The Blizzard of 1888; the Impact of this Devastating Storm on New York Transit
By G. J. Christiano
When the storm first hit New York City, the temperature was mild as a light rain began to fall on March 11th, gradually increasing in ferocity. By March 12th these torrential rains changed to heavy snow and buried the unprepared city in drifts of up to thirty feet deep! The temperature plunged and winds reached over eighty miles per hour. This continued for the next 36 hours. Sources vary on the total devastation caused by this massive storm, but over 400 people lost their lives, some 200 in New York City.
This snow storm became legendary, earning the nickname "The Great White Hurricane," after it paralyzed the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine. Ships at sea sunk or were grounded, telegraph and telephone wires were down cutting off communication between major cities. All transportation was immobilized. An estimated $25 million was caused in property damage from fires alone. Many cities were hard hit by the blizzard, but New York City was hit hardest of all.
In New York City, by noon on Monday, the snow had fallen to depths of between two to five feet, with drifts piling up over fifteen to thirty feet in many sections of the metropolis.
On Tuesday, the East River was so thoroughly coated with ice that many people were able to walk across from Brooklyn to Manhattan. This was soon stopped by several tugs which chopped up the ice.
Conditions were bad in stores in and around Manhattan. By Monday morning, few milk or bread wagons were able to make deliveries. Food shelves were almost bare! Few stores were even open. Some owners attempted to clean their walks, but the gale threw back two shovels-full for every one flung into the air. People who had to be out during the blizzard had some strange experiences:
One man suffered a gash on his forehead when he fell into a snow drift.The drift was soft and deep, but his head struck the leg of a dead horse buried there.For some time afterward, the man showed his friends the wound and boasted that he was the first person ever kicked by a dead horse.
Another strange incident occurred to a middle aged gentleman on his way home in Manhattan.The man had walked for some distance and was finally overcome by the cold.He staggered to a lamppost for support, hoping he would regain his strength.Instead he fell asleep. His face began to freeze to the post and the cold numbed his jaws, shrinking them so they could no longer hold his false teeth. Finally, he woke from his stupor and stumbled home. There he collapsed from cold and exhaustion. The following morning, he realized his false teeth were gone! He returned to the lamppost and found them there, firmly stuck to the ice on the post.
In the suburbs, the snow drifts reached fantastic heights. A man living on Long Island had to leave his house to buy some needed groceries. He set out on a homemade pair of snowshoes for a store about a mile away. He walked on top of snowdrifts, but did not realize how huge they were. Then he looked down and saw some very tall trees. He realized that the drifts were about sixty feet high!
It was many weeks before the last signs of the deepest snow drifts disappeared. It was reported that one tremendous drift lasted until July!
In the years after the blizzard, the weather in New York changed. It was thought that the city would never be struck so heavily by snow. Nevertheless, at 3:20 in the morning of December 26, 1947, a great snowstorm began. It snowed almost continually until shortly after three o'clock in the morning of the next day. About twenty-five inches of snow fell.
Toward the afternoon on the first day, New Yorkers were having difficulty getting home. Buses and taxis were jammed and were skidding and stalling all the way.
Many people were forced to spend the night in poorly heated train coaches. Others decided to try to walk home, but were forced to sleep in hotels the following day.
Some of the figures of the 1947 storm include 106,000,000 tons of snow removed, 9,800 autos had to be dug out of great snow mounds, and 18,000 men were hired to rid New York of its countless drifts.
But because of the lack of wind, that winter storm was not a blizzard. Therefore, it could not be placed in the same category as the big Blizzard of 1888. The'88 Blizzard would go down in history as one of the worst natural disasters to befall a major city.
There is no overstating the significant impact this tragedy had on the metropolis, especially on transportation. The resulting standstill on the elevated lines resulted in the city adopting a plan to build subways. This plan was formulated in 1894 and eventually construction on the subway began in 1900. The Blizzard of 1888 was reported at length in all the newspapers. It took many days for the city to dig its way out and took even longer to recover fully from such a severe blow.
The following are excerpts from major New York City dailies pertaining to the devastating nor'easter that struck the East Coast from March 11 through March 14, 1888.
The New York Times · Tuesday, March 13, 1888
IN A BLIZZARD'S GRASP.
The worst storm the city has ever known.
Business travel completely suspended.
New York helpless in a tornado of wind and snow which paralyzed all industry, isolated the city from the rest of the country, caused many accidents and great discomfort, and exposed it to many dangers.
The storm of wind and rain, which began to sweep over this city and the neighborhood on Sunday evening, gathered force as the night progressed. The temperature began to fall albeit and snow descended in succession and the wind be- came boisterous. Before daylight dawned yesterday a remarkable storm, the most annoying and detrimental in its results that the city has ever witnessed, was in full progress.
When the people began to stir to go about their daily tasks and vocations, they found that a blizzard, just like those they have been accustomed to read about as occurring in the far West had struck this city and its environs and had held an embargo on the travel and traffic of the greatest city on the continent. What the presence of a blizzard meant was soon manifest.
Before the day had well advanced, every horse-car and elevated railroad train in the city had stopped running; the streets were almost impassable to men or horses by reason of the huge masses of drifting snow; the electric wires- telegraph and telephone -- connecting spots in the city or opening communication with places outside were nearly all broken; hardly a train was out from the city or came into it during the entire day; the mails were stopped, and every variety of business dependent on motion or locomotion was stopped.
Thus the city, to a great extent, was at a standstill yesterday, and the prospects are not much better for to-day. People vexed at the collapse of all the principal means of intercommunication and transportation became reflective, and the result was a general expression of opinion that an immediate and radical improvement was imperative. So the blizzard may accomplish what months, if not years, of argument might have failed to do.
Probably it had not been for the blizzard the people of the city might have ignored one for an indefinite time enduring the nuisance of electric wires dangling from poles, of slow trains running on the trestlework, and slower cars drawn by horses in the streets dangerous with their center tearing rails. Now two things tolerably certain that a system of a really rapid transit which cannot be made inoperable by storms must be straightaway devised and as speedily as possible constructed and that all the electric wires -- telegraph, telephone, fire alarms, and illuminating -- must be put underground without any delay.
The elevated roads and the elevated electric wires are not only made useless by a severe storm, but they are made dangerous. The city is liable to be put into darkness and the consequent perils. There is also that danger of conflagration through the failure of the fire alarm wires.
To the great majority of municipal and suburban New-Yorkers the great blizzard was a surprise party of the worst kind. It began soon after midnight, and those who work on the newspapers -- editors, reporters, compositors, pressmen, as well as the news vendors -- went home between 2 and 4 o'clock yesterday morning realizing that an unusual tempest had begun. So did the marketmen and milkmen when they turned out for their usual labors.
The milkmen, in fact were in many cases unable to get any milk at the stations on account of the non-arrival of the trains; the news vendors did not have the morning papers at the houses, and the bakers failed to come round with the morning rolls. Thackeray says that it is the small ills of life that worry the most, and probably thousands of New-Yorkers yesterday morning -- good, steady churchgoing heads of families when they had to get through their breakfasts without their favorite newspaper, their hot buttered roll, and their fragrant coffee enriched with the boiling milk began to seriously question whether life was worth living after all, with all those trials and tribulations to undergo.
As early as 7 o'clock the snow had got a good deal too deep for stout men to travel in with ease and the rapidity with which it grew worse was simply marvelous. The wind seemed to have a rotatory (sic) motion as well as a terrible direct propelling force.
It had a power of slinging the snow into doorways and packing it up against the doors; of sifting it through window frames of piling it up in high drifts at street corners, of twirling it into hard mounds around elevated station, such as most New-Yorkers had never seen before. For the first time in their lives they knew what a Western blizzard was.
Not that the wind was at all content with such doings. They were merely its playful tricks. Its spite was shown in driving showers of sleet and icy shot into one's face that stung worse than the stings of the modest hornets. If the hapless pedestrian tried to escape by turning his face away the first thing he knew an extra gust took him, whirled him around like a teetotum, and giving him a ----- ----- (?) that blinded him and generally used him up so that he didn't know anything, left him to his fate for the once entirely and completely discouraged.
In looking back at the events of yesterday the most amazing thing to the residents of this great city must be the ease with which the elements were able to overcome the boasted triumph of civilization, particularly in those respects which philosophers and statesmen have contended permanently marked our civilization and distinguished it from the civilization of the old world -- our superior means of intercommunication. Before the fury of the great blizzard they all went down, whether propelled by steam or electricity. The elevated trains became useless; so did the telegraph wires, the telephone wires, the wires for conveying the electric lights, the wires for giving the alarms of fire. And, worse than useless, they became dangerous.
It is hard to believe in this last quarter of the nineteenth century that for even one day New-York could be so completely isolated from the rest of the world as if Manhattan Island was in the middle of the South Sea.
The New York Sun · Tuesday, March 13, 1888
BLIZZARD WAS KING.
The Metropolis Helpless Under Snow.
Hardly a Wheel Turns.
Business Knocked Flat as if By a Panic.
Plays, Trials, Funerals, all Postponed.
Fifty Train Loads of Passengers Stuck on the Main Lines.
Electric Lights Out.
Mighty little news got into town or got out of it.
The Elevated Roads After a Day's Paralysis Get a Half Hold Again on Travel.
It was as if New York had been a burning candle upon which nature had clapped a snuffer, leaving nothing of the city's activity but a struggling ember.
At little after 12 o'clock on Sunday night, or Monday morning, the severe rain that had been pelting down since the moment of the opening of the church doors suddenly changed to a sleet storm that plated the sidewalks with ice. Then began the great storm that is to become for years a household word, a symbol of the worst of weathers and the limit of nature's possibilities under normal conditions.
At a quarter past 6 o'clock, when the extremely modified sunlight forced its way to earth, the scene in the two great cities that the bridge unites was remarkable beyond any winter sight remembered by the people. The streets were blocked with snowdrifts. The car tracks were hid, horse cars were not in the range of possibilities, a wind of wild velocity howled between the rows of houses, the air was burdened with soft, wet, clinging snow, only here and there was a wagon to be seen, only here and there a feebly moving man.
The wind howled, whistled, banged, roared, and moaned as it rushed along. It fell upon the house sides in fearful gusts, it strained great plate glass windows, rocked the frame houses, pressed against doors so that it was almost dangerous to open them.
It was a visible, substantial wind, so freighted was it with snow. It came in whirls, it descended in layers, it shot along in great blocks, it rose and fell and corkscrewed and zigzagged and played merry havoc with everything it could swing or batter or bang or carry away.
It was Monday morning, when a day of rest from shopping had depleted the larders in every house, and yet there were no milk carts, no butcher wagons, no butcher wagons, no basket-laden grocer boys, no bakers' carriers. In great districts no attempt was made to deliver the morning papers. The cities were paralyzed.
Few of the women who work for their living could get to their work places. Never, perhaps, in the history of petticoats was the imbecility of their designer better illustrated. "To get here I had to take my skirts up and clamber through the snowdrifts," said a wash-woman when she came to the house of the reporter who writes this. She was the only messenger from the world at large that reached that house up to half past 10 o'clock.
"With my dress down I could not move half a block," It was so with thousands of women; the thousand few who did not turn back when they had started out. Thus women were seen to cross in front of THE SUN office and at many of the busiest corners up town. But all the women in the streets assembled together would have made a small showing. They are said to be much averse to staying in, but they stayed in as a rule yesterday. At half past 10 o'clock not a dozen stores on Fulton street in this city, had opened for business. Men were making wild efforts to clean the walks, only to see each shovelful of snow blown back upon them and piled against the doors again.
"Have the girls come?" an employer asked of his partner. "Girls!" said the porter: "I have not seen a woman blow through Fulton street since I've been here."
The street was dead. Here and there a truck moved laboriously, but more trucks were stuck in drifts and the horses were being led away from them. The elevated roads were running trains semi-occasionally at their early hour, and mainly over only certain parts of their routes.
Only the East River ferry, the Fulton , was making its trips. The Brooklyn elevated was shock-a-block with an engine broken down and a solid line of trains from Terry to Greene avenue. The big bridge was next to useless. A dense mass of men were packed in the Brooklyn depot, and a shuttle train run by a dummy [the reporter is referring to a old-style "dummy steam engine" in common use many years earlier] was pecking dainty mouthfuls out of the great multitude running now and would have done to hitch cars to it. That would simply have been to have grips torn out of the car bottoms. The attendants would not allow any man to attempt to walk over the aerial footway.
As the hours went on and noon drew nigh the storm lost none of its severity. Dusk came and then darkness, and the wonderful visitation was still in progress. Still the streets were banked high with rifts of snow, still the wind roared and howled and bellowed and flung itself against the city's walls, still the horse cars were cut off their tracks and the pillared roads were idle, still the wagons were few, the women were obliterated from the outdoor scenes, the pelting snow and sleet blinded men's eyes, the cold wind numbed man and beast, the uproar of wild voices continued.
The streets were littered with blown-down signs, tops of fancy lamps, and all the wreck and debris of projections, ornaments, and movables. Everywhere horse cars were lying on their sides; entrenched in deep snow, lying across the tracks, jammed together and in every conceivable position. The city's surface was like a wreck-strewn battle field.
Locomotion was especially difficult on account of human helplessness. Men were constantly thrown against one another and were continually falling on the sidewalks. A woman attempting to cross Nassau street was obliged to call for help. She said she had lost her strength, and her clothing was so entangled with her limbs that she could not move.
Two men helped her to the sidewalk. Up town, well-dressed women begged the drivers of private carriages to let them into the vehicles. Their manifest helplessness often got them the opportunities to ride.
So fierce was the wind that sparrows could not fly against it. They rested in the windows of THE SUN building, and started out against the air to stand still with wings fluttering vainly. If they attempted to fly with the gale they were hustled along like stones thrown with fearful force.
So amazing, so unprecedented was the situation that at 3 o'clock in the afternoon the only vehicles in Printing House square were two abandoned horse cars covered with sleet stuck horseless in the snow. The only human beings to be seen were a fat policeman knee deep in a drift and three boys on the sidewalk.
When dusk came there was no abatement of the fury of the blizzard. It howled more and more loudly, accentuated by the darkness and absence of all distracting sounds. New York had at last experienced at least one day with a Western blizzard.. At last weather had been felt the like of which no old inhabitant ventured to say he had ever seen in this neighborhood. The city went into gas-lighted rooms and its heated houses, and its parlors and beds tired, wet, helpless, and full of amazement.
The New York Sun · Tuesday, March 13, 1888
From the same newspaper, the New York Sun, Tuesday, March
13, 1888, an article appearing on another page of this edition. (Note: almost the entire edition was devoted to reports onthe devastation of the storm).
ELEVATED ROADS HELPLESS.
Tens of Thousands of Passengers Caught Between Stations.
Never has there been such a day as yesterday in the history of the elevated railroads. It was not supposed that a snow storm could seriously affect travel on the trestles, but before 10 o'clock all attempt at regularity in dispatching and running trains was abandoned, and not one-tenth of the number of trains usually in progress on the roads were in motion. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon notices were put out that no trains were running. A little before dark these notices reached the up-town stations. They were chestnuts then.
In some cases the agents continued to sell tickets to all those who had faith to buy until the formal notice from below was received that gave authority to suspend nickel gathering.
There were three leading elements in the difficulties that beset the elevated railroad men. First, though not necessarily most important, was the slipperiness of the rails, which rendered it difficult and dangerous to round curves, and almost impossible to climb steep grades, or stop within the required bounds at stations. For this reason alone trains were obliged to move slowly and with added caution on account of the blinding, whirling snow which hid all objects at less than a block away. Secondly, the snow really had a chance at the elevated structures where, as at 145th street, west, and Eighty-ninth street, east, there were many sidings on which cars and engines are stored during the inactive hours of the night. At such places trains are made up in the morning to take passengers down town, and yesterday morning when the employees of the elevated road came to get cars and engines they found great drifts in front of them. These had to be cleared away before anything could be done and as the wind heaped up the snow almost as fast as it could be cleared away, a considerable delay was unavoidable and it required a special force of men with brooms and pails of salt water to keep the movable rails in working order. Even as the men labored at this branch of the work the salt water froze in the pails, and whenever a train arrived at a terminus it took several minutes of patient, hard endeavor to loosen the rails so that the switch could be thrown over. To all these causes for delay should be added the influence of inertia, for once a blockade is begun on a system of tracks, every minute adds to it, and a delay is bound to increase in force from hour to hour, just as a train gains speed in running down a grade.
ON THE WEST SIDE.
Although many less passengers went to the stations on the west side north of Fifty-ninth street than usual, the platforms became crowded by 9 o'clock, for few of such trains as came along stopped at the appointed intervals, it often happened that passengers waited upward of half an hour for a train to arrive only to be refused entrance to it when finally stopped at the station. The express train which takes passengers from the New York and Northern road to the Battery with few stops en route, waited for an hour beyond its schedule time for any train to arrive from the north at 155th street. Two trains of this kind are run on the west side via Ninth avenue, the first leaving at 8 and the second at 9 o'clock. The second did not attempt the trip yesterday. Way trains along the Ninth avenue division, south of Fifty-ninth street was with reasonable regularity until nearly 10 A. M., and a few hundred passengers were therefore fortunate enough to get to their places of business nearly on time. But these were only those who lived near Fifty-ninth street, for at that station all southward bound trains were densely crowded, and few were admitted at other stations. Some of the trains were so heavily loaded that the bodies of the cars were depressed until the flanges of the wheels grated against the floors. As there are no sharp curves on that line the trains moved at nearly their schedule speed until the general blockade affected the division. Traffic was substantially suspended on Ninth avenue at noon.
Trains on Sixth avenue were blocked much earlier on account of the curves, and the greater demand for transportation on that division. At ten minutes past 10 a train stopped at Twenty-third street, and after a wait of several minutes the guards announced that there was a solid block of trains extending southward as far as Chambers street. Most of the "standees" and a few of the others promptly left the train, and proceeded the rest of the way down town on foot. At that station the ticket agent had sensibly closed the gate to his office so that patrons were not induced to buy tickets and endure a hopeless wait upon the chilly platform.
At half past 10 there was a narrow escape from an accident similar to that which resulted so fatally at Seventy-sixth street on the east side. A downward train was pulling into the station when the engineer saw directly in front of him the rear car of another train. He had not been informed that the blockade ex- tended so far north. He applied the brakes at once, but on account of the slipperiness of the tracks they had little effect, and the result was that his engine bumped smartly against the platform of the car in front. A general fright ensued in both trains; but there were no injuries recorded either to people or rolling stock.
Rumors of every kind were afloat during the afternoon and they grew to great proportions as the news spread about the collision at Seventy-sixth street. The most striking and startling report said that a train had been blown off the track at the great curve on the west side line between 110th and 105th streets. This was utterly without foundation as no trains had passed over that section of road since 10 o'clock.
As the blockade was gradually relieved on lower Sixth avenue, or the company ceased to try to run trains , a few cars were sent northward with workmen on board to look after the switches and keep the tracks as clear as possible.
THE EAST SIDE LINE
The condition of things was little, if any, better on the Second and Third avenue divisions than on the west side. The condition at Seventy-sixth street brought about an immediate suspension of traffic on Third avenue but for two or three hours after it occurred there were blockades at the south, especially along the Bowery. It was discovered early in the day that any attempt to run trains to South Ferry would result in forming solid blockade south of Chatham square; and about noon they were notified that no trains would be run below Grand street. At irregular intervals, however, trains were dispatched from the City Hall station, but passengers were warned that they might not be able to get any further than Chatham square.
After the middle of the day there was no attempt made to run trains to the north on Third avenue, but the stations were besieged with people who wanted to get back to Harlem or to the Thirty-fourth street ferry, or to the Grand Central depot. Importunate passengers who hunted up Train Dispatcher Carroll of the City Hall station were informed that their only chance for getting to Harlem was to walk to the Grand street station of the Second avenue division, whence trains would be sent north at intervals of "when they could."
"They won't stop this side of Sixth street." Said Mr. Carroll.
In consequence of this information and the general knowledge that trains were running on Second avenue, a great crowd of pushing, frost-bitten, but good-humored passengers gathered upon the Grand street platform. Trains of two cars were sent out toward Harlem as fast as trains from the north came in and the switches could be operated, and there were occasional delays from broken couplings that had to be replaced. Even at this the cars were run nearly beyond the depot, so that only the rear platform was available for entrance. In struggling for a place many of the passengers fell to the trestle and there were narrow escapes from tumbles into the street. Mr. Carroll's word was nearly correct. No stops were made on most of the trains short of Thirty-fourth street, and a howling mob of disappointed ticket-buying patrons was left on the platforms of the more southern stations. Even when stops were made it was only to let passengers off, and the engineer drew the trains to points several rods from the platform, so that passengers had to get down to the narrow walk alongside the rail and walk back. There was often an interval of forty-five minutes between trains on Second avenue going up town, although the down trains ran more frequently.
At the headquarters of the elevated roads there was the usual ignorance of what was going on on the various divisions. At 2 o'clock P.M. no one there had heard of the accident at Seventy-sixth street. Manager Hain was at home sick, and the Superintendent was out trying to untangle the snarl on Sixth avenue.
The New York Sun · Tuesday, March 13, 1888
BY ELEVATED AND BY LADDER.
Here's a Specimen of the Fun 50,000 People Had Yesterday.
A reporter of THE SUN, who had an early assignment requiring his presence in the lower part of the city, had what seemed to him a very unpleasant experience of elevated rapid transit under the conditions of yesterday, but it was one that was shared by at least 50,000 other New Yorkers at the same time. He reached the Eighteenth street down-town station on Sixth avenue a little after 8 o'clock A. M. No train was in sight, and he was told that "no train had come down for thirty-five minutes," and "none had gone up for a h---of a while." (sic) After some ten minutes of waiting a down train slowly crawled to the station. It was loaded to the muzzle. There were some persons aboard who wanted to get off there. To enable them to do so the men nearest the gates had to climb over them to the station platform before the gates could be opened. Three trains similarly laden came in, and moved out with their seats, aisles, and platforms so packed that not even one small boy more could have got aboard.
Finally, at half past 8 o'clock, the reporter got foothold upon a car platform, and by general sway and squeeze among his fellow victims that brought out a chorus of grunts and howls the gate was closed behind him.
The train moved down a little below Seventeenth street and stopped. It stayed there more than two hours. Then it moved ten feet and stopped another hour; ten feet more and another hour; finally to a little below Sixteenth street, and there it stuck until 5 minutes before 3 o'clock.
Meanwhile, men took some desperate measures to reach the Fourteenth street station, less than two blocks away, or the street. A few clambered out on the west side of the cars to the foot-wide top of the iron wall, almost level with the car platforms, and balancing upon it, supporting themselves against the cars, walked to the station platform. Many got out on the east side and walked the ties to the same point. The ties were slippery, and, such was the force of the gale much of the time, that those who attempted these perilous feats were in imminent danger of being blown from the track into the street, and found themselves compelled to go on their hands and knees. The blinding force of the drifting snow lent an additional peril to the desperate endeavor, particularly at the moments of greatest risk, when the escaping victim of the train let himself down to feel with his toes for the single connecting tie between the down and up tracks, and when turning on that scant perch he made his plunge for the ties of the up track beyond.
After a long time somebody in the street raised a ladder. It was too short to reach the track. To get on it one had to swing down and grope with his toes for the topmost round, seeing nothing numbed and confused by the elements raging about him and the cold, hustled by other behind and himself crowding others in front in such eager haste on the part of all that the ladder was kept full of descending men for some time.
Then [someone] brought two ladders lashed together and so made long enough to extend above the side wall of the track so that it was comparatively easy of access. He charged twenty-five cents for each descent, by his route, standing at the top of the ladder and collecting from each person, shouting from time to time, "Look out down b'low, don't let the ladder slip."
The New York Daily Graphic · Thursday, March 15, 1888
The New York Daily Graphic gave a glowing report several
days later about the efforts of Colonel Hain to get the trains rollingagain.
COLONEL HAIN RUNS HIS TRAINS
The usual number of Elevated trains are running. The road is able to carry all New York again. This result has not been reached without the hardest kind of work. Nerve, brains, executive ability and unlimited energy only have brought the system to its feet after the blizzard's knock down. The employees carry heavy eyes and a triumphant expression. While the drifts continue high they will bunk in the neighborhood of their stations.
Colonel Hain reached his office this morning at eleven o'clock. He had been taking since midnight his first rest for some forty hours.
During all this time he had been at work over the roads with every facility alive and every nerve strained. On Monday morning he started for his office at the usual time and got as far as Twenty-third street. Then he realized the big problem which confronted him. A gale blowing at sixty miles an hour, filling the air with snow flakes and blinding the engineers,; three quarters of the train men unable to reach their stations and trains; snow a foot deep over the rails and ice between them and the guards; wheels that would not grip and crowds to haul that tripled the ordinary load dragged -- these were the enormous obstacles to remove.
"I'm too tired to talk this morning," said the General Manager, with weary good-nature, to THE GRAPHIC representative this morning. "But the trains are running again," and he sighed with satisfaction.
This was worth a column of talk. But the Colonel added respectively: "The tracks are clear. The gangs of shovellers and ice-pickers worked all yesterday and last night, and every inspector and inside man was on hand. The first care was to get the ice out of the switches and lubricate them. Afterwards there was a general clearing up and straightening out. Meanwhile we ran the trains as rapidly as possible. Luckily our telegraph and telephone wires were not injured and we were able to tell exactly where everything was throughout the whole system. And we're all right now."
Nobody but Colonel Hain himself and his personal aids know the unflagging zeal with which he has shouldered and discharged his enormous responsibility. He had worked quietly, quickly and without serious accident under the terrible drawbacks. He has been the right man in the right place, and the town ought to put up a statue to him.