February 2012 home page

Little Del Mar, Big Projects


1940s Train Wreck


Train wreck.  First three days January 1941.
Photo courtesy Larry Brooks, DMVA Historical Committee

Jan. 1, 2012. Work area 3 next to 8th Street at end of current construction. This is where the 1940 train wreck occurred. The concrete slab did not exist at that time. Photo Larry Brooks


On New Year’s Eve in 1940, residents were in a festive mood and there were parties everywhere.

“It had rained for several days, and the ground was soaked.

“Shortly after 8 p.m., a passenger train passed through the village heading south. Less than 45 minutes later, a northbound freight train plunged down a 65-foot embankment when a bluff collapsed at the foot of Ninth [sic] Street [probably closer to 8th St]. [...]

“By mid-morning, Ninth [sic] and 10th streets were crammed with onlookers, and not long afterward, there were hot dog wagons, popcorn vendors and souvenir hawkers at the scene.

“The carnival atmosphere prevailed for several days until giant cranes were able to remove the locomotive and freight cars.”

Text quoted from Del Mar Reflections by Bill Arballo, page 25, Del Mar Media Group 2004




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