Southern Pacific train wreck in El Monte, Calif. April 2, 1973
by Jesse Koski
Note: El Monte is located at the west end of the City of Industry SP Yards.
Two Southern Pacific freight trains collided head-on when a 65 car east bound train was stopped on the siding just west of the Tyler Ave. railroad crossing. Two crewmen had left the cab of the lead engine to and were walking along when they spotted the 27 car westbound train which was traveling about 60 mph on the same siding track. The two crewmen began running just before the two trains collided. The crash derailed the five locomotives and 17 of the 92 cars, killed two crewman and injured four.
An acquaintance who worked on the third floor of an office building next to the tracks said he looked out the window when the crash occurred and saw box cars in the air above the window. My children who attended Nativity School on Tyler Ave. one block north of the tracks, told me it sounded like a terrible explosion and the building shook violently.
A note of irony here is that just the day before, the president of Southern Pacific supposedly gave a speech and made the statement that with today's (70's) technology that a head-on collision between two trains was impossible.
Newspaper images from El Monte Herald, Monday, April 2, 1973