All the worst train wrecks!

Railroad Accidents

old_locomotive-train_crash1.jpg While trains are convenient for travel and for transporting goods, they have become a greater danger over the years as their speed has increased. Sometimes railroad accidents are caused by human error, but other causes include derailment, explosions on board, and bridge collapses.

NOTE: Very few passengers were killed in a single U.S. train wreck up until 1853. The early trains ran slowly and made short trips, night travel was rare, and there were not many of them in operation.

1831
June 17, nr. Charleston, S.C.: boiler exploded on America’s first passenger locomotive, The Best Friend of Charleston, injuring the fireman and the engineer.

1833
Nov. 8, nr. Heightstown, N.J.: world’s first train wreck and first passenger fatalities recorded. A 24-passenger Camden & Amboy train derailed due to a broken axle, killing 2 passengers and injuring all others. Former president John Quincy Adams and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who later made a fortune in railroads, were aboard.

1853
May 6, Norwalk, Conn.: New Haven Railroad train ran through an open drawbridge and plunged into the Norwalk River. 46 passengers were crushed to death or drowned. This was the first major drawbridge accident.

1856
July 17, Camp Hill, nr. Ft. Washington, Pa.: 2 Northern Penn trains crashed head-on. Approximately 50–60 people died, mostly children on their way to a Sunday school picnic.

1876
Dec. 29, Ashtabula, Ohio: Lake Shore train fell into the Ashtabula River when the bridge it was crossing collapsedduring a snowstorm; 92 people were killed.

1887
Aug. 10, nr. Chatsworth, Ill.: a burning railroad trestle collapsed while a Toledo, Peoria & Western train was crossing, killing 81 and injuring 372.

1904
Aug. 7, Eden, Colo.: train derailed on bridge during flash flood; 96 killed.

1910
March 1, Wellington, Wash.: 2 trains swept into canyon by avalanche; 96 dead.

1915
May 22, Quintinshill, Scotland: 2 passenger trains and troop train collided at Quintinshill near Gretna Green; 227 killed.

1917
Dec. 12, Modane, France: nearly 550 killed in derailment of troop train near mouth of Mt. Cenis tunnel.

1918
July 9, Nashville, Tenn.: 101 killed in a 2-train collision near Nashville.
Nov. 1, New York City: derailment of subway train in Malbone St. tunnel in Brooklyn left 92 dead.

1926
March 14, Virilla River Canyon, Costa Rica: an overcrowded train carrying pilgrims derailed while crossing the Colima Bridge, killing over 300 people and injuring hundreds more.

1939
Dec. 22, nr. Magdeburg, Germany: more than 125 killed in collision; 99 killed in another wreck near Friedrichshafen.

1943
Dec. 16, nr. Rennert, N.C.: 72 killed in derailment and collision of 2 Atlantic Coast Line trains.

1944
March 2, nr. Salerno, Italy: 521 suffocated when Italian train stalled in tunnel.

1949
Oct. 22, nr. Nowy Dwor, Poland: more than 200 reported killed in derailment of Danzig-Warsaw express.

1950
Nov. 22, Richmond Hill, N.Y.: 79 died when one Long Island Railroad commuter train crashed into rear of another.

1951
Feb. 6, Woodbridge, N.J.: 85 died when Pennsylvania Railroad commuter train plunged through temporary overpass.

1952
Oct. 8, Harrow-Wealdstone, England: 2 express trains crashed into commuter train; 112 dead.

1957
Sept. 1, nr. Kendal, Jamaica: about 175 killed when train plunged into ravine.
Sept. 29, nr. Montgomery, West Pakistan: express train crashed into standing oil train; nearly 300 killed.
Dec. 4, St. John’s, England: 92 killed and 187 injured as one commuter train crashed into another in fog.

1960
Nov. 14, Pardubice, Czechoslovakia: 2 trains collided; 110 dead, 106 injured.

1962
May 3, nr. Tokyo: 163 killed and 400 injured when train crashed into wreckage of collision between inbound freight train and outbound commuter train.

1963
Nov. 9, nr. Yokohama, Japan: 2 passenger trains crashed into derailed freight train, killing 162.

1964
July 26, Custoias, Portugal: passenger train derailed; 94 dead.

1970
Feb. 4, nr. Buenos Aires: 236 killed when express train crashed into standing commuter train.

1972
July 21, Seville, Spain: head-on crash of two passenger trains killed 76.

1972
Oct. 6, nr. Saltillo, Mexico: train carrying religious pilgrims derailed and caught fire, killing 204 and injuring over 1,000.
Oct. 30, Chicago: 2 Illinois Central commuter trains collided during morning rush hour; 45 dead and over 200 injured.

1974
Aug. 30, Zagreb, Yugoslavia: train entering station derailed, killing 153 and injuring over 60.

1981

train falls off bridge

June 6, nr. Mansi, India: driver of train carrying over 500 passengers braked to avoid hitting a cow, causing train to plunge off a bridge into the Baghmati River; 268 passengers were reported killed, but at least 300 more were missing.

1982
July 11, Tepic, Mexico: Nogales-Guadalajara train plunged down mountain gorge, killing 120.

1989
Jan. 15, Maizdi Khan, Bangladesh: train carrying Muslim pilgrims crashed head-on with a mail train, killing at least 110 people and injuring as many as 1,000. Many people were riding on the
roof of the trains and between the cars.
June 3, Ural Mountains: gas exploded beneath 2 trains, killing 575.

Aug. 10, nr. Los Mochis, Mexico: a passenger train traveling from Mazatlán to Mexicali plunged off a bridge at Puente del Rio Bamoa, killing an estimated 85 people and injuring 107.

1990
Jan. 4, Sangi village, Sindh province, Pakistan: overcrowded 16-car passenger train rammed into a standing freight train. At least 210 people were killed and 700 were believed injured in what is said to be Pakistan’s worst train disaster.

1993
Sept. 22, nr. Mobile, Ala.: Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, en route to Miami, jumped rails on weakened bridge and plunged into Big Bayou Canot, killing 47 people.

1995
Aug. 20, Firozabad, northern India: a speeding passenger train rammed another train that was stalled, killing 358.

1997
March 3, Punjab province, Pakistan: passenger train crashed due to failed brakes, killing 119 and injuring at least 80 people.

1998
June 3, nr. Eschede, Germany: Inter City Express passenger train traveling at 125 mph crashed into support pier of overpass, killing 98. It is nation’s worst train accident since WWII.Crash may have been caused by a defective wheel.

1999
Aug. 2, Calcutta, India: 2 trains collided north of Calcutta, killing at least 285.

Oct. 5, London: outbound Thames commuter train passed a red signal near Paddington Station and collided with London-bound Great Western express, killing 31 people and injuring 245.

2002
Feb. 20, nr. Ayyat, Egypt: 361 killed in fire after gas cylinder used for cooking exploded aboard crowded passenger train. Egypt’s worst train disaster.

May 25, Muamba, Mozambique: 192 died and dozens more injured when passenger cars rolled for several miles at top speed into freight cars from which they had been disconnected because of mechanical problems.

June 24, nr. Msagali, central Tanzania: runaway passenger train collided with freight train on same track, leaving 200 dead.

2004
Feb. 18, Neishabour, Iran: runaway rail cars, loaded with fertilizer, petrol, and sulfur products, rolled 31 mi down the rails, caught fire, and exploded, killing more than 320 and devastating 5 villages.

Mar, 11, Madrid, Spain: Spain’s most horrific terrorist attack: 191 people were killed and 1,400 were injured in bombings at Madrid’s railway station. A Moroccan affiliate of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

April 22, Ryongchon, North Korea: 2 trains carrying flammable liquids collided, causing a huge explosion near the Chinese border, killing at least 161 and injuring more than 1,300.

2005
April 25, Osaka, Japan: commuter train derailed and hit an apartment building near Osaka, killing at least 107 and injuring 460. It was the worst Japanese train accident since 1963. The accident was allegedly caused by the driver trying to get the train back on schedule.

July 13, Ghotki, Pakistan: 3 trains collided near Ghotki as the Karachi Express driver misread a signal and rammed the Quetta Express. Derailed carriages were then hit by a third train. At least 133 are killed.

2006
Jan. 23, Bioce, Montenegro: a train derailed and plunged into the Moraca canyon, killing 46 and injuring 19.

July 11, Mumbai, India: a series of bombs exploded on commuter trains in Mumbai during the evening rush hour, killing at least 200 people.

2007
Aug. 1, Benaleka, Congo: a passenger train running between Ilebo and Kananga derailed after the brakes failed, killing about 100 people.

Here are pictures of some historical train wrecks in black and white. These are from the turn of the century and look pretty sick

Some more Black and white old time train wrecks, this one took out the bridge

train derails old locomotive

1889 train accident on a bridge

locomotive or locamotive wreck on bridge in 1900

Marlborough Junc Mass on the New Haven dated Feb 4th 1898. The collision happened on the Clinton and Fitchborough branch. A milk train hauled by 4-4-0 #234 hit head on with a snowplough pushed by two locos (one of which was 823). The 4-4-0 rode up the sloping snowplough blade and perched on the boiler of 823

train crash turn century 1900

Northern Pacific rotary February 11, 1903

On February 10, 1903, betwen Saltese, Montana, and Wallace, Idaho, one Northern Pacific rotary met the full onslaught of the winter snows. A breakdown had trapped them in the deep snow and the crew worked by hand to dig

out the train. Inching their way along the tracks in the middle of the night, they halted the train at the “S” Bridge, an 839 foot sinuous trestle on the Coeur d’ Alene branch about 7 miles from Mullan ID, that offered them respite while the snow accumulated in the gulch. A pusher engine and a caboose were left in the open while the remainder rested on solid ground. At seven in the morning a massive snowslide raced down the gulch and ripped out a portion of the bridge. The rear engine and the caboose plunged into the gorge, burying the engine in the deep snow while the caboose and its seven sleeping occupants lay shattered on top. A passenger car, with eight aboard, hung off the end of the broken trestle, dangling from the coupler. Although no-one was killed, it took doctors eleven hours to get the shocked and dazed survivors to the hospital at Wallace.

<old train derailments photo

This turn of the century train derailment happened when the train got snowed in, stopped along a bridge, and the bridge got washed away by snow as the train was on it… talk about bad luck

great old train wreck

new_locamotive_wreck-nyc.jpg

Marlborough train wreck, another pick of the train accident from above

wrk_823a.jpg

1903 train derails, this looks like one sick accident

1903 train accident

to see the rest of the old time train wreck and derailment pictures… just click here


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27 Comments

  1. Hi, I have kids saying to me “trains are dumb”, but I’d like to tell them that trains are not as accident prone now as they were years ago now traveling by rail is alot safer than it was all those years ago. Cars are the most accident prone things in the world and people just think cars are safe, but they are sometimes not safe. So if I was to travel I’d take the train, because I’d be alot more safe on board a train than in a tin can on wheels.

  2. The photo in the 1981 Indian crash is actually a photo of the 1993 Amtrack Sunset Limited crash mentioned further down the page. Here is a similar photo on another web site:

    http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/train2/main_train.php

    Hope you can correct the error.

  3. I AM A SUB CONTRACTOR FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN. MY JOB INCLUDES UNLOADING RAILROAD TIES FROM THE TOP OF RAIL ROAD CARS. I RESPECT THE ADMERATION OF THE RAILROAD EMPLOYEES . THEIR JOBS COSISTS OF MULTIPLE TASKS AND THEY DO IT WELL. MY LIFE IS IN THEIR HANDS EVERY DAY AND I RESPECT THAT. “GO NORFOLK SOUTHERN”

  4. Where did you get the pic with the train with the car reading Grand Trunk 13177? It is the 5th train down from the top.

  5. Suprisingly you forgot a rather large one:

    Tangiwai – NewZealand.

    At 10.21 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1953 the Wellington–Auckland night express plunged into the flooded Whangaehu River at Tangiwai, 10 kilometres west of Waiouru in the central North Island. Of the 285 passengers on board, 151 died in New Zealand’s worst railway accident. It was, at the time, the world’s eighth-biggest rail disaster and made headlines around the globe. The nation was stunned. With New Zealand’s population at just over two million, many people had a direct relationship with someone involved in the tragedy.

  6. OMG! I cant beleive that such innoceint people that have lived for such a long time ,can die in such a short time. I pray for the families of these peoples and for anyone who incounters accidents, such as these. I hope people will reconize how thankful they should be for just being alive.

  7. Trying to find out any info on an historic train wreck in the Sauble Township MI area. It was a logging train that supposedly went through a trestle crashing to the creek below. the creek ran red with the loggers blood….and is now known as Bloody Run. Any info you have or anyone you can suggest I contact would be greatly appreciated!

  8. I think it may be Ausable, not Sauble.

    AuSable River Train Derailment
    The Iosco County News-Herald reports that a 44-car Lake State Railway freight train derailed at about 10 PM Friday in Oscoda Township and collapsed the historic 1913 AuSable River trestle bridge in the process. Fortunately, the train was returning from dumping fly-ash rather than carrying it, which would have been a major disaster for Michigan’s most famous fishing river

    maybe this: Pack, Woods & Co. of AuSable, large lumber operators this site http://www.michiganrailroads.com/ ay have some info

  9. Quote: Trying to find out any info on an historic train wreck in the Sauble Township MI area. It was a logging train that supposedly went through a trestle crashing to the creek below. the creek ran red with the loggers blood….and is now known as Bloody Run. Any info you have or anyone you can suggest I contact would be greatly appreciated! End Quote

    What I know is this: on December 13, 1911, a logging train was sitting fully loaded and the conductor told the head of the crew that the hill was too steep and icy to move because of an ice storm the night before. The chief told him to stop worrying and get moving. He did as told. When the train began to move down the hill almost instantly it began to slip. suddenly the train hit an icy spot and began to slide uncontrollably down the hill. at the bottom of the hill was a curve and the moment the train hit the curve it derailed and hit the dirt causing the cars, loaded with logs and the men sitting on them to launch into the air. A “creek” which was really a small river was just around the curve was less than 100 feet away. The only witness said he could see the wheels, logs. cars, coupling pins-and the mangled bodies of the log-watchers raining down into the river. Now some say from time to time, a red fog can be seen in the water of a creek called Bloody Run. I will research more on this as you have re-ignited my interest in this-thanks by the way, and will type more as I find it

  10. Where and when was this derailement on the first picture, probably at the rail station?? Anyone know the details about it?

  11. i am over moon to be able to see such a collection

  12. Hello just wanted to tell you we are not drivers we are locomotive engineers ,

  13. those are all fake. i hate when peope put fake shit on the internet.

  14. The first picture is from Gare Montparnasse, Paris, 1895.

    Story here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rail_accidents_%28pre-1950%29#1895

  15. the one on june 6 in india is not in india its in the united states and a barge hit the bridge messing it up and cuasing to collapse the train breaked to late it went off get your facts right

  16. the train that wnt off the bridge on june 6 wa not in india and it was called the sunshine special

  17. I would like share a famous train wreck that occured around 1916. My railroad grandfather told of a Circus that was enroute to Hammond Indiana to perform the next day. Shortly after a breakdown that left the rear of the train still exposed on the mainline due to a “Hotbox” As luck would have it an empty Troup Train coming from Micigan City, Indiana with a sleeping engineer ran thru a flailing breakeman from the circus train and plowed into the rear of the disabled train wreeking havoc and killing more than 90 performers and workers. No animals were injured.
    My other grand father played trombone in that same circus and related the same story to me yrs later. I’m a retired Locomotive Engineer from the old “E.J. & E. R.R.”

  18. Hello,
    The first illustration is a well known crash in France.
    google:Accident gare Montparnasse 22 octobre 1895

    note that this image is very blury ! Detailled versions are available.
    Franck

  19. [...] die Zeit der Quiet Diets. No doubt. Die Atkins-Diät besagte: «Alles außer Kohlehydrate»; die Train-Pain-Diät regte an, einen Fuß auf ein Eisenbahngleis zu stellen und vom Zug überfahren zu lassen, um sich [...]

  20. Not safer than a pipeline

  21. Here’s some fictional train wrecks that would make this list if they were real (guess what they are from)…

    1916
    November 22, Moscow, Russia – Train plunged off damaged trestle and completely destroyed by explosion, no injuries or deaths

    1979
    June 10, Lillian, Ohio – Freight train collided head-on with truck driver, derailed and explodeds, all 12 train crew members killed

    1999
    April 6, nr. Denver, Col. – Freight train with atomic weapon on board derailed on deliberate derail curve, fires set off said weapon, wiping out most of Denver

    2011
    May 10, Crystal Cove – Freight train hijacked by teenage terrorist, trestle damaged, locomotive completely demolished by explosion, no injuries or deaths

  22. [...] All the worst train wrecks! « Sick Crashes – car, train and plane …Heightstown, N.J.: world’s first train wreck and first passenger fatalities recorded. A 24-passenger Camden & Amboy train derailed due to a broken axle, killing 2 … [...]

  23. Regarding the pic of the train wreck that was supposedly in India but is really a pic of the wreck in Big Bayou Canot, near Mobile, Alabama. The name of the train is NOT the Sunshine Special, it is called the Sunset Limited. Also, the barge did NOT collapse the bridge when it ran into it. It caused the center span to move because it was not properly bolted into place. This bridge was to have been a swing bridge when first built but none of the necessary equipment that would have enabled it to swing was ever put into place. When the center span was displaced it moved over 38″ out of place causing the bridge girder to be right in line with where the train engine would run into it. When the engine hit the girder of the bridge that is what caused the bridge to collapse into the swamp. 11 days later the bridge was rebuilt properly and the Sunset Limited still travels that line on her route.

  24. 1864 Canada. Grand Trunk Railway passenger train went thru an open swing bridge in Quebec. 99 killed and several hundred injured.

  25. I rarely leave responses, but I looked at through some remarks on this page All the worst train wrecks!

    | Sick Crashes – car, train and plane crashes and wrecks.

    I do have some questions for you if you do not mind.
    Could it be simply me or does it appear like some of the responses look like they are written by brain dead
    folks? :-P And, if you are writing at other places, I’d like to follow you. Could you post a list of every one of your social networking pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  26. The most dead in the 1900’s was the Linworth Ohio train wreck that was covered up for 50 years. It happened in 1931 with 125 dead and buried at the site still on the train. Check out the “ghost train of potters creek” on google. It should be known to all about what the railroad barons did at the time.

  27. That is a really good tip especially to those new to the
    blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing
    this one. A must read article!


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