The Great Train Wreck of 1956 Historical

The Great Train Wreck of 1956 Historical (HM1X63)

Location: Floral City, FL 34436 Citrus County
Country: United States of America

N 28° 41.021', W 82° 16.369'

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You are standing on the site of one of the worst train disasters in Florida history. The tragedy occurred October 18, 1956, on a dark and foggy morning in Pineola. At 5:12 a.m., people from five miles around were awakened when two freight trains collided head-on.

Catastrophe Unfolds
The trains, loaded with perishables and dry goods, were traveling on the same track, full speed at 49 mph. Realizing they were on a collision course, Dunnellon Dispatcher Braddock phoned Croom Station agent Cooper, telling him to get in his car and "go see what you can find." Cooper and fellow agent Thomas raced 90 mph on an ungraded road to alert the engineers—but did not reach them in time.

At the sight of an oncoming headlight, the northbound train engineer slammed on emergency breaks as he yelled to his assistants to brace themselves for the crash.

An Ironic End
Four engines and 16 cars derailed. Four crewmen died, with fire engulfing the scene.
Firefighters and hearses came from as far away as Tampa to offer assistance.

Ironically, this tragedy might have been averted if recently installed radios had been put to use. However, engineers had agreed to not use them until they received additional pay as radio operators. One of the casualties, Engineer B.J. Martin of No. 237, had been a leader in the holdout.

In Their Honor
We honor those who lost their lives in this tragic event:
Brakeman W.E. Snyder, No. 118, Section 2
Engineer B.J. Martin, No. 237
Fireman E.W. Vaughan, No. 237
Brakeman J.L. Phillips, No. 237

Engineer Otis Bridges and
Fireman William Hardee, Jr.
were injured.
HM NumberHM1X63
Placed ByRails to Trails of the Withlacoochee
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 at 5:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17R E 375646 N 3173604
Decimal Degrees28.68368333, -82.27281667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 28° 41.021', W 82° 16.369'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds28° 41' 1.26" N, 82° 16' 22.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)352
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Withlacoochee State Trail, Floral City FL 34436, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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