train crash

What Caused the Deadliest Railroad Accidents in History

Operator error or excessive speed has lead to some of the deadliest train accidents in U.S. history. Due to the immense size and power of trains, when accidents happen the result is often catastrophic. A railroad injury lawyer can advise victims injured in railway accidents of their legal options and rights.

Amtrak operates the only high-speed inter-city passenger railway service in the United States. More than 28 million people ride Amtrak each year, sometimes at speeds of up to 90 mph. Additionally, the Federal Railroad Administration finds that deteriorating railway beds, malfunctioning equipment, and railway personnel failing to perform proper equipment inspections contribute to many rail accidents every year.

Brooklyn, New York 1918

Excess speed caused the derailment of an underground rapid transit train in November of 1918. The inexperienced motorman at the controls was filling in for workers on strike. He took a curve at 30 mph that had a speed limit of just 6 mph. Ninety-seven people died at the crash site. Another five died later of injuries from the crash bringing to death toll to 102.

Eden, Colorado 1904

Ninety-six people died when an express train making its way from Colorado Springs to Pueblo derailed while crossing Porter Creek in a heavy rain storm. The flash flood damaged the wooden trestle and caused the engine, passenger cars, and baggage car to fall into the creek below, killing 96 people. Repairs were made and rail service continued on the route within 24 hours.

Woodbridge, New Jersey 1951

The Broker passenger train careened off a newly constructed trestle on February 6, 1951. The train was carrying more than the usual number of commuters because a railroad worker strike closed other lines. Eighty-five people died in the crash. An investigation determined excess speed in a curve was the cause.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1943

An overheated axle box caused an axle to break and derail a passenger train at Frankford Junction on September 6, 1943. Railroad mechanics claimed the box was in good order when they inspected it earlier that day. Seventy-nine people died in the crash and an additional 117 were injured.

Rennert, North Carolina 1943

A passenger train derailed on the Atlantic Coast Line near Rennert, NC on December 16, 1943. A train approaching from the other direction crashed into the wreckage killing 72 people. The engineer was unaware of the first accident and attempts to signal the approaching train failed.