• CNJ 1958 Newark Bay Bridge disaster

  • Discussion of the CNJ (aka the Jersey Central) and predecessors Elizabethtown and Somerville, and Somerville and Easton, for the period 1831 to its inclusion in ConRail in 1976. The historical society site is here: http://www.jcrhs.org/
Discussion of the CNJ (aka the Jersey Central) and predecessors Elizabethtown and Somerville, and Somerville and Easton, for the period 1831 to its inclusion in ConRail in 1976. The historical society site is here: http://www.jcrhs.org/

Moderator: CAR_FLOATER

  by Ken W2KB
amtrakhogger wrote:They blamed the engineer for running the stop signal as the
cause for the accident.

I have heard in my travels that maybe the cause was that
the Bridge Operator opened the bridge for a ship after he
had cleared the train across (unconfirmed.)

I watched the bridge open and close many times and it was not fast-moving. As I recall reading a few years ago, the NJ Public Utilities Commission investigation had the speed recorder tapes from one or both of the engines in evidence and indicated that the brakes were not applied until the train went past the derail ahead of the draw and started bouncing on the ties. Thought was that a trainman may have made the appliacation at that point or a distracted or sleepy engineer and fireman woke up and did so. Given the time to raise the bridge to the open position (stopped not fully open, just enough to clear the ship) there should have been adequate time for the engineer to respond to the stop indication.
  by certifiabully
I have posted in another part of the forums here, but would also like any more information anyone may have. My friend lost his mother and his infant mother in this train accident when he was 7 or 8. His family never really talked about it and, now that he is in his 50s, those relatives who remembered the accident have passed away. He has a few pictures, but never really knew what happened that day. I have read through these posts and intend to give him everything I can so he can share them with his sister who was 10 at the time!! Thank you to those who have posted here with info already and thank you to yall who post in the future!! Feel free to PM me with info, too! Can never have too much information!
  by AndyB
There is also a article on the disaster in today's Sunday Star-Ledger. Page 17
It reports that a memorial service will be held tomorrow at 9:45am on the waterfront near where the bridge stood.
It is now a walkway behind the A&P Store at 7th. and Ave "A", Bayonne.
This is a link to an article at NJ.com
http://www.nj.com/starledger/stories/in ... xml&coll=1
  by NJTRailfan
I visited the exhibit over at the library and met up with the people who lost loved ones at the crash. It really gave you an idea on how bad it really was. Seeing the newspaper clippings and pictures (esp one where you could clearly see bodies of passengers hanging half way out of the way ) would send chills down your spine. It did for me. not only were there newspaper clippings but memos from the CNJ along with letters to loved ones and written documentation. It's sad that a memorial wasn't put up earlier to pay respect to those who died.

Books on the crash were sold along with other items from the local historical society. The star Spangeled Banner was sung along with the lowering of the flag to half mast. Monsignor Francis R Seymoour performed a prayer of rememberance. A reading of the anmes were performed. After that there was someone who sung Amazing Grace follwed by a presentation of historical events and finally some closing comments.

From what I was told the people incharge during the morning memorial service near where the bridge once stood were expecting around 50 and over 150 showed up. That's amazing considering that the crash took place 50 years ago.

I hope the event was covered well by the papers. I didn't see anything show up on tv yet.

I can't beleive that just a few days ago a crash with the Metrolink out in California occurs whith alot of people being killed and the wreck looks alot like something that would occur during the 40s/50s.
Last edited by NJTRailfan on Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by OportRailfan
I'm not sure, but I think my great-aunt and-uncle were among the injured in the crash...anyone know where if there is a list online of those that were lost/injured in the accident?
  by davidyur
Does anyone have an idea of what this accident cost the CNJ in terms of lawsuits, etc.?
  by NJTRailfan
The lawsuits were settled out of court. This was one of the questions I asked people who knew about the wreck very well along with the next of kin who were there. Even Wikipedia has this info. Oddly enough the locos from both the PRR and CNJ wrecks were returned to service. Amazing since from what I saw in the pics I wouldn't think they could be saved.
  by Marty Feldner
That DOT website has never allowed direct linking to an individual accident file; you have to drill down from the menu page.
  by GSC
Another good article on the wreck appears in Don Wood's "Unique New York & Long Branch" book, with a few pictures, including a coach hanging off the bridge before it fell in, and the wrecked GP7s after being brought up.
  by Semaphore Sam
Are there any sources of pictures of this bridge during construction, operations, and maybe while they were being torn down? There are still support pylons standing in back of a grocery store on the Eastern bank...on the Western side I think there's an abutment with the date 1925 on the face. Any source of pics would be appreciated. Sam
  by GSC
There's a real short clip of the bridge being blown up in the music video of Queen / David Bowie's "Under Pressure". Just a couple seconds long, I recognized the clip from other views I saw on TV.
  by JimBoylan
There are Internet photos of the 1925 bridge being built and replacing the older version. I can't remember the link.
  by CarterB
My uncle, William B. Riddle, perished in the wreck. He was riding up front in one of the closed off cars on a railroad pass.