A Horse in a Railroad Bridge
W.O. Trine and Mr. Dugan Saved the Overland from a Wreck
Little did the passengers of the southbound overland Wednesday morning dream of their narrow escape from a horrible accident, and probably death to many of them. The credit of averting the terrible accident belongs to Mr. Dugan and W.O. Trine.
Mr. Dugan is the mail carrier from Henderson station to Springfield, and sleeps in a little cottage near the station and near Mr. Trine’s home. Shortly before the time of the southbound overland Mr. Dugan discovered that a horse was fastened in the little bridge just the other side of the station. hastily awaking Mr. Trine they went to the bridge and made strenuous efforts to release the imprisoned animal. While they were tugging away they heard the low roar of the fast approaching train bearing its precious load of souls and with a heroic burst of strength they succeeded in freeing the animal, which with Mr. Trine still holding onto its legs fell with a dull thud to the bottom of the ravine, just a moment before the train whisked past. Fortunately neither one was hurt.
Had it not been for the work of the two men it is very probably the train would have been ditched and thrown down a deep embankment, and the loss of life would have been something terrible.
To Messrs. Trine and Dugan both the passengers of the train and the Southern Pacific company should feel deeply indebted for the prompt and heroic action that saved many lives, much suffering and financial loss.” The Eugene Morning Register, April 2, 1896, pg. 1, col. 3. University of Oregon Knight Library, Newspaper Collection.
This story caught my eye – Mr. W.O. Trine was one of the first names I researched for a client many years ago. He was a local notable because of his running ability. “Foot races” were a popular event during this time period and Mr. Trine was serious contender. In 1905 he was hired as the first track coach at the Oregon Agricultural College (now known as Oregon State University) and was affectionately known as “Dad”. Sadly he died two years later of throat cancer. His death was reported in the Eugene Morning Register on July 14, 1907 on page 5. He was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in the Glenwood area of Eugene.