Wild West


Walter Hagen and his wife peered in confusion from their buggy into the driving rain and darkness. Returning home from the Culley Ranch north of Pueblo, Colorado, they’d reached the county bridge north of Eden only to find it had been washed out. While turning their rig, they’d caught sight of the lights of a southbound train. Suddenly, the headlamp of the locomotive had tilted upward at an odd angle and the lights in the passenger cars had stopped moving—then they went out. Only the beam of the headlamp remained. Then it too had gone dark.

Aboard the train fireman Frank Mayfield had been either shoveling coal into the firebox or peering at the tracks ahead with a lantern—he couldn’t recall which—when the steam engine lurched upward. “I lost my balance and was thrown from the train on the bank of the creek,” he said. “I must have struck partly on my head, as I was dazed and did not know what happened for several minutes.” What had happened was horrific.

Missouri Pacific Flyer No. 11 had just crossed the 96-foot-long trestle over Porter Draw, north

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