A deadly subway plunge at 53rd Street

It’s hard to imagine that elevated train tracks traveled down narrow, relatively quiet West 53rd Street at one time.

And it’s even harder to imagine the terror of being on an elevated train there one random rush hour morning when it veers off track and plunges into a tenement or the street.

But that’s what happened on the morning of September 11, 1905. At least 12 people were killed when this train crashed at Ninth Avenue and 53rd Street, a notorious curve where the Sixth and Ninth Avenue Els diverge.

The crash was blamed on human error; a switch on the tracks was set wrong.

Both elevated lines were dismantled by 1940.

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2 Responses to “A deadly subway plunge at 53rd Street”

  1. priscianusjr Says:

    In this photo we are looking north on 9th Av., w. 53 opening on the right. Exactly the same location is seen at the beginning of the Edison filmstrip, mislabeled “104th Street Curve”, shot 22 April 1899. It begins at this 53 Street junction, where we see a northbound 6th Av. train turning onto Ninth Avenue, then we see a southbound 6th av. train coming the other way. Both trains consist of five coaches pulled by a Forney steam locomotive.

    [From 0:41 you see another section of the Ninth Ave line, also traveling northward, eastward, and northward again over the 110th (not 104th) Street Curve.]

  2. A final elevated train shines on Ninth Avenue | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Ninth Avenue El (which ran up Greenwich Street to Ninth Avenue and then to Columbus Avenue) was the city’s first elevated railroad, ferrying passengers […]

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