Freight Car Wreck in Niles Canyon, circa 1920
Freight car wreck in Niles Canyon, circa 1920. Original, vintage. Boys and men in their Sunday clothes, bowler hats, and straw boaters explore the train wreck in Niles Canyon, midsummer in the early 1900s. As Niles became known as a picnic day-tripper destination around 1900, the name Niles Cayon replaced Alameda Canyon. This steam engine came to rest just above Alameda Creek; the cattle cars can be identified by the many vented openings and by the exit ramp where they have already been removed. Train accidents: Niles Canyon was a dangerous passage for trains in the early days because of landslides, washouts, falling rocks and fires. The photo shows a derailment into the creek above the Rankin Adobe and clay factory side about 1920. Accidents such as this would block the route and created difficult clean-up problems. Extra engines from the Niles Station and roundhouse were sometimes needed to boost freight trains up the canyon. One of these locomotives running at the wrong time piled into an oncoming engine in 1941, killing three trainmen and injuring eight passengers. A night train hit a slide in the canyon in 1876 and crashed. The fireman jumped clear but the engineer who was on his second trip since being promoted from fireman was killed.
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