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North Station Siding Accident (1906)

On December 5, 1906, a strange accident occurred near the old North Station elevated platform. Trains would stage on a siding that existed near North Station. The siding allowed for increasing or decreasing the number of cars on the line, or for storing trains before traveling to the Atlantic Avenue elevated loop went to South Station. For some unknown reason, an empty train started up while a 4-car southbound train was passing by, and struck the third and fourth cars. The inertia tipped the fourth car enough to panic the passengers. People rushed to the open platform at the end of the car, pressing people against the railing. Luckily, only one person was injured in this accident. The December 6, 1906, Boston Globe describes the accident:

"About noon yesterday an empty train came into collision with a four-car south-bound subway train at a point on the elevated structure a few hundred feet from the North Station. The latter train was passing the siding on Causeway st when the empty train was started up, its first car striking the third car of the south-bound train.

There were a number of passengers in the first and second cars, and the coming together of the coaches caused much excitement. So far as could be learned only one was injured. Harvey Reed of Fitchburg, a passenger, who was severely jammed against the wood work and iron gratings of the rear platform.

Although the Charlestown train was proceeding very slowly, the momentum was such that it rolled along several feet, and the forward end of the fourth, or smoking car, was scraped, and it rocked and rolled to such as extent that the men made a dash for the rear door to escape. Some were seized with a desire to leap and their consternation prompted many women to scream. Cooler heads advised restraint and it was not long before all passengers alighted with the assistance of railroad inspectors.

Mr. Reed, who weighs more than 200 pounds, was standing on the rear platform of the smoker and in the rush of frightened men was bruised by being forced against the iron railings.

A suspension of traffic was necessary for a time while a wrecking crew proceeded on the work of repairing the damage. The trains were, however, run by way of the atlantic circuit, and other passengers transferred to surface cars that the large holiday crowds might be speedily provided with transportation. Shortly before 2 O' Clock full service was resumed."

Presumably, the operator of the empty train was impatient, and slowly started the train believing the southbound train would pass by before he reached the main line. Of note, when Boston Garden was later constructed, a platform was built along this siding, with a direct corridor into the new Garden on the 2nd floor. This platform was torn down in 1976 and was the last remant of the old Charlestown elevated line.

Historical Location:

North Station Siding Wreck Site (demolished in 1975) 
Causeway Street at Canal Street, Boston, MA 02114


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