List of Rail Accidents (before 1900) - 1880s - 1888


  • March 17, 1888 – Blackshear, Georgia, United States: Most of the West India Fast Mail Train from New York City to Jacksonville, Florida is wrecked when two-thirds of a 300-foot-long (91 m), 25-foot-high (7.6 m) 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. 20 are killed, 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.
  • July 12, 1888 – Wreck at the Fat Nancy, Virginia, United States: Nine are killed and twenty-six are injured when a train trestle gives way. One of the victims was a civil engineer who had designed a replacement for the trestle, since it was known to be unsafe. One of the passengers in the train was Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet.
  • October 10, 1888 – Mud Run Disaster, Pennsylvania, United States: Following a mass meeting held by the Total Abstinence Union in the Pennsylvania mountains at Hazleton in which eight special temperance trains are operated from Wilkes-Barre, 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 66 of the 200 in these two wooden cars outright. More than 50 are injured. Newspaper accounts suggest that temperance pledges were forgotten by some of the victims after they returned to the train.
  • October 29 1888 – Borki train disaster. 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.

Read more about this topic:  List Of Rail Accidents (before 1900), 1880s

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