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Conductor Two Bells (Nostalgia from Bygone Streetcar Days)
By Jerry D. Kelly

UR&E Company Accidents

     Member Richard Dadds sent me yet another two articles, these about his streetcar recollections of UR&E Company accidents. Here they are:

     "Two 35 cars ran head on into each other on a curve between the Gwynns Falls bridge and the Windsor Hills loop. As my Father was working out of Edmondson barn, I know it happened after 1936. Just by chance, I was near Clifton Avenue at Mount Holly Street where we lived.

     I watched a yellow #35 car headed toward Walbrook Junction with the front trolley untied and reversed and used for power. The back end of the car was damaged with the trolley tied down. The second car came by in the same condition and had been reversed on the Windsor Hills loop.

     The normal operation of the line was for the cars to meet at Hillsdale to pass and continue their run. This day, the outbound car was quite late and running faster than usual. As the outbound car moved into the curve before the Gwynns Falls Bridge, there was the inbound car and they hit. Why was the outbound car late, I never heard. Later on, I walked to the scene of the collision and picked up red lantern glass as a keepsake but it was thrown away by someone in the family while I was away during the early 1940's.

     There was a hearing, I believe at Edmondson Barn, and the motorman of the inbound car made the statement that he thought the cars had passed and he failed to look at the signal at the bridge. Mr. Arthur Hall, as I recall was Base Superintendent, stated that the motorman should be fired but as he had a lot of good service with the company and this was not going to happen. As time passed, I had heard that there was never a head on accident of two UR&E Company cars. Yes, it happened."

     "This was most likely the worst that my Father was involved in. A train was going to Sparrows Point Ship Yard. Motorman John Blake and my Father worked together regularly, with an extra conductor who at the time was on the lead car.

     They left Dundalk and proceeded at speed toward "The Point." As they approached Broening Highway and sounding the whistle, a truck loaded with sheet steel pulled in front of them and they hit hard. The steel slid off the truck and crashed onto front platform which pinned Mr. Blake's leg in the step, crushing his limb. Also, three passengers suffered the same fate. Mr. Blake was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital [then located in the 1400 block of North Caroline Street] where he stayed for a month or more. My Dad and I visited a couple of times until Mr. Blake left the hospital. Mr. Blake’s leg never did heal and he later died of cancer. What happened to the passengers, I never heard."

(Reprinted with permission from the Baltimore Streetcar Museum's quarterly newsletter, The Live Wire. 
Copyright 1999, The Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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