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Train Wreck: 1922

Laurel, Maryland. July 31, 1922. "Two B&O freights wrecked in head-on crash at Laurel switch." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

Laurel, Maryland. July 31, 1922. "Two B&O freights wrecked in head-on crash at Laurel switch." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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The great train wreck

The most interesting aspect of the wreck, to me, is the way it was covered in the local newspaper, the Laurel Leader.

Not at all.

The next issue after the accident, on 8/04/22, included front page stories of a collision of two ships near Seattle and the arrest on murder charges of a number of Prohibition agents in Texas, but nary a word on an accident in the back yard. The paper seems, back in the day, to have had almost no local reporting presence, relying on wire services and pre-packaged feature material. (It has much more local focus today, even though it's now published in nearby Columbia.)

Even more oddly, perhaps, I don't find any mention of the wreck in the Baltimore Sun (published, after all, in the B&O's home town).


Washington Post, August 1, 1922.


Both Engines and 4 Cars
Demolished When B&O Trains
Meet in Head-On Collision.


Leg of Engineer Ramsey Broken,
50 Yards of Track Torn Up,
Tie-Up Lasts Hours.

        Six men narrowly escaped death yesterday afternoon when two freight trains of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company crashed in a head-on collision near Laurel, Md. David Ramsey, one of the engineers, was taken to a Baltimore hospital suffering from a broken leg. The others escaped injury by jumping just before the crash.

        Both engines and four freight cars were demolished and the passenger and freight service of the railroad company was tied up for several hours while wrecking crews removed the debris. Commuters between Washington and Baltimore who were unable to obtain a lift from passing automobiles were forced to walk to their destination.

Meet at Open Switch.

        The accident occurred at a crossways near Laurel, where the east and westbound freights met in an open switch. The train crews had hardly jumped to the ground when the heavily loaded freight cars crashed into one another, the eastbound engine being hurled 25 feet in the air.

        Wrecking crews were quickly sent to the scene, and emergency telephone connections established with the train dispatcher's office at Baltimore.

Passenger Trains Diverted.

        Passenger trains of the Baltimore and Ohio were sent out over the tracks of the Pennsylvania road to Overton, Md., then to the main line of the Baltimore and Ohio.

        Officials of the railroad at the scene of the wreck refused to place responsibility for the accident, and busied themselves at once to clear away and repair the 50 yards of track torn up by the collision.

I do believe

That this situation was called a ‘’cornfield meet.’’

The term

"my bad" was coined at that very moment.

Grand Funk Railroad

Pics like this always remind me of those 70's album covers.

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