On the First of December in 1929, a New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Train was traveling north for a one day excursion from Norfolk to New York City. It was a ten cars train with 448 passengers plus the train crew; Edward C. Northam Engineer, A. W. Hutchinson fireman, C. F. Cordry Conductor, Marion Calloway, a 43-year-old brakeman from Delmar, Maryland was filling in for Earl Chapman also of Delmar.
The train, traveling at about 45 miles per hour, reached Onley, Virginia, about midnight, where it ran across a broken track, causing the third and fourth passenger car to derail and the following six cars to ram into them. The engine and the first two passengers’ cars passed over the rail safely. In the accident, Nine people died, and 24 were injured. Marion Calloway, with Railroad police sergeant J. A. Marshall, passed through the second passenger car when it derailed, rolled over, and threw Calloway out the window as the train rolled over him. All the Doctors in the area were called to the wreck to help people. The all steel passenger cars helped prevent more injuries than what occurred. Notice in the ad above for the excursion train "all steel equipment" is mentioned as a selling point.
Many Navy people were on the train, and they helped pull people out and administered first aid. Navy Commendations were given to Karl Fletcher Chenoweth, Charles Ludlow, Charles Joseph Coie. Albert David Memark, Lester Leroy Schertill, and Charles Kemper Black.
For several days after the accident, thousands of people came to Onley as curiosity seekers. Rail traffic was reestablished on the parallel track within two days. Cape Charles and Delmar sent their wreck trains (special railcars with cranes and equipment designed to work on wrecked trains) to the accident.
Funeral services for Calloway were held on the 3rd. His Wife was Susie Alifare Hastings Calloway. Their children were; Marion Jr (1917-2007), Martha Virginia (1918-2001), and William C. “Billy” (1920-2010).
Marion Harland Calloway was buried in St Stephen cemetery.