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New York, NY Times Square Subway Crash, Aug 1928

Two cars leaped from the subway
rails south of the Times Square station
yesterday at the 5 o'clock rush
hour and brought death to 13
passengers and injuries to at least
100 others.
Reports immediately after the accident
put the number of dead at
from 20-25, but later
the number dropped 17.
That figure was accepted until
an early hour this morning when a
careful check at the Bellevue morgue -
and at all hospitals where victims
were known to have died or injured
persons to have been treated - fixed
the toll definitely at 11. At 2:45
this morning, an announcement that the
police had arrived at this last-mentioned
figure was made at the West
Thirtieth Street station. Half an hour
later, however, two more victims died in
Polyclinic Hospital, raising the. number
to 13.
The train, an: express southbound
from Van Cortlandt Park to Brooklyn,
had just cleared the platform
with about 1,800 passengers and was
gathering momentum as it jolted
across a switchover 85 feet
beyond the south end of the station.
Eight of the 10 cars had swung
past the switch and the speed was
picking up when the forward truck
of the ninth car struck the switch.
With a sudden bump, the trucks left
the track. There was a terrific jolt
and the front quarter of the car was
torn off.
Like a stone flung by a giant, the
torn section, still coupled, was
smashed against the concrete and
stone partition, 20 feet high,
which separates the north and southbound
express tracks. The fragment
of car, with its human freight, was
then flattened against the wall.

Two Cars Crumpled Into Debris

As this happened, the rear end of
the car was swung to the other side
and several steel supporting pillars
were ripped out. Torn and tangled,
the two pieces of. car fell in ruins
against the concrete wall. The 10th
car, pulled forward by the momentum,
then hit the pile of ruins.
While the darkness of the subway
was weirdly illuminated by fierce
pyrotechnics given off by the third
rail and the wreckage lying upon it,
the car buckled, and bent like a bow.
Finally, after a fearful pause, it
sagged over to become a mass of
ruins like the other, encasing - in steel -
the dead and injured, all of whom
were in the last two cars.
The fact that all of the casualties
had been in these cars was not
known definitely until hours after,
when the work of rescue had been
completed and investigations had
been launched. Pending further, inquiry,
the cause of the wreck was
assigned to defective operation of the
Frank T. Hedley, President of the
Interborough, announced this after
he had conferred with company employees
and with the inspectors of the
Transit Commission, which joined in
an inquiry initiated by Mayor Walker
a few minutes after he had arrived at
the scene. Mr. Hedley said that the
switch had been giving trouble in the
past and that the train had been held
in the station for five minutes just before
the wreck.
Aug. 25 edition of The New York Times

article | by Dr. Radut