TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The old Big Four Bridge spanning the Wabash here in Terre Haute has been the site of two significant train wrecks, each plunging into the river. Local legend has it; the locomotives are still down in the Wabash.
One of the wrecks happened on the afternoon of February 23, 1900. The river was frozen with chunks of ice pushing against the bridges supporting pillars.
As Engine Number 440, heading out of Mattoon, Illinois, approached the bridge, the crew had no idea the pressure from the had pushed the rails out of line.
The bridge crumbled, and the locomotive, with its 36 cars plunged into the icy Wabash.
The train route was so important that 600 Big Four employees were brought in to repair the bridge.
It was open again by the beginning of March.
The other crash occurred on October 28, 1892.
A freight train from Mattoon was sitting on the bridge, waiting to be given the go ahead to proceed. Suddenly, around the corner came Train Number 42. It was traveling at about 40 miles per hour.
There was no time to react; they sounded the whistle in panic.
Some of the men from the parked train scrambled onto the bridge pillars, just in time, but old Number 42 didn't even try to stop.
The two hit head on, on the bridge ad crashed into the waters below.
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