Statement of James McCallin

Q. Where were you on the day of the big flood at Johnstown?
A. We were at Conemaugh.

Q. What were you engaged in at that time?
A. I was firing Mail that morning.

Q. Well now, after you got to Conemaugh, where w as [sic] your train placed?
A. After we got to Conemaugh, and laid there a while, they shifted us on the river siding, right near the station and near the river.

Q. By whose orders?
A. I couldn't say.

Q. How long did you remain there?
A. Well, we remained there from the time that we arrived there, (it was nearly on time) until the flood came. When we first came there, we were on the main track, and then they shifted on that siding, and there we remained.

Q. W hat, [sic] if anything, did you hear when you were at Conemaugh about the safety of the dam?
A. After we were there some time, we heard they were expecting the dam to burst; that was the rumor.

Q. Who did you get that word from?
A. I didn't get it from any person that had authority; it was just the street talk.

Q. Do you know of anybody there, passengers or employes, that ever apprehended that the breaking of the dam would result in the water pouring over the yard at Conemaugh as it did?
A. No, sir, I didn't hear anything at that time, and I don't think any person realized that it would amount to as much as it did.

Q. Well/now, [sic] how many years have you been engaged in railroading?
A. Two years in October.

Q. Have you seen floods in the Conemaugh before?
A. No, sir, I am a stranger in this part of the country. I am from the eastern part of the state, and I have never seen the Conemaugh river that high before. I had only been running through to Altoona not quite eight months, and that was the first time I ever saw the river th at [sic] high.,

Q. Did you hear the alarm whistle that was given by a man by the name of Hess?
A. Yes, sir, I heard that, andseen [sic] the train he came down on.

Q. Was that alarm whistle, the means, do you think, of notifying a good many people to escape?
A. I think it w as;it [sic] drew my attention to it, but I still staid on the engine until I seen the trees and water coming down ahead of us.

Q. Well, up until the time the flood came, had the water from the river got out over the yard any?
A. No, sir, the water hadn't got out over the yard. It raised some while we were there; in the neighborhood of two or three feet. Itraised [sic] high enough to wash that bridge away below Conemaugh a little while before the flood came, but on our side, the railroad side, the water hadn't got out over the yard any where we were.

Q. It was raining all morning, wasn't it?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is there any accommodations that you know of at Conemaugh by which these passengers could have been taken care of better than the cars they were in?
A. I couldn't say a great deal about that. I wasn't very well acquainted there; I don't know what kind of accommodations they had at Conemaugh, as I never stopped there.

Q. Where were you when the flood came?
A. On the hillside. While it was coming, or after I seen it coming down the track, I left the engine and w ent [sic] over on the side of the hill, and had to run pretty fast to get there. After I started to run, the water came down over the track and was going over towards the side of the hill, box cars and everything with it, and that was kind of headingme [sic] off.

Q. Were any or yourcrew [sic] lost?
A. No, sir.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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