SEVENTY-TWO years ago, the wreck of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Congressional Limited prompted headlines including the words "Disastrous," "Horror," "Heroism."
Eighty people were killed and 292 injured in what Philadelphia newspapers of the day called "the worst train accident since 1918."
It happened at 6:08 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6, 1943, as many people were returning from Washington, D.C., to New York on a train that didn't stop in Philadelphia.
But near Frankford Junction, as the train slowed to 56 mph, according to the engine's recording device, an axle on Coach No. 7 overheated and broke. That sent nine of 16 cars off the track, at nearly the same spot where the Amtrak train crashed on Tuesday.
Testimony in an inquest said the engineer applied his brakes twice to prepare to cut his speed down to 48 mph as he neared the Frankford Junction curve, about 1,000 feet ahead.
Among the victims was Marine 2nd Lt. Edwin B. Updike III, who had been carrying military papers to a "northern destination." One article told of how a Marine detail stood guard for hours into the night, until Updike's body could be removed and the "bills of lading" could be retrieved.
Another story, from archives at Temple University's Special Collections Research Center, was headlined: "Three Show Girls Died in Wreck." It told of three young Massachusetts women who had been on a tour of camps in the South and had recently been summoned to New York.
"Tragedy caught them just as they were speeding north to big-time success," an article in the Evening Bulletin said.
Irving Ginsburg, a 17-year-old New Yorker, died a week after the crash, according to a story headlined "80th victim dies."
Morris Borden, 49, a Brooklyn, N.Y., postal clerk, traveled to Philadelphia seeking his wife and two children. He found the bodies of his wife, Grace, 42, and their son, Stephen, 7, then told officials he had hopes that his daughter, Irma, 14, was still alive. But he learned that she had died, too.
Back in Brooklyn the following day, Borden turned on the five gas jets in his home, killing himself.
The inquest ruled that the train crash had been an accident.