1935 train wreck in Glendale hurts dozen

on Sep20

The Southern Pacific Lark passenger train, traveling at about 40 mph, crashed into a truck stuck at a railroad crossing in Glendale.

An article in the Oct. 20, 1935, Los Angeles Times reported:

The southbound Southern Pacific Lark, rolling through Glendale yesterday, smashed into a seven-ton truck loaded with sand and the impact derailed both the train’s locomotives, two coaches, tore up a section of track and sent twelve passengers and trainmen to hospitals.

Leaping from the driver’s seat of the truck when he saw the impending collision, E. J. Chaney of 213 West Windsor Road, Glendale, escaped death by inches and was only slightly hurt. He was hauling sand for the Consolidated Rock Products Company.

Careening off the roadbed, the lead locomotive of the sixteen-car train broke loose and plowed a deep furrow through sandy soil for nearly 800 feet before coming to a stop at an angle that all but turned over. …

The crash occurred at Aviation Drive, a little-used road through a dump at the southeast end of Grand Central Air Terminal, at a point across San Fernando Road opposite the west end of Doran Street.

More than 170 passengers aboard the Lark, coming from San Francisco and within a half-hour of their Los Angeles destination, were severely shaken up when the crash came at 8:40 a.m. ….

As shown in the images below, not only did news photographers have great access to the accident, so did the general public — quite the opposite of today.

Derailed Southern Pacific locomotives
Oct. 19, 1935: The Southern Pacific Lark’s two locomotives are derailed in an accident in Glendale. The engine in the top photo of this post is shown here in the background, left of center. This photo appeared in the Oct. 20, 1935, Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Sand truck
Oct. 19, 1935: The remains of the sand truck after the train crashed into it are shown. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Harry Darms, Arthur Champlin and D.A. Woodruff
Oct. 19, 1935: From left are firefighter Harry Darms, engineer Arthur Champlin and firefighter D.A. Woodruff. All three men were on the locomotive when it crashed into a seven-ton truck stuck on the tracks in Glendale. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Train wreckage
Oct. 19, 1935: Crowds gather as a crane begins clearing wreckage from the train accident. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Derailed Southern Pacific locomotive
Oct. 19, 1935: Shown is another angle of the derailed Southern California locomotive shown in the top image of this post. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA

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