Today's Article - Crush, Texas

This article is for quizzes on Thursday August 4th...

Crush, Texas, was a temporary "city" established as a one-day publicity stunt in 1896. William George Crush, general passenger agent of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (popularly known as the Katy), conceived the idea to demonstrate a train wreck as a spectacle.[1] No admission was charged, and train fares to the crash site were at the reduced rate of US$2 from any location in Texas. As a result, about 40,000 people showed up on September 15, 1896, making the new town of Crush, Texas, temporarily the second-largest city in the state. Unexpectedly, the impact caused both engine boilers to explode, resulting in several fatalities and numerous injuries among the spectators.
The event had to be delayed for an hour because the crowd resisted being pressed back by the police to what was supposedly a safe distance. About 5:00 pm the two trains, pulling cars loaded with railroad ties, were rolled to the opposite ends of a 4-mile (6.4 km) track. The engineers and crew opened the steam to a prearranged setting, rode for exactly 4 turns of the drive wheels, and jumped from the trains. Each train reached a speed of about 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) by the time they met near the anticipated spot.

When the trains collided, there was a large explosion. Debris—some pieces as large as half a drive-wheel—was blown hundreds of feet into the air. Some of the debris came down among the spectators, killing two or three and injuring many more. Event photographer Jarvis "Joe" Deane lost one eye to a flying bolt. A contemporary newspaper speculated that the explosion occurred shortly after the initial impact (see right).


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