AMTRAK’s Congressional Limited and North Philadelphia Redux

One of America’s Worst Train Crashes Happened on the Same Curve as AMTRAK 188-72 years ago!

By Dan Kois

As rescue teams responded to Tuesday night’s frightening AMTRAK crash outside of Philaelphia, they’re walking the same ground where, 72 years ago, servicemen headed to New York City on Labor Day instead spent the night searching through derailed train cars in one od the worst accidents in American history, the 1943 Frankfort Junction crash.  The coincidence was noted by Philadelphia Daily News assistant managing editor Gar Soseph on Twitter.

In tht crash, 79 were killed and 117 injured when a journal box failed and an axle snapped at high speed, sending the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Congressional Limited,packed with service men and vacationers, catapulting off the track.  According to an Associated Press story published at the time, the accident happened at Frankfort and Glenwood Avenues in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood–on the same great bend of the tracks where AMTRAK train 188 derailed on Tuesday evening last.  Infact, the intersection of Frankford and Glenwood Avenues is only a few tenths of a mile away from the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane, where a local NBC affiliate is reporting Tuesday’s crash occurred.

Dan Kois is Slates Culture editor, co-host of Mom and Dad Are Fighting, and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.