Green Mountain train wreck

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Green Mountain train wreck
Telescoping of the wooden coaches
Telescoping of the wooden coaches
Date March 21, 1910
Time 8 am
Location Spring Creek Township, Tama County, between Green Mountain, Iowa and Gladbrook, Iowa
Coordinates 42°9′53″N 92°46′00″W / 42.16472°N 92.76667°W / 42.16472; -92.76667Coordinates: 42°9′53″N 92°46′00″W / 42.16472°N 92.76667°W / 42.16472; -92.76667
Country United States
Rail line Chicago Great Western Railway
Operator Rock Island Line
Type of incident Derailment
Cause undetermined
Trains 1
Deaths 52[1]

The Green Mountain train wreck is the worst ever railroad accident in the state of Iowa. It occurred between Green Mountain and Gladbrook on the morning of March 21, 1910 and killed 52 people.[1][2]

A train wreck earlier that morning at Shellsburg meant that the Rock Island Line trains were being diverted from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo over Chicago Great Western tracks via Marshalltown.[3] The trains concerned were the No. 21 St Louis-Twin Cities and No. 19 Chicago-Twin Cities; which had been combined into a ten car train; the two locomotives travelling backwards, tender first.[4] The new combined train now had two wooden cars sandwiched between the locomotives, a steel Pullman car, and other steel cars.[2]

At a place between Green Mountain and Gladbrook, just east of the Marshall County border the lead engine left the tracks and hit a clay embankment coming to a sudden stop. The steel cars sliced through the two wooden coaches: a smoking car and a ladies' day coach containing many children.[1] There were no fatalities in the Pullman cars;[5] one of the uninjured passengers said "I saw women in the coach crushed into a bleeding mass, their bodies twisted out of human shape. I have seen what I shall see all my life when I dream".[3] A relief train arrived two hours after the accident "The sight was one of horribly crushed, mutilated, and dismembered bodies".[6]

No official cause was ever released for the wreck, nor were any charges of neglect made[1] although the crash did result in the introduction of new safety procedures.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Iowa's Great Train Wreck". The Gazette. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Fatal Train Wreck 100 years ago". KWWL News. March 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Forty-Five Dead in Train Wreck". Afro American. March 26, 1910. p. 2 – via Google News. 
  4. ^ "Evening News Republican". Night Watchman Chronicles. March 21, 1910. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Gladbrook, IA Train Wreck, Mar 1910 - Horrifying Disaster". Lincoln Evening News. Lincoln, NE. March 22, 1910 – via GenDisasters. 
  6. ^ Haine, Edgar A. (1993). Railroad Wrecks. pp. 74–78. ISBN 0-8453-4844-2. 

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