Train Wreck at Tin Bridge, Bangor, 1871

Contributed by Bangor Public Library

Train Wreck at Tin Bridge, Bangor, 1871

This record was added to Maine Memory Network through the efforts of a student at William S. Cohen School.


When the Tin Bridge collapsed under the weight of the mail train to Bangor around 7.30 on the evening of August 9, 1871, coaches were rapidly dispached from the city--and thousands of spectators followed. Some 2,000 went that evening, and estimates the next day indicated that 10,000 people gathered throughout the day. This stereo photograph shows a fraction of the crowds.

The inquest of the Maine Central Railroad Company concluded that the bridge, which was eighteen years old and made of wooden trusses, was rotten, and took full responsibility. An inspection had occured earlier in the year, which found no indication of rot but indicated that the bridge should be strengthened to accommodate the heavier and more frequent traffic, repairs which had not been immediatly carried out. The engineer was found to have been running slightly faster than usual in order to make up time and avoid losing the right of way, although his instructions specifically read to avoid making up time, and it was theorized that the higher speed, combined with a lurch as the brakeman waited until the train was almost upon the bridge to apply the brake, produced a sudden jar which overstressed the bridge. The brakeman and one passenger died in the crash, which sent all but one of the six cars off the track and down the embankment, and fourty-four were injured. The Bangor Whig and Courier reported extensively on the crash, and carried excerpts of the inquest in the following week.

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About This Item

  • Title: Train Wreck at Tin Bridge, Bangor, 1871
  • Creator: Hardy, F. W.
  • Creation Date: 1871-08-10
  • Subject Date: 1871-08-10
  • Town: Bangor
  • County: Penobscot
  • State: ME
  • Media: Stereograph
  • Dimensions: 7.5 cm x 17.5 cm
  • Collection: Vickery Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Bangor Public Library
145 Harlow Street, Bangor, ME 04401
(207) 947-8336

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