The Great Four Engine Wreck in East Thompson of 1891 
Ramsdell Collection Movies and Updates 

Two Upcoming Talks
October 10, 2018 in Southbridge, MA
October 13, 2018 in Thompson, CT

Walks at the site of the Great Wreck will be led by the E. CT Rail Museum (see details below)

Weds., October 10, 2018 – 7:00 pm: Sponsored by the Southbridge Historical Society
Presentation at The Arts Center, 111 Main Street, Southbridge MASat., October 13, 2018 – 9:00 am: Sponsored by the Thompson Historical Society  (THS)
Presentation at the Tourtellotte Memorial High School, Ryscavage Auditorium, 785 Riverside Dr. (Rt.12), No. Grosvenordale CT  06255Presenters: Tom Chase, formerly of the Smithsonian Freer Gallery and Archivist of the Ramsdell Transportation Collection (THS),  and Joseph Iamartino, President of the Thompson Historical Society and editor of the Echoes of Old Thompson history books,  will give a rail presentation featuring the story of the Dec. 4, 1891 Four Engine Wreck in E. Thompson. Every known photo of the wreck site will be shown with explanations of the cause of the accident that led to 3 deaths, as well as images of the trains involved, before and after the collisions.The talk will include other rail topics: (a) A movie trailer for a planned Blair Cole PBS documentary  on the Ramsdell / King family narrow gauge locomotive that was brought to Thompson in 1937, survived the WWII scrap drive and is now running at the WW&F Museum in Alna Maine.
(b) Digitized movie shorts from the Ramsdell Collection including Southbridge & CT specific train clips
(c) A summary of the recent activities at the Ramsdell Transportation Collection, housed at the TMHS 1909 building.

The Narrow Gauge Story:  Four railfans bought WW&F Engine #9 (Portland Co, 1894) from the bankrupt Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railroad in 1937.  One of them was Frank Ramsdell. Engine #9  was shipped down to his farm in West Thompson, CT.  It stayed until 1995, when it was moved back to the WW&F at Sheepscot Station, in Alna Maine.  The rebuilding of the engine took many years, and her rededication as a fully-operating locomotive occurred on August 13, 2016.

The Railroad Films of Frank and Alice Ramsdell

The Ramsdell Transportation Collection of the Thompson Historical Society contains thousands of  images, mostly black-and-white photographs of railroads and railroad equipment. Recently we have found hours of movie film. Much of this is home movies of the Ramsdell farm, farm operations, and family. But Frank Ramsdell was a serious railfan.  He took some very interesting movies of rail operations from 1948 to 1954 and daughter Alice continued doing this after Frank’s death.

 The Great East Thompson Train Wreck

December 4, 1891 is a day that will live in local memory like no other.  At approximately 6:48 a.m. two trains of the New York & New England RR would crash at East Thompson, Connecticut strewing wreckage that a third train would smash into and cause a fourth to rear-end it, all within minutes. An engineer, a fireman and a mysterious passenger were killed.

As part of the Walktober tradition, on October 10th and again on October 13th,  Ray Axelrod,  with the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum since the beginning (ca. 1991), will lead a narrated site walk – event #94 – of the  four-train wreck site at the Air Line Rail Trail intersection, 660 East Thompson Rd., East Thompson CT.  For more information on the walks, see the Last Green Valley Walktober guide for the latest updates.

The Thompson Historical Society & the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum appreciate the Last Green Valley’s support of these Walktober rail events.

MORE INFORMATION? call Mark (860-923-3215) or Joe (603-657-6205 (cell)

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