Wrecks and Wreck Outfits

Significant Railroad Wrecks and Railroad Car Ferry sinkings in or near Michigan...

This compilation included wrecks with significant fatalities or unusual conditions. Some nearby out-of-state wrecks are included. This compilation does not include hundreds of railroad employee deaths due to falling off trains or being hit by locomotives, usually in railroad yards. It also does not include thousands of pedestrian deaths by trains, usually due to intoxication or suicide.


Date | Location | Railroad | Deaths/Injuries | Notes | [Source}


1850's - 64 deaths

1851, September 5. Near Adrian, Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana. 1

1851, September 7 - at Elkhart, IN - Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana - 1

1853. April 5 - at Grand Crossing,. IL - MCRR/LSMS - 21

1859. June 28 - at Mishawaka, IN - Michigan Southern - 41 - Bridge out. Description.


1860's - 15 deaths

1860. October 19 - Near Birmingham, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 5 - Head on. [DFP-1860-1020]

1864. December 16 - Near Grand Trunk Junction, MI - Grand Trunk - 2/dozens - Head on between passenger and freight train. Description. [DFP-1864-1216.

1864. December 22 - at Osseo, Hillsdale County, MI - 3 - Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Old Road - Failure to close side track switch resulting in a passenger train colliding with a freight train on the siding. [HS-1866-1227]

1866. February 26 - at Denton, MI - Michigan Central - 3 - Boiler explosion - Description.

1866. March 2 - near Jonesville, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 2/22 - Broken rail, 2 passenger cars derailed and went 20' into ravine. [DFP-1866-0302]


1870's - 40 deaths

1872. April 9 - 3 miles north of Stanwood, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/0 - Engine hits stump on track. [FL-p44]

1872, August 29 - Near Owosso, MI - Michigan Central (JL&S) - 4 - Broken rail. [MCRF-1972]

1872. October 22 - East of Flint River Junction - Flint & Pere Marquette - 1/3 - Work train derailment after hitting cow. [MCRF-1872]

1873. August 28 - at Muir, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 4

1873. September 17 - West of Lowell, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 2

1874. January 17 - North of Munger, MI - Detroit & Bay City - 1 - Train hits track hand car. Description.

1874. July 18 - at Trufant station near Greenville - Detroit Lansing & Lake Michigan - 7/15 - Tree across tracks in front of gravel train. [I&L]

1874. October 19 - near Deerfield, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1/6 - Two construction trains collide in the fog. [DFP-1874-1020]

1879. October 10 - East of Jackson Junction, MI - Michigan Central - 18 - Wreck of Pacific Express with switch engine on the main line. [NDEM-1879-1018]


1880's - 23 deaths

1880. November 3 - at Lapeer - Detroit & Bay City - 1 - Misplaced switch causes derailment. Head brakeman pinned between locomotive and tender. [LD 1880-1106]

1881. February 9 - at Barron Lake, east of Niles - MC Air Line - 1/9 - Passenger train derails at 25 mph due to broken rail. [NWM-1881-0209]

1883. April - at Olivet - Chicago & Grand Trunk - 3/8 - A passenger train strikes the rear of a stopped freight train. [DFP-1883-0429]

1883. October 6 - in Pittsford, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Old Road - 3/2 - Rear end collision of two freight trains, collapsing caboose. [DFP-1883-1007]

1885. May 8 - on Grosse Ile railroad bridge - Canada Southern - 2 - Hand car goes through open draw bridge. Description.

1886. September 23 - at South Lyon, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/1 - Vandals remove rail. Description.

1887. Date not known - at Elmwood, MI (Iron County) - Chicago & North Western - 8-10 - Water tower falls on section crew.

1889. January 28 - at Elmwood, MI (Iron County) - Chicago & North Western - 2 - Derailment kills Michigan's Lieutenant Governor. Description.

1889. October 14 (~) - at Lansing, MI - Lansing Transit Railway - 3 - Hoist beam on wrecker breaks killing 3.


1890's - 78 deaths

1891. February 19 - at St. Helens, MI - Michigan Central - 3 - A logging train derailed and struck a round house, killing one and fatally injuring two others. [CCA-1891-0219]

1891. April 19 - at Kipton, OH - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 8

1891. November 24 - Gilbert, MI (8 miles n/of Cadillac) - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 3/2 - Freight train fails to clear for passenger train. [LDP-1891-1126]

1893. October 13 - at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 24/20 - Rear end collision, disregard of danger signal. Description

1893. October 19 - at Nichols Tower in Battle Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 28 - Head on collision, disregarded orders.

1894. September 8 - at Pori, MI (near Ontonagon) - Milwaukee Road - 1/1 - Forest fire derailed engine.

1895. August 24 - at Hermansville (Dickenson Co.) - C&NW - 2/0 - Two railroad employees were instantly killed when a locomotive was struck by a flat-car coming down grade and was thrown into the ditch crushing the men to death. [RTR-1895-0824]

1897. July 8. South of Bay City, MI - Saginaw & Bay City Railway (E) - 7/3 - Interurban car ran off open drawbridge over Saginaw River.  Description.

1897. December 20 - at Wilderville, MI (East of Marshall) - Detroit Toledo & Milwaukee - 1/3 - Head on collision. Disregarded train orders. Description


1900's - 193+ deaths

1900. January 21 south of Onaway - Detroit & Mackinac - 1/3 - Log rolled from car wrecking train, killing conductor. [DFP-1902-0615]

1900. February 19 - at Ford River, MI (west of Escanaba) - Chicago & North Western - 9/12 - Passenger train hit from behind. Description

1900. July 29 - at Milwaukee Junction (Detroit) - Detroit Grand Haven & Milwaukee - 1/10 - Buffalo Bill rodeo train backs into engine. [DFP-1900-0729]

1900. August 15. at Pierson, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 6 - Caused by operator error.

1901. April 28 at Sunfield, MI - Pere Marquette - 1/4 - Spreading rails derails engine, passenger cars. [LDP-1901-0501]

1901. September 22 at Bond's Mill, 1 mile n/of Missaukee Junction - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/5 - Freight train failed to follow orders to clear for excursion passenger train. [PHDH-1901-0924]

1901. November 27 - at Seneca, MI - Wabash - 23 - Head on, Error in reading orders.

1902. June 8 at Black River. MI - Detroit & Mackinac - 1/30 - Passenger train derails. [DMAR-1902]

1902. ~August 8 at Escanaba - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/1 - Air brakes fail causing passenger train to run into freight train at the depot. [UVC-1902-0808]

1902, November 25 two miles w/of Grand Rapids - Muskegon Interurban - 1/5 - Interurban car hit tree across rail at high speed. [HOM-1902-1126]

1903. April 23 - at Lenox, MI - Grand Trunk - 2/1 - Open switch. Collided with freight train in yard. Description

1903. May 4 - at Mayville, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/19 - Collision. [MCR-1904] Description

1903. May 4 - at Canfield Avenue, Detroit - Grand Trunk and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 7 - Rear ended unscheduled train.

1903. August 7 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 26/15 - Wallace Brothers circus train is rear ended in collision.

1903. September 13 at West Bay City, MI - Michigan Central - 2/8 - Killed by dynamite explosion in car while switching. Description

1903. December 26 at E. Paris, MI - Pere Marquette - 18 - Head on, failed to follow orders.

1904. Early/unknown at Gratiot Avenue Crossing, Detroit - Detroit Grand Haven & Milwaukee and DUR interurban - Multiple fatalities - At grade crossing. [MCR-1904]

1904. Unknown at Elmdale, MI - Pere Marquette - 5 - Read end collision.

1904. May 20 at Gay. MI (near Calumet) - Mineral Range - 1 - "Cornfield meet" - [DSSS-2022-Q1]

1904. September 8 at Zeeland, MI  Pere Marquette - 3 - Head on, failure to stop for orders. [DFP-1905-0909]

1905. February 4 at Raisin Center, MI - LS&MS/Wabash - 2/0 - Wabash freight passed a red signal and collided with a LS&MS Jackson Branch passenger train at crossing, killing LSMS engineer and fireman. [DFP-1905-0205] Description.

1905. October 25 at Elmira, MI - Boyne City Gaylord & Alpena - 2/8 - New right-of-way collapsed, train fell on workers. [DFP-1905-1022]

1906. October 31 at Quinnesec Junction, MI - Milwaukee Road - 5/10 - A CMStP&P freight collides with a train carrying miners from the Traders Mine head on in a dense fog. [IMP-1906-1101]

1907. January 28 at North Bay City, MI - Detroit & Mackinac and interurban - 1/1 - Passenger train hits Wenona Beach interurban car at crossing. [DFP-1907-0129]

1907. July 20 at Salem, MI - Pere Marquette - 30 - Employee excursion train hit head on, failure of freight train to clear main track. Worst in Michigan.

1908. February 17 at West Toledo, OH - New York Central and Toledo & Western - 8 - Trolley strikes Big Four passenger train.

1908. Unknown 1 mile north of Shultz, MI - Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw - 2 - Cornfield meet because of a mix up in orders.

1908. September 14 at Chesterton, IN - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1 - Read end colission at depot during foggy conditions.

1908. September 18 at Detroit - Michigan Central railroad tunnel - 4/24 - Lost their lives during construction of the tunnel. [PHTH-1908-0918]

1908. October 12 near Metz, MI (Rogers City) - Detroit & Mackinac - 17 - Train derailed in middle of forest fire.

1909. January 30 at Allouez, MI (Calumet) - Mineral Range - 1/1 - Head on of 2 rock trains in blizzard.

1909. June 12 near "Saginaw" but probably Sagola - St. Paul Road - 4/0 - Extra freight strikes a log train. Misreading of orders. [BBAN-1909-0617]

1909. June 13 at West Branch, MI - Michigan Central - 1/2 - Train strikes section handcar.

1909. October 5 at Carpenters, MI (Lapeer) - Michigan Central - 2 - Head on. See Note 7.


1910's - 199 deaths

1910. Unknown - at Holland, OH - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1 - Read ended freight

1910. April 6 - at Grayling, MI - Michigan Central - 1/2 - Boiler explosion due to low water. [DMP-1910-0407]

1910. June 2 - at Chase, MI (Lake County) - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Derailed train hit by another. Link.

1910. September 9 - Off Sheboygan, WI - Pere Marquette - 30 - Sinking of railroad car ferry.

1910. September 19 - at St. Joseph, MI - Pere Marquette - 1 - due to derailment.

1910. July 12 - at Ortonville, MI - Interurban railroad - 1/62 - Interurban car collides with work train. Link 

1910. October 10 at Dollar Bay - Mineral Range - 1/1 - Engine hit an open switch and did a complete somersault. Fireman scalded to death. Engineer seriously injured. [DET-1910-1010]

1911. January 17 at Grand Rapids, MI - Brake failure - 1/1 - Run away train. Desccription

1911. January 31 near Houghton, MI - Copper Range - 1/5 - Head on between freight and ore train on curve near Michigan Smelter.

1911. July 3 - at Mills Switch, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/44 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. July 30 - at Dearborn. MI - DUR Interurban - 1/20 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 7 at Young's Crossing, Detroit, MI - DUR Interurban - 2/12 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 15 at Volney Smith Crossing, Detroit, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/3 - Rear end colission.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 19 at Rougemere Yard (Dearborn) - Pere Marquette - 1/8 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1912. April 15 at Dexter. MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago (E) - 2/30 - Head on between two interurban cars. ICC Report [PDF]  

1912. August 8 at Trout Lake, MI - Soo Line - 2 - Passenger train hits open wye switch one mile east of Trout Lake. Engineer and fireman die. Mail and baggage cars demolished. [LSJ-1912-0808]

1913. January 2. 3 miles west of Delray,. MI - Wabash - 3/0 - Derailment broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. January 16 at New Haven, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/24 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. February 23 at Republic, MI - Milwaukee Road - 1 - Broken rail. See Note 6.

1913. March 10 at Okemos, MI - Pere Marquette - 2 - Derailment due to loose tire on engine. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 6 at Waterville, MI - DUR Interurban - 2/3 - Head on. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 15 at Francisco, MI (near Chelsea) - Michigan Central - 2/1 - Unknown derailment.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 18 at North Yard, Kalamazoo, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 2/26 - Head on. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. July 13 at MAL Crossing at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 2/44 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1914. January 12 at St. Joseph PM Yard - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Train derailed in sand on track in blizzard. [SJDP-1914-0112]

1914. January 25 at MAL Crossing at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 3/13 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1914. February 6 at Foster's MI - Grand Trunk Western - 3/3 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1914. July 14 at Michigan Center, MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago interurban - 2/15 - Head on collision between two interurban cars.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1915. April 15 at Detroit, MI - Detroit Street Railway (E) - 15 - Collided with a DT&I train at W. Jefferson Avenue. [NYT-1915-0415]

1917. November 17 at Wakefield, MI - Private mine railroad - 1/1 - An engine pulling cars from the Plymouth open pit mine left the track and overturned, killing the engineer. [WAK-1917-1110]

1918. April 27 at Clarion, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 1 - Derailment.  Click Here.

1916. September 8 at Rives Junction (north of Jackson) - Michigan Railway (E) - 2/12 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. March 21 at Waterloo, IN - New York Central - 1/19 - Derailment of trains. ICC Report [PDF]

1917. May 25 at North Menominee, MI - C&NW/Interurban - 2/4 - Train strikes street car at crossing. Description.

1917. June 9 at St. Clair, MI - Rapid Railway (E) - 4/27 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. June 20 at Melvin, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/1 - Derailment. ICC Report [PDF]

1917. July 4 at Orchard Breach Crossing, Manistee - Manistee & Northeastern and Interurban - 3/20 - Side collision at crossing.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. August 30 at Britton, MI - Wabash - 2/0 - Derailment.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. September 20 at Riverside, MI (Benton Harbor) - Pere Marquette - 1/19 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1918. February 15 at Manistique, MI - Soo Line - 3/0 - Yard workers struck by switch engine in blizzard. [PHTH-1918-0215]

1918. May 8 at Antoine, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/16 - Ore train crashes into coach pulled by switch engine in the yard here [EDP-1918-0518]

1918. June 22 at Ivanhoe, IN - Michigan Central - 68 - Circus train.

1918. July 20 at Chelsea, MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago (E) - 15/80 - Head on between passenger and interurban freight.  ICC Report [PDF]

1918. November 23 at Dexter, MI - Michigan Central - 3/2 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. February 25 at Oakwood, MI - DUR Interurban - 4/44 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. February 26 two miles south of Cadillac,. MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/23 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. August 20 at Beitner, MI, 4 miles south of Traverse City - Pere Marquette - 6/27 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. December 21 at Francisco, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/2 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]


1920's - 148 deaths

1920. March 5 at Clarendon, MI - Michigan Central - 1/6 - Derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1920. September 1 at New Boston, MI - Pennsylvania/Pere Marquette - 1/3 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1920. September 24 at Ortonville, MI - DUR Interurban - 4/12 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1921. February 23 at Ashley, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/1 - Derailment, bad engine truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

1921. February 27 at Porter, IN - Michigan Central and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 37/20 - MC train disregarded stop signal at interlocking, striking other train. Description. ICC Report [PDF]

1921. May 7 at Elkhart Yard, IN - New York Central - 2 - Collision in yard. ICC Report [PDF]

1921. June 18 at Warsaw, MI (east of Ann Arbor) - DJ&C Interurban - 5/21 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. January 11 at McDonald, MI - Pere Marquette - 1 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. January 13 at Alexis, OH (north of Toledo) - Pere Marquette - 2/4 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. May 8 at Vinewood Avenue, Detroit, MI - New York Central - 1/1 - Collision on freight track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. June 12 at Grayling, MI - New York Central - 3/0 - Side collision with 2nd train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. July 5 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 5/0 - Due to derailment.

1923. August 28 at Edmore, near Marine City, MI - DUR Rapid Railway Interurban - 1/15 - Head on collision at meeting point.  ICC Report [PDF]

1924. January 25 at Waterloo, IN - New York Central - 1/10 - Read ended train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1924. February 10 at Kingsley, MI south of Traverse City - Pennsylvania - 2/1 - Snow plow derailment. ICC Report

1924. May 11 at Baw Beese Lake, Hillsdale County - New York Central - 1/1 - Locomotive derails after hitting object on rail, fireman dies. Description.

1924. September 24 at Botsford Yard, Kalamazoo, MI - Michigan Central - 1 - Train strikes automobile. ICC Report [PDF]

1924. December 3 at Wyandotte, MI - DUR Interurban - 5/10 - Collided with automobile. ICC Report [PDF]

1925. January 6 at Bakertown, MI (Berrien County) - Michigan Central - 1/0 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1925. February 23 at Oakwood, MI (Melvindale) - Wabash - 2/2 - Head on collision. Runaway train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1925. April 19 at Sunny, MI (south of Flint) - DUR Interurban - 1/16 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1925. July 29 at Lake George, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - 1 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. September 2 at Monroe, MI - Detroit Monroe & Toledo Short Line Interurban - 10/36 - Head on collision  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. October 7 at Gibson, IN - Michigan Central/New York Central - 4/1 - Railroad motor car vs. train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. November 4 at Goodison, MI - Michigan Central - 1/36 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1927. September 18 at Carpenter, MI - Michigan Central - 1/3 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1928. March 11 at Austin, MI (near Detroit) - DJC / DUR Interurbans - 1/25 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1928. July 8 at Flushing, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/16 - Circus train derailed on bad track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. January 16 at Fenwick, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/1 - Derailment due to poor track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. April 16 at Stanley, OH - New York Central - 1 - Collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. May 14 at Dowagiac, MI - Michigan Central - 1/4 - Train vs. truck at crossing.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. May 28 at Glen Lord, MI (south of Benton Harbor) - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Accident due to bad switch. ICC Report [PDF] 

1929. June 2 at Ortonville - Eastern Michigan railway Interurban - 0/61 - Passenger train collison with freight train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. June 18 at Monroe, MI - Grand Trunk Western (DTSL) - 2/1 - Train rear ended.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. July 4 at Pomona, MI - Ann Arbor railroad - 2 - Wash out.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. October 22 at Lake Michigan - Grand Trunk Western - 42/0 Railroad car ferry sinks. Worst at sea.


1930's - 40 deaths

1930. February 2 at Ann Pere, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/3 - Derailment of speeding train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. February 19 at K Tower, Toledo, OH - Toledo Terminal - 1/1 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. May 28 at Belsay, MI east of Flint - Grand Trunk Western - 2/12 - Derailment at open switch.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. July 25 at McGrew Junction, Flint, MI - Pere Marquette - 1/0 - Side collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 27 at Petoskey, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/6 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 28 between North Yard and Utica - Michigan Central - 2/1 - Derailment at switch.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 28 at Plymouth - Pere Marquette - 0/6 - Side Collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. February 7 at Nichols Yard, Battle Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/8 - Switch opened in front of train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. March 6 at Town Line, Dearborn, MI - Michigan Central - 0/3 - Switch opened in front of train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. March 19 at West Detroit, MI - Michigan Central - 0/40 - Head on between passenger and freight. ICC Report [PDF]

1931. September 25 at Edmore, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/6 - Derailment, high speed on wye track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1932. January 27 at Elkhart, IN - NYC/Big Four - 0/13 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1933. September 28 at Fenton, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/1 - Head on with switch engine.  ICC Report [PDF]

1934. February 2 at Iron Mountain, MI - Milwaukee Road - 0/6 - Passenger train derails on broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1934. August 10 at Vermontville, MI - Michigan Central - 5/8 - Train/automobile collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1935. July 9 at Riga, MI - New York Central - 1/5 - Train vs. road grader.  ICC Report [PDF]

1936. July 5 at Wayne Junction, MI - New York Central - 1/5 - Passenger train entered an open switch and struck a freight train on the passing siding. Switch and signal failure contributed. [RSE-1936-09]

1936. July 18 in Dundee, MI - Ann Arbor - 9/0 - Auto vs. train into Raisin River railroad bridge, 2 families killed. 

1936. September 30 at Urania, MI - Ann Arbor - 0/13 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. January 3 at Adrian, MI - Wabash - 3/0 - Locomotive explodes. [SEN-1937-0104]

1937. March 7 at Michigan City, IN - Pere Marquette - 0/5 - Derailment due to kinked track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. May 3 between Muir and Ionia - Grand Trunk Western - 1/7 - Passenger train derailed on bad track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. June 9 at Lansing, MI depot - Grand Trunk Western - 0/0 - Derailment due to brake rigging. ICC Report [PDF]

1937. September 12 at Vulcan, OH (north of Nasby Tower) - TA&W/T&I Ry. - 3/9 - Side collision at interlocking.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. November 15 near Mason, MI in Houghton County - Quincy & Torch Lake - 2/0 - A washout by heavy rains overturned a locomotive, killing the engineer and fireman. [CAA]

1937. December 17 at Beech, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/34 - Derailment due to spread track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1938. February 13 4 miles north of Monroe, MI - Michigan Central - 0/14 - Rear end collission of two passenger trains.  ICC Report [PDF]

1939. March 30 at Michigamme, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 2/0 - Derailment from landslide.  ICC Report [PDF]

1939. May 18 at McBain, MI - Ann Arbor - 1/0 - Train vs. gasoline tanker truck.   ICC Report [PDF]

1939. December 2 at Kalamazoo, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/2 - Train vs. automobile.  ICC Report [PDF]


1940's - 42 deaths

1940. June 12 at Bessemer, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/5 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1941. May 22 at "Z" Tower, Toledo, OH - New York Central - 0/30 - Collision with freight train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1941. October i7 at Sault Ste. Marie, MI - Canadian Pacific - 2 - Bascule bridge collapse. 

1942. January 13 two miles south of Mullet Lake, MI - Michigan Central 1/0 - Derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1942. August 23 at Green Oak, west of South Lyon, MI - Pere Marquette - 3/23 - Passenger train hits auto.  ICC Report [PDF]

1942. October 30 at Hamtramck, Caniff Street - Grand Trunk Western - 1/25 - Passenger train hits freight cars.  ICC Report [PDF]

1943. August 19 at Hughart, Grand Rapids, MI - Michigan Central - 1/1 - Train derailed by stone on rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1943. November 13 at Snowshoe Curve, Gay, MI - Copper Range - 1/2 - Collision of two section cars. [SHP-1943-1113]

1944. March 16 at Wyandotte, MI - Detroit Toledo & Ironton - 1/0 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1944. December 28 at Sibley, MI - Michigan Central - 2/25 - Train vs. auto accident.  ICC Report [PDF]

1945. November 7 near Blissfield - New York Central -17/7 - Train hits truck full of German prisoners of war returning to camp from sugar beet fields. [ADT-1945-1107]

1945. June 30 at Eaton Rapids, MI - Michigan Central - 2/6 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1945. December 7 at Smith's Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/3 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1946. July 22 at Fort Custer, MI - Michigan Central - 3/3 - Head on collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1947. May 2 at Dean Yard, Midland, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/3 - Read end within yard limits.  ICC Report [PDF]

1948. January 18. Six miles west of Battle Creek, MI - 3/1 - Derailment due to broken journal.  ICC Report [PDF]

1948. June 26 at West Unity, OH - NYC and Wabash - 1/7 - Side collision at interlocking. ICC Report [PDF]

1949. January 3 at Rock, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/15 - Derailment due to bad wheel.  ICC Report [PDF]

1949. October 27 two miles north of Richland Junction, MI - 2/1 - Derailment due to bad track.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1950's - 30 deaths

1950. August 26 four miles north of Elmira, MI - Pennsylvania - 0/14 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1950. November 26 at Andersonville, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/9 - Read end passenger/freight trains.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. March 14 at Penford, MI - Pennsylvania/Detroit Toledo & Ironton - 0/3 - Side collision at interlocking.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. March 15 at Trenton, MI - New York Central - 3/17 - Passenger train derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. December 14 at L'Anse, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 2/2 - Derailment due to train out of control.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. June 3 one mile west of Elkhart, IN - New York Central - 2/7 - Broken wheel on motor car.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. June 29 east of Linden, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/6 - Head on collision between two freights.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. September 26 east of Burton, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/5 - Passenger train too fast in turnout, derailed and hit 2nd passenger train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. October 3 at Onota, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 1/5 - Motor car vs. train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1953. September 14 at MAL Crossing north of Jackson, MI - Grand Trunk Western/New York Central - 1/0 - Train vs. rail motor car.  ICC Report [PDF]

1955. November 18 at Newport, MI - New York Central - 9/3 - Train vs. truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

1957. November 16 one mile west of White Pigeon, MI - New York Central - 9/3 - Diverted passenger train derails on temporary track, excessive speed.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1960's - 4 deaths

1967. June 10 at Thompsonville, MI - Chesapeake & Ohio - 4/28 - Train vs. truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

 


1970's - 0 deaths

 


1980's - 1 deaths

1980. October 7 at Larch, MI - Soo Line - 1/0 - Tamper strikes a track car. [PNR-1980-1007]

1989. July 22 at Freeland, MI - CSX - 0/15 - Derail, hazmat, 1,000 evacuated.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1990's - 0 deaths 

 


2000's - 3 deaths

2001. November 15 at Andersonville, MI - CN - 3/0 - 2 freights collide, one is siding. 


2010's - 0 deaths

 


2020's - 0 deaths

  


Other Notable Disasters in and around Michigan

1889 - March 4 at Windsor, ON - Grand Trunk Western - Car ferry "Transit I" was destroyed by fire.

1905. April 17 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western. Depot nearly destroyed by fire.

1906. November 12 at Detroit, MI - Michigan Central. Third Street Station burns.

1909. May 29 at Manistique, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - Car ferry #4 capsizes.

1910. March 8 at Manitowoc, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - Car ferry #1 burns.

1968. February 1 - Penn Central Railroad is formed, declares bankruptcy in June 1970.


Wreck Outfits

Railroads in history operated wreck "outfits", usually special trains which were kept in terminals under steam, ready to head out to derailments and other disasters. Crews for these trains were usually men selected from maintenance right-of-way crews and roundhouse crews. Each wrecking outfit contained a large powered derrick as its main tool. Sometimes, railroads borrowed wreck outfits from other railroads, if they didn't have their own close by wreck outfit or in large derailments requiring more than one crane. In addition to picking up and removing locomotives and railroad cars, the wreck outfit also built temporary tracks to open the road as quickly as possible. Flat cars on the wreck outfits brought new ties, rail, and temporary wheelsets for cars that needed to return to the shops for repair.

    1. C&NW - Green Bay, WI - 150 ton - In 1958 sent to Naults, MI
    2. C&NW - Ashland, WI - Sent to Marinesco in 1956.
    3. C&NW - Escanaba, MI - 100 ton - As of 1953, likely earlier
    4. DSS&A - Marquette, MI - Sent to Thomaston in 1957.
    5. DT&I - Dearborn (Ford Rouge) 
    6. GR&I - Grand Rapids (1901)
    7. LS&I - Marquette
    8. Michigan Central - Detroit, MI Livernois Yard
    9. Michigan Central - Detroit, MI Livernois Yard, Tunnel wrecker (Note 1)
    10. Pere Marquette - Detroit, MI. As of 1907.
    11. Pere Marquette - Grand Rapids, MI. As of 1907
    12. Pere Marquette - Saginaw Yard - As of 1907
    13. Soo Line - Gladstone - X-3. Preserved. Sent to Trout Lake in 1938.
    14. Soo Line - Sault Ste. Marie - As of 1912. Sent to Trout Lake wreck.
    15. Wabash - Montpelier, OH - Sent to Raisin Center in 1905

Note 1 - The Michigan Central maintained a special wreck crew for the Detroit-Windsor International railroad tunnel. The Industrial Brownhoist derrick could be operated by steam or third rail electricity in the tunnel and the approaches to the tunnel. This derrick remains operational and is located at Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford.


Note 2. Lieutenant Governor James H. McDonald and two others were killed on the C&NW line near Elmwood, MI when the truck under the last car broke and derailed the car. While in motion, the car tipped on its side, then struck two different stumps tearing the car to pieces. McDonald, who was playing cards at the time, died instantly. He was brought back to his home in Escanaba for burial. [Livingston Argus, 1990-0124]


Note 3. C&NW passenger train No. 21 known as the Felch Mountain accommodation, which runs between Metropolitan and Escanaba, was wrecked in a rear-end collision at Ford River switch at 6:30 Thursday night. Nine persons were killed, three are missing, five seriously and four slightly injured. The dead included the baggageman, brakeman, and passengers. The Metropolitan train had stopped at the switch to take a passenger on. Owing to heavy snow or the dense smoke from charcoal kilns, about 100 feet from the track, the rear end of the train was enveloped in smoke and prevented the crew of the incoming freight, No. 289 (Green Bay to Ishpeming) which was running on special time orders, from seeing the red lights on the rear of the accommodation. With the exception of two people, the bodies of those killed were burned in the wreck. Injured were taken to the nearby Sears Brothers' store while train crews fought desperately, assisted by the uninjured passengers, to gain control of the fire which threatened the destruction of the wreck before all the injured could be removed. The scene at the wreck was an appalling one. Scores of people from surrounding towns drove to the scene to learn if any of their friends were on board the ill-fated train.  [LAS=1900-0217][SJH-1900-0217]


Note 4. MCRR. One of the most terrible railroad accidents that has ever occurred in the history of railroad fatalities took place here this morning, whereby twelve persons were killed and a good many more or less seriously injured. It was another of those awful rear-end collisions of which Michigan is getting its full share and which reflect so seriously upon the system of handling trains while there is a rush of traffic. An excursion train left Watertown, N.Y. in two sections. The first section reached Jackson at about 9 o'clock this morning and stood on the main track to give passengers bound for the White City on pleasure bent the opportunity to eat breakfast in the depot lunch-room. The male passengers made the customary rush for the counter while many ladies remained in the coaches, which accounts for the fact that more women were killed and injured than men. The second section came tearing through the yards and rushed into the stationary train. 'The fireman jumped, but the engineer, with death staring him in the face, stood his post when death seemed imminent. When the locomotive crashed into the first train, a series of cries that froze my blood filled the air. [DFP-1892-1014]


Note 5. A disaster was averted but the engineer was killed.PM train No. 7 approached Grand Rapids Union Station when its brakes failed. The engineer through the reverse lever to try to slow down the train, which was travelling through the yards at 70 mph.  Approaching Wealthy Avenue, the train jumped the tracks. The engineer and fireman jumped, killing the engineer and injuring the fireman. The 100 passengers on board were not injured. [SJDP-1911-0117]


Note 6. CM&StP passenger train No. 2 derailed on a broken rail at 8 mph as it was approaching the depot at milepost 9.3 at Republic. All cars derailed except for the last Pullman car. The conductor was in the baggage car, probably preparing space for baggage to be loaded onboard at the Republic station, when he got crushed to death between a heavy safe that had moved when the car rolled to the side. He was the only person killed in the wreck. For more information, go to the Diamond Drill newspaper from March 1, 1913. Info from James Harlow:  https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/Icon/sn96076817/1913-03-01/ed-1/seq-1/


Note 7. Two trains collided head-on near Carpenters, MI. They intended to meet at Lapeer but one was operating slower than expected. Apparently the southbound freight train was not making the time, or the northbound freight was making better time, than was originally anticipated by the train dispatcher when he first fixed the meet between the two trains at Lapeer. With this being the situation, the train train dispatcher decided to move the meet between the two trains farther north to advance the northbound freight train against the southbound freight train.

Both freight trains would have received a train order to change the meet -- at Lapeer or at a train order station farther south for the northbound train, and the southbound train at Otter Lake station or a station farther north, to "meet extra [eng no.] north at Carpenter instead of Lapeer".  The change of meet order would have been issued in the exact same language to each train. For reasons unknown, the engineer of the southbound freight did not fulfill his changed train order instructions to meet the northward extra freight train at Carpenter instead of Lapeer, and as the northbound extra freight train arrived at Carpenter for the meet, the southbound extra freight train collided with the northbound extra freight train, killing both engineers.

Carpenter station was 5.16 north of Lapeer.


Note 8. Frightful railroad accident. Collision Between two trains on the Grand Trunk. Dreadful loss of life and property. The Cars on Fire. Several persons roasted alive.

A most dreadful accident, attended with loss of life, occurred last night, shortly before 8 o'clock, on the Grand Trunk railroad about a mile and a half (south) west of the Detroit and Milwaukee junction, through a collision between the day passenger express west and a freight train going east. The passenger train was behind time and had made all necessary passes (of other trains) until it had passed New Baltimore station, where it is said it had orders to cross (pass)  the freight going east at the D&M Junction. When it arrived there, according to the story of the operator at the Grand Trunk Junction, it had ordered to proceed all right. Under these circumstances it passed the Junction, when shortly afterwards the engineer thought he discovered an engine ahead. The next moment, he heard the whistle to down brakes, when he immediately gave a similar order and reversed his engine. There were two other persons, besides the firemen in the cab. Before they could jump, the two engines came crashing together in frightful contact, literally making chaos of everything connected with both. The flames shot up in a broad sheet, illuminating the heavens for miles around. As seen from the city, it appeared as though some huge bonfire was blacking at the Skating Park. The bells were sounded and the (fire) engines were turned out, but after proceeding a short distance up Woodward avenue, they found that the fire was far beyond the city limits and they returned. After recovering from the shock, passengers tried to rescue those in danger, delivering several from the burning mass. The mail agent, George Millen from Port Huron, was found to be jammed in between the bagage car and the forward passenger car. His leg was firmly held and the devouring flames engulphed him, proving futile. It is unknown how many people perished. A special train left the Central depot about ten o'clock for the purpose of removing the sufferers to the city. Owning to the obstructions on the track, only those who were able to walk returned by it. Another special, however, was dispatched over the Southern road to remove those whose injured required careful handling. They were all brought in at a late hour and their sufferings weas kindly administered to as was possible under the circumstances. A majority of them are strangers in a strange land and should receive the kindest treatment from our citizens. The baggage and mails were destroyed. The cause is yet to be determined but the freight engine displayed no head light. The engineer of the freight train reversed his engine, whistled down the brakes, and he along with his fireman leaped from the train and escaped unhurt. A Coroner's jury was empaneled on the stop and evidence will no doubt be taken today. [DFP-1864-1216]

Wrecks and Wreck Outfits

Significant Railroad Wrecks and Railroad Car Ferry sinkings in or near Michigan...

This compilation included wrecks with significant fatalities or unusual conditions. Some nearby out-of-state wrecks are included. This compilation does not include hundreds of railroad employee deaths due to falling off trains or being hit by locomotives, usually in railroad yards. It also does not include thousands of pedestrian deaths by trains, usually due to intoxication or suicide.


Date | Location | Railroad | Deaths/Injuries | Notes | [Source}


1850's - 64 deaths

1851, September 5. Near Adrian, Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana. 1

1851, September 7 - at Elkhart, IN - Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana - 1

1853. April 5 - at Grand Crossing,. IL - MCRR/LSMS - 21

1859. June 28 - at Mishawaka, IN - Michigan Southern - 41 - Bridge out. Description.


1860's - 15 deaths

1860. October 19 - Near Birmingham, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 5 - Head on. [DFP-1860-1020]

1864. December 16 - Near Grand Trunk Junction, MI - Grand Trunk - 2/dozens - Head on between passenger and freight train. Description. [DFP-1864-1216.

1864. December 22 - at Osseo, Hillsdale County, MI - 3 - Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Old Road - Failure to close side track switch resulting in a passenger train colliding with a freight train on the siding. [HS-1866-1227]

1866. February 26 - at Denton, MI - Michigan Central - 3 - Boiler explosion - Description.

1866. March 2 - near Jonesville, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 2/22 - Broken rail, 2 passenger cars derailed and went 20' into ravine. [DFP-1866-0302]


1870's - 40 deaths

1872. April 9 - 3 miles north of Stanwood, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/0 - Engine hits stump on track. [FL-p44]

1872, August 29 - Near Owosso, MI - Michigan Central (JL&S) - 4 - Broken rail. [MCRF-1972]

1872. October 22 - East of Flint River Junction - Flint & Pere Marquette - 1/3 - Work train derailment after hitting cow. [MCRF-1872]

1873. August 28 - at Muir, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 4

1873. September 17 - West of Lowell, MI - Detroit & Milwaukee - 2

1874. January 17 - North of Munger, MI - Detroit & Bay City - 1 - Train hits track hand car. Description.

1874. July 18 - at Trufant station near Greenville - Detroit Lansing & Lake Michigan - 7/15 - Tree across tracks in front of gravel train. [I&L]

1874. October 19 - near Deerfield, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1/6 - Two construction trains collide in the fog. [DFP-1874-1020]

1879. October 10 - East of Jackson Junction, MI - Michigan Central - 18 - Wreck of Pacific Express with switch engine on the main line. [NDEM-1879-1018]


1880's - 23 deaths

1880. November 3 - at Lapeer - Detroit & Bay City - 1 - Misplaced switch causes derailment. Head brakeman pinned between locomotive and tender. [LD 1880-1106]

1881. February 9 - at Barron Lake, east of Niles - MC Air Line - 1/9 - Passenger train derails at 25 mph due to broken rail. [NWM-1881-0209]

1883. April - at Olivet - Chicago & Grand Trunk - 3/8 - A passenger train strikes the rear of a stopped freight train. [DFP-1883-0429]

1883. October 6 - in Pittsford, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Old Road - 3/2 - Rear end collision of two freight trains, collapsing caboose. [DFP-1883-1007]

1885. May 8 - on Grosse Ile railroad bridge - Canada Southern - 2 - Hand car goes through open draw bridge. Description.

1886. September 23 - at South Lyon, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/1 - Vandals remove rail. Description.

1887. Date not known - at Elmwood, MI (Iron County) - Chicago & North Western - 8-10 - Water tower falls on section crew.

1889. January 28 - at Elmwood, MI (Iron County) - Chicago & North Western - 2 - Derailment kills Michigan's Lieutenant Governor. Description.

1889. October 14 (~) - at Lansing, MI - Lansing Transit Railway - 3 - Hoist beam on wrecker breaks killing 3.


1890's - 78 deaths

1891. February 19 - at St. Helens, MI - Michigan Central - 3 - A logging train derailed and struck a round house, killing one and fatally injuring two others. [CCA-1891-0219]

1891. April 19 - at Kipton, OH - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 8

1891. November 24 - Gilbert, MI (8 miles n/of Cadillac) - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 3/2 - Freight train fails to clear for passenger train. [LDP-1891-1126]

1893. October 13 - at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 24/20 - Rear end collision, disregard of danger signal. Description

1893. October 19 - at Nichols Tower in Battle Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 28 - Head on collision, disregarded orders.

1894. September 8 - at Pori, MI (near Ontonagon) - Milwaukee Road - 1/1 - Forest fire derailed engine.

1895. August 24 - at Hermansville (Dickenson Co.) - C&NW - 2/0 - Two railroad employees were instantly killed when a locomotive was struck by a flat-car coming down grade and was thrown into the ditch crushing the men to death. [RTR-1895-0824]

1897. July 8. South of Bay City, MI - Saginaw & Bay City Railway (E) - 7/3 - Interurban car ran off open drawbridge over Saginaw River.  Description.

1897. December 20 - at Wilderville, MI (East of Marshall) - Detroit Toledo & Milwaukee - 1/3 - Head on collision. Disregarded train orders. Description


1900's - 193+ deaths

1900. January 21 south of Onaway - Detroit & Mackinac - 1/3 - Log rolled from car wrecking train, killing conductor. [DFP-1902-0615]

1900. February 19 - at Ford River, MI (west of Escanaba) - Chicago & North Western - 9/12 - Passenger train hit from behind. Description

1900. July 29 - at Milwaukee Junction (Detroit) - Detroit Grand Haven & Milwaukee - 1/10 - Buffalo Bill rodeo train backs into engine. [DFP-1900-0729]

1900. August 15. at Pierson, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 6 - Caused by operator error.

1901. April 28 at Sunfield, MI - Pere Marquette - 1/4 - Spreading rails derails engine, passenger cars. [LDP-1901-0501]

1901. September 22 at Bond's Mill, 1 mile n/of Missaukee Junction - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/5 - Freight train failed to follow orders to clear for excursion passenger train. [PHDH-1901-0924]

1901. November 27 - at Seneca, MI - Wabash - 23 - Head on, Error in reading orders.

1902. June 8 at Black River. MI - Detroit & Mackinac - 1/30 - Passenger train derails. [DMAR-1902]

1902. ~August 8 at Escanaba - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/1 - Air brakes fail causing passenger train to run into freight train at the depot. [UVC-1902-0808]

1902, November 25 two miles w/of Grand Rapids - Muskegon Interurban - 1/5 - Interurban car hit tree across rail at high speed. [HOM-1902-1126]

1903. April 23 - at Lenox, MI - Grand Trunk - 2/1 - Open switch. Collided with freight train in yard. Description

1903. May 4 - at Mayville, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/19 - Collision. [MCR-1904] Description

1903. May 4 - at Canfield Avenue, Detroit - Grand Trunk and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 7 - Rear ended unscheduled train.

1903. August 7 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 26/15 - Wallace Brothers circus train is rear ended in collision.

1903. September 13 at West Bay City, MI - Michigan Central - 2/8 - Killed by dynamite explosion in car while switching. Description

1903. December 26 at E. Paris, MI - Pere Marquette - 18 - Head on, failed to follow orders.

1904. Early/unknown at Gratiot Avenue Crossing, Detroit - Detroit Grand Haven & Milwaukee and DUR interurban - Multiple fatalities - At grade crossing. [MCR-1904]

1904. Unknown at Elmdale, MI - Pere Marquette - 5 - Read end collision.

1904. May 20 at Gay. MI (near Calumet) - Mineral Range - 1 - "Cornfield meet" - [DSSS-2022-Q1]

1904. September 8 at Zeeland, MI  Pere Marquette - 3 - Head on, failure to stop for orders. [DFP-1905-0909]

1905. February 4 at Raisin Center, MI - LS&MS/Wabash - 2/0 - Wabash freight passed a red signal and collided with a LS&MS Jackson Branch passenger train at crossing, killing LSMS engineer and fireman. [DFP-1905-0205] Description.

1905. October 25 at Elmira, MI - Boyne City Gaylord & Alpena - 2/8 - New right-of-way collapsed, train fell on workers. [DFP-1905-1022]

1906. October 31 at Quinnesec Junction, MI - Milwaukee Road - 5/10 - A CMStP&P freight collides with a train carrying miners from the Traders Mine head on in a dense fog. [IMP-1906-1101]

1907. January 28 at North Bay City, MI - Detroit & Mackinac and interurban - 1/1 - Passenger train hits Wenona Beach interurban car at crossing. [DFP-1907-0129]

1907. July 20 at Salem, MI - Pere Marquette - 30 - Employee excursion train hit head on, failure of freight train to clear main track. Worst in Michigan.

1908. February 17 at West Toledo, OH - New York Central and Toledo & Western - 8 - Trolley strikes Big Four passenger train.

1908. Unknown 1 mile north of Shultz, MI - Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw - 2 - Cornfield meet because of a mix up in orders.

1908. September 14 at Chesterton, IN - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1 - Read end colission at depot during foggy conditions.

1908. September 18 at Detroit - Michigan Central railroad tunnel - 4/24 - Lost their lives during construction of the tunnel. [PHTH-1908-0918]

1908. October 12 near Metz, MI (Rogers City) - Detroit & Mackinac - 17 - Train derailed in middle of forest fire.

1909. January 30 at Allouez, MI (Calumet) - Mineral Range - 1/1 - Head on of 2 rock trains in blizzard.

1909. June 12 near "Saginaw" but probably Sagola - St. Paul Road - 4/0 - Extra freight strikes a log train. Misreading of orders. [BBAN-1909-0617]

1909. June 13 at West Branch, MI - Michigan Central - 1/2 - Train strikes section handcar.

1909. October 5 at Carpenters, MI (Lapeer) - Michigan Central - 2 - Head on. See Note 7.


1910's - 199 deaths

1910. Unknown - at Holland, OH - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 1 - Read ended freight

1910. April 6 - at Grayling, MI - Michigan Central - 1/2 - Boiler explosion due to low water. [DMP-1910-0407]

1910. June 2 - at Chase, MI (Lake County) - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Derailed train hit by another. Link.

1910. September 9 - Off Sheboygan, WI - Pere Marquette - 30 - Sinking of railroad car ferry.

1910. September 19 - at St. Joseph, MI - Pere Marquette - 1 - due to derailment.

1910. July 12 - at Ortonville, MI - Interurban railroad - 1/62 - Interurban car collides with work train. Link 

1910. October 10 at Dollar Bay - Mineral Range - 1/1 - Engine hit an open switch and did a complete somersault. Fireman scalded to death. Engineer seriously injured. [DET-1910-1010]

1911. January 17 at Grand Rapids, MI - Brake failure - 1/1 - Run away train. Desccription

1911. January 31 near Houghton, MI - Copper Range - 1/5 - Head on between freight and ore train on curve near Michigan Smelter.

1911. July 3 - at Mills Switch, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/44 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. July 30 - at Dearborn. MI - DUR Interurban - 1/20 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 7 at Young's Crossing, Detroit, MI - DUR Interurban - 2/12 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 15 at Volney Smith Crossing, Detroit, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/3 - Rear end colission.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1911. October 19 at Rougemere Yard (Dearborn) - Pere Marquette - 1/8 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1912. April 15 at Dexter. MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago (E) - 2/30 - Head on between two interurban cars. ICC Report [PDF]  

1912. August 8 at Trout Lake, MI - Soo Line - 2 - Passenger train hits open wye switch one mile east of Trout Lake. Engineer and fireman die. Mail and baggage cars demolished. [LSJ-1912-0808]

1913. January 2. 3 miles west of Delray,. MI - Wabash - 3/0 - Derailment broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. January 16 at New Haven, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/24 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. February 23 at Republic, MI - Milwaukee Road - 1 - Broken rail. See Note 6.

1913. March 10 at Okemos, MI - Pere Marquette - 2 - Derailment due to loose tire on engine. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 6 at Waterville, MI - DUR Interurban - 2/3 - Head on. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 15 at Francisco, MI (near Chelsea) - Michigan Central - 2/1 - Unknown derailment.  ICC Report [PDF]

1913. June 18 at North Yard, Kalamazoo, MI - Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 2/26 - Head on. ICC Report [PDF]

1913. July 13 at MAL Crossing at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 2/44 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1914. January 12 at St. Joseph PM Yard - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Train derailed in sand on track in blizzard. [SJDP-1914-0112]

1914. January 25 at MAL Crossing at Jackson, MI - Michigan Central - 3/13 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1914. February 6 at Foster's MI - Grand Trunk Western - 3/3 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1914. July 14 at Michigan Center, MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago interurban - 2/15 - Head on collision between two interurban cars.  ICC Report [PDF] 

1915. April 15 at Detroit, MI - Detroit Street Railway (E) - 15 - Collided with a DT&I train at W. Jefferson Avenue. [NYT-1915-0415]

1917. November 17 at Wakefield, MI - Private mine railroad - 1/1 - An engine pulling cars from the Plymouth open pit mine left the track and overturned, killing the engineer. [WAK-1917-1110]

1918. April 27 at Clarion, MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 1 - Derailment.  Click Here.

1916. September 8 at Rives Junction (north of Jackson) - Michigan Railway (E) - 2/12 - Head on.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. March 21 at Waterloo, IN - New York Central - 1/19 - Derailment of trains. ICC Report [PDF]

1917. May 25 at North Menominee, MI - C&NW/Interurban - 2/4 - Train strikes street car at crossing. Description.

1917. June 9 at St. Clair, MI - Rapid Railway (E) - 4/27 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. June 20 at Melvin, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/1 - Derailment. ICC Report [PDF]

1917. July 4 at Orchard Breach Crossing, Manistee - Manistee & Northeastern and Interurban - 3/20 - Side collision at crossing.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. August 30 at Britton, MI - Wabash - 2/0 - Derailment.  ICC Report [PDF]

1917. September 20 at Riverside, MI (Benton Harbor) - Pere Marquette - 1/19 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1918. February 15 at Manistique, MI - Soo Line - 3/0 - Yard workers struck by switch engine in blizzard. [PHTH-1918-0215]

1918. May 8 at Antoine, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/16 - Ore train crashes into coach pulled by switch engine in the yard here [EDP-1918-0518]

1918. June 22 at Ivanhoe, IN - Michigan Central - 68 - Circus train.

1918. July 20 at Chelsea, MI - Detroit Jackson & Chicago (E) - 15/80 - Head on between passenger and interurban freight.  ICC Report [PDF]

1918. November 23 at Dexter, MI - Michigan Central - 3/2 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. February 25 at Oakwood, MI - DUR Interurban - 4/44 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. February 26 two miles south of Cadillac,. MI - Grand Rapids & Indiana - 2/23 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. August 20 at Beitner, MI, 4 miles south of Traverse City - Pere Marquette - 6/27 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1919. December 21 at Francisco, MI - DUR Interurban - 1/2 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]


1920's - 148 deaths

1920. March 5 at Clarendon, MI - Michigan Central - 1/6 - Derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1920. September 1 at New Boston, MI - Pennsylvania/Pere Marquette - 1/3 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1920. September 24 at Ortonville, MI - DUR Interurban - 4/12 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1921. February 23 at Ashley, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/1 - Derailment, bad engine truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

1921. February 27 at Porter, IN - Michigan Central and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - 37/20 - MC train disregarded stop signal at interlocking, striking other train. Description. ICC Report [PDF]

1921. May 7 at Elkhart Yard, IN - New York Central - 2 - Collision in yard. ICC Report [PDF]

1921. June 18 at Warsaw, MI (east of Ann Arbor) - DJ&C Interurban - 5/21 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. January 11 at McDonald, MI - Pere Marquette - 1 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. January 13 at Alexis, OH (north of Toledo) - Pere Marquette - 2/4 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. May 8 at Vinewood Avenue, Detroit, MI - New York Central - 1/1 - Collision on freight track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. June 12 at Grayling, MI - New York Central - 3/0 - Side collision with 2nd train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1923. July 5 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 5/0 - Due to derailment.

1923. August 28 at Edmore, near Marine City, MI - DUR Rapid Railway Interurban - 1/15 - Head on collision at meeting point.  ICC Report [PDF]

1924. January 25 at Waterloo, IN - New York Central - 1/10 - Read ended train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1924. February 10 at Kingsley, MI south of Traverse City - Pennsylvania - 2/1 - Snow plow derailment. ICC Report

1924. May 11 at Baw Beese Lake, Hillsdale County - New York Central - 1/1 - Locomotive derails after hitting object on rail, fireman dies. Description.

1924. September 24 at Botsford Yard, Kalamazoo, MI - Michigan Central - 1 - Train strikes automobile. ICC Report [PDF]

1924. December 3 at Wyandotte, MI - DUR Interurban - 5/10 - Collided with automobile. ICC Report [PDF]

1925. January 6 at Bakertown, MI (Berrien County) - Michigan Central - 1/0 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1925. February 23 at Oakwood, MI (Melvindale) - Wabash - 2/2 - Head on collision. Runaway train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1925. April 19 at Sunny, MI (south of Flint) - DUR Interurban - 1/16 - Head on collision. ICC Report [PDF]

1925. July 29 at Lake George, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - 1 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. September 2 at Monroe, MI - Detroit Monroe & Toledo Short Line Interurban - 10/36 - Head on collision  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. October 7 at Gibson, IN - Michigan Central/New York Central - 4/1 - Railroad motor car vs. train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1926. November 4 at Goodison, MI - Michigan Central - 1/36 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1927. September 18 at Carpenter, MI - Michigan Central - 1/3 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1928. March 11 at Austin, MI (near Detroit) - DJC / DUR Interurbans - 1/25 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1928. July 8 at Flushing, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/16 - Circus train derailed on bad track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. January 16 at Fenwick, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/1 - Derailment due to poor track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. April 16 at Stanley, OH - New York Central - 1 - Collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. May 14 at Dowagiac, MI - Michigan Central - 1/4 - Train vs. truck at crossing.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. May 28 at Glen Lord, MI (south of Benton Harbor) - Pere Marquette - 1/1 - Accident due to bad switch. ICC Report [PDF] 

1929. June 2 at Ortonville - Eastern Michigan railway Interurban - 0/61 - Passenger train collison with freight train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. June 18 at Monroe, MI - Grand Trunk Western (DTSL) - 2/1 - Train rear ended.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. July 4 at Pomona, MI - Ann Arbor railroad - 2 - Wash out.  ICC Report [PDF]

1929. October 22 at Lake Michigan - Grand Trunk Western - 42/0 Railroad car ferry sinks. Worst at sea.


1930's - 40 deaths

1930. February 2 at Ann Pere, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/3 - Derailment of speeding train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. February 19 at K Tower, Toledo, OH - Toledo Terminal - 1/1 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. May 28 at Belsay, MI east of Flint - Grand Trunk Western - 2/12 - Derailment at open switch.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. July 25 at McGrew Junction, Flint, MI - Pere Marquette - 1/0 - Side collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 27 at Petoskey, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/6 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 28 between North Yard and Utica - Michigan Central - 2/1 - Derailment at switch.  ICC Report [PDF]

1930. September 28 at Plymouth - Pere Marquette - 0/6 - Side Collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. February 7 at Nichols Yard, Battle Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/8 - Switch opened in front of train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. March 6 at Town Line, Dearborn, MI - Michigan Central - 0/3 - Switch opened in front of train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1931. March 19 at West Detroit, MI - Michigan Central - 0/40 - Head on between passenger and freight. ICC Report [PDF]

1931. September 25 at Edmore, MI - Pere Marquette - 2/6 - Derailment, high speed on wye track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1932. January 27 at Elkhart, IN - NYC/Big Four - 0/13 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1933. September 28 at Fenton, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/1 - Head on with switch engine.  ICC Report [PDF]

1934. February 2 at Iron Mountain, MI - Milwaukee Road - 0/6 - Passenger train derails on broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1934. August 10 at Vermontville, MI - Michigan Central - 5/8 - Train/automobile collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1935. July 9 at Riga, MI - New York Central - 1/5 - Train vs. road grader.  ICC Report [PDF]

1936. July 5 at Wayne Junction, MI - New York Central - 1/5 - Passenger train entered an open switch and struck a freight train on the passing siding. Switch and signal failure contributed. [RSE-1936-09]

1936. July 18 in Dundee, MI - Ann Arbor - 9/0 - Auto vs. train into Raisin River railroad bridge, 2 families killed. 

1936. September 30 at Urania, MI - Ann Arbor - 0/13 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. January 3 at Adrian, MI - Wabash - 3/0 - Locomotive explodes. [SEN-1937-0104]

1937. March 7 at Michigan City, IN - Pere Marquette - 0/5 - Derailment due to kinked track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. May 3 between Muir and Ionia - Grand Trunk Western - 1/7 - Passenger train derailed on bad track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. June 9 at Lansing, MI depot - Grand Trunk Western - 0/0 - Derailment due to brake rigging. ICC Report [PDF]

1937. September 12 at Vulcan, OH (north of Nasby Tower) - TA&W/T&I Ry. - 3/9 - Side collision at interlocking.  ICC Report [PDF]

1937. November 15 near Mason, MI in Houghton County - Quincy & Torch Lake - 2/0 - A washout by heavy rains overturned a locomotive, killing the engineer and fireman. [CAA]

1937. December 17 at Beech, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/34 - Derailment due to spread track.  ICC Report [PDF]

1938. February 13 4 miles north of Monroe, MI - Michigan Central - 0/14 - Rear end collission of two passenger trains.  ICC Report [PDF]

1939. March 30 at Michigamme, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 2/0 - Derailment from landslide.  ICC Report [PDF]

1939. May 18 at McBain, MI - Ann Arbor - 1/0 - Train vs. gasoline tanker truck.   ICC Report [PDF]

1939. December 2 at Kalamazoo, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/2 - Train vs. automobile.  ICC Report [PDF]


1940's - 42 deaths

1940. June 12 at Bessemer, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/5 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1941. May 22 at "Z" Tower, Toledo, OH - New York Central - 0/30 - Collision with freight train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1941. October i7 at Sault Ste. Marie, MI - Canadian Pacific - 2 - Bascule bridge collapse. 

1942. January 13 two miles south of Mullet Lake, MI - Michigan Central 1/0 - Derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1942. August 23 at Green Oak, west of South Lyon, MI - Pere Marquette - 3/23 - Passenger train hits auto.  ICC Report [PDF]

1942. October 30 at Hamtramck, Caniff Street - Grand Trunk Western - 1/25 - Passenger train hits freight cars.  ICC Report [PDF]

1943. August 19 at Hughart, Grand Rapids, MI - Michigan Central - 1/1 - Train derailed by stone on rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1943. November 13 at Snowshoe Curve, Gay, MI - Copper Range - 1/2 - Collision of two section cars. [SHP-1943-1113]

1944. March 16 at Wyandotte, MI - Detroit Toledo & Ironton - 1/0 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1944. December 28 at Sibley, MI - Michigan Central - 2/25 - Train vs. auto accident.  ICC Report [PDF]

1945. November 7 near Blissfield - New York Central -17/7 - Train hits truck full of German prisoners of war returning to camp from sugar beet fields. [ADT-1945-1107]

1945. June 30 at Eaton Rapids, MI - Michigan Central - 2/6 - Head on collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1945. December 7 at Smith's Creek, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/3 - Read end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1946. July 22 at Fort Custer, MI - Michigan Central - 3/3 - Head on collision in yard.  ICC Report [PDF]

1947. May 2 at Dean Yard, Midland, MI - Pere Marquette - 0/3 - Read end within yard limits.  ICC Report [PDF]

1948. January 18. Six miles west of Battle Creek, MI - 3/1 - Derailment due to broken journal.  ICC Report [PDF]

1948. June 26 at West Unity, OH - NYC and Wabash - 1/7 - Side collision at interlocking. ICC Report [PDF]

1949. January 3 at Rock, MI - Chicago & Northwestern - 1/15 - Derailment due to bad wheel.  ICC Report [PDF]

1949. October 27 two miles north of Richland Junction, MI - 2/1 - Derailment due to bad track.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1950's - 30 deaths

1950. August 26 four miles north of Elmira, MI - Pennsylvania - 0/14 - Rear end collision.  ICC Report [PDF]

1950. November 26 at Andersonville, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 1/9 - Read end passenger/freight trains.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. March 14 at Penford, MI - Pennsylvania/Detroit Toledo & Ironton - 0/3 - Side collision at interlocking.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. March 15 at Trenton, MI - New York Central - 3/17 - Passenger train derailment due to broken rail.  ICC Report [PDF]

1951. December 14 at L'Anse, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 2/2 - Derailment due to train out of control.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. June 3 one mile west of Elkhart, IN - New York Central - 2/7 - Broken wheel on motor car.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. June 29 east of Linden, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 0/6 - Head on collision between two freights.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. September 26 east of Burton, MI - Grand Trunk Western - 2/5 - Passenger train too fast in turnout, derailed and hit 2nd passenger train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1952. October 3 at Onota, MI - Duluth South Shore & Atlantic - 1/5 - Motor car vs. train.  ICC Report [PDF]

1953. September 14 at MAL Crossing north of Jackson, MI - Grand Trunk Western/New York Central - 1/0 - Train vs. rail motor car.  ICC Report [PDF]

1955. November 18 at Newport, MI - New York Central - 9/3 - Train vs. truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

1957. November 16 one mile west of White Pigeon, MI - New York Central - 9/3 - Diverted passenger train derails on temporary track, excessive speed.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1960's - 4 deaths

1967. June 10 at Thompsonville, MI - Chesapeake & Ohio - 4/28 - Train vs. truck.  ICC Report [PDF]

 


1970's - 0 deaths

 


1980's - 1 deaths

1980. October 7 at Larch, MI - Soo Line - 1/0 - Tamper strikes a track car. [PNR-1980-1007]

1989. July 22 at Freeland, MI - CSX - 0/15 - Derail, hazmat, 1,000 evacuated.  ICC Report [PDF] 


1990's - 0 deaths 

 


2000's - 3 deaths

2001. November 15 at Andersonville, MI - CN - 3/0 - 2 freights collide, one is siding. 


2010's - 0 deaths

 


2020's - 0 deaths

  


Other Notable Disasters in and around Michigan

1889 - March 4 at Windsor, ON - Grand Trunk Western - Car ferry "Transit I" was destroyed by fire.

1905. April 17 at Durand, MI - Grand Trunk Western. Depot nearly destroyed by fire.

1906. November 12 at Detroit, MI - Michigan Central. Third Street Station burns.

1909. May 29 at Manistique, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - Car ferry #4 capsizes.

1910. March 8 at Manitowoc, MI - Ann Arbor Railroad - Car ferry #1 burns.

1968. February 1 - Penn Central Railroad is formed, declares bankruptcy in June 1970.


Wreck Outfits

Railroads in history operated wreck "outfits", usually special trains which were kept in terminals under steam, ready to head out to derailments and other disasters. Crews for these trains were usually men selected from maintenance right-of-way crews and roundhouse crews. Each wrecking outfit contained a large powered derrick as its main tool. Sometimes, railroads borrowed wreck outfits from other railroads, if they didn't have their own close by wreck outfit or in large derailments requiring more than one crane. In addition to picking up and removing locomotives and railroad cars, the wreck outfit also built temporary tracks to open the road as quickly as possible. Flat cars on the wreck outfits brought new ties, rail, and temporary wheelsets for cars that needed to return to the shops for repair.

    1. C&NW - Green Bay, WI - 150 ton - In 1958 sent to Naults, MI
    2. C&NW - Ashland, WI - Sent to Marinesco in 1956.
    3. C&NW - Escanaba, MI - 100 ton - As of 1953, likely earlier
    4. DSS&A - Marquette, MI - Sent to Thomaston in 1957.
    5. DT&I - Dearborn (Ford Rouge) 
    6. GR&I - Grand Rapids (1901)
    7. LS&I - Marquette
    8. Michigan Central - Detroit, MI Livernois Yard
    9. Michigan Central - Detroit, MI Livernois Yard, Tunnel wrecker (Note 1)
    10. Pere Marquette - Detroit, MI. As of 1907.
    11. Pere Marquette - Grand Rapids, MI. As of 1907
    12. Pere Marquette - Saginaw Yard - As of 1907
    13. Soo Line - Gladstone - X-3. Preserved. Sent to Trout Lake in 1938.
    14. Soo Line - Sault Ste. Marie - As of 1912. Sent to Trout Lake wreck.
    15. Wabash - Montpelier, OH - Sent to Raisin Center in 1905

Note 1 - The Michigan Central maintained a special wreck crew for the Detroit-Windsor International railroad tunnel. The Industrial Brownhoist derrick could be operated by steam or third rail electricity in the tunnel and the approaches to the tunnel. This derrick remains operational and is located at Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford.


Note 2. Lieutenant Governor James H. McDonald and two others were killed on the C&NW line near Elmwood, MI when the truck under the last car broke and derailed the car. While in motion, the car tipped on its side, then struck two different stumps tearing the car to pieces. McDonald, who was playing cards at the time, died instantly. He was brought back to his home in Escanaba for burial. [Livingston Argus, 1990-0124]


Note 3. C&NW passenger train No. 21 known as the Felch Mountain accommodation, which runs between Metropolitan and Escanaba, was wrecked in a rear-end collision at Ford River switch at 6:30 Thursday night. Nine persons were killed, three are missing, five seriously and four slightly injured. The dead included the baggageman, brakeman, and passengers. The Metropolitan train had stopped at the switch to take a passenger on. Owing to heavy snow or the dense smoke from charcoal kilns, about 100 feet from the track, the rear end of the train was enveloped in smoke and prevented the crew of the incoming freight, No. 289 (Green Bay to Ishpeming) which was running on special time orders, from seeing the red lights on the rear of the accommodation. With the exception of two people, the bodies of those killed were burned in the wreck. Injured were taken to the nearby Sears Brothers' store while train crews fought desperately, assisted by the uninjured passengers, to gain control of the fire which threatened the destruction of the wreck before all the injured could be removed. The scene at the wreck was an appalling one. Scores of people from surrounding towns drove to the scene to learn if any of their friends were on board the ill-fated train.  [LAS=1900-0217][SJH-1900-0217]


Note 4. MCRR. One of the most terrible railroad accidents that has ever occurred in the history of railroad fatalities took place here this morning, whereby twelve persons were killed and a good many more or less seriously injured. It was another of those awful rear-end collisions of which Michigan is getting its full share and which reflect so seriously upon the system of handling trains while there is a rush of traffic. An excursion train left Watertown, N.Y. in two sections. The first section reached Jackson at about 9 o'clock this morning and stood on the main track to give passengers bound for the White City on pleasure bent the opportunity to eat breakfast in the depot lunch-room. The male passengers made the customary rush for the counter while many ladies remained in the coaches, which accounts for the fact that more women were killed and injured than men. The second section came tearing through the yards and rushed into the stationary train. 'The fireman jumped, but the engineer, with death staring him in the face, stood his post when death seemed imminent. When the locomotive crashed into the first train, a series of cries that froze my blood filled the air. [DFP-1892-1014]


Note 5. A disaster was averted but the engineer was killed.PM train No. 7 approached Grand Rapids Union Station when its brakes failed. The engineer through the reverse lever to try to slow down the train, which was travelling through the yards at 70 mph.  Approaching Wealthy Avenue, the train jumped the tracks. The engineer and fireman jumped, killing the engineer and injuring the fireman. The 100 passengers on board were not injured. [SJDP-1911-0117]


Note 6. CM&StP passenger train No. 2 derailed on a broken rail at 8 mph as it was approaching the depot at milepost 9.3 at Republic. All cars derailed except for the last Pullman car. The conductor was in the baggage car, probably preparing space for baggage to be loaded onboard at the Republic station, when he got crushed to death between a heavy safe that had moved when the car rolled to the side. He was the only person killed in the wreck. For more information, go to the Diamond Drill newspaper from March 1, 1913. Info from James Harlow:  https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/Icon/sn96076817/1913-03-01/ed-1/seq-1/


Note 7. Two trains collided head-on near Carpenters, MI. They intended to meet at Lapeer but one was operating slower than expected. Apparently the southbound freight train was not making the time, or the northbound freight was making better time, than was originally anticipated by the train dispatcher when he first fixed the meet between the two trains at Lapeer. With this being the situation, the train train dispatcher decided to move the meet between the two trains farther north to advance the northbound freight train against the southbound freight train.

Both freight trains would have received a train order to change the meet -- at Lapeer or at a train order station farther south for the northbound train, and the southbound train at Otter Lake station or a station farther north, to "meet extra [eng no.] north at Carpenter instead of Lapeer".  The change of meet order would have been issued in the exact same language to each train. For reasons unknown, the engineer of the southbound freight did not fulfill his changed train order instructions to meet the northward extra freight train at Carpenter instead of Lapeer, and as the northbound extra freight train arrived at Carpenter for the meet, the southbound extra freight train collided with the northbound extra freight train, killing both engineers.

Carpenter station was 5.16 north of Lapeer.


Note 8. Frightful railroad accident. Collision Between two trains on the Grand Trunk. Dreadful loss of life and property. The Cars on Fire. Several persons roasted alive.

A most dreadful accident, attended with loss of life, occurred last night, shortly before 8 o'clock, on the Grand Trunk railroad about a mile and a half (south) west of the Detroit and Milwaukee junction, through a collision between the day passenger express west and a freight train going east. The passenger train was behind time and had made all necessary passes (of other trains) until it had passed New Baltimore station, where it is said it had orders to cross (pass)  the freight going east at the D&M Junction. When it arrived there, according to the story of the operator at the Grand Trunk Junction, it had ordered to proceed all right. Under these circumstances it passed the Junction, when shortly afterwards the engineer thought he discovered an engine ahead. The next moment, he heard the whistle to down brakes, when he immediately gave a similar order and reversed his engine. There were two other persons, besides the firemen in the cab. Before they could jump, the two engines came crashing together in frightful contact, literally making chaos of everything connected with both. The flames shot up in a broad sheet, illuminating the heavens for miles around. As seen from the city, it appeared as though some huge bonfire was blacking at the Skating Park. The bells were sounded and the (fire) engines were turned out, but after proceeding a short distance up Woodward avenue, they found that the fire was far beyond the city limits and they returned. After recovering from the shock, passengers tried to rescue those in danger, delivering several from the burning mass. The mail agent, George Millen from Port Huron, was found to be jammed in between the bagage car and the forward passenger car. His leg was firmly held and the devouring flames engulphed him, proving futile. It is unknown how many people perished. A special train left the Central depot about ten o'clock for the purpose of removing the sufferers to the city. Owning to the obstructions on the track, only those who were able to walk returned by it. Another special, however, was dispatched over the Southern road to remove those whose injured required careful handling. They were all brought in at a late hour and their sufferings weas kindly administered to as was possible under the circumstances. A majority of them are strangers in a strange land and should receive the kindest treatment from our citizens. The baggage and mails were destroyed. The cause is yet to be determined but the freight engine displayed no head light. The engineer of the freight train reversed his engine, whistled down the brakes, and he along with his fireman leaped from the train and escaped unhurt. A Coroner's jury was empaneled on the stop and evidence will no doubt be taken today. [DFP-1864-1216]

Bibliography

The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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