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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Weatherly in Carbon County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Disaster at Mud Run

 
 
Disaster at Mud Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 25, 2019
1. Disaster at Mud Run Marker
Inscription.  ”This is one of the worst wrecks ever in the country, because you had wooden cars. They were prone to 'telescoping,' or collapsing when they were hit from behind by an 'iron horse.'”
—John Koehler
Railroad Historian, Weatherly

Mud Run is the name of the tributary entering here on the east side of the Lehigh River. On an October evening in 1888, two special passenger trains collided on the tracks across the river. When one train smashed into the other from behind, passenger cars telescoped and split apart. The boiler of one locomotive burst open, spraying deadly steam over the wreckage.

Twenty-nine of the 64 who died here lived in the small borough (population 3000) of Avoca, Pennsylvania. Many were young boys who played in a drum and bugle corps and had performed earlier in the day. A witness at the scene wrote that "scattered throughout the wreck were broken musical instruments, smashed up drums and articles of wearing apparel."
 
Erected by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic
Disaster at Mud Run Marker detail image. Click for full size.
2. Disaster at Mud Run Marker detail
Click or scan to see
this page online
lists: DisastersRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1888.
 
Location. 40° 59.321′ N, 75° 42.827′ W. Marker is near Weatherly, Pennsylvania, in Carbon County. Marker can be reached from Rockport Road one mile east of South Lehigh Gorge Drive. Marker is located along the Lehigh Gorge Trail (Delaware and Lehigh Trail), in Lehigh Gorge State Park, about 3 miles northeast of the Rockport trailhead and parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Weatherly PA 18255, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Revolution in Canal Technology (here, next to this marker); Engineering Marvel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lehigh Gorge State Park (approx. 2.6 miles away); Railroad Intersection (approx. 3˝ miles away); River Ran Black (approx. 4.2 miles away); a different marker also named River Ran Black (approx. 4.2 miles away); Exploring The Corridor (approx. 5.6 miles away); Thank Josiah White (approx. 5.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Weatherly.
 
More about this marker. Access to marker is via bicycle, horseback, kayak/canoe, or foot.
 
Also see . . .
1. Mud Run, PA Train Wreck, Oct 1888. "Fifty-six persons are dead, and some of the 40 persons injured will die. Some of the dead and injured have been sent to their homes at Scranton
Disaster at Mud Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 25, 2019
3. Disaster at Mud Run Marker
(Lehigh River and Mud Run are over the hill, behind marker.)
and Pleasant Valley, and the rest when he left were lying in the cars. The section that collided with the section that was above the station was drawn by two engines. The first engine ploughed through the last car in the train and partly through the next one above. Many of the dead and injured that were in these cars were found either beneath, on top or along side of the engine, some of them mangled almost beyond recognition..." (Submitted on July 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Mud Run Disaster. The trains concerned were taking home members of the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America from a 20,000 person rally in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Altogether 5,000 were returning to Luzerne and Lackawanna counties via the railroad, and to accommodate this great number eight trains were provided ("laid on"), running at ten-minute intervals. Each train had between 8 and 12 cars and was headed by two engines to cope with the steep grades between Penn Haven and Hazle Creek Junctions through what is now the Lehigh Gorge State Park. (Submitted on July 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Mud Run Train Disaster. The most costly wreck in early Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley Railroad history took roughly sixty lives. The victims were members of the Father Mathew Society.
Lehigh River, Mud Run, and old Railroad Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 25, 2019
4. Lehigh River, Mud Run, and old Railroad Bridge
(river-level view from below trail, behind marker)
Many were Irish Catholic coal miners relatively new to this country. It was reported that there were seventy-eight car loads of people, of over 5,500 loaded onto the eight different trains, which would be about seventy people per car. (Submitted on July 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

4. Mud Run Train Wreck - October 10, 1888 - List of Victims. (Submitted on July 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 23, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 69 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 23, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4. submitted on July 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 8, 2021