Train Wrecks- Pictorial History of Accidents on the Main Line is a history of accidents on the main lines of various railroads. The train wrecks in this book occurred before 1940. The book tells the stories behind the train wrecks in pictures and newspaper accounts. The book also points out the progress being made to improve mechanical, structural and human error in order to improve the safety of railroading. This is the second printing if this book. The first edition is also available on this website.
Chapter One of Train Wrecks- Pictorial History of Accidents points out that during the infancy of railroading, before 1853, there were not any disastrous wrecks. But then in 1853 the first accident disaster occurred where 46 people lost their lives. Chapter Two explains that after 1853 the accidents started increasing. Of course, so did the railroad miles and people that traveled by rail. Chapter 3 describes the horrors of railroad travel during the last part of the nineteenth century. Daily papers gave wide coverage to train accidents. Some of those articles appear in as part of the stories in the books.
Many of the pictures in the Train Wrecks- Pictorial History of Accidents are illustrations of the accidents. These accidents occurred before the wide use of camera in newspapers. The remaining chapters divide the incidents into the causes of those accidents. So, there is a chapter on derailments, head and rear end collisions, bridge failures, fires, running gear failures, boiler explosions and other types of incidents. The whole table of contents is part of the pictures that accompany this narrative.
Train Wrecks- Pictorial History of Accidents is a wonderful book for those interested in the early years of railroading and the hazards of rail travel. The book is filled with illustrations and photographs of the actual train accidents. The illustrations and photographs bring to life the devastation created by railroad accidents on the railroad. You need to add Train Wrecks to your collection.