Tin Bridge wreck, Bangor, 1871

Contributed by Bangor Public Library


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 dispatched from the city and thousands of spectators followed. Some 2,000 people went that evening and an estimated 10,000 the next day.

The inquest of the Maine Central Railroad Company concluded that the wooden trusses of the eighteen-year-old bridge were rotten, and the railroad assumed full responsibility. The bridge had been inspected earlier in the year and no rotting was noted, but it was recommended that the bridge be strengthened to accommodate the heavier traffic. Repairs were not immediately carried out. The train engineer was running slightly faster than usual in order to make up time and avoid losing the right of way. The higher speed, combined with a lurch as the brakeman waited until the train was almost on the bridge to apply the break, 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 Courrier reported extensively on the crash, and carried excerpts of the inquest in the following week.

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About This Item

  • Title: Tin Bridge wreck, Bangor, 1871
  • Creator: Hardy, F. W.
  • Creation Date: 1871-08-09
  • Subject Date: 1871-08-09
  • Town: Bangor
  • County: Penobscot
  • State: ME
  • Media: Stereograph
  • Dimensions: 8.6 cm x 17.5 cm
  • Collection: Vickery Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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

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