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Train Collision Sends More Than 50 Tourists to Hospital

June 18, 1995

ELY, Nev. (AP) _ A runaway railroad car traveling up to 60 mph slammed head-on Saturday into a train carrying tourists, sending 56 people to the hospital.

Most passengers escaped with cuts and bruises, and none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, said Jack Wood, administrator of William Bee Ririe Hospital in Ely.

At least three passengers with fractures were flown to University Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

The runaway car, owned by the Northern Nevada Railroad Corp., had been parked on a railroad siding when it somehow got on the main track.

It traveled for about five miles before colliding with a steam engine pulling two passenger cars and a flatbed loaded with tourists.

``The engineers are real shook up,″ said Lorraine Gleave, executive director of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which runs the tourist train. ``What happened is devastation beyond words to anyone associated with the museum.″

The impact caused major damage to the steam engine, but did not cause it or the cars to derail, she said. The runaway car was loaded with railroad ties.

The ride on the turn-of-the-century line is a popular tourist attraction in Ely, about 320 miles east of Reno. The cause of the 1:45 p.m. accident was under investigation.

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