Monday, December 01, 2008

About that train crash...

By Steve's request, here's the photo I have from that train accident I mentioned earlier. This isn't the immediate aftermath, obviously; it's a little while later.

Ok, first of all, I'm not so old that I used to regularly ride on steam trains and 1930's rail cars. That's a special excursion train that my parents took me on when I was 3.

Now, you may wonder what you're looking at here. What happened was apparently this:

My train was rolling along at a slow speed and went over a switch to another track, with a middle track in between. On that middle track was this steam engine. As my car went over the switch, the front wheels went the right way but the rear wheels "picked the switch" and went the other way. My car went sideways into the steam engine. The headlight of the engine crashed through the window at my seat. My face got all cut up and I ate a bunch of glass. I had to go to the hospital.

There was literally no damage to our car other than to my window, which shattered. And there were no other injuries.

I don't remember any of this.

In the photo above, they've already detached my car from the rest of its train and also moved the steam engine we ran into back a bit. I guess one of my parents or my brother went back and took this photo later on.

For around 25 years, I'd heard the story about this from my parents and I never totally believed it - I always thought they were confusing me with my brother or just unintentionally inventing something (my parents have weird memories sometimes). But I finally found this negative just a couple of years ago - I had never seen it before in my life. It was kind of a weird moment, a little part of my past that I didn't really think had happened suddenly made real.

btw, holy crap I just realized something - look at this:

May not be totally obvious at first, but that's the same spot about 25 years later. Look at the water tower. (Also, look at the train on the far left!) Total weird coincidence. I took this photo before I found the post-accident one.


  1. Cool photos - thanks for posting Jeff. Where were there photos taken? Obviously New Jersey, since the older photo is a Whippany Line train. Just curious...

  2. I think it's now called the Whippany Railroad Museum. I don't remember what it was when I had that accident, but it was not that. I think it was just a little station where this excursion train was run out of, and that only lasted a couple years. I have never actually gone to the museum, but I used to see these trains sitting there whenever I drove by back when I lived in NJ. When I went back there over Thanksgiving a couple years ago, we happened to be driving that way and I just decided to stop and take some photos since I didn't know when I'd be by again. I didn't make any mental connection to anything I'd done in the past.

    The museum is on Rt. 10, in Whippany, obviously.

  3. Anonymous11:46 AM

    In the 1960s and 1970s, the operation was the steam-powered Morris County Central Railroad, which eventually moved to Newfoundland, NJ. The Whippany site is now the Whippany Railway Museum, a volunteer-run non-profit. We run seasonal excursion trains on 15 days each year -- the Easter Bunny Express, summer Caboose Trains, Pumpkin Festival, and the Santa Claus Special.

    The Museum itself is open from April to October, on Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00. You can still see the original steam locomotives on display -- our volunteers have cosmetically restored #385 (2-8-0 Consolidation) and #4039 (0-6-0 switcher). Thanks for sharing the historic photos!


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP