In the early morning hours of December 3, 1912, a passenger train ran onto a side track in the Southern Railroad yard, just west of Union Station, and collided with a freight train carrying oranges. Three cars of oranges, some of which were possibly destined for the Matacia Fruit Company near South and First Streets, were destroyed in the wreck.
Apparently, a switch to the side track was left open causing the passenger train to run into the freight train. Fortunately, nobody was injured and the wreck was cleared from the tracks in a few hours.
This image might be the best look at the accident showing the location to be on the tracks just to the south of the University. The open fields and scattered houses are in the area where the South Lawn complex and adjacent residential neighborhood are today.
In the distance you can spot (in this detail of the upper right corner of the previous photo) Cabell Hall and part of the power plant that stood near it in the early Twentieth Century. Cabell Hall is the furthest building back and the smoke stack on the left is the old power plant that sat just below it.
The Daily Progress reported on the accident in great detail in the afternoon edition the same day. The more entertaining story however, may be the coverage of the wrestling match the previous night at the Jefferson Theater in the second column.
All photographs by Rufus Holsinger, courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library.
Newspaper clipping courtesy JMRL.