Most Deadly Train Wrecks in History

By | September 19, 2018

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Crash site of two subway trains that collided on an elevated track, New York City.

This crash took place during the morning rush hour on September 11, 1905 at Ninth Avenue, which is only 35 minutes away from the location of the twin towers. This derailment was one of the worst accidents in the history of the New York City railways, resulting in 13 deaths and 48 serious injuries.

The 9th Avenue train that was following the 6th Avenue train was switched by mistake to go to the curve instead of going straight. Rather than going 9 mph, as it should have been, it was going 30 mph when it got to the curve. The motorman braked, which enabled the lead car to stay on the track, but the second car was thrown off and into the street, with one end on the ground and the other across the third rail on the trestle. An electrical fire started and the roof was ripped off; a falling truck, along with some motor equipment from the third car, came crashing down on passengers crushing them beneath the car. The third car, along with the fallen truck, came to a stop and ended up hanging off the edge of the trestle up against the front of an apartment complex.

It was determined that the train operator was at fault, but he disappeared after the accident. He was eventually found and arrested two years later and two years after that, he and another inmate escaped from Sing Sing prison but was recaptured.

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The wreck of the Sunset Limited at Big Bayou Canot

This derailment accident occurred in Mobile, Alabama – one of Amtrak’s trains, whose lead engine was only in service for 20 days. Occurring, on September 22, 1993, at 2:53 am, forty-seven people were killed and 103 were injured. Early that foggy morning at 2:45 am, a disoriented pilot was pushing a tow of heavy barges and collided with the Big Bayou Bridge eight minutes before the train came plunging into the unfinished “kinked” track. The collision with the bridge caused a displacement of a span and deformation of the rails so when the train came through at 70 miles per hour, it had nowhere to go but into the water.

The victims who died either drowned or died of fire and/or smoke inhalation as the fuel tanks, holding several thousand gallons, ruptured on impact. The wreck would have been avoided if it wasn’t for a 30 minute delay in New Orleans to repair an air conditioner unit and a toilet. They would have crossed over the bridge safely before the collision happened with the barges. It was the deadliest train wreck in the history of Amtrak.