May 6, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of a wreck that occurred in the yard at (South) Cle Elum.
Passenger train No. 17, the westbound Columbian, entered the Cle Elum yard at 9:12 a.m. It ran into an open switch and collided with a freight locomotive on the siding.
Fireman A. W. “Gus” Jordan, on the Columbian, was killed instantly when the locomotive overturned. Engineer James Tierney jumped from the locomotive and was injured. On the freight engine, engineer C.A. Johnson as well as fireman Albert Heap were also injured. No passengers were injured.
A wrecking crew cleared the tracks within an hour and the Columbian proceeded. The passenger train was about two hours late and was running at a moderate speed when the accident occurred.
The passenger engine was F4 Pacific No. 3016. The number of the Mallet is unknown. The cause of the accident was the use of an obsolete type of switch which became defective.
Thanks to Allen Miller for some of the information used in this post. Additional information came from an article published in the Seattle Daily Times.