Fatal train wreck 100 years ago - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fatal train wreck 100 years ago

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GLADBROOK (KWWL) -- More than 50 people died in a train crash March 21, 1910.  The wreck happened between Green Mountain and Gladbrook shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Due to a derailment that day, the Rock Island Railroad passenger trains from Chicago and St. Louis heading for Minneapolis were detoured through Marshalltown on Chicago and Northwestern tracks.  A combination of bad decisions and time constraints led to the crash.

The conductor made the fatal decision to reposition the engines at a Y connection facing south, pulling the passenger cars north.  This meant two wooden passenger cars were no longer at the end of the train, where they were for safety.  The wooden cars were sandwiched between two locomotives, a steel pullman car, and other steel cars.

When the first locomotive jumped the track, it sandwiched the wooden cars between steel cars, crushing the occupants.

Trains no longer run through that area.  The crash led to new safety procedures in railroads.

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