Photo of the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge
Photo of the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge
Wikimedia Commons - Source
License: Public Domain

Cahaba River Bridge Train Wreck

A special to the Commercial Appeal from Birmingham, Ala., says: Fiends in human form wrecked the Birmingham Mineral branch passenger train No. 40 at Cahaba river bridge twenty-seven miles from here, at 7:50 this morning and twenty lives were lost. That number of bodies have been recovered from the wreck and further search may swell the list of the dead. The wreck, it is regarded as almost certain, was accomplished by the removal of a rail in the middle span of the trestle. This derailed the train, which caused it to fall down the two spans and precipitated it into the river 110 feet below.

The wreck was the worst that has ever occurred in the state and the survivors are so few and so badyl [sic] hurt that they are unable to give any detailed description of how it all happened. It is not known and may never be ascertained just how many passengers were on the train. Most of them were miners and residents of mining towns in this district who had round-trip holiday tickets and were returning to their homes along the line of the Birmingham Mineral railroad.

The most horrible train wreck in the South since the famous one at Statesville, S. C., some years since, occurred this morning near this city, when a passenger train crashed through a trestle to a river 110 feet below.

It is known that 20 lives were lost, and a more complete search of the charred train may reveal more. It is also most certain that the wreck was caused by fiends for the purpose of robbery.

Of the persons on the train, nine escaped death, and several of these will die of serious injuries. None of them can give a correct and detailed account of how the accident occurred.

The train was a local on the Birmingham Mineral, a branch of the Louisville & Nashville system, its number being 40. It left Birmingham at 6:30 a.m. To make the daily circuit of the mining towns in that section of the country, and most of the persons on board were miners and their families, taking advantage of the excursion tickets on sale for the holidays.