The Wreck of the Lackawanna Limited at Wayland, NY on August 30, 1943
Submitted by PHGS member Paul Giometti
Updated by Charles Walker, Jean Kay Morse Jackson and Julia Richmond Taylor, survivor

Switch Locomotive
Lackawanna Limited Locomotive
Pictures submitted by PHGS member Carl Zimmer

On this Monday afternoon, the Lackawanna Limited speeding along at 70 MPH to make up twenty minutes of lost time, sideswiped a switcher freight engine that had not fully cleared the main line. There were more than 500 passengers aboard the 11-car train. The track-side signals and cab signals indicated clear. The engineer of the switcher thought he had time to finish his chores and was moving along the siding. The engineer of the express noticed the moving switcher on the siding and assumed it would stop; when he realized it was not, he applied the emergency brakes, but too late to avoid the ensuring collision. The Limited’s locomotive sliced off the front end of the switcher and split its boiler, derailing itself and several following cars. Every window in the express was shattered and scalding water burst from the broken boiler of the switcher flooded the windowless Nickel plate coach which had stopped by the switcher. Twenty-six passengers in that car were killed from the scalding water and steam. Riding in the cab of the Limited was F. H. Meincke, DL&W’s superintendent of locomotives. He jumped from the cab and was killed when the engine toppled on him; the engineer and fireman was not injured. Two other passengers died later. 
About four months later, an inquest was held which, although declaring “negligence of employees and failure of officials of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad to provide adequate safety facilities”, the coroner concluded that no useful purpose would be served by recommending criminal action.

Fatality List

At the Scene of the Wreck
Name Age Home Address
Andrews, Elizabeth (Betty) 9 Nichols, NY
Andrews, Marian Elizabeth 37 Nichols, NY
Davie, William Clayton 74 Granton, NY
Eynan, Mary 84 Cleveland, OH
Flege, Margaret Elizabeth 26 Brooklyn, NY
Garmbock, Mary Ann 5 Cleveland, OH
Hodge, Agnes 32 New York City
King, Erdyce 29 Williamsville, NY
Konecsny, Margaret 36 New York City
Kralek, Virginia M. 23 Cleveland, OH
Meincke, Fred Henry 51 Scranton, PA
Middleton, Dorothy E. (mother of five) 33 Buffalo, NY
Pfaff, Eleanor 50 New York City
Roloson, Clayton L. 58 Bath, NY
Rosen, Ida 22 New York City
Staak, Catherine Elliott 21 New York City
Wilt, Laura L. 63 Cleveland, OH
Zabarsky, Sarah 16 Los Angeles, CA

At The Wayland Hospital

Name Age Home Address
Chelko, Anna 22 Cleveland, OH
Foster, Helen I. 52 Binghamton, NY
Garmbock, Mary Tresia 26 Cleveland, OH
Heyman, Anna B. 54 Brooklyn, NY
King, Paul M. 30 Williamsville, NY
Pfaff, Helen 16 New York City
Ripley, Frances, Mrs. 86 Painted Post, NY
Sautter, Margaret 36 East Orange, NJ
Smith, Henreitta 26 Brooklyn, NY

At Bath Memorial Hospital

Name Age Home Address
Cohen, Mildred 34 Jersey City, NJ

At Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester

Name Age Home Address
Rankine, Jeanne 27 Rahway, NJ

All died of steam burns except Fred Henry Meincke.


No newspaper name, 03 Sep 1943,

28 Dead, 110 Injured in Wreck at Wayland

 Clayton L. Roloson, of Bath and Mrs. Francis Ripley, of Painted Post, Among Those Who Lost Thier Lives.
  The Lackawanna train wreck at Wayland at 5:25 last Monday afternoon piled up a death toll of twenty-eight, two of whom were residents of Steuben County--Clayton L. Roloson of Bath, and Mrs. Frances Ripley, of Painted Post.
  The train left Bath twenty minutes late and the engineer was said to have made up the minutes when the train roared past the Wayland station.  About those hundred yards west of the station the engine of the crack Lackawanna Flyer No. 3 crashed into a switch engine, sideswiped it, tearing a hole in its side.  When the train stopped, Coach 6, counting from the front, was alongside of the switch engine which poured a terrible volume of live steam from its open side into the coach, out of which nineteen dead were taken a few minutes later.
  It was one of the worst railroad wrecks in Steuben County in many years. The big engine of the "flyer" plunghed ahead, after hitting the switch engine, twisting the heavy steel rails as if they had been ribbons, then tipped over.
  It is quite apparent that had it not been for the escaping steam there would have been onlyone death.  Frank Meincke of Scanton, supentintendent of locomotives, was believed to have been riding in the cab of the locomotives and was crushed under the engine as it overturned.
  Within an hour after the crash, all the dead had been removed and scores of those who had been more or less injured had received first aid.  Many were wearing patches on their cheeks, their foreheads, and their hands, having been cut by jagged pieces of glass or severely burned on theri hands, arms and legs.
   Deputy Sheriff Clearwater of Wayland, about to conclude his day's work was parked at the top of the overhead bridge west of the station as the train passed below,  He called Sheriff Balcom over the sheriff's inter-radio system and told him it looked as if there might be a wreck and within a minute it happened.  No sooner had he notified the sheriff than the entire department with the Bath police, had ten doctors from the Soldiers Home and several others from the village, rushed to Wayland to take charge.
   It is known that eight persons from Bath were aboard the train, Clayton L. Rolonson, production manager at the Mercury Aircraft Company in Hammondsport was one of those Killed. Others from Bath on the train were Wallace V. Pitt, president of the J. W. Pitt Co, and Clyde Robinson his factory superintendent; Mrs. Joseph D'Angelo and her daughter Betty; Cpl. Edsel Townsend; Gibson Seager, who was on his way to Buffalo for induction into the Navy and Joseph L. Brown, who also was on his way to camp.
  Cpl. Townsend, upon his return from the wreck to Bath and that he and Rolson entered the train together and went into Coach 6.  He decided that he wanted to talk to Brown in a car at the rear of the trainand invited Mr. Roloson to go along.  Mr. Roloson said he would be along in a few minutes.  Cpl. Townsend said he had not been out of the coach two minutes when the wreck occurred.
  Walace Pitt and Clyde Robinson returned to Bath uninjured.
  The three young Bath soldiers were not hurt, and all of them have gone to their army duties.

Mrs. Francis Ripley mentioned in this article is Mrs. Judson Ripley, nee Frances Ferris.


The two girls are my girl fiend Edith Schemalleck and myself. Julia Richmond (at the time) It was taken when we were patients in Bath Memorial Hospital.  When we had recovered enough they let us go out during the day and the people were so nice in Bath.  We were in the hospital for 2 weeks.  I was severly burned and  Edith had cut all the veins in her right wrist and has never really had the good use of that arm.  She had run into the bathroom which was right by our seat and when the steam entered the coach, she panicked and broke the window with her fist instead of taking off her shoe and almost cut her wrist off. It was a miracle that we got out of that alive.
There were about 18 in our group (called the land army) going to salvage the crops. If I remember correctly, only four of us survived in that group.  I don't know who the rest of the passengers in that coach were., but that was the coach where all the ones who perished were. ................from Julia Richmond Taylor November 9, 2009

Julia died 9 Dec 2013 and is buried in Hillcrest Abbey West Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia

ICC Report DL&W Wayland NY 08-30-1943.pdf

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