Saturday, June 17 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Woodbridge Main Library - Meeting Room
The official release party for Gordon Bond's new book about the 1951 Woodbridge train wreck has been set for Saturday, June 17, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Woodbridge Main Library, 1 George Frederick Plaza, Woodbridge, NJ!
Man Failure: The Story of New Jersey's Deadliest Train Wreck, by Gordon Bond, draws on eyewitness interviews, contemporary news reports, and investigation transcripts to explore this dramatic event in New Jersey history.
Image from: http://www.mycentraljersey.com
On the drizzly evening of February 6, 1951, the Pennsylvania Railroad commuter train known as “The Broker” derailed in Woodbridge, New Jersey, killing 85 and injuring hundreds in what remains the deadliest railroad accident in the state’s history and among the top five in the United States.
What happened is reasonably well-understood. The Broker hit a temporary track around a New Jersey Turnpike construction site going between 50- and 65-miles-per-hour, though the speed limit was set at 25. The tender derailed and began to drag the eleven passenger cars behind it down a 30-foot embankment onto the parallel Fulton Street. The horrors of the wreck have been recounted by surviving passengers, witnesses, and rescuers. The Broker has remained in the communal memories of the Township and the communities afflicted, appearing in local histories, noted in local media on anniversaries, and within compendiums of historic railroad accidents.
Why it happened, however, is an area of controversy. While the role of speed is generally accepted, why the otherwise experienced and skilled engineer failed to properly observe the speed restriction drew attention at the time to systemic issues within the Pennsylvania Railroad itself and seemed to reflect what many had come to believe about the industry as a whole. Seemingly plagued by delays, rate hikes, labor disputes, accidents, and the long shadow of a hundred-plus years of corruptive influence, it felt like the railroads put profit before service—and now the cost was being counted in mangled corpses and broken bodies..
Admission is free and there will be a presentation, video and photos display, light refreshments, and, of course, the book will be available for purchase ($30) and signing!
Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also indicate if you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book.