The Wreck of the Duquesne Limited

If you live in Fayette County, you likely heard about the railroad cars that derailed behind the courthouse last week. Happily, no one was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled. There were no disruptions at the library, though we did listen to the steady thrumming of an engine for a few days while part of the train idled nearby.

I often come across railroad and trolley accidents while working with the PA Room’s obituary index. Still, the deaths I see were usually caused by passenger error — a person attempted to hop onto a moving train and lost their grip, for instance, or they got hit while walking the tracks.

There is one local railroad catastrophe that has clung to my memory, however: the wreck of the Duquesne Limited.

The Mining Strike of July 1933

Like many of our patrons, we received mail from some distant locales this holiday season. One package arrived from the Museum of South Texas History, whose curator sent us two pictures to add to our collection.

The images date back to 1933 and depict National Guard troops stationed in Brownsville during the coal strikes. Both were stamped for distribution through the Central Press Association and arrived with suggested captions taped to the back.