Newburyport in Essex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
The 1873 Train Wreck
at Merrimac Street, Newburyport
A misplaced switch forced a freight train onto a dead-end side track on May 23, 1873, and the 34-ton steam locomotive smashed through barriers and fell down the embankment to Merrimac Street below. The engineer and fireman jumped clear before the impact. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the dramatic accident, and the engine was back on the track two days later.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is May 23, 1873.
Location. 42° 48.774′ N, 70° 52.547′ W. Marker is in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in Essex County. Marker can be reached from Merrimac Street west of Newburyport Turnpike (U.S. 1), on the right when traveling east. Marker is located on the Clipper City Rail Trail, just south of the Merrimac Street railroad bridge. Access to the marker is by foot or on bicycle, via the Clipper City Rail Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newburyport MA 01950, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic 1893 Newburyport Train Station (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); William Lloyd Garrison (approx. 0.2 miles away); Watts' CellarNewburyport Firehouse Center (approx. 0.3 miles away); Market Square Tea Burning (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Bartlet Mall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bombshell (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Memory of the Officers and Men (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newburyport.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Clipper City Rail Trail
Also see . . . From trains to trails.
On May 23, a slow-moving freight train was accidentally switched onto a side track that ended just before the Merrimac Street bridge. The engineer reversed the engine, but it was too late. He and the fireman jumped before the engine took the 15-foot plunge down the embankment, crashing into Merrimac Street. No one was injured, but everyone wanted their photo taken with it. The 34-ton train was lifted back onto the tracks two days later. (Submitted on March 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 281 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.