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This article appeared in the Hopkins Herald shortly after the wreck of #27 in nearby Wayzata. Initial reports cited a hotbox and broken axle as the cause of the derailment of Extra 3023 East that lead to the collision with the Western Star.

Thanks to the Wayzata Historical Society for providing this clipping. They are housed in the GN's Wayzata depot on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, and have a museum with many Great Northern items.

Click image for larger image: Full text and photos below...

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Broken Drawbar Blamed in Minnetonka Train Wreck

— Not Hot Box—

The forward drawbar of freight car broke thus derailing the car involved in the train wreck last Saturday according to Charles W.Moore, public relations director for Great Northern Railway Co. The air line was severed when the drawbar fell. Eugene Wicklund, engineer of tht 135 car freight, noticed the loss of air pressure and immediately radiophoned the approaching mail train. A broken drawbar doesn't happen as often as a hotbox which heats up an axle bearing.

Previously, a broken axle which often results from a hot box had been blamed for the derailment. Great Northern officials have ascertained, however, that the drawbar fell to the track in front of the car causing it to swerve onto the other track.

33 Injured

Moore reported the latest toll of injuries was 33. One young girl was listed as injured but only accompanied her mother who had been hurt to the hospital. Six Great Northern employees, three Pullman employees and six railway post office clerks were among the injured. Moore said about half of those brought to hospitals for medical attention were released at once. A bus transported passengers bound for the Willmar area and the rest of the passengers boarded a train rerouted through St. Cloud, Minn.


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Aftermath -"Slow down. No. 27, we're coming to a stop," crackled softly over the radiophone. Engineer of No. 27 turned up the volume and listened more closely as the message was repeated. "Slow down No. 27..."Suddenly, as the train rounded a curve, a freight car lying across the tracks loomed ahead. There wasn't any time to do anything but set the brakes before the CRASH! The west-bound mail train buckled and and mail cars zigzagged off the tracks; some spilling over into a nearby swamp.


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DAZED BY THE onrush of misfortune, William E. Brown, engineer of Great Northern fail-mail train No. 27, rests dejectedly on the tracks in front of his locomotive. Immediately behind Brown is a mangled section ripped from freight car NYC 76430 which jackknifed onto the track in front of the mail train. A fire extinguisher had broken loose at impact and banged down on Brown's back and head.