Victorian Trains: Evidence Eradication Technique?

From 1895 until the 1930s, staged train wrecks were a popular - albeit destructive - event at fairs and festivals across the U.S., long before anyone ever thought of wrecking old automobiles at a demolition derby or monster truck rally.
  • For 40 Years, Crashing Trains Was One of America’s Favorite Pastimes

One of the first staged train wrecks was done in 1895 by a railroad equipment salesman named A.L. Streeter in Ohio. The wreck used the same formula that nearly all other staged train wrecks would follow for the next 40 years. Organizers would lay a stretch of track, usually anywhere from 1,800 feet to a mile-long, and then get two old steam locomotives and put them at either end of the track facing each other. They would then hire two brave locomotive engineers to wait for a signal from the organizer. When they got the go-ahead, the engineers would pull the throttles back as far as they could to get the locomotives up to speed. They would then jump from the locomotive before the two trains crashed in front of a crowd who had paid a few dollars to see the spectacle.


A crowd swarms over the wreckage to claim souvenirs in Buckeye Park in Ohio after a staged train wreck in 1896.


KD: You can read the entire article here, but what a crock of baloney. How much did it cost to produce one locomotive? How much did it cost to lay a mile-long stretch of a railroad track? Here is an interesting excerpt from the above-linked article:
  • According to the historian James J. Reisdorff’s book The Man Who Wrecked 146 Locomotives, Streeter’s wreck was so successful that there were at least six staged train collisions the following year, including the most infamous one north of Waco, Texas, known as the “Crash at Crush.”

Today locomotives cost between $4.6 millions and $6.7 millions. Apparently in 1896 those were approximately $10,000 a pop.
  • $20,000 in 1896 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $612,400 in 2019.
  • $10,000 in 1896 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $306,200 in 2019.
  • Those were some cheap locomotives with a train of cars, weren't they?
It's either those "entertainers" were making sufficient profits to cover associated locomotive costs, or we are facing a deliberate destruction of technological devices. Do we really know how many of those locomotives were destroyed altogether?