Because Somebody Blundered

In 1918, what is still considered to be the worst railway accident in U.S. history occurred right here in Nashville. Sitting unassumingly in on White Bridge Road in between the Greenway and the Hospital is a memorial.

File Dec 15, 10 23 15

Photo by Angela Schmidt

Two trains collided head on, resulting in 101 people killed and 171 injured. One train was heading to Memphis, and the other from Memphis to Old Hickory when “somebody blundered” according to the Nashville Tennesseean paper, and the engineer gave the wrong signal to the approaching trains.

Rounding the Dutchman’s Curve bend of the track, the trains collided around 7:15 am. 80% of the passengers were African-Americans heading to work at the Dupont Factory, which is still operating in a suburb of Nashville – Lakewood, TN (see also Wizard Tree).

The scene is described a little too gruesomely for me, but you can read the original newspaper story reprinted here. I prefer the old way of storytellin’ best – through music.

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2 comments

  1. Hi there. My mom lives at Lions Head Condos, quite close to the site of the wreck. She discovered that her next door neighbor, Jeanette, was the last living survivor of the wreck. She had been a baby travelling with her parents on the train.Jeanette had never gone to the site on seen the markers. With the greenway open, it was easier — she is gone now but my parents took her to see it. It was really something. Thanks for this.

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