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Great Northern Marysville Train Wreck, 1969 | by TrackWalker
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Great Northern Marysville Train Wreck, 1969


Seattle P-I June 6, 1969


MARYSVILLE- Two trainmen were killed and two others injured early Friday in a thundering, flaming crash of two Great Northern freight trains here.


A southbound express freight, clocked by two Marysville policemen "at over 50mph," rammed the caboose and three cars of the second freight on the GN main line near the depot.


Freight cars hurled off the main line and into the second freight engine and two cars, which were switching on a siding. The engineer and fireman on the switching engine were killed.


They were:


Joe Haegely, 42, of 2313 W. Newton St., Seattle, the engineer, and Howard Dearing, 27, Marysville, the fireman. Both were thrown out of their cab and died instantly.


The engineer and brakeman aboard the other freight, both Seattleites, were injured. They are:


John Schlosstein, 66, of 519 N. 104th St., treated at Everett General Hospital and released, and Hardy Clay, 23, of 4235 S. Juneau St., reported in critical condition.


Some 20 freight and flat cars and the two engines were derailed and a half dozen of the express freight's cars burst into flame when the two trains crashed at 3:45 a.m.


The impact propelled one or more cars into the Marysville depot, shearing about a fourth of the building off. No one was inside.


Sgt. John Faulkner of the Marysville Police Sept. said two officers, Sgt Tom Holstad and Patrolman Robert Curtiss clocked the express fright "at over 50 miles per hour" as it came through town.


Faulkner said the legal through-town speed limit for trains is 25 mph and that the city in the past has cited trains exceeding the limit. But he added that most trains slow down to observe the limit.


The spectacular crash tore up about 350 feet of main line tracks and Great Northern officials said an industrial track would be used to detour traffic.


The main line was expected to be repaired sometime early Saturday, the spokesman said. He said an investigation is in progress.


The express freight was hauling 35 cars, only one of which was loaded.


Police and other residents of Marysville said the thunderous crash, "like an earthquake," was felt all over the city. Parts of boxcars, including truck, were hurled 200 feet beyond the impact.


The 20 or so derailed cars lay in a jumbled tangle of wreckage along the tracks and the depot was a shambles.


Marysville fireman, aided by one truck from Everett, brought the fires under control before the endangered adjacent buildings.


Photo by Russell C. Johnson


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Taken on June 6, 1969