Lineman Hollister Statement

Q. Where were you engaged at work in May last?
A. Lineman on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Q. Well, now, where were you on Friday morning, the day of the big flood?
A. I was at Conemaugh at 8 o'clock.

Q. Where did you go from Conemaugh?
A. I went from there about half a mile east of there. There w as [sic] a washout came down off the hill there, and knocked the line all down. I went up there and fixed it up, and was there until, I judge, about 11 o'clock.

Q. Was that a slide off the hill?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Caused by the water rushing down the side of the hill?
A. Yes, sir, over the hill, and the sl ide [sic] came down on the north track.

Q. Did it obstruct the north track?
A. It blocked it so that they couldn't get no trains around there for a while anyway. Then, I came down off the hill, and workd [sic] there trying to save some of the western union poles along the river, and while I was working on the track there, I had my back toward the river, the first thing I knew, I -- was in the river, track and all.

Q. What time of day was that?
A. By the time I got up to Conemaugh, it was about 12 o'clock.

Q. What track w as [sic] it that gave way, that took you down into the river?
A. It was the track next to the river; I forget what number they call it; I think No. 4.

Q. How much of the track had gone down?
A. Well, I should judge, when I left there, it was all of 200 feet gone.

Q. Washed out into the river?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Ties and all?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did it affect the other track?
A. The other track wasn't fit to run on.

Q. Were all the tracks obstructed?
A. Three of the tracks at the point where I was were; one w as [sic] obstructed by the slide, and the other two by a washout from the river, and there was one track still safe, the second one from the hill.

Q. Was the water still rising when you left up there?
A. Yes, sir, I think it was; of course, I wasn't paying much attention and couldn't tell.

Q. Had you ever seen a flood in the Conemaugh before that?
A. Not since I have been there.

Q. How long have you been there?
A. Three years.

Q. Where were you on Thursday night?
A. At home.

Q. At Conemaugh?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, now, did it rain there all night or not?
A. I couldn't say for that; it must have rained all night the way the water was in the morning. The water was about five feet deep in our cellar when I got up in the morning.

Q. Where is yourhouse [sic] with reference to the station house at Conemaugh?
A. It was at the lower end of railroad street; the next to the last house.

Q. From what you saw of the track when you went up from Conemaugh that morning, do you think it was safe for the Mail of the Day Expresses to have proceeded eastward?
A. Not on the main track or the siding, but they could have went on the westbound track. We went on that track with the train Mr. Trump was on.

Q. Still the water was washing the tracks away, and there was no\telling what the result might be?
A. No, sir.

Q. Would you have considered it a prudent thing in you or Mr. Walkinshaw, to have sent them out that morning east, knowing all that had taken place?
A. According to what I knew, I wouldn't have sent them out, because of the track east of bridge 6. There was a man came down there between 9 & 10 o'clock, and told me that the westbound track was gone then.

Q. Who was tha tperson? [sic]
A. I don't know; he was an old humpbacked man, who boarded at Mrs. Keyys's.

Q. Employed in the Penna. Railroad Company's service?
A. No, sir.

Q. Did you tell Mr. Walkinshaw when you got back there the condition of things?
A. I didn't personally tell him; I left word there; he wasn't there at the time.

Q. What word did you leave?
A. I left word there that the tr ack [sic] the Mail stood on next to theriver [sic] had fallen in, and the other tracks wasn't safe to sent a train on east, because the water had kept washing cinder out in under the tracks, and after this other track caved in, it took the six foot with it.

Q. The s e w ashouts [sic] were about three fourths of a mile east of Conemaugh?
A. About that.

Q. You saw where the two Day Expresses and the Mail train stood before all that [sic] the flood came?
A. I did about three quarters of an hour before that time.

Q. Would you consider that they were in as safe a place as they could be put?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know under the circumstances of any place east or west of where that would have been any safer than where they were?
A. No, sir, I don't.

Q. So that Mr. Walkinshaw did, in your judgment, the very best that could be done under the circumstance, and what you would have done if you bad been in his place?
A. I would have done the same thing.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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