On March 29, 1916, at roughly 3:45 a.m., a speeding train plowed into two other trains that had collided in the town of Amherst in Lorain County, near Lake Erie, as part of one of the worst train wrecks in Ohio history.
To help observe the 100th anniversary of the deadly crash, Echoes in Time Theatre will present The Amherst Train Wreck at the Ohio History Center in Columbus, home of the Ohio History Connection (OHC), formerly the Ohio Historical Society.
On March 5, 12, 19 and 26, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., join a historic re-enactor, who’ll portray a passenger aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, the world’s fastest train in 1916, who’ll recall the crash and the aftermath in detail.
“At first, investigators tried to blame the accident, which killed 27 people and injured 47, on the Amherst switch operator and the conductor of the second train,” said Emmy Beach, OHC public relations coordinator. “Ultimately, it was decided bad weather and a switch malfunction — not human error — were at fault.”
A dense fog had engulfed Amherst that night, obscuring the train signals. In the midst of the thick fog, the eastbound Pittsburgh-Baltimore-Buffalo Limited stopped near Lake Street in modern-day Amherst, its confused engineer thinking there was trouble on the tracks. Suddenly, another eastbound train, scheduled just minutes behind the Buffalo Limited, slammed into the Buffalo Limited. Before the survivors of the first two trains could react, the westbound Twentieth Century Limited rammed into the wreckage of the first two trains.
A town meeting was held January 20 of this year in Amherst to start making plans to build and raise money for a 100th anniversary memorial to the Amherst Train Wreck.
For more information about Echoes in Time Theatre and The Amherst Train Wreck performances, or to order tickets, call 800-686-6124 or visit www.ohiohistory.org.