Train Slams Into Another at 75MPH In One of History’s Deadly Rail Disasters

Abandoned broken old rusty rail road.Old wooden railway sleepers.

Train Slams Into Another at 75MPH In One of History’s Deadly Rail Disasters

Deadly rail disasters always carry an air of tragedy about them. An Illinois train accident ranks among the most infamous deadly rail disasters in history, leaving 45 dead after two trains collided head-on. It is with deep sorrow that we look back on one of history’s great American tragedies.

Dozens Dead

deadly rail disasters
While this title card is a chilling thing to read, it is important to look back.

In one of the most deadly rail disasters in the post-war, 45 people lost their lives as one train collided with another. Rather than previous rail disasters, this one has a sense of unmitigated terror when looking back at this archival footage.

Horror from Above

deadly rail disasters

You get the true scope of this disaster from above, as demonstrated in this aerial still. The scale and extent of the damage is something to behold, as it befits one of the most deadly rail disasters in history.

Twisted Wreckage

deadly rail disasters
Despite the extreme damage only 45 people would lose their lives.

The stationary train is the one which bore the brunt of the damage. You can see the rearmost cabin turned into just twisted steel and other bits. As the train hit was struck at 75 miles per hour, this created catastrophic damage.

The Cause

deadly rail disasters
While one train had to make an emergency stop, another went full steam ahead into its rear car.

One of the most deadly rail disasters of the post-war came about due to one train having to make an emergency stop. In an era before modern communications, there was no way to effectively let the other train know what was happening. The result is tragic.

A Close Look

deadly rail disasters
Although this damage is quite extensive, there were still dozens of survivors to rescue.

As the camera draws closer to the wreckage on the ground, you truly understand what makes this one of the most deadly rail disasters in American history. The damage is tremendous, reflecting just how fast one train was going when it struck.

A Fatal Error

train accident
While this accident could’ve been worse, the loss of life is still a sad sight.

This could have happened to any engineer, especially given the constraints of the time. While you could certainly point a finger, that isn’t the important factor. People getting out of harm’s way was the chief concern.

Helpers on Hand

train accident
Scores of workers were on hand to remove the dead and injured from the train.

There is a sense of sorrow to be felt when looking at an image of people draped in blankets, their bodies being carried out on stretchers. However, it is a testament to humanity’s enduring spirit that there were people on hand to help.

An Incredible Sight

train accident
The rear shreds like wet tissue paper due to the impact.

It seems almost unreal to look at such a massive vehicle like a train just twisted into scrap. While this is one of the most deadly rail disasters of the post-war, we often forget how destructive something like a train can be when colliding with another vehicle of equal size.

75MPH Bullet

train accident
The damage to the speeding train was minimal compared to the horrific damage inflicted on the stationary train.

A train accident isn’t unlike a car accident. The sheer force of the collision when coupled with the mass of both vehicles elevates well above what you’d see with a pair of cars, however.


train accident
Thankfully, these little ones didn’t grasp the gravity of their situation.

There is a sense of relief felt when looking at such deadly rail disasters to see people safe and out of harm’s way. These babies might not have grasped the true danger of their situation, but they thankfully were pulled out to safety and are receiving the care they need.

Watch the Full Video

train accident
While harrowing, this type of accident is less likely to happen with modern communication technology.

You can see the full extent of the damage in our video here. The newsreel footage touches upon one of the most deadly rail disasters along with other important bits of news for the era. It is certainly worth a look if you’d like to see a time capsule of life in the post-war era.

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