CATASTROPHE: Wreck of the Congressional

Past North Philadelphia station, the Pennsylvania Railroad's crack Congressional (three and a half hours from Washington to Manhattan) thundered toward New York City. Three miles later, still inside Philadelphia's crowded city limits, it cracked apart in one of the most spectacular wrecks in U.S. railroad history.*

At the front of the seventh car, a journal (wheel bearing) burned out. With a tremendous lurch, the train snapped in two. In the rear cars, there were a few ghastly moments when the passengers' felt as if the train were floating through air. Then the crash....

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