The Full Wiki

More info on List of rail accidents (pre-1950)

List of rail accidents (pre-1950): Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Notable historic train accidents
19th C:         1830s 1840s 1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s
20th C: 1900 1905 1910 1915 1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1950
See alsoExternal linksReferences

Pre 1830



  • December 5, 1821 - David Brook, a carpenter, is walking home from Leedsmarker along the Middleton Railwaymarker in a sleet storm when he is run over, with fatal results, by the steam engine of a coal train. This is the first case of a person being killed in a railway collision.


  • 1827 - An unnamed woman from Eaglescliffemarker, Teessidemarker, England (believed to have been a blind beggar woman) is "killed by the steam machine on the railway". This is also said to be the first case of a person being killed in a railway collision.







  • November 11, 1833 – Hightstown, New Jerseymarker, United States: Carriages of a Camden & Amboy train derail at 25 miles per hour in the New Jersey countryside between Spotswood and Hightstown when an axle breaks on a car due to an overheated journal. One car overturns, killing two and injuring fifteen. Among the survivors is Cornelius Vanderbilt who will later head the New York Central Railroad. He suffers two cracked ribs and a punctured lung, and spends a month recovering from the injuries. Uninjured in the coach ahead is former U.S. President John Quincy Adams, who continues on to the Nation's Capital the next day.


Suffolk, Virginia collision
  • August 11, 1837 – Suffolk, Virginiamarker, United States: First head-on collision to result in passenger fatalities occurs on the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad near Suffolk when an eastbound lumber train coming down a grade at speed rounds a sharp curve and smashes into the morning passenger train from Portsmouth, Virginiamarker. First three of thirteen stagecoach-style cars are smashed, killing three daughters of the prominent Ely family and injuring dozens of the 200 on board. They were returning from a steamboat cruise when the accident happened. An engraving depicting the moment of impact was published in Howland's "Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents" in 1840.


  • August 7, 1838 – Harrowmarker, Middlesexmarker, England: From a memorial in the parish churchyard of Harrow-on-the-Hill, "To the memory of Thomas Port, son of John Port of Burton-upon-Trent in the County of Stafford, Hat Manufacturer, who near this town had both legs severed from his body by the railway train. With great fortitude he bore a second amputation by the surgeons and died from loss of blood, August 7th 1838, aged 33 years."



  • August 7, 1840 – Howden rail crashmarker, England: five passengers killed when casting fell from wagon and derailed carriages.


  • December 24, 1841 – Sonning Cuttingmarker, England: nine passengers killed and seventeen injured when a Paddingtonmarker to Bristolmarker train ran into a landslide caused by heavy rain. The extent of the casualties in this accident called into question the practice of mixing passenger and freight wagons in fast trains. The dead were stone masons travelling in open wagons, so had no protection from either accidents or the weather, and the accident led to a public outcry, and new legislation which insisted on better carriages for passengers.


Versailles train disaster
  • Versailles rail accident May 8, 1842 – Meudon (Versailles), France: Following the King's fete celebrations at the Palace of Versailles, a train returning to Paris crashed at Meudon after the leading locomotive broke an axle, the train derailled and caught fire. 55 passengers were trapped in the carriages and killed, including the explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville. This led to the abandonment of the then-common practice of locking passengers in their carriages in France. This was the first really major world railway disaster, usually referred to as the Versailles train crash.


  • November 21, 1844 – Beeston, Nottinghamshiremarker, England: Midland Railway Two trains collided in thick fog. Two people died shortly afterwards from their injuries. Between 15 and 20 other persons were injured.


The Dee bridge after its collapse

  • May 24, 1847 – Chestermarker, England: Five passengers killed and many injured when a Chester to Ruabonmarker train crashed into the River Dee following the collapse of a bridge. One of the girders carrying train had cracked in the middle and gave way, with most of the train ending up in the river below. The engine and tender managed to reach the other side of the bridge. The accident is important because the bridge was engineered by Robert Stephenson, and his reputation was questioned. The Dee bridge disastermarker led to a re-evaluation of the use of cast-iron in railway bridges, and many new bridges had to be demolished or reinforced.


  • May 10, 1848, – Shrivenham stationmarker, England: Great Western Railway Six passengers were killed and 13 injured after two porters pushed a horse-box and cattle van onto the main line to free a waggon turntable. The Exetermarker express struck them; although the locomotive was undamaged the side of the leading coach was torn out.



  • April 30, 1851 – Sutton Tunnelmarker, Cheshiremarker, England: Two trains returning from the Chester Cup horse race lost adhesion in the tunnel and a third train crashed into the rear of the second train, killing nine people and injuring 30–40.


  • January 6, 1853 – Andover, Massachusettsmarker, United States: The Boston & Maine noon express, traveling from Boston to Lawrence, Massachusetts, derails at forty miles an hour when an axle breaks at Andover, and the only coach goes down an embankment and breaks in two. Only one is killed, the eleven-year-old son of President-elect Franklin Pierce, but it is initially reported that Pierce is also a fatality. He was on board but is only badly bruised. The baggage car and the locomotive remain on the track. President Pierce's inaugural ball is cancelled as the family grieves over the loss of their son.
  • March 4, 1853 – Mount Union, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States: A Pennsylvania Railroad emigrant train stalls on the main line with engine problems in the Allegheny Mountains near Mount Union, and when the brakeman sent to flag protect the rear of the stopped train falls asleep in a shanty, an oncoming mail train shatters the rear car, killing seven, most by scalding from steam from the engine's ruptured boiler, the highest single U.S. accident toll up to this time.
  • April 16, 1853 – Cheat River, Virginia, United States: Two Baltimore & Ohio passenger cars tumble down a hundred foot ravine above the Cheat River in West Virginia, west of Cumberland, Maryland, after they are derailed by a loose rail.
  • April 23, 1853 – Rancocas Creek, New Jersey: Engineer of Camden & Amboy's 2 p.m. train out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker misses stop signals and runs his train off of an open drawspan at Rancocas Creek. Fortunately, there are no fatalities.
  • April 25, 1853 – Chicago, Illinoismarker, United States: An eastbound Michigan Central Railroad express bound for Toledo, Ohio, rams a Michigan Southern Railroad emigrant train at level Grand Crossing on the city's South Side at night. Twenty-one German emigrants are killed. The Michigan Southern engineer, who was running without a headlight, could have avoided the accident by either observing a stop signal or by accelerating his train, but did neither. Grand Crossing will be grade-separated after this accident.
  • May 6, 1853 – Norwalk, Connecticutmarker, United States: First major U.S. railroad bridge disaster occurs when a New Haven Railroad engineer neglects to check for open drawbridge signal. The locomotive and four and one half cars run through the open drawbridge and plunge into the Norwalk River. Forty-six passengers are crushed to death or drowned and some thirty others are severely wounded.
  • May 9, 1853 – Secaucus, New Jerseymarker, United States: A Paterson and Hudson River Railroad emigrant train has a cornfield meet with an Erie Railroad express in Hackensack Meadow near Secaucus, killing two brakemen, but no passengers.
  • August 12, 1853 – Pawtucket, Rhode Islandmarker, United States: Thirteen passengers are killed and fifty injured in a head-on collision on the main line of the Boston & Worcester between a seven-car excursion train with 475 on board, bound for Narragansett Bay via Providence, and a two-car train bound from Providence to Worcester. They collide at the Valley Falls station, near Pawtucket. Believed to be the earliest wreck photographed, with the daguerreotype taken by a Mr. L. Wright of Pawtucket forming the basis for an engraving a fortnight later in the New York Illustrated News.
  • October 5, 1853 –Straffan, Ireland; 16 killed after a rear-end collision when a train breaks down and the crew were accused of neglecting to place any warning signals to the rear.
  • December 1853 – Secaucus, New Jerseymarker, United States: The same two trains that crashed on May 9, 1853, a Paterson and Hudson River Railroad emigrant train and an Erie Railroad express, collide again, within one mile (1.6 km) of last spring's wreck site near Secaucus. A brakeman and one passenger die, 24 others are injured.



  • November 1, 1855 – Gasconade, Missourimarker, United States: With more than 600 passengers aboard a Missouri Pacific Railroad excursion train celebrating the railway line's opening, a bridge collapsed above the Gasconade River, and the locomotive plus 12 of the 13 attached cars plunged into the water and embankment below. 31 people died and hundreds were seriously injured. Known as the Gasconade Bridge train disaster.
  • December 15, 1855 – Massachusettsmarker/New Hampshiremarker, United States: The locomotive Dewitt Clinton, the third built in the United States, exploded on the Worcester and Nashua Railroad, killing the engineer and fireman.


  • July 17, 1856 – Fort Washington, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States: In one of the most infamous train wrecks to ever occur in the USA, two North Pennsylvania Railroad trains collided. One train was carrying 1,500 Sunday School children enroute to a picnic. Upon impact, the boiler of the passenger train exploded and the train carrying the children derailed. 59 were instantly killed, and dozens more died from their injuries. The conductor of the passenger train committed suicide the same day, although he was later absolved of any responsibility. Also known as The Great Train Wreck of 1856marker.



  • / May 11, 1858 – Utica, New Yorkmarker, United States: Two New York Central trains, a westbound freight and the eastbound Cincinnati Express, pass on a forty-foot wood trestle over Sauquoit Creek, three miles (5 km) from Utica. It collapses under their weight, utterly destroying the passenger consist, killing nine and injuring 55.
  • / August 23, 1858 – near Round Oak railway stationmarker, Stourbridgemarker, England: Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway. Part of a passenger train ran away downhill after a coupling failure and collided with a following passenger train. Fourteen fatalities, 50 serious injuries, 170 minor injuries.


  • June 28, 1859 – Mishawaka, Indianamarker United States: Eastbound Lake Shore and Michigan Southern express breaks through rain-weakened Springbrook bridge late at night, with locomotive and two day coaches smashing into the mudbank thirty feet below. Following sleeper is not destroyed, but 41 die in the wreck.



Wootton bridge after the crash
  • June 11, 1861 – Two were killed in the Wooton Bridge Collapsemarker, when a bridge near Kenilworthmarker collapsed onto a roadway as a goods train passed over it.
  • August 25, 1861 – Clayton Tunnel rail crashmarker, Brightonmarker, Sussex; combination of faulty equipment and signalmen's errors result in collision in railway tunnel. 23 killed, 176 injured in a densely-packed excursion train.


  • February 19, 1863 – Chunky Creek Train Wreck of 1863: A Mississippi Southern train was headed for the battlefield at Vicksburg where the Confederate forces were in desperate need for reinforcements in the defense of the city against the assault of Sherman and the Union Army.



Crash scene after the Staplehurst accident
  • June 9, 1865 – Staplehurst rail crashmarker, United Kingdom: train falls into stream after track workers misread a timetable and remove a rail, 10 killed, 49 injured, Charles Dickens is amongst the survivors.


  • December 18, 1867 – Angola, New Yorkmarker, United States: The Angola Horror - The Buffalo-bound New York Express of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern derails its last coach, due to poor track maintenance, and it plunges forty feet off a truss bridge into Big Sister Creek just after departing Angola. The next car is also pulled from the track and rolls down the far embankment. Stoves set both coaches afire and fifty are killed - three manage to crawl from the wreckage. Forty more are injured. The train actually continues for some distance before the crew realizes an accident has happened. {One reference reports 44 were killed. See [278356]}.




Bangor, Maine 1871
  • August 9, 1871 – Bangor, Mainemarker, United States
  • August 26, 1871 – Revere, Massachusettsmarker, United States: A series of dispatching errors allow the Portland Express to collide with the rear of a stalled local train at Revere on the Eastern Railroad, telescoping the rear cars of the stopped consist. Coal-oil lamps ignite the wreckage and 29 die while 57 are injured. Several prominent Boston citizens are killed bringing much national publicity to the accident.


Wood River Jct. accident, 1873


Shipton train crash 1874
  • September 10, 1874 – Thorpemarker, Norfolk, England: Head-on collision on single line track, in which 25 were killed and more than 100 injured. The cause was administrative error which led to both trains being given permission to run in opposite directions at the same time. The accident led directly to the introduction of automatic control systems to manage traffic on single-track railways.
  • December 24, 1874 – Shipton-on-Cherwellmarker, Oxfordmarker, England: Derailment of passenger train caused by fractured wheel kills 34; lack of continuous brakes and poor communications exacerbates disaster.


Lagerlunda rail accident, 1875
  • November 16, 1875 – Lagerlunda, Östergötlandmarker: Unclear signalling between a station master and a steam engine driver leads to a train leaving the station although another train is approaching on the single line track. 9 people were killed in the head-on collision shortly after. The station master was sentenced to 6 months of prison.


  • January 21, 1876 – Abbots Ripton rail disastermarker, Cambridgeshire, England: Icy conditions cause signals to jam in clear position when they were set at danger. Thirteen passengers lost their lives in the collisions while 53 passengers and 6 crew members were injured.
  • August 7, 1876 – Radstock rail accidentmarker, Somersetmarker, England: Catalogue of errors on mismanaged line result in head-on collision on single line. Fifteen passengers killed.
  • December 26, 1876 – Hansted, Denmark: The two locomotives in a snow plough train separate under unclear circumstances and crash, killing nine locomotive crew and injuring 26 workmen.
  • December 29, 1876 – Ashtabula River Railroad bridge disastermarker, Ashtabula, Ohiomarker, United States: As Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Train No. 5, The Pacific Express, crosses the Ashtabula River bridge, the Howe truss structure collapses, dropping second locomotive of two and 11 passenger cars into the frozen creek below. A fire is started by the car stoves, and of the 159 people onboard, 64 are injured and 92 killed. The famous hymn-writer Philip Bliss and his wife were killed in this disaster.


  • January 14, 1878 – Tariffville, Connecticutmarker, United States: A double-headed ten-car Connecticut Western Railroad special train of the faithful, returning from a revival held in Hartford, crosses the Tariffville Bridge over the Farmington River near midnight, and the structure collapses. Both locomotives and the first four cars plunge into the ice-covered river, killing seventeen and injuring 43.
  • January 30, 1878 – Emu Plains, New South Walesmarker, Australia: Two goods trains collide at Emu Plains when the guard of the train heading east went down the Lapstone Zig Zag instead of waiting for the train from Penrith to come up first. Five people were killed.


Fallen Tay Bridge from the north
  • December 28, 1879 – Scotland: The Tay Bridge disastermarker. The Tay Rail Bridgemarker collapses in a violent storm while a train is crossing it. Seventy-five lives are lost (estimate-60 victims' names are known of whom about 46 remains were recovered). The subsequent investigation concludes that "the bridge was badly designed, badly constructed and badly maintained" and lays the major blame on the designer, Sir Thomas Bouch. William Topaz McGonagall produces his epic poem The Tay Bridge Disaster to commemorate the event. It is the worst ever train disaster to date, and shocks engineers into creating an improved crossing both on the Tay, as well as the famous Forth Bridgemarker.



  • September 11, 1880 – Rimutaka Incline, New Zealand. A small train left Greytown at 8.30am bound for Wellingtonmarker. At Cross Creek, at the foot of the Rimutaka Ranges, a Fell Engine was added to the train to push it up the 2 ½ mile 1 in 15 ascent to the summit of the Rimutaka Incline. At Cross Creek the two passenger cars and the luggage carriage were put in front of the engine. Then behind this were two wagons of timber and lastly the Fell brake van. All went well until the train reached an area of the incline known as Siberia. A strong North West wind was blowing across the track. A terrific gust hit the carriages and they were blown off the railway line. Although the couplings held and the weight of the engine prevented the carriages from rolling into the valley below, the body of the first carriage was torn from its mountings and the passengers were thrown on to the hillside. Three children were killed instantly and there were many injuries – some horrific. One of the injured, Stanley George Nicholas, aged 5 years, died later from injuries received. The inquest found that the deaths were accidental, caused by the carriages being blown off the line, and no blame was attached to anyone. In fact the grip of the engine on the centre-rail saved the whole train from total destruction and more loss of life.


  • July 6, 1881 – Boone, Iowamarker, United States: A Chicago and North Western Railway locomotive runs tender-first, westbound over the line out of Boone to check the tracks during a heavy summer rainstorm in the Des Moines River Valley and plunges into Honey Creek as the weakened bridge collapses. Spunky, Irish-born, seventeen-year-old Kate Shelley, who lives close by the accident site, realizes that the late night eastbound express coming from Moingona, a mile to the west, has to be flagged down, lest it pile into gap at Honey Creek. To reach the station, she must cross the long bridge over the Des Moines River in the storm. Arriving at the depot, she relates what she has seen, and the express train is halted. She then accompanies the rescue train to the failed bridge and helps locate the surviving engine crew, two of whom had survived the 25 foot plunge into the flood and who have found refuge above the waters on tree limbs. For her part in keeping a small accident from becoming much worse, Kate Shelley becomes a national folk heroine. The new bridge over the Des Moines River is named in her honor as the 'Kate Shelley High Bridge'. As of mid-2007, the bridge is due to be replaced by a new structure capable of higher capacity and speed by the Union Pacific which absorbed the Chicago & Northwestern. The old alignment may become a road bridge.


Train crash at Hugstetten.
  • January 13, 1882 – Spuyten Duyvil, New Yorkmarker, United States: Hudson River Railroad's Tarrytown Special collides with rear of the halted Atlantic Express near Spuyten Duyvil at night, telescoping the last two coaches which also catch fire. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper publishes full front-page engraving on January 21, 1882 showing trainmen, passengers, and local farmers rolling giant snowballs in an attempt to extinguish the blaze. State Senator and sleeping car magnate Webster Wagner was among the dead.
  • September 3, 1882; Hugstettenmarker, Germany: After heavy weather a washaway occurs and the train most probably was running too fast. 64 people were killed and 225 injured.



  • July 16, 1884 – Penistone Rail Crash, Penistonemarker, United Kingdom: Locomotive axle failure causes derailment of passenger train. Twenty-four passengers killed.
  • October 17, 1884 – Batavia, Ohiomarker, United States: A railroad bridge over the Little Miami Rivermarker collapses under weight of a passing train, dropping the locomotive, a baggage car and the first coach some forty feet to the ground at the water's edge. The last coach snags on the bridge structure and teeters precariously but passengers in the last car escape harm.


  • January 1, 1885 – Penistone rail crash, Penistonemarker, United Kingdom: Axle failure derails empty wagon into path of passenger train. One passenger killed, two died later.


  • September 16, 1886 – Hexthorpe rail accidentmarker, near Doncastermarker, United Kingdom: Locomotive crew misread signals, crash into rear of special train for racegoers; twenty-five killed. Simple vacuum brakes deemed inadequate by subsequent enquiry.


  • January 4, 1887 – Republic, Ohiomarker, United States: A westbound Baltimore & Ohio passenger express train hits a stalled eastbound freight which was supposed to have taken a siding for it to pass, on a bitterly cold night, one half mile west of Republic. The forward cars of the express telescope and then burn completely, the last two sleepers are spared. The exact count of fatalities remains unknown but at least nine victims who perish in the fire are counted.
  • February 5, 1887 – Hartford, Vermontmarker, United States; Worst rail accident in Vermont history when the Central Vermont Montreal Express goes off the White River bridge at White River Junction at 2 a.m. on a bitter winter night; 38 are killed and 40 injured.
  • March 14, 1887 – West Roxbury, Massachusettsmarker, United States: "The Forest Hills Disaster"; also, "The Forest Ridge Disaster" - A morning Boston & Providence Railroad train, inbound to Bostonmarker, is passing over the "Bussey Bridge", a Howe truss, at South Street in the Roslindalemarker section of West Roxburymarker when it collapses, killing twenty-four commuters and school children and injuring several hundred. Bridge design was found to be faulty.
  • August 10-August 11, 1887 – The Great Chatsworth Train Wreck in Chatsworth, Illinoismarker, United States: Fifteen car train of fully-occupied Pullman sleepers and coaches on the Toledo, Peoria and Western bound for Niagara Falls, comes to a wooden trestle over a shallow "run" just before midnight; the engineer sees that it is on fire too late to stop the double-headed train from crossing the weakened structure and the consist with over 600 on board crashes to a stop as the lead engine collapses it. The cars in the front half telescope into one another and some 84 are killed with injuries estimated at 279. This accident inspires morbid ballad "The Chatsworth Wreck" that includes the verse, "the dead and dying mingled with the broken beams and bars; an awful human carnage, a dreadful wreck of cars."
  • August 17, 1887 – Washington, D.C.marker, United States: Baltimore & Ohio Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Express enters the city from Maryland, out of control. At sixty miles an hour it derails on curve at Terracotta, demolishing several buildings as well as the train set. The engineer had been trying to make up time when he discovered that his brakes had failed. The engineer is killed and many passengers injured.


Blackshear trestle wreck, 1888
  • March 17, 1888 – Blackshear, Georgiamarker, United States: Most of the West India Fast Mail Train from New Yorkmarker to Jacksonvillemarker is wrecked when two-thirds of a 300 foot long, 25 foot high trestle collapses. The accident is caused by a broken rail under the lead baggage car, which gets off the track. The train safely crosses the bridge over the Hurricane River, but at about 9:30 a.m. the baggage car suddenly whirls over and strikes the subsequent trestle, which gives way. All but the detached engine tumbles below—a combination car, 3 baggage cars, a smoking car, a coach, 2 Pullman sleepers, and the private car of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Killed are 20, with 35 injured. Among the latter is Elisha P. Wilbur, president of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, who together with members of his family and friends was traveling in the private car. George Gould and his wife escape serious injury. The engine runs into town for help.

  • October 10, 1888 – Mud Run, Pennsylvania, United States: Following a mass meeting held by the Total Abstinence Union in the Pennsylvania mountains at Hazelton, in which eight special temperance trains are operated from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker, by the Lehigh Valley Railroad carrying some 5,000 conventioneers, the consists are directed to keep a ten-minute interval between them upon return. At about 8 p.m., the sixth train with 500 on board stops near Mud Run along the banks of the Lehigh River and shortly thereafter the following section plows into it, telescoping the last car of the stopped train halfway through the coach ahead, killing 64 of the 200 in these two wooden cars outright. Another 100 are injured. Newspaper accounts suggest that temperance pledges were forgotten by some of the victims after they returned to the train.

The Borki train crash, 1888
  • Borki train disastermarker. The imperial train, carrying Alexander III of Russia and his family, derailed near Borki in Kharkov Governorate. 21 died on site, two in local hospitals. The popular story says that tsar held up the mangled roof of the carriage, so that his family could escape from the wreckage. Alexander sustained a massive impact trauma to his back but was apparently not affected in any other way. Commissioner disagreed on the direct cause of the crash, citing speeding, substandard track and mismanagement by private railroad owners.


  • May 12, 1889 – Seattle, Washingtonmarker, a street car descending Denny Hillmarker suffers a cable malfunction and crashed after hitting a sharp curve. The crash killed one passenger and injured another. The crash marked the first street car fatality in the history of Seattlemarker.



  • November 11, 1890 – Norton Fitzwarrenmarker, England: A passenger train collides with a goods train that had been shunted onto the main line - the signalman had forgotten that the line was obstructed. Ten people killed, eleven seriously injured.


  • April 19, 1891 – Kipton, Ohiomarker, United States: A passenger train and a freight train collide just east of the Kipton depot, 8 dead. This accident was attributed to one of the engineers' watches having stopped and being four minutes behind. Webster Clay Ball, watch dealer and inspector of Cleveland, Ohio is later appointed as Watch Inspector for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.
  • June 14, 1891 – Munchensteinmarker, Baslemarker, Switzerland: An iron girder bridge collapses as a crowded passenger train passes over it, 71 dead, 171 injured. Switzerland's worst ever railway accidentmarker.
  • December 4, 1891 – East Thompson, Connecticutmarker, United States: Four trains collide on the New York and New England Railroad. Two freight trains collide due to sloppy dispatching, jack-knifing several cars. The Long Island & Eastern States Express passenger train then hits the wreckage, killing the engineer and fireman. Shortly thereafter, despite an attempt to flag it down, the Norwich Steamboat Express also piles into the rear of the Eastern States Express, setting the last sleeper on fire as well as the locomotive cab although both engine crew survive. In all, only two deaths are confirmed although the body of one passenger is never found and presumed dead. See Great East Thompson Train Wreck.



  • October 23, 1895 – Gare Montparnassemarker, Paris, France: a local train overruns a buffer stop due to Westinghouse air brake failure and crosses more than 30 metres of concourse before plummeting through a window. One person in a shop below was crushed by the falling engine.


  • Easter Monday, April 6, 1896 – Llanberismarker, Wales: On the opening day of the Snowdon Mountain Railwaymarker, locomotive No. 1 "Ladas" runs away and derails before plummeting down a steep slope where it is destroyed. The driver and fireman jumped clear and the carriages were stopped by the guard. One passenger jumped off the moving train and fell beneath the wheels. He later died from his injuries. The line then closed for over a year before re-opening on April 19, 1897.
  • July 30, 1896: 1896 Atlantic City rail crash - two trains collide at a crossing just west of Atlantic City, New Jerseymarker, crushing five loaded passenger coaches, killing 50 and seriously injuring around 60.
  • September 15, 1896: The Crash at Crush - Showman William George Crush convinces officials of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT, known as "the Katy"), to let him stage a colossal train wreck for a crowd that will ride to the site near the town of West, Texas, producing much passenger revenue for the company. A one-day town is thrown up and named Crush, boasting a 2,100 foot platform and tank cars supplying 100 faucets. Two six-car trains of obsolete rolling stock, pulled by dolled-up locomotives are let loose at each other over a one-mile (1.6 km) course with spectacular result. When the wrecked engines' boilers explode, flying shrapnel kills at least three of the 30,000 spectators (some sources estimate 40,000) and injures many more.


  • May 13, 1897 – A military train derails in Puka, Estoniamarker. 61 people are killed in the accident.
  • June 11, 1897 – Gentofte train crash, Denmark: An express train passes a signal at danger and collides with a stationary passenger train at Gentoftemarker station. 40 die and more than 100 are injured.
  • October 24, 1897 – Garrison, NYmarker, On this Sunday morning, train No. 46, on the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, was wrecked near King's Dock of the Hudson River division, about one and three- quarters miles south of Garrison. Nineteen lives were lost.


  • March 11, 1899 – Rakaia Railway Accident On the evening of Saturday, 11 March 1899, two excursion trains which were travelling from Ashburton to Christchurchmarker in the same direction, collided at the Rakaiamarker Railway Station. The trains which were though to be carrying anything from 3000 to 5000 people, employees of the Christchurch Meat Co., Islington and their families, had been on their annual picnic to Ashburton. Four of the passengers were killed and 22 were injured.
The engine of the second train ploughed into the back of the guard's van of the first train, causing it to cut 14 feett into the next carriage while the third carriage mounted the second carriage to a distance of about 8 feet.Because it was raining heavily at the time of the collision, the Commission of Inquiry reported that the enginedriver on the second train had been negligent in not observing the regulations governing an approach to a station.This accident lead to the mandatory use of Westinghouse Continuous Air Brakes and Tyers tablet machines and interlocking signals on the NZR



  • April 30, 1900 – Vaughan, Mississippi, United States: Illinois Central passenger train No. 1, the Cannonball, crashes into the rear of freight train No. 83 which is fouling the main line out of a siding at 3:52 a.m. on the Water Valley District of the Mississippi Division. Engineer of 4-6-0 ten-wheeler No. 382, John Luther "Casey" Jones, the only fatality, is found to be solely at fault by the ensuing investigation for having disregarded safety warnings behind the stalled train. The accident spawns the vastly popular "Ballad of Casey Jones" by roundhouse worker and friend of the deceased, Wallace Saunders, and the root theme for a Grateful Dead song titled "Casey Jones".
  • May 22, 1900 – Oakland, Californiamarker, United States: Southern Pacific passenger local is mistakenly switched into a narrow-gauge track. The iron rail curls up beneath the locomotive, flipping it over and killing the engineer and fireman. The engineer, Frank Shaw, is last seen shutting down the locomotive's steam and is credited with saving the lives of the passengers, none of whom are killed or seriously injured.
  • August 13, 1900 – Gwynn's Falls, Maryland, United States: Baltimore & Ohio 2-8-2 Mikado locomotive and tender are knocked off the Carrollton Viaductmarker at Gwynn's Falls by a side-strike and land inverted in the stream below.
  • September 2, 1900 – Hatfield, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States: Going from Souderton to Philadelphia, a milk train collided with an excursion train, killing 13 people and injuring 45.


  • January 8, 1902 – New York City, New Yorkmarker, United States: A stopped New Haven express train from South Norwalkmarker is rear-ended in the Park Avenue tunnel by a New York Central White Plainsmarker local, due to smoke and snow obscuring signals. Fifteen persons were killed and 36 injured, the worst rail accident in New York City history. The accident inspired the State Legislature to pass a law the next year prohibiting steam operation on the Park Avenue line south of the Harlem Rivermarker.
  • December 6, 1902 – Halifax, N.S.marker, Six persons were killed in a wreck on the Inter-Colonial, the Canadian Government railway, at noon to-day near Belmont Station, seventy miles from Halifax. The Canadian Pacific express for Montreal rolled down an embankment, completely wrecking the locomotive, the postal, express, and baggage cars and several passenger cars.

  • December 20, 1902 – Byron Springs, Contra Costa County, California, United States: The south-bound Stockton Flyer crashed into the rear of the disabled Los Angeles Owl, killing 20 and injuring 25. Both trains had departed from Oakland, California. Prominent California lawyer Frank Hamilton Short and journalist Chester Harvey Rowell were passengers on board the Owl. Neither was injured.
  • 1902 – Frankfurt am Mainmarker, Germany: Serious buffer stop collision inspires development of Rawie range of energy-absorbing buffer stops.


  • August 10, 1903 – Paris Métro train fire, France: electric fire at the Paris Métro Couronnes station, 84 killed. This led to the design of low-voltage control circuit for electric multiple-unit cars and better lighting in the Métro stations.
  • September 27, 1903 – Wreck of the Old 97marker, Danville, Virginiamarker, United States: Southbound Southern Railway passenger train No. 97, en route from Monroe, Virginia to Spencer, North Carolina, derails at Stillhouse Trestle near Danville and plunges into the ravine below. Eleven are killed including the engine crew and a number of Railway Post Office clerks in the mail car right behind the tender. The wreck inspired a famous ballad, The Wreck of the Old 97, the 1920s recording of which by country singer Vernon Dalhart is sometimes cited as the American recording industry's first million-seller.
  • The first coach of the Big Four special, where the Purdue football team was seated, lies crushed between the second coach and a coal tender.
    October 31, 1903 – The Purdue Wreck, Indianapolis, Indiana, USAmarker: A Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad football special carrying the Purdue Universitymarker football team and fans to the annual Indiana University / Purdue University football game collides with a coal train. Seventeen passengers in the first coach are killed, including 14 members of the football team.



  • September 1, 1905 – Derailment at Withammarker, Essex. 11 killed and 50 injured.


  • June 30, 1906 – Salisbury rail crashmarker, Salisburymarker, England: Racing express train derails, then collides with a milk train on a sharp curve, 28 killed (24 passengers, 4 crew).
  • September 19, 1906 – Grantham rail accidentmarker, Granthammarker, England: Evening sleeping-car and mail train from London to Edinburgh derailed, no definite cause ever established, 14 killed.
  • September 21, 1906 – Napanee, Ontariomarker, Canada: A Grand Trunk Railway passenger train hits a stopped freight train at a crossover in Napanee, Ontariomarker; the engineer stayed at the controls trying to slow his train as much as possible and became the only fatality. The train's passengers later erected a monument in the engineer's honor.
  • October 28, 1906 – Atlantic City, New Jerseymarker: On a Sunday afternoon, a newly-electrified West Jersey and Seashore Railroad passenger train derails as it begins to cross a drawbridge over a deep tidal channel as it approaches Atlantic City at forty miles per hour. The equipment bumps along the ties for before departing the bridge and plunging into deep water. Fifty-seven die in what will remain the worst U.S. drawbridge accident until the Newark Bay commuter tragedy of September 15, 1958.
  • November 12, 1906 – Detroit, Michiganmarker, United States: A train of the Michigan Central Railroad drives through the stub end of the Michigan Central's Third Street passenger yard and into the station itself.
  • December 30, 1906 – Washington, DCmarker, United States: A Baltimore and Ohio Railroad locomotive running at full bore plows into a passenger train that had just pulled out of Terra Cotta (now Fort Totten) Station along the B&O Metropolitan Branch, telescoping the rear cars and taking the lives of fifty-three passengers.


1907 accident in New Hampshire
  • September 15, 1907, Canaan, New Hampshiremarker, United States: Quebec to Boston Express wreck; 25 people killed, with nearly 39 injured. The southbound express (No. 30), heavily loaded with passengers returning from the Sherbrooke Fair, collided at 4:26 a.m. on a foggy Sunday morning with a northbound Boston & Maine Railroad freight train (No. 267). The accident, north of Canaan Station, was "due to a mistake in train dispatcher's orders." On March 17, 1907 Chas Anderson was killed due to an accident while working on the railroad. He left behind a wife Jennie and 3 children Otto, Loren, and Francis Anderson.
  • October 15, 1907 – Shrewsbury rail accidentmarker, Shrewsburymarker, England: Evening sleeping-car and mail train from Manchester to the west of England derailed, probably due to driver error, 18 killed.


  • April 20, 1908 – Sunshine train disaster, Melbournemarker, Australia: Rear-end collision, kills 44 and injures around 400.
  • May 21, 1908 – Kontichmarker, Belgium: 40 people are killed as a train crashes into a stationary passenger train in the railway station of Kontichmarker.







  • January 1, 1913 – West Virginiamarker, United States: A too heavy locomotive goes into the Guyandotte River bridge which is being repaired. Bridge collapses and 7 {engineer and 6 workmen} are killed.
  • June 25, 1913 – Ottawa train accident, Canada: A train heavily loaded with immigrants derails near Ottawamarker. Spreading rails sends two immigrant cars into river. 8 die and approximately 50 are injured.
  • July 26, 1913 – Bramminge train accident, Denmark: A train derails near Brammingmarker due to heat-stressed rails. 15 die and about 80 are injured.
  • July 30, 1913 – Tyrone, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States: Two Pennsylvania Railroad trains collide in front of the station at Tyrone when the engineer of Chicago Mail train No. 13 runs through a stop signal, and his locomotive crushes the rear coach of train No. 15, the Pittsburgh Express. The first postal car of the moving train is thrown across the track into the front of the depot. The engineer is killed and 163 passengers are injured. Collision occurred at 2:38 pm. All-steel cars on both trains are credited with the low mortality.
  • September 1, 1913 – Ais Gill rail crashmarker, Cumbriamarker, England: Distracted engine crew pass signals at danger, and crash into train stalled on gradient. 14 killed, 38 seriously injured


  • March 29, 1914 Upper Huttmarker, New Zealandmarker, 4 railway workers and 3 locals die when a local shop catches fire and subsequently explodes. A further 5 railway workers were injured. Although this does not involve a train, it has always been classed as a "Railway" accident, in that local railway staff lost their lives helping their community.


  • January 1, 1915 – Ilfordmarker, The 7:06 express from Clactonmarker to London passed both distant and home signals. The express crashed into the side of a local train that had been crossing the tracks. 10 killed, 500 injured.
  • January 20, 1915 – County Schoolmarker, Norfolk, At 11.46 am, Y14 629, hauling 12 empty and 4 loaded wagons from Foulshammarker, ran into the 6 coach passenger train from Wellsmarker, hauled by T26 locomotive 446 and consisting of 6-wheel stock, on the scissor crossing close to the signal box. Nobody was injured in the crash, which took place at low speed, although both locomotives were damaged, along with other vehicles in both trains.
  • May 22, 1915 – In the Quintinshill rail crashmarker near Gretna Greenmarker, Scotland, a troop train collides with a stationary passenger train and another passenger train crashes into the wreckage, which also involves two stationary freight trains. The passenger cars are wooden-bodied and a serious fire ensues. The second train was forgotten by a careless signalman following improper operating practices during a shift change at this busy location. This is the deadliest railway accident in British history, with 226 fatalities and 246 people injured.



  • January 13, 1917 – Ciurea rail disaster at Ciureamarker, Romania: A passenger train overloaded with soldiers and refugees ran away down a bank between Bârnovamarker and Ciurea, derailing at Ciurea station when it was diverted onto a loop line. Between 600 and 1,000 killed in the derailment and subsequent fire.
  • February 17, 1917 – Mount Union, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States: A Pennsylvania Railroad fast freight strikes the rear of a stalled passenger train at Mt. Union. Twenty are killed as the last sleeper, a steel car named Bellwood, telescopes into the next car.
  • February 26, 1917 – Holmsveden near Soderhamnmarker, Sweden: A train carrying invalid Russian soldiers home from Germany derails, causing the carriages to pile into one another. 11 are killed and 40 injured.
  • September 24, 1917 – at Bere Ferrers railway stationmarker in England a troop train of soldiers from New Zealand going from Plymouthmarker to Salisburymarker following their arrival in Britain stopped at the station for a brief rest. Being unaccustomed to British railways they alighted from their troop train onto the tracks. Ten soldiers were struck and killed by an oncoming express on another track.
  • December 12, 1917 – Saint-Michel-de-Mauriennemarker (Modanemarker), France: A military train derails at the entrance of the Fréjus railway line after running away down a steep gradient; brake power was insufficient for the weight of the train. Around 800 deaths estimated, 540 officially confirmed.
  • December 14, 1917 – A passenger train derails near Clemson, South Carolinamarker with at least three cars leaving the rails and one overturning down an embankment. Three people are killed.

Weesp train disaster, Netherlands, 1918.



  • November 1, 1919 – Vigerslev train crash, Denmark: An express train collides at speed with a stopped train due to a dispatcher error. 40 people are killed and about 60 injured.



  • March 1920-Deerfield Illinois. Train Boiler Explosion kills 1 and injures 3



  • February 3, 1922 ; At least 87 are killed when six cars of a passenger train fall into the Sea of Japanmarker between Oyashirazu and Ome on the Hokuriku Line, western Niigata, Japan, in an incident caused by an avalanche after heavy snowfall.


  • July 6, 1923 – Ongarue, New Zealandmarker. Southbound express ploughs into mudslide killing 17, including a rescuer.


  • November 3, 1924 – the Lytham rail crashmarker occurs when the lead tyre of a locomotive suddenly fractures. 14 people are killed in the subsequent derailment as the train hit a bridge and then a signal box.
  • June 3, 1924 – A passenger train derails near Jõgevamarker, Estonia. 10 people are killed and numerous people are injured. The exact cause of the accident remains unknown. Although the government said this was an act of crime, no further comments were given.
  • July 4, 1924 – A post train derails near Jõgeva, Estonia. Due to broken railway, 11 people are killed.
  • December 27, 1924 – According to reports in Japanese newspapers Mainichi and Yomiuri, Temiya railroad station and Otaru harbor facilities are destroyed by the explosion of a standing freight train carrying dynamite at Otaru, Hokkaidomarker, Japan, killing at least 94.


  • June 16, 1925, – Rockport, New Jersey (near Hackettstownmarker). A seven car Lackawanna Railroad passenger train travelling to Hoboken, New Jersey encountered an obstruction on the tracks during a torrential rainstorm. The train was derailed and subsequently the engine boiler exploded scalding passengers. Fifty persons were killed. The train was an excursion train with passengers returning to Bremen, Germany. A small memorial plaque marks the site of the wreck.

  • September 21, 1925, – Two armoured trains crashed near Elvamarker, Estonia. The accident happened during military exercises and left five soldiers dead. The cause of the crash was a coordination fault.


Rail accident at Murulla, NSW, 1926.

  • March 14, 1926, Río Virilla, Costa Ricamarker: A train fell off a bridge over the Río Virilla, between Santo Domingo de Heredia and Tibás resulting in 248 deaths and 93 wounded.
  • June 7, 1926, Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker: The famous architect Antoni Gaudí was run over by a tram and died a few days later. It caused big media attention then, and has ever since.
  • September 13, 1926 – Murulla railway accident, Murullamarker, Australia: Goods wagons on a siding come uncoupled, roll down a slope and smash into an oncoming mail train, resulting in 27 deaths and 37 injuries.
  • September 23, 1926 – A Tokyo-Shimonoseki limited express derailed at Hataga river bridge at eastern Hiroshima, Japan, in an incident caused by heavy rain and flooding, killing 34, another 38 are injured.
  • December 23, 1926, Rockmart, Georgiamarker: Two express trains on the Southern Railway collide, killing 19 and injuring 123. Southbound train No. 101, The Royal Palm, arrives at Rockmart to take on water while waiting for northbound No. 2, the Ponce de Leon. At the moment of impact, No. 101 was standing at a dead stop, the engine crew having applied the emergency brakes and jumped when it became clear that a collision was inevitable. All of the fatalities occur aboard No. 2, most in the crowded steel dining car, which is telescoped by the coach ahead of it. No. 2 was said to have been going at least at the time of the crash. Official reports blame the failure of a railway official who took charge of train No. 2, as well as its engineer, to fully understand their meet orders with No. 101, and their confusion of No. 101 with a freight train just preceding it.
  • - Aberdeen - train derailed on washaway.




  • January 22, 1929 – Bellevue, Ohiomarker, United States: Bus is struck by an interurban car. 21 killed.
  • July 18, 1929 – Stratton, Coloradomarker, United States: Flash flood waters sweep away the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad bridge at Stratton, wrecking a passing Rock Island passenger train. Ten bodies are recovered after flood waters recede.
  • August 25, 1929 – Buir, Germany: The D29 "Nordexpress", running from Paris to Warsawmarker, derails some 300 metres north of Buir station, near the town of Dürenmarker. Due to ongoing construction work, the train is supposed to be diverted to a siding, but the train driver notices the signal too late, entering the siding at 100 km/h instead of 50 km/h. 13 passengers are killed as the train derails, 40 are hurt. This led to the introduction of the La, the German railways' book of temporary speed restrictions on the network.



  • January 22, 1930 – Berea, Ohiomarker, USA: New York Central mail train headed for Chicago broadsides a school bus at grade. 9 passengers, all aged 6–11, and the driver died. He had stopped for a passing freight, then proceeded, without looking, into the path of the mail train.
  • April 11, 1930 – Isletamarker, New Mexicomarker, USA: Santa Fe westbound mail train No. 7 strikes a Greyhound bus at a grade crossing south of Albuquerquemarker. 21 killed, 7 injured. Bus's fuel tank explodes on impact, burning many victims beyond recognition. The Interstate Commerce Commission report on the accident mentions that at this time, accidents at railroad grade crossings are causing some 2,000 deaths and 6,000 injuries annually.
  • June 30, 1930 – USSRmarker: Amidst a rash of Soviet rail accidents, the Irkutskmarker-Leningradmarker express derails in northwest Russia, killing 22 and injuring 28. The State Commissar of Railways begins a housecleaning program that uncovers high levels of carelessness and even drunkenness on the job. Severe penalties are put in place for negligence; as a result of the 1930 crashes, 12 railway workers are imprisoned and two executed.
  • December 3, 1930 – USSRmarker: A tram motorman fails to heed crossing signals and pulls into the path of an oncoming locomotive. 28 die, 19 are injured. The accident leads to the imprisonment of 16 additional railway workers.


  • January 26, 1931 – Groningenmarker, The Netherlands: An incoming passenger train from Nieuweschansmarker collides with a freight train. The locomotive from the passenger train derails and crashes into a school. A shunter told the freight train driver to accelerate in spite of a stop signal. 3 killed, 5 injured.
  • May 27, 1931 – Moorhead, Minnesotamarker: The Great Northern Railway's Empire Builder, bound for Chicago from Seattlemarker, is torn from the tracks by a tornado. One coach, weighing 83 tons, is hit full force and flung through the air. One passenger is killed, 57 injured.
  • September 13, 1931 – Biatorbágymarker, Hungary: Sylvestre Matuschka blows up the viaduct under the Budapestmarker-Viennamarker express train, killing 22 passengers and injuring 17.


  • January 2, 1932 – near Moscow, USSRmarker: Two packed suburban trains collide after one strikes and kills a person walking the track. The train stops to retrieve the body but puts out no flares, lanterns or flags. The next train on the line slams into it at , crushing six cars. In another tragic error, injured passengers are helped to a parallel track, where they are struck by yet a third locomotive. 68 are killed.
  • September 14, 1932 – near Turenne, Algeriamarker: A 14-car troop train of the French Foreign Legion derails in the Atlas Mountains and plunges into a gorge. Fifty legionnaires and most of the train's crew die; 223 are injured.


  • December 14, 1933: 11 area children were killed when their school bus was hit by an Atlantic Coast Line freight train near Crescent City, Floridamarker, resulting in the deaths of ten of the school children and the serious injury of a score of others--"several of whom are not expected to recover."


  • September 21, 1934 – Otsu, Japan: The Biwako Line express train from Tokyo derails off the Seta Rivermarker bridge in the midst of the devastating Muroto typhoon. At least 11 killed, 216 injured.
  • September 28, 1934 – Winwick rail crashmarker, near Warringtonmarker, England: overworked signal box crew forget a train halted at a signal and allow another train into section; 12 people killed.


  • April 11, 1935 – Rockville, Marylandmarker: A school bus driver, returning students to Williamsport, Marylandmarker from a field trip at 11:30pm, does not notice the reflective signs at a grade crossing and drives his bus into the path of an oncoming Baltimore & Ohio train. 14 students are killed, 15 others injured. In violation of a Maryland law requiring watchmen at crossings until midnight, the B&O had kept a watchman on duty only till 10pm.

  • December 24, 1935 – Großheringenmarker, Germany: A local packed with Christmas travelers, just leaving a depot in Thuringiamarker, runs a red signal on a bridge and sideswipes a Berlin-Frankfurt am Mainmarker express. Coaches on the local go over the side into the frozen Saale Rivermarker. 36 killed, 50 or more injured.


  • March 28, 1936 – Byron, Georgiamarker: A Central of Georgia passenger train, going too fast through a grade crossing at night, strikes a bus which had failed to stop at the crossing. 11 of the 13 aboard the bus are killed.
  • July 21, 1936 – Vandergrift, Pennsylvaniamarker: An 8" long piece of strap iron left on the track by a 12-year-old boy derails an 87-car PRR freight, killing the engine fireman.
  • November 24, 1936 – Chicago, Illinoismarker: A North Shore Line interurban rear-ends a Chicago L train at Granville Avenue. Though the crash was at slow speed, steel cars on the L crushed wood cars coupled between them. 10 killed, 59 injured.


  • April 2, 1937 – Battersea Parkmarker, London: two passenger trains collide. 10 killed, 17 injured. The signalman believed there was a fault with his equipment and overrode the interlocking.
  • July 16, 1937 – A Delhimarker-Kolkatamarker express derailed at Patnamarker, Biharmarker, India, killing 107.
  • October 22, 1937 – Mason City, Iowamarker: The Rock Island Line Rocket streamliner strikes a school bus at grade just outside a brick and tile factory after a class tour. 10 killed, 19 injured. Sight lines were obstructed by tile pallets stacked near the crossing.
  • December 10, 1937 – Castlecarymarker, Scotland: An LNER Edinburgh-Glasgow commuter express, traveling in white-out conditions, rear-ends a local train standing in the station. 35 killed, 179 injured, most seriously. The local had been running late.


  • June 15, 1938 – A Shimonoseki-Kyoto passenger train derailed by heavy rain with mud-rock flow at Kumayama-Wake of JNR Sanyo Line, eastern Okayama, Japan, killing 25, another 108 are injured.
  • June 19, 1938 – Miles City, Montanamarker: Olympian Flyer plunges into creek when a 30-year-old bridge, weakened by heavy rain, collapses; 47 people killed.
  • July 30, 1938 – near Balaclava Station, Jamaicamarker: five overcrowded cars derail; 32 killed, 70 injured.
  • September, 1938 – Martorellmarker, near Barcelonamarker, Spain: Faulty signals and poor visibility on a curve are blamed after two trains on same track collide head-on. 65 killed.
  • December 19, 1938 – A freight and passenger train collide near Barbacenamarker, in the state of Minas Geraismarker, Brazil. Wooden cars splinter and catch fire, killing at least 82. Some of the dead are Boy Scouts.
  • December 21, 1938 – from Mexico City, a broken wheel causes 14 cars to derail, killing at least 40. Most passengers were government employees on holiday.
  • December 25, 1938 – In Bessarabiamarker near Chişinăumarker--which is now in Moldovamarker but was then part of Romania—two passenger trains collide in a snowstorm. 93 killed, 340 injured.


  • March 20, 1939: RBD Stettinmarker on main line between Angermündemarker and Pasewalkmarker Express train D 17 derailed. Boiler of locomotive 03.174 (Borsig 14535 / 1934) exploded due boiler water shortage. Two killed and two injured. Locomotive 03.174 had to be abandoned due severe damages.
  • August 12, 1939: An act of sabotage sends the City of San Francisco flying off of a bridge in the Nevadamarker desert; several passengers and crew members are killed, and five cars are destroyed. This case remains unsolved.
Genthin rail crash memorial.
  • November 11, 1939 – RBD Oppelnmarker Coselmarker - Bauerwitzmarker single line. Passenger trains P 950 and P 957 crashed due faulty signals. 43 killed and 48 injured.
  • December 22, 1939 – Genthinmarker, Germany: collision when train D180 drove into previous delayed and overcrowded train D10 from Berlin to Cologne. 186 killed, 453 injured. Highest number of fatalities ever in an accident in Germany.
  • December 22, 1939 – Markdorf, Germany: collision of a special passenger train and a goods train on the Radolfzell-Lindau line, 101 killed. These were the first accidents in German railway history to claim more than 100 victims; they happened on the same day.



  • January 29, 1940 – Three gasoline multiple units carrying factory workers crash and explode while approaching Ajikawaguchi station, Nishinari Line (present-day Sakurajima Line), Osaka, Japan, killing at least 181 people and injuring at least 92.
  • March 12, 1940 – Turenkimarker, Finland: soldier train and freight train collided, 39 people died and 69 injured. This was the worst train accident in Finland.
  • April 19, 1940 – Little Falls, New York, United States: The westbound New York Central Lake Shore Limited, running fifteen minutes late, fails to reduce speed to 45 miles per hour at Gulf Curve (nicknamed "Death Curve") near Little Falls, sharpest on the NYC System, and at the locomotive derails, crosses two tracks and strikes a rock wall whereupon it explodes and nine cars pile up behind it. At least 30 known dead, including the engineer, and 100 injured in the accident.
  • July 31, 1940 – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohiomarker, United States: The PRR "Doodlebug", a gasoline-electric interurban car, fails to take a siding and collides with an oncoming freight, causing the gas tanks to explode. The crew jump before the crash; all 43 passengers die as the wreck burns too intensely to allow rescuers near for half an hour. A federal investigation suggests the Doodlebug's driver had become disoriented due to carbon monoxide in a poorly ventilated cab.
  • November 4, 1940 – Norton Fitzwarrenmarker, England: Great Western Railway train driver misreads the signals on a four-track line that merges to two, and runs his train off the end of the track. Coaches telescope, killing 27 and injuring 75. Although driver error is primary cause, an inadequate signal plant is a contributing factor. Track plan was not visible under wartime black-out conditions.
  • December 3, 1940 – Velilla de Ebromarker, Spain: Two express trains collide at 4:00 am near this remote depot some outside Zaragozamarker, killing 41 and injuring 80. Several of the more gravely injured perish at the scene due to the extreme cold. Investigators establish that no one threw the switch that would have put one express on a clear track.


  • February 21, 1941 - Piedmont & Northern train no. 5, west-bound through a curve near Fairmont Station, eight miles W of Spartanburg, South Carolinamarker, strikes rear of stopped freight. Flagman jumps from electric ex-Pennsylvania Railroad combine before impact with steel caboose, but engineer killed. Fifteen other passengers in following ex-PRR trailer are injured.
  • July 19, 1941 – Krylbomarker, Sweden: German munitions train explodes in Krylbomarker. It is unknown whether it was an accident or sabotage. Later the British claimed to be behind this successful sabotage action.
  • September 16, 1941 – An express train collides with standing local train inside Aboshi station, Himeji, Japan, killing at least 65 and injuring 71.
  • October 1, 1941 – A local train bound for Kumamoto, Japan on the Hohi Line derailed at Kawarauchi river bridge on the outskirts of Ōitamarker, Kyūshūmarker, causing 3 passenger cars to plunge into the river, killing at least 44 people, and injuring at least 72.
  • December 27 RBD Osten – D 123 crashed on Frankfurt an der Odermarker - Poznańmarker main line at Bf Leichtholz stopped freight train Dg 7053. The snow plough had damaged signal system. Six tank wagons loaded with benzin exploded burning five passenger coaches of D 123. 41 killed and 57 injured.


  • December 27, 1942 – Almonte, Ontariomarker, Canada: 36 people are killed and over 200 injured when a passenger train running late was struck from behind by a troop train.


  • February 28, 1943 – RBD Posenmarker Military vacation express train SF 76 collied with freight train Dg 19540 at Bf Galkau. The stop signal ignored. 25 killed and 12 injured.
  • June 4, 1943 – Hyde railway accidentmarker, New Zealand: Train derails taking a curved cutting at over twice the rated speed. 21 killed, 47 injured. Engineman found to have been drunk on duty; served 3 years for manslaughter.
  • September 6, 1943 – 79 people are killed, and 117 injured when the Pennsylvania Railroad's Congressional Limited derails in Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, due to an axle bearing overheating. The accident occurred as the signalman at Frankford Junctionmarker was telephoning the next tower to stop the train.
  • September 15, 1943 – RBD Stettinmarker N 8713 run in heavy fog into the rear of on line stopped N 8702. 18 killed and 41 injured.
  • September 23, 1943 – Dmw 31 derailed on RBD Königsbergmarker Białystokmarker - Prostken line. 23 killed and 33 injured.
  • October 26, 1943 – Two freight trains collide with a derailed passenger train at Joban Line, Tsuchiura, Japan, causing two carriages to plunge into the river, killing 110 and injuring 107 according to Japanese media.
  • December 25, 1943 – RBD Königsbergmarker E 32 collided with freight train Dg 94476 between Korschen and Lötzenmarker. The driver did not notice warning signal. 15 killed and 34 injured.
  • December 31, 1943 – RBD Stettinmarker Tantowmarker Military vacation express train SF 62 crashed with two locomotives which were stopped on line. 38 killed and 16 injured.


  • January 3, 1944 – The Madrid-Coruna express collides with a switch engine and catches fire inside Torre del Bierzo tunnel n° 20 in Leonmarker province, Spain. Smoke and flames in the tunnel delay rescuers for two days. 78 killed officially, maybe over 250; exaggerated estimates of 500-800 still seen in reference books. Date may be Jan 16.
  • January 11, 1944 – Accident in Arévalo station in Ávilamarker province, Spain. 41 killed.
  • February 1944 – Train collision near Breifoss between Holmarker and Geilomarker, Norway, at the Bergensbanen line. 25 killed.
  • March 3, 1944 – Balvano Train Disaster, Italy: 530 passengers die of carbon monoxide poisoning when their train stalls in a tunnel.
  • June 2, 1944 – Soham Rail Disastermarker, England: The train carrying American ammunition to base in Essex caught alight and exploded killing the fireman and signalman.
  • July 6, 1944 – Troop train crash near Jellico, Tennesseemarker, United States: Passenger train derails due to excessive speed on defective track. 35 killed, 99 injured; all soldiers in U.S. Army en route to deployment.
  • September 28, 1944– Side collision, passenger and freight train Chicago & North Western Railway at Missouri Valley Iowa 9 killed, 95 injured
  • November 7, 1944 – Passenger train derails in Aguadillamarker, Puerto Rico due to excessive speed in a declining hill. 16 killed; 50 injured.
  • November 24, 1944 – collision of two trains in Barwałd Średnimarker, Poland, killed 130 people.
  • November 8, 1944 Nine persons were known to have been killed and at least 125 injured at dawn when the first section of the westbound Southern Pacific Challenger jumped the tracks and hurtled into a ditch three miles (5 km) west of Colfax.
  • December 26, 1944 – According to Japanese media, a commuter train collided with another standing commuter train at Tsurumi market station, Keikyu Line, Yokohama, Japan, killing at least 53, and another 94 injured.


  • January 10, 1945 – According to Japanese media and government reports, a local train derailed at Masuda river bridge, with two passenger cars plunging into river, Takayama Line, northern Gifu Prefecturemarker, Japan, killing at least 43, injuring 56.
  • January 10, 1945 – Ballymacarrett, East Belfast, Northern Irelandmarker. Collision in fog. 23 killed, 24 injured.
  • January 13, 1945 – Snåsamarker, Norway: A bridge was destroyed in the Jørstad River bridge sabotage. Later a train passed unaware of the sabotage, crashed into the river below, killing 70-80 people, and injuring some 100 more.
  • May 17, 1945 – According to Japanese media and government reports, two commuter trains collided head-on at Toyama Local Railway (Toyama Chiho Railway) Line, Toyama, Japan, at least 43 killed, another 257 injured.
  • May 21, 1945 – Piqua, Ohiomarker, United States: a seventeen-car west bound troop train, travelling on the Pennsylvania Railroad line, derails at high speed. Eight cars plunge down a embankment, injuring 24 of the 400 soldiers on board; poor track maintenance due to wartime personnel shortages is blamed.
  • July 16, 1945 – Asslingmarker, Germany: A US Army train carrying tanks runs into a passenger train which had stalled due to an engine breakdown after the American signalman tells the freight train to proceed despite the track still being occupied. About 110 German POW are killed as the mostly wooden coaches of the passenger train are destroyed.
  • August 9, 1945 – Michigan, North Dakotamarker, United States: Great Northern's Empire Builder plows into a stalled observation car, 34 killed.
  • August 20, 1945 – Two commuter trains collide head-on at Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line, Omuta, Kyūshūmarker, Japan, killing 40. another 83 are injured.
  • August 24, 1945 – Two passenger trains collided and plunged into the Tama rivermarker, Hachiko-Line, Hachioji, Japan, killing at least 105 people, injuring another 67. Caused by heavy rain and flood.
  • September 6, 1945 – According to Japanese Railroad Ministry and NHKmarker radio report, a Shinjyuku-Matsumoto local passenger train rammed safety catch point and crushing a locomotive and three passenger cars at Sasago switch back station, Otsuki, Yamanashi, Japan, in an incident caused by train driver is brake failure, at least sixty killed, injuring 91.
  • September 8, 1945 – Llangollenmarker, Denbighshire, Wales: An early morning mail train crashes after the adjacent canal flooded and washed away the track at Sun Bank, killing the driver and causing a fire.
  • September 30, 1945 – Bourne End, Hertfordshiremarker, England: train fails to slow down for temporary diversion to slow lines and derails, 43 killed.
  • November 18, 1945 – A commuter train from Sanda derailed at Kobe Electric railroad (Kobe Dentetsu) Line, Kobe, Japan, killing at least 45, injuring another 131.


  • January 28, 1946 – A commuter train crushed and derailed at safety catch point inside Tsurumaki station, Odakyu Line, Hadano, outskirt of Tokyo, Japan, killing at least 30, another 165 injured, in an incident of caused by vandalism of a train appliance by passenger(s).
  • April 26, 1946 – Naperville, Illinoismarker, United States: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad's Advance Flyer, stopped in Naperville station to check the running gear, is rammed by the Burlington's Exposition Flyer, coming through on the same track at . 47 killed, some 125 injured.
  • August 21, 1946 – near Sweetwater County, Wyomingmarker, United States: The Mail Express Number 6 was eastbound at the time of the accident and had passed through Rock Springs at 2:07 a.m. The train was due to arrive in Rawlins at 2:55 a.m. but had derailed about 2:20 a.m. The train derailment occurred about a mile west of the Thayer junction. References: The Rawlins Daily Times, Rawlins, Wyoming, Wednesday, August 21, 1946, Volume LVIII, Number 162, pages 1 and back page and Thursday, August 22, 1946, Volume LVIII, Number 163, pages 1 and 6. Early reports the wreck had been caused by a broken rail or an open switch were not confirmed by Union Pacific. Cause of the derailment was still undetermined on August 22, 1946 and officials were quoted as saying that they doubted it would be announced. Seven men injured and one died. The deceased was the engineer, David Francis Michie, born 4 July 1886 who died on 21 August 1946 in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming at 12:20 a.m. of severe burns he suffered in the derailment.
  • December 13, 1946 – near Coulter, Ohio, United States: The PRR's Golden Triangle sleeper train derails in darkness when it strikes the wreckage of 2 freight trains which had rear-ended half an hour earlier on an adjacent track. 19 killed, 139 injured. Most of the dead are soldiers on furlough from Fort Dixmarker, New Jerseymarker, seated in two day coaches at the front of the train.


Red Arrow train wreck, Pennsylvania, 1947.



See also


  1. [1]
  2. Derrick, Samuel Melanchthon, "Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad", The State Company, Columbia, South Carolina, 1930, pages 83-84.
  3. [2]
  4. HistoryLink Essay: Streetcar accident results in fatality, first of the kind in Seattle, on May 12, 1889
  5. " North Coast Inland Trail: The Great Kipton Train Wreck". Lorain County Metroparks website.
  6. NINETEEN LIVES LOST; New York Central Express Plunges Into the Hudson River Near Garrisons.
  7. TRAIN WRECK KILLS SIX, December 6, 1902
  8. [3]
  9. Tuesday, July 11th from
  10. [4]
  11. Casper Star-Tribune Online - Casper
  12. Retrieved from the Internet Archive on 2006-06-09.
  13. [5]
  14. Jamaica Gleaner, Pieces of the Past, Tragedy at Kendal - 1957, bullet point 6 under the subheading "Jamaica's Railway History"
  15. Fetters, Thomaas T., and Swanson, Jr., Peter W., "Piedmont and Northern: The Great Electric System of the South", Golden West Books, San Marino, California, September 1974, Library of Congress number 74-14801, ISBN 0-87095-051-7, pages 69-70
  17. San Francisco Chronicle
  18. History of the Railways
  20. Geschichte E94 1945-1969
  21. Hirano, Keiji, " Archives detail '49 miscarriage of justice", Japan Times, December 2, 2009, p. 3.


External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address