Little Falls in Herkimer County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lake Shore Limited Wreck
New York Central
wreck of April 19, 1940
Gulf Curve Chapter, NRHS,
in memory of 31 who died
and those who labored to
Erected 1990 by Gulf Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society.
Location. 43° 2.563′ N, 74° 50.943′ W. Marker is in Little Falls, New York, in Herkimer County. Marker is at the intersection of Route 5 and River Road, on the right when traveling east on Route 5. Touch for map. Marker is mounted on a bolder which sits in a shaded grassy area between Route 5 and River Road. Marker is in this post office area: Little Falls NY 13365, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Route of the Little Falls Canal (approx. half a mile away); Gen. Nicholas Herkimer (approx. 1.9 miles away); Revolution in the Mohawk Valley (approx. 1.9 miles away); Herkimer Home State Historic Site (approx. 1.9 miles away); In Memory of the Men (approx. 1.9 miles away); Nicholas Herkimer Mohawk River (approx. 1.9 miles away); The Palatines (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Little Falls.
Regarding Lake Shore Limited Wreck. Thirty one (31) people died in the New York Central's Lake Shore Limited wreck on April 19, 1940 in Little Falls, New York, making it the New York Central's third worst 20th century wreck in terms of death.
After extensive investigation the "official" cause was listed as excessive speed. The Gulf Curve in Little Falls was the sharpest curve on the New York Central at 7 degrees, 24 minutes in 856 feet. The mandatory speed limit through the curve was 45 mph. The Lake Shore Limited had left Albany 21 minutes late and was running late. Besides Engineer Jesse Earl and Fireman J.Y. Smith, Road Foreman of Engines Andrew Bayreuther was riding in the cab. Earl had braked before the curve and Bayreuther didn't think it was enough. The train entered the curve at 59 mph. It was reported that Earl suddenly closed the throttle, causing all the momentum of the train to shove the engine off the track into a rock wall. Fireman Smith was thrown out of the cab and died instantly. Earl died several hours after the wreck,
Bayreuther survived and ironically lived to be over 102 years old. As a result of this accident the New York Central railroad decided to reduce the angle of the curve, a huge project, which included changing the course of the Mohawk River. The work was completed November 19, 1947, reportedly at a cost of $2,500,000.
Also see . . .
1. Wreck of the Lake Shore. A Time Magazine article published on April 29, 1940. (Submitted on September 12, 2008.)
2. Lake Shore Limited Wreck Photo from Train Board. (Submitted on May 28, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
Additional keywords. Rail Disaster
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 11, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 4,853 times since then and 126 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 11, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 2. submitted on September 11, 2008. 3. submitted on September 11, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.