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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Denver & Rio Grande fatal wreck – 1917

As this D&RG train bound for Chama rounded a sharp curve on the line, about 58 miles east of Durango, the double-header train struck two cows. Fireman Vincent Cummins jumped from the lead engine as it began to roll off the tracks. He landed safely with only scratches. He immediately began looking for his engineer, Billy Edwards, who had also jumped. What he found as described by The Durango Herald story at the time was “a mutilated mass, crushed and mangled almost beyond recognition.” Edwards, a highly respected, 30-year employee had the previous week found property near Dolores on which to retire. He intended to end his service with the railroad shortly and engage in farming. Unfortunately, it was not to be. He left behind a wife in Chama, a son in Canada and two daughters in Wales. This is a photo of the aftermath of the derailment. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 86.04.10 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)