The following is a short list about some of the worst train disasters in history.
Brake Failure as Train Shot Across a Terrace
On October 22, 1895, the Granville-Paris Express derailed and overran the buffer on the Gare Montparnasse. The engine rolled 100 feet across the station concourse, then crashed through a 2-foot thick wall. It then went across the balcony and fell onto the Place de Rennes 33 feet below.
Surprisingly, there was only one casualty and two injuries among the total of 131 passengers. The accident was caused by its faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine driver’s decision to go too fast. The conductor was fined 25 francs and the engine driver 50 francs.
Deadly High Speed Train Accident
On June 3, 1998, the world’s deadliest high speed train accident happened in Eschede village in Germany. There were 88 injuries and 101 dead. Those numbers were higher than the Dahlerau train disaster of 1971.
The cause of the accident was a crack in the wheel that caused the train to derail. The train crashed into a road bridge after derailing and caused the major destruction.
Train Hit by Tsunami
The train wreck with the highest death count in history happened during the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. A very crowded passenger train was going down the coastal railway when the tsunami hit. There was a loss of over 1,700 lives making it the worst disaster in railroad history.
The Queen of the Sea Line operated between Colombo and Galle. It left Colombo around 6:55 AM on Sunday, December 26. It was carrying 1,000 to 1,500 paid passengers and many unpaid passengers.
There was an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the village of Peraliya was hit by the first waves at 9:30 AM. The train stopped and water started to surround it. Thinking the train was securely on the rails, hundreds of locals started to climb on top of it.
When the flooding started to fill the carriages, people started to panic. Then, when the next waves hit, they were so much bigger that they forcibly moved the train and it collided with trees and houses.
Because the carriages were packed, the doors would not open and as they filled with water, everyone inside was drowned. The waves reached a height of 7.5 to 9 meters, which was 2-3 meters higher than the top of the train.
Stolen Train Crashes Into a House
You hear a lot about people stealing cars, trucks, and other vehicles, but you almost never hear about anyone stealing a train. However, a 20-year-old cleaner from Stockholm, Sweden stole the keys to a train. She drove it at a high speed until it reached the end of the track and it jumped over a street and crashed into a house.
The only person injured was the woman, who has remained unknown. This happened early in the morning and there were no other passengers on the train. No one inside the house was hurt.
NOTE: During investigation, it was discovered the the cleaner turned on the train by accident, while she was cleaning the inside cabin. She did not know how to turn it off.
Bridge Collapses Due to Unstoppable Train
At around 6:20 PM on December 4, 1957, the Lewisham rail accident happened. An electric train stopped under a bridge and the steam train behind it, crashed into it because of the foggy conditions. The crash caused the bridge to fall apart. Ninety fatalities were recorded and 109 people were treated at a hospital.
For over a week the lines were closed. They cleared away the collapsed bridge and rebuilt another one.
The driver of the steam train stood two trials. He was acquitted of manslaughter. He was found to have ignored two caution signals. The conclusion was that an automatic warning system would prevent disasters.
Indian Train Collision
The Kalindi Express and the Purshottam Express collided in Firozabad in 1995. The Kalindi Express was hit by the Purshottam Express from behind. The Kalindi Express had to stop suddenly after hitting a cow.
Most of the passengers were asleep when the crash happened. There were 200 injured and another 200 reported dead.
Racing Trains Cause Wreck
Two train cars collided when not one of them gave way on the limited track space.
Train Derailment with Only One Casualty
A Virgin Pendolino train derailed on a cold, rainy evening in February 2007. The 95 miles per hour train jumped off the rails and the carriages fell down the embankment. There was one casualty, an eighty-four-year-old named Margaret ‘Peggy’ Masson who died in hospital.
For other articles on strange accidents