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PREFACE.

This volume makes no pretence whatever of being either an exhaustive or a scientific study of the subject to which it relates. It is, on the contrary, merely what its title signifies,—a collection of notes on railroad accidents. In the course of ten years service as one of the railroad commissioners of Massachusetts, I was called upon officially to investigate two very serious disasters,—that at Revere in 1871, and that at Wollaston in 1878,—besides many others less memorable. In connection with these official duties I got together by degrees a considerable body of information, which I was obliged to extract as best I could from newspapers and other contemporaneous sources. I have felt the utmost hesitation in publishing so crude and imperfect a performance, but finally decided to do so for the reason that, so far as I know, there is nothing relating to this subject in print in an accessible form, and it would, therefore, seem that these notes may have a temporary value.

During my term of public service, also, there have been four appliances, either introduced into use or now struggling for American recognition, my sense of the value of which, in connection with the railroad system, to both the traveling and general public, I could not easily overstate. These appliances are the MILLER PLATFORM and BUFFER, the WESTINGHOUSE BRAKE, and the INTERLOCKING and ELECTRIC SIGNAL SYSTEMS. To bring these into more general use through reports on railroad accidents as they occurred was one great aim with me throughout my official life. I am now not without hopes that the printing of this volume may tend to still further familiarize the public with these inventions, and thus hasten their more general adoption.

C. F. A. JR. Quincy, October 1, 1879.


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