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Tragic Westport Train Wrecks: The Sequel

Last Sunday — for no reason other than macabre fascination — “06880” featured astonishing footage of a long-forgotten 1912 Westport train wreck.

Seven people died, and 50 were injured, in what remains one of the worst disasters in local history.

Turns out that was not the only rail tragedy on our tracks.

On November 16, 1912 — barely a month after the Saugatuck crash — another New York, New Haven & Hartford train went off the rails. This one was 2000 feet from the Green’s Farms station.

It was not as bad as the earlier accident. The engine and baggage car of the Merchants Limited Express safely passed a crossover switch. But 4 steel cars were not as fortunate. The New York Times account 2 days later does not mention any deaths or injuries.

Alert “06880” reader Seth Schachter provides these images, from a collection he’s amassed over the years.

A long view of the Green’s Farms train wreck.

Another angle — this one with onlookers.

A close-up of one of the shattered cars.

Another view.

Two decades later — in the early morning hours of September 27, 1935 — 2 freight trains collided. Engineer John Sheehan burned to death, as his cab hung precariously over the Saugatuck River.

Seth Schachter also provides these photos, from  his collection.

Westporters gather on the banks of the Saugatuck River, following the 1935 crash.

The engineer’s cab dangles over the Saugatuck River.

“Train wrecks of yore” will not be a recurring “06880” feature.

However, as Americans debate the state of our crumbling infrastructure — and what it means for our transportation future — it’s not a bad idea to look back at the not-always-so-good old days.

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