Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 10

February 10, 1913 – Two robbers tried to wreck a Soo passenger train that left St. Paul at 8:40 for Chicago this evening by shunting it onto a sidetrack at North St. Paul. The passenger train collided with a freight train and cut a boxcar in two. One passenger coach was derailed by the impact; however, no passengers were injured.

The passenger crew and porters who went to investigate saw two men running toward the plant of the North St. Paul Table Company. They opened fire on them. The would-be robbers returned fire and there was a running revolver fight for several minutes.

Nearly everyone in the village was disturbed by the noise of the collision and the crack of the shots. Charles Kliede, the village marshal, a deputy, and a railroad detective joined in the chase, but the suspects escaped.

Residents of the village said last night that they believed it was the plan to wreck the train and then rob the passengers during the excitement and confusion.

Examination of the switch showed that it had been opened with a key. Detectives will investigate to see whether the key had been stolen from an employee on the road.

The passenger train was running at low speed as it neared the outskirts of North St. Paul. There is a curve in the road where the switch was opened, and when the engineer was saw the red light and boxcar ahead, he jammed on the emergency brakes, but failed to stop the heavy train, the force of the impact knocking a coach off the rails. The passengers aided the crew in jacking the car back on the tracks. The trip was resumed after a delay of about a half hour.

Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Train Robbers Fail to Wreck Soo Train. Switch Opened at North St. Paul—Soo Passenger Hits a Freight. Crew Fires on Suspects—Village Posse Is Outdistanced in Chase. Passengers Escape With Jolting—Detectives to Investigate Today.”; Feb. 11, 1913; p. 1.


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