DL&W Rockport Wreck Site (80 years ago)

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DL&W Rockport Wreck Site (80 years ago)

Postby PDT009 » Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:24 pm

The last time I was in NJ, I stopped by the location of a wreck which happened on the Old Main Line near Hackettstown. It happened on Jue 26th, 1925 at Rockport, NJ near Hackettstown and Mansfield. At the location of the wreck there is a small historical plaque noting the tragedy with a brief explanation of events. The plaque is set within a small garden. I've read that this was the worst train wreck in New Jersey history. Nearly 50 people died, many scalded to death when the train's boiler exploded. I understand that the train was loaded with Germans or German-Americans on their way to board a ship to Germany.
As I stood at the location of the wreck it was hard to imagine how such a peaceful and quiet location could be thrown into the chaos of a major train wreck with boiler explosion.
If you're in the area of the pheasant farm on Hazen Rd, you may want to stop by and take it in.
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Postby NJ Vike » Sun Aug 14, 2005 6:01 pm

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a future trip for me. Did you manage to get any pictures that you can share?
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DL&W Rockport Wreck Site

Postby CAR_FLOATER » Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:10 pm

Ken -

As Chief Wiggum would say, "Nothing To See Here"......All there is left is the plaque/sign, and a VERY rural grade cossing (with minimal crossing protection) out in the country.......Rockport was never more than flag stop on the "Old Road", and is just a grade crossing, probably despised by the SUV-owning McMansion-living neuvou-riche who live in the area today.

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M.P. 28.5 On The NY Division
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Postby Brad Smith » Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:11 am

There is an article on this wreck in the most recent ELHS 'DIAMOND'. The article is quick to point out that the boiler DID NOT explode, but rather, pipes and fittings were sheared off during the wreck (caused by silt and gravel washed on to the rails at a crossing) and that allowed steam to blow into the cars which settled on the engine in the wreck.
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Postby NJ Vike » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:29 pm

Remarkable timing. I just received my copy of the Diamond and am in the process of reading it now. I can see, and this was hard for me to imagine, that this was double-track.

I'm not sure if I passed this road or not as I do take what I refer to as a shortcut or bypass around Hackettstown to get to Washington and PBurg to see NS.

I believe on of the roads is Airport Rd. I'm looking forward to see the it though.
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More on The Wreck

Postby 2nd trick op » Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:16 pm

Steamtown at Scranton has a display with coverage of this accident, including some preserved first-hand accounts. In the interest of hstorical accuracy, the gory details have not been spared. The incident also gets some coverage in Tom Taber's excellent 3-volume Lackawanna history.
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Postby NJTRailfan » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:50 am

Prehaps the site will be better taken care of and more noticed once NJT restarts service to Washington and runs it frequently like they do to Mt Olive and Hacketttown. Hopefully this will get rid of the arrogant SUV/McMansionites for good off the roads in that area and hopefully the train service will make sure of that. Along with a better grade crossing.

Too bad the closest thing you'll get to seeing double tracks o nthat part of the line is a really long passing siding for NS/NJT trains that's if NJT starts service as they should to Washington.
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Re: 80 years ago

Postby teddybearlea » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:19 am

I hope to someday go to Scranton to see the display regarding this railroad incident. The first-hand accounts would definitely be of interest to me as we lost a branch of our family as a result of that accident. The family name was Brunner. While this article (http://www.gendisasters.com/new-jersey/ ... or-stories) speaks of our family members being seriously injured, they must have all died as a result of their injuries. They are buried together in a Chicago-area cemetery. And the child dug out of the wreckage was likely our family member as six people are buried together, rather than the five mentioned in the article. I cannot imagine being scalded in such a way; that must have been so horrible. I also hope to get to Lackawanna to see the plaque in person; that would mean the world to me. And the family was German.
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