ittsburgh, Ft. Wayne, & Chicago.

PFt & C Wreck

Two freight trains of the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne, and Chicago road collided causing dynamite carried by one of the trains to explode, 19 Sep 1887. Killed were fireman, Fred Brough (engineer), __ Lyons, and George Smith.

ig Four Wreck, 1894.

THE SCRAP HEAP] Interesting Railroad Items Gathered from Various Points. ... The t. Wayne wreck train on the P.F. went through to Forest this morning to clear up a wreck caused by two freight trains colliding. About twenty-four cars were ditched, and a couple of the trainmen badley injured. All east bound trains were compelled to go around the wreck over the C.&.E., No. 39, due at 9:45, did not arrive until one o'clock. ... 1

assenger Station, 1896.

RAILROAD NOTES—The Pennsylvania promises to build a new passenger station at Forest, next year.2

ig Four, 1901.

Big Four Wreck

A Big Four wreck in the early 20th century occurred near Forest when a load of ore cars upset. The cars were probably from the Herzog quarry which was located at the McVitty stop south of Patterson.

Below is a close up view of the wreck. Some individuals might be recognizable. If you do recognize someone, please contact the Society using the Society link above so we can put names to these individuals. We would also like to know the date and location of the wreck. In the full-size photograph a building is just visible at the left so the train was probably north of Forest. The date of the photograph is unknown but the individual on the far left is dressed in what appears to be pre-1920 clothing.

Close-Up of Big Four wreck


  Freight Wreck Occurs on the Pennsy Near Forest. Wreck Crews were Called from Crestline and Ft. Wayne.

  Two West Bound and Three East Bound Passenger Trains Detoured Around the Scene of the Accident. The first wreck of any consequence that has occurred of the Ft. Wayne Crestline division of the P. Ft. W. & C. railroad for several months befell an east bound freight train on that road early this morning at a point between the stations of Dunkirk and Forest. The train was running at a rapid rate of speed when a truck under one end of a box car broke and in an instant several cars were piled up in a confused mass of debries. The cars were badly wrecked and the track was so badly torn up and blocked that both the wreck crew from Ft. Wayne and the one from Crestline were hurried to the scene. Fortunately no one was injured in the wreck but the track was so badly blocked that traffic was considerably delated before the debris was cleared away by the wreck crews. East bound passenger trains Nos. 6, 18, & 36 were sent around the scene of the wreck via. Dunkirk, the T. & O. C., Kenton and the Big Four to Forest. West bound passenger trains Nos. 21 and 39 were transferred around the wreck over the same lines. The track was cleared by the wreck crews this afternoon.


  Engineer George Horn, formely of the C. & E., who recently applied for a position on the C.H. & D., has been tendered a position on the Hamilton and Indianapolis division of the road. As the L.E. & W. R.R. has been notified by the steel companies that they cannot furnish any more rails this fall, the imporvements intended will be delayed until next spring. The last Cedar Point excrusion of the season has been run over the L.E. & W. R.R.3

Benjamin Burnett4

enjamin Burnett.

Benjamin was struck by a Pennsylvania train at Forest on March 13, 1904 as he was driving across their trackage in Forest.

Benjaman lived with his wife, Margret E. Burnett, in Mt. Blanchard village, Hancock county. They were born in Ohio in March, 1859 and February, 1864 respectively. They had a daughter, Lizzie M. Burnett, who was born in May, 1885. Burnett was a farmer.

orest Hotel  vs. Big Four, 1916.

(Associated Press Telegram)

  Upper Sandusky, O., Nov 24.'By remarkable chance no one was seriously injured when the Steel City Express, a fast Chicago to Pittsburgh passenger train on the Pennsylvania railroad, plunged through a derailer at Forest, near here, and ripped its way into the Forest hotel in a blinding snow storm early today.

  The train, known as number 136, was running fast when the Big Four reailroad crossing was reached and the engineer ould not see that the block signal for the crossing was set against him, so severe was the storm which was raging.

  The engine turned over on its side as it ploughed into the hotel which was badly damaged. The tender and mail car followed the engine. The seven coaches remained upon the track.

  The only person hurt was the mail clerk, whose name has not been learned and he was only slightly injured.5

ennsylvania R.R., 1927.

Pennsylvania and Big Four'Traffic Tied Up at Forest, Ohio

LIMA. Ohio, July 20 (AP)--Property damage of $100,000, injury of one man and a tie up of traffic on the main lines of the Pennsylvania and Big Four railroads resulted from a Pennsylvania freight wreck and fire at the crossing of the two roads at Forest, Hardin county, early today. The accident occurred in front of the station, a tank car of benzol being derailed. It and another car of benzol exploded, throwing burning oil over the station, an adjacent business building and several freight cars. Fire departments from Upper Sandusky and Kenton were summoned to fight the flames. L.C. Harmon, Forest groceryman, was injured by a falling wall. Traffic on the railroads was tied up all forenoon. A $50,000 block signal system of the Pennsylvania railroad was included in the damage.6

Pennsylvania Big Four Wreck
$250,000 Blaze

Bucyrus, July 20--Fire, due to explosion of two tank cars containing benzol on a Pennsylvania freight train early today, at Forest, near here caused damage estimated at more than $250,000. The explosion occurred after derailment of the train. Investigation was being made to determine the cause of the accident. A dozen  cars  were  derailed  and about 1,000 feet of track was torn up. The force of the explosion hurled the burning fuel over the Big Four depot and adjoining buildings, including the plant of the Dickleman [sic] Manfacturing Co., all of which were destroyed. Contents of the freight cars were burned. Flying brick cut and bruised Leonard Harman when a chain store of which he was manager, caved in. No one was seriously hurt. Fire departments from Upper Sandusky, Kenton and Dunkirk aided in fighting the flames which were under control shortly before noon. Traffic on the Pennsylvania and Big Four railroads was blocked. It was stated that the tracks would not be cleared until late today. Railroad officials declared that the newly constructed joint interlocking system, installed by the Big Four and Pennsylvania railroads at Forest were destroyed, for the most part by the accident. Work of the firemen was hampered when the water supply at Forest, was exhausted, water was then secured from a lake.7

Loss $100,000'Man Injured'Traffic Is Blocked.

LIMA, O. July 20.--(AP)--Property damage of $100,000, injury of one man and a tie up of traffic on the main lines of the Pennsylvania and Big Four Railroads resulted from a Pennsylvania freight wreck and fire at the crossing of the two roads at Forest, Hardin county, early today. The accident occurred in front of the station, a tank car of benzol being derailed. It and another car of benzol exploded, throwing burning oil over the station, and adjacent business building and several freight cars. Fire departments from Upper Sandusky and Kenton were summoned to fight the flames. L.C. Harmon, Forest grocery man, was injured by a falling wall. Traffic on the railroads was tied up all forenoon. A $50,000 block signal system of Pennsylvania railroad was included in the damage.8

Fire Damages Penn. Railway

Two Carloads of Benzol Explode When Eastbound Pennsylvania Freight Is Wrecked—Change in Wind Saves Village.

  Kenton and Upper Sandusky Firemen Fight Flames for Hours in Successful Effort To Prevent Heavy Damage to Surrounding Structures. (Special to The Star) FOREST, July 20. Resounding blasts of exploding benzol routed residents of this village from their beds at 5:30 o'clock this morning. They found the town being showered with liquid fire and in the midst of a $250,000 conflagration and freight train wreck. The Dickelman Manufacturing Co. and the Pennsylvania railroad were the [undecipherable] wreck and fire which started when two tank cars of an eastbound freight derailed in front of the depot.

  Fifteen cars piled up along the mainline Pennsylvania tracks adjacent to [undecipherable] section of Big Four and caught fire from the benzol [undecipherable] which [undecipherable] fourteen cars on a side track also burned. [undecipherable] of fighting [undecipherable] Kenton and Upper Sandusky departments were dispatched to prevent spread of the blaze in the business section. Offices and a storage room of the Dickelman company located near the tracks were burned to the ground. The Pennsylvania depot was a total loss. Equipment of a recently installed $50,000 interlocking block system at the Pennsylvania Big Four junction was rendered useless. Four hundred yards of double track mainline of the Pennsylvania was destroyed and piled high with burning cars. [undecipherable] and steel of the cars were twisted into grotesque shapes by the terrific heat. Traffic in both the Pennsylvania and Big Four has been suspended.9

Blaze Causes $150,000 Loss in Ohio Town—Wreck of Pennsylvania Benzol Tank Car Starts Blaze'Inferno Continues for House'As All Turn Out to Give Aid

FOREST, O., July 20--(Special)--Fire which broke out here at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday morning in the central business section of this city, when two cars of benzol gasoline exploded following the wreck of an eastbound freight train, coupled with the loss caused by the crash, is expected to [undecipherable] in damages estimated at approximately $200,000.10 The wreck was caused when a wheel on one of the oil cars came off, causing the smash. About 100 feet of track was torn up at the intersection of the Pennsylvania and Big Four railroads, while two cars were wrecked in addition to those destroyed by fire. Eight explosions of the burning oil threw the burning liquid on the Pennsylvania station and the main office and a large storage building of the Dickelman Manufacturing Co. The latter was burned to the ground. Fire also destroyed 11 cars of wheat, flour, lumber and rubber and was still raging early Wednesday afternoon. For some time it was believed that the entire northern section of the town would be destroyed by the flames, but after one house was partly burned and the personnel of the First National bank had started to move from the building, the 200 volunteer fire fighters and equipment sent from other cities gained partial control of the blaze. Fire trucks from Kenton and Upper Sandusky which were called to the burning sector restricted the fire to a large area. The only danger of the fire spreading was from continued explosions of the oil. Traffic on the Pennsylvania and the Big Four roads has been held up since 5:25 a.m. Wednesday morning because the track at the intersection of the two roads was torn up by the wreck. In addition to other damage caused, a $50,000 recently installed interlocking system regulating the blocks and signalling apparatus of the two roads was demolished by the wreck.

Fire Rages at Forest

Two other cars were wrecked in the smash but the rest of the train was reported intact with the locomotive only slightly injured. L.C. Harmon,11 manager of a Kroger grocery store at Forest, reported the only casualty of the day when he was slightly injured by the falling walls of the Dickelman property. Altho most of the attention at the present time is devoted in fighting the fire, wrecking cars and equipment are being sent to the scene by the railroad. Freight cars are being held on all the sidings along the Pennsylvania while passenger trains on the same roads have been sent to Marion on the Erie and back to their own tracks on the Big Four from Marion. J.M. Little, claim agent of the Ft. Wayne division of the railroad, estimated that damage resulting from the destruction of the material in the cars wrecked would be placed at approximately $85,000.


This added to the loss suffered from the razing of the Dickelman buildings, estimated at $25,000, the destruction of the $50,000 interlocking system and unestimated damage from the burning of the station and the wrecking of the tracks, places the loss at a very high sum. A similar wreck on the Pennsylvania railroad occurred here on May 28 when a defective wheel on a tank car caused several freight cars to leave the track, tearing up more than 300 yards of ties and rails. The interlocking system at the Big Four-Pennsylvania junction was destroyed with a resultant loss of approximately $50,000.

Fred Wright

Wind Change Saves Town.

  Fortunate change of the wind from a northwest [undecipherable] to the east was credited to saving the [undecipherable] rest of the village from destruction. The explosion of the tank car contents threw blazing liquid high into the air and the sudden change in the wind [undecipherable] eased [undecipherable] south of the tracks. The office building of the Dickelman company was a huge structure and [undecipherable] served as a hotel. Contents of the freight cars were complete destroyed included in the [undecipherable] were wheat, [undecipherable], lumber, rubber, and oil. The train which figured in the wreckage of the fast freight train and fire was traveling at a fast rate at 5:23 a.m.

Cecil Young

H. Dale Shields' cousin, Cecil Young is seen with his head turned towards the photographer. Joe __ is facing the photographer. They are both at the C.C.C.&St.L. R.R. and Dickelman Manfacturing Co. fire of July 20th.

Car Explodes


  Only one injury case was reported in connection with the fire. L.C. Harman, manager of a local chain grocery, sustained slight injuries when he was struck by flying brick from a collapsing wall. He was assisting in fighting the fire at the Dickelman plant. Work in fighting the fire was greatly hampered when the water supply was exhausted. Water was being taken from a lake. Further [undecipherable] from the fire was not expected when visiting departments suspended operations shortly before noon.

Depot Burns

UPPER SANDUSKY, O., July 20.--Explosion of a tank car on a Pennsylvania freight train at Forest early today destroyed the Big Four depot, the railroad offices and adjacent structures, entailing a loss that may exceed $25,000.12

  Leonard Harman was bruised and cut by flying brick. The blast occurred at 5 a.m., when an east bound freight was derailed, thirteen cars, including the tank car, turning over, at the Big Four crossing. The plant of the Dickelman [sic] manufacturing Co. and 20 cars and their contents, besides the station were destroyed. The fire departments of Kenton and this city were summoned. The fire, still raging three hours later was reported out of control, having extended to the farmers' co-operative elevator.

The tank car which exploded is believed to have contained Benzol. Traffic was blocked on both rail roads by the wreck and fire.

UPPER SANDUSKY, July 20-- Explosion of a tank car on the  Pennsylvania freight train at Forest early today destroyed the Big Four depot, the railroad offices, and adjacent structures, entailing a loss that may exceed $25,000.13

NEARBY HAPPENINGS.'Accident Brings Endurance Tree Sitting to End at Lima'Lad Establishes Record.14

... Forest village officials have turned over to the city of Kenton a check for $400 in full settlement for the services given by the Kenton fire department at the fire there on July 20, 1928 [sic]. The check was received fro the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as the fire originated by two tank cars catching fire.15 ...

Clearing the wreck 16

ennsylvania R.R., 1960s

Damaged Cars
Wide Angle Shot
Canadian National at Night
P.S.L. Boxcar
Canadian National Boxcar

This Pennsylvania R.R. wreck occurred in Forest in 1960. The first photograph was taken looking west. The elevator can be seen on the right. The second photograph was taken with the photograph standing on the south side of the tracks and looking northeast. The photographer was standing on the north side of the tracks and looking southeast in photograph 3.

Looking West
Warner Street Crossing (SR37)

In the photograph below, the switch tower can be seen in the left background behind the tractor trailer. Also, to the right of the trailer the old freight house can be seen. The wreck also brought out many spectators.

Switch Tower

ennsylvania R.R., 1970.

There is no date for this wreck. It is believed to have occurred in 1970. The photograph was taken by Kim Hester.

Pennsylvania Wreck (c1970)