Days Gone By - stories from the past

November 25, 1951, 17 killed, Woodstock, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

I remember as a child my late grandmother telling me of this deadly train wreck that happened in the small hamlet of Woodstock Alabama.


November 1951, 17 killed, Woodstock, Tuscaloosa County

“A rerouted train led to the collision of two passenger trains near Woodstock, Ala., that killed 17 people on Nov. 25, 1951. According to a Feb. 3, 1953, article in The Times Daily, an Alabama Great Southern Railroad streamliner and a Louisville & Nashville train, the Crescent, collided after the L&N train was rerouted on the Great Southern track because a barge damaged a bridge on the L&N line. The Great Southern train was headed from New Orleans to New York, while the Crescent was headed south.

train-crash-at-woodstock-shannon-hollonTrain wreck at Woodstock, Alabama

“The Crescent was running as the second section of a southbound Southerner,” the article said. “The northbound Southerner pulled onto a siding near Woodstock to permit the southbound Southerner to pass.” However, for an unknown reason, the northbound train “moved out of the siding into the path of the Crescent.” An investigator with the Interstate Commerce Commission thought perhaps the engineer of the northbound train, who was killed, mistook a ray of sunlight for the signal to proceed.

More than 60 people were injured in the crash.”

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includes the following stories

  • The Yazoo land fraud
  • Daily life as an Alabama pioneer  
  • The capture and arrest of Vice-president Aaron Burr
  • The early life of William Barrett Travis, hero of the Alamo
  • Description of Native Americans of early Alabama including the visit by Tecumseh
  • Treaties and building the first roads in Alabama.

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About Shannon Hollon

Shannon Hollon lives in McCalla Alabama graduated from McAdory High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Served 9 years in the US Navy Seabees with one tour in Afghanistan.Currently employed with US Steel and serving on the board of directors for the West Jefferson County Historical Society. http://wjchs.com/

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5 comments

    1. That was a sad day for so many people. My Family is from Birmingham , Hoover, Bessemer,Hueytown,McCalla, Green pond, Westblocton and Selma. They came to Tennessee in 1943 but still have lots of relatives there and visit often. Always love to hear anything about Alabama. Thanks

  1. I CAN REMEMBER MY FATHER IN LAW TA LKING ABOUT THAT TRAIN WRECK I LIVED IN WOODSTOCK AND WESTBLOCTON FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS . HE SAID HE WENT DOWN TO THE WRECK AND HELP PULL PEOPLE OUT , THAT WAS BEFORE MY TIME I WAS BORN IN 1962 . MY FATHER IN LAW IS PASSED ON NOW (RIP) BUT I LOVE TO HERE ABOUT THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THE PAST BEFORE MY TIME , IN OTHER WORDS I LOVE HISTORY. THAT AREA AND BESSEMER HAS A LOT OF IT TO OFFER IF PEOPLE WOULD JUST READ, THEY WOULD BE SURPRIZED WHAT THEY LEARN? YALL KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND THANK YOU FOR THE THE GREAT STORY. LAWAYNE JEMISON, ALABAMA

  2. I was only 11 months old at the time it happen, but today 25 Nov. 2016; is the first time I had ever heard about it. The article stated that an L&N train had to be rerouted onto the Great Southern track because a barge damaged a bridge on the L&N line. The Crescent was running as the second section of a southbound Southerner,” the article said. “The northbound Southerner pulled onto a siding near Woodstock to permit the southbound Southerner to pass.” However, for an unknown reason, the northbound train “moved out of the siding into the path of the Crescent.” An investigator with the Interstate Commerce Commission thought perhaps the engineer of the northbound train, who was killed, mistook a ray of sunlight for the signal to proceed. This reminded me of the accident that happen on Sept 22, 1993, in Mobile, Al; The 1993 Big Bayou Canot train wreck was the derailing of an Amtrak train on the CSXT Big Bayou Canot bridge in northeastern Mobile, Alabama, United States, on September 22, 1993. It was caused by displacement of a span and deformation of the rails when a tow of heavy barges had collided with the bridge eight minutes earlier. Forty-seven were killed and 103 were injured.[1] To date, it is both the deadliest train wreck in Amtrak’s history and the worst rail disaster in the United States since the 1958 Newark Bay, New Jersey rail accident in which 48 lives were lost. Strange huh! All because of a bridge.

  3. Debbie Mc Taggart

    Was that Aunt Jo ? That told you

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