Tag Archives: wreck

The Railroad bridge over the Wabash, at Attica

The first railroad bridge across the Wabash River at Attica was built when the Wabash and Western Railroad line was built through Attica, in 1858. According to an 1869 illustration of the layout of the town, the railroad crossed the river through a covered bridge. (Seen below in the lower center of the picture)

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This was later replaced, with a Pratt Through Truss style, iron bridge, in 1880.

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On the morning of April 6th, 1914, a freight train, crossing the bridge crashed, apparently weakening the bridge. When the east bound Wabash passenger train No. 4, known as the Continental Limited arrived, later that same day, they were held on the west side of the bridge. After Railroad Officials inspected the bridge, and after sending a switch engine across, it was deemed safe. The Continental Limited train crept out onto the bridge. As the train reached about one hundred feet out onto the bridge, the bridge collapsed under the weight. This sent the engine, the baggage coach and a day carriage, crashing twenty-five feet, to the river below.

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There was a crowd watching, as this happened. The crowd that formed after the morning derailment, was still there, waiting to see the passenger train cross. Help was quickly given to the injured and survivors.

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Altogether, three people lost their lives, and forty were injured, some seriously. A train was arranged to take the casualties to a hospital, in Lafayette, some twenty miles away. The bridge was soon repaired, and in about a week normal service was resumed.

The iron bridge, was later replaced, with a deck plate girder bridge, which is still in use today, carrying about 25 trains a day. So far, I have not been able to find out when it was replaced.

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Further Reading:-

For further details about this train wreck, please see the Gen Disasters page http://www3.gendisasters.com/indiana/9105/attica-in-train-wreck-apr-1914

For further information about this bridge see this page on Bridge Hunter http://bridgehunter.com/in/fountain/bh46702/

Some of the history of Attica is detailed on the city’s website http://attica-in.gov/visiting-attica/history-of-attica/

There are a lot of interesting old Fountain County pictures on the Indiana Gen Web website http://indianagenweb.com/infountain/photos/index.htm

The Attica page on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attica,_Indiana