Malbone Street Wreck

A Brighton Beach Train of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, made up of five wooden cars of the oldest type in use, which was speeding with a rush hour crowd to make up lost time on its way from Park Row to Coney Island, jumped the track shortly before 7 o'clock last evening on a sharp curve approaching the tunnel at Malbone Street, in Brooklyn, and plunged into a concrete partition between the north and south bound tracks.

Nearly every man, women, and child in the first car was killed, and most of those in the second were killed or badly injured. Rescue work in the wreckage, jammed into the narrow tunnel, was extremely difficult, and the counting of the dead proceeded slowly. At 11 o'clock eighty-five bodies had been taken from the wreckage, and the police announced that no more bodies were in the tunnel. The names of many of the injured were not obtained, but the police estimate that at least 100 had been injured.

District Attorney Lewis announced at midnight that the train was being run by a train dispatcher. This man had been pressed into service in the rush hour because of the strike of motormen, which began in the early morning. At 2 o'clock this morning, as a result of the wreck, the motormen called off the strike, leaving the adjustment of their grievances to the Public Service Commission. The District Attorney ordered all the officials of the B.R.T who could have been responsible, and members of the train crew put under arrest. He said the B.R.T. officials had withheld the name of the man who was operating the train.

The wreck occurred the evening of November 1, 1918 at 6:42 PM, during the last days of World War I. An elevated train, consisting of five cars constructed primarily of wood, entered the tunnel portal beneath Malbone Street going toward the Prospect Park station, negotiating a curve designated to be taken at six miles per hour (9.6 km/h) at a speed estimated at between 30 and 40 mph (48–65 km/h). The trailing truck of the first car derailed, and the two following cars completely left the tracks, tearing off their left-hand sides and most of their roofs. The first and fourth cars sustained relatively minor damage, while the second and third cars were severely damaged, the third so badly that it was dismantled on the spot. The fifth suffered no damage at all. The motorman was not injured and left the scene of the accident.