Whether I’m faced with tracing the history of a person, place, or event, I enjoy the challenge of piecing all the fragments together to form a single narrative.