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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 11:31 AM

Today is the 73rd Anniversary of the Wreck of the Exposition Flyer.

Two years ago at DU:

It's the 71st Anniversary of the Wreck of the Exposition Flyer.

This is of note, because it caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to institute new regulations regarding train speeds and signaling systems.

Naperville train disaster

The Naperville train disaster occurred April 25, 1946, on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad at Loomis Street in Naperville, Illinois, when the railroad's Exposition Flyer rammed into the Advance Flyer, which had made an unscheduled stop to check its running gear. The Exposition Flyer had been coming through on the same track at 80 miles per hour (130 km/h). 45 people died, and some 125 were injured.

Long-term results

This crash is a major reason why most passenger trains in the United States have a speed limit of 79 mph (127 km/h). The CB&Q, Milwaukee Road, and Illinois Central were among railroads in the region running passenger trains at up to and above 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) in the 1930s and 1940s. The Interstate Commerce Commission ruled in 1951 that trains traveling 80 mph or more must have "an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop or automatic train control system", expensive technology that was implemented on some lines in the region, but has since been mostly removed.

The Burlington increased headway on the two trains from 2 minutes to 15 minutes in May, and added a signal position, flashing yellow, for a total of 4 positions. They continued to haul mixed heavyweight/lightweight trains, but at the time they were already rapidly replacing heavyweight cars with stainless steel lightweight “Zephyr” type cars. All units in both trains would return to service except the Advance Flyer's last coach and the dining car, both were total losses.

Following this disaster, advancements in train speed in the United States essentially halted. However, select Amtrak passenger trains run at up to 150 mph (240 km/h) as of 2013.

External links

Photos of the Day: Naperville, Illinois Rail Disaster (1946)

Scroll down to see the pictures. You'll think you're at the wrong site at first.

Previously at DU: The wreck of the Exposition Flyer, April 25, 1946

The Great Naperville Train Disaster

From 2011: The 65th Anniversary Of The Naperville Train Crash

Here is the Interstate Commerce Commission accident report:


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