Info

Wood River Junction, R.I.

Stonington and Providence express

Washout that carried the Wood River bridge away and train plunge into chasm; followed by fire

Nine passengers dead

Apr. 29, 1874

Near Franklin Grove, Ill.

Two Chicago and Northwestern Railway trains (the Lyons and the Lucifer)

Head-on collision caused by signal error

Unknown

Note: Figures vary in different sources. Those cited here are the most credible.

a Most companies identified their trains by either the regular route they ran (i.e., the Boston to Concord express) or the name assigned to the engine (i.e., the General Sherman). b The worst head-on collision in U.S. railroading history.

cOne of the most infamous disasters in U.S. railroad history, and the worst rear-end collision on record before 1880.

Sources: Lee Davis, Man-Made Catastrophes (New York: Facts On File, 1993), 2 98-309; Oliver Jensen, The American Heritage History of Railroads in America (New York: American Heritage, 1981) 178-83; Robert C. Reed, Train Wrecks (reprint, New York: Bonanza Books, 1968), 17-31, 55, 71-74, 85-86, 1 19-20.; The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Years 1850-1861 (Boston: Chas. C. Little & James Brown, Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co., 1860-75), 344-52, 353-55, 365-67, 368-75, 383-91, 406-13.

TABLE 2.10 RAILROAD ACCIDENTS, 1853

(The year 1853 was an especially bad one in terms of number of train accidents.)

TABLE 2.10 RAILROAD ACCIDENTS, 1853

Month

Train(s) involved

Location

Casualties

Cause/Details

Jan.

Boston and Maine Express derailment

Andover, Mass.

One killed; two injured

Broken axle

Mar.

Pennsylvania RR

Mount Union, Pa.

Seven dead; several injured

Mail train ramming of another train halted on tracks ("human error")

Apr. 23

Camden and Amboy express

Rancocas Creek, near Philadelphia, Pa.

No one killed; injuries unknown

Engineer inability to see signals and driving of train off open drawbridge and into creek

Apr. 25

Michigan Central express and Michigan Southern emigrant train

Grand Crossing (near Chicago, Ill.)

21 dead

Michigan Central hit broadside by Michigan Southern at RR crossing when trains off schedule (investigation ruling of "human error")a

May 6

New York and New Haven RR, Boston Express

Norwalk River Bridge, near South Norwalk, Conn.

46 dead; 25 injured

Careless train engineer who disregarded signal and speed limit and failed to see raised drawbridge

May 8

Two trains, unknown ownership

Secaucus, N.J.

Several

Head-on collision caused by failure to follow timetable

Aug.

Excursion train and regular train

Valley Falls Station, R.I.

13 dead

Head-on collision caused by failure to follow timetable

Aug. 2

Unknown

Bulls Island, N.J.

11 dead

Hitting of cow on tracks

a The deadliest rail accident in U.S. history up to this time, and the worst crossing accident in the United States in the 19th century.

Sources: Lee Davis, Man-Made Catastrophes (New York: Facts On File, 1993), 298-99; Oliver Jensen, The American Heritage History of Railroads in America (New York: American Heritage, 1 981), 1 78-83; Robert C. Reed, Train Wrecks (reprint, New York: Bonanza Books, 1968), 17-24.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment