Setbacks and Derailments

Rail transportation has always been risky, both in terms of investment and safety. Florida railways have witnessed numerous train wrecks and other disasters, sometimes with tragic loss of life.

Train wreck on a bridge in Tampa (1906)
Train wreck on a bridge in Tampa (1906)

Image Number: N038646

Barnes Circus train wreck (19__)
Barnes Circus train wreck (19__)

Image Number: FP82436g

Train derailment releases toxic chemicals: Lake City, Florida (ca. 1985)
Barnes Circus train wreck (19__)

Image Number: MF0518

Author: Mark Foly

Accompanying note: "A floating cloud of lethal anhydrous ammonia pours from a 41-car train derailment here Sunday morning sending some 1,000 local residents on evacuation orders to other locations. The Seaboard Coastline train pulling 34 tank cars and seven box cars derailed five miles west of the city at about 5:12 p.m. EDT Saturday."

Aerial view showing train derailment in Crestview, Florida (ca. 1979)
Aerial view showing train derailment in Crestview, Florida (ca. 1979)

Image Number: DND0896

Author: Donn Dughi

Escambia Railway engine number 4 boiler explosion (1911)
Escambia Railway engine number 4 boiler explosion (1911)

Image Number: N038697

The boiler exploded because of low water and a defective safety valve. It exploded near the commissary of Alger-Sullivan lumber camp number 8. The crew was off the engine, so there were no injuries. The train's bell was found over a mile away.

Train wreck: Jacksonville, Florida (1910)
Train wreck: Jacksonville, Florida (1910)

Image Number: N038737

Aerial view of a train swept off its tracks by a hurricane: Florida Keys, Florida (1935)
Aerial view of a train swept off its tracks by a hurricane: Florida Keys, Florida (1935)

Image Number: RC04345

This train was derailed by a Labor Day storm that swept through the midsection of the Florida Keys, killing upwards of 400 people, including 200 World War I veterans employed on highway construction and federal relief work projects.

Florida East Coast Railway train wreck: Jupiter, Florida (1934)
Florida East Coast Railway train wreck: Jupiter, Florida (1934)

Image Number: RC10680

Wrecked relief train: Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key (1935)
Wrecked relief train: Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key (1935)

Image Number: N041535

Wreck of Georgia and Florida (18__)
Wreck of Georgia and Florida (18__)

Image Number: N039182

Remains of a rescue train: Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key (1935)
Remains of a rescue train: Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key (1935)

Image Number: N041450

Train wreck: Holopaw, Florida (1942)
Train wreck: Holopaw, Florida (1942)

Image Number: N038743

Train wreck occurred one mile north of Holopaw, Florida.

People stand near the train wreck: Lloyd, Florida (1937)
People stand near the train wreck: Lloyd, Florida (1937)

Image Number: N082056

Head on collision of steam locomotives near Sanford, Florida (not after 1898)
Head on collision of steam locomotives near Sanford, Florida (not after 1898)

Image Number: N038582

The locomotives were engine 1261 and engine 535 ("Hattie").

Truck after a collision with a train (19__)
Truck after a collision with a train (19__)

Image Number: SP02611

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

Wreck of engine 92 at DeLand (191_)
Wreck of engine 92 at DeLand (191_)

Image Number: PR09115

View toward rear of train showing rail bent into a circle.

Train wreck at trestle: Arcadia, Florida (19__)
Train wreck at trestle: Arcadia, Florida (19__)

Image Number: RC03136

Wreck of engine 92 at DeLand (191_)
Wreck of engine 92 at DeLand (191_)

Image Number: PR09122

Built in 1894 by Baldwin Locomotive Works (const. no. 14181), it was scrapped May 1, 1934.

Wreck on DeLand branch at foot of reverse curve (1909)
Wreck on DeLand branch at foot of reverse curve (1909)

Image Number: PR09121

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

Train derailment: Cedar Key Region, Florida (ca. 1908)
Train derailment: Cedar Key Region, Florida (ca. 1908)

Image Number: RC02261

Seaboard Air Line Railway train wreck (1905)
Seaboard Air Line Railway train wreck (1905)

Image Number: N038568

The wreck occurred at McDonald, north of Plymouth in Orange County, Florida.

Wreck at Delray Beach (1961)
Wreck at Delray Beach (1961)

Image Number: PR09188

Florida East Coast Railway

Train derailment in Youngstown: Bay County, Florida (1978)
Train derailment in Youngstown: Bay County, Florida (1978)

Image Number: MF1021

Photo author: Mark Foley