Editor’s Note: This timeline is not all-inclusive. Selected rail incidents with at least 200 fatalities are listed, plus US incidents.
Here’s some background information about major rail accidents since 1900.
January 1915 – Guadalajara, Mexico: More than 600 people die when a train derails into a ravine during a steep descent.
May 22, 1915 – Gretna, Scotland: The United Kingdom’s worst rail disaster occurs when three trains collide at Quintinshill, resulting in 227 deaths, many of whom were soldiers of the Royal Scots.
June 1915 – Montemorelos, Mexico: A military train derails into a canyon, killing more than 300.
December 12, 1917 – Modane, France: 427 people die when a train carrying more than 1,000 soldiers derails in the French Alps.
January 16, 1944 – León Province, Spain: A train wrecks in the Torro tunnel, killing more than 500 people.
March 2, 1944 – Near Salerno, Italy: At least 521 people die from carbon monoxide fumes when a train stalls in a tunnel.
October 22, 1949 – Poland: More than 200 are killed when the Danzig-Warsaw express derails.
April 3, 1955 – Guadalajara, Mexico: About 300 die when a night express train derails into a canyon.
September 29, 1957 – Montgomery, western Pakistan: 250 die when a passenger train collides with a cargo train.
February 1, 1970 – Buenos Aires, Argentina: The worst train disaster in Argentina’s history occurs when an express train crashes into a standing commuter train, killing 236.
October 6, 1972 – Saltillo, Mexico: 208 people die after a train traveling at excessive speed derails and catches fire.
June 6, 1981 – Bihar, India: India’s worst rail accident to date occurs during inclement weather when a train derails and plunges into a river in the state of Bihar, killing 800 and injuring more than 100.
January 13, 1985 – Near the town of Awash, Ethiopia: The government says that 392 people died when a passenger train derailed while crossing a bridge over a ravine.
June 4, 1989 – Ural Mountains, Soviet Union: 575 people die when a gas pipeline leaks, causing two passenger trains to explode.
January 4, 1990 – Sindh province, Pakistan: More than 210 people are killed after the Zakaria Bahauddin Express passenger train crashes into a stationary freight train.
September 22, 1994 – Tolunda, Angola: 300 die after malfunctioning brakes cause a train to derail and fall into a ravine.
August 20, 1995 – Firozabad, India: 358 are killed after an express train collides with another train that had stalled after striking a cow.
October 28, 1995 – Baku, Azerbaijan: A subway fire kills about 300 passengers and injures more than 200.
August 2, 1999 – India: Brahmaputra Mail train en route to New Delhi slams into the idle Awadh-Assam Express at Gaisal Station in West Bengal, killing 285 and injuring more than 300.
February 20, 2002 – Egypt: 361 people are killed when a fire breaks out on a train traveling from Cairo south to Luxor.
June 24, 2002 – Tanzania: A runaway passenger train collides with a freight train and then derails, resulting in 281 deaths.
February 18, 2004 – Near the town of Neyshabur, Iran: A runaway 51-car chemical train derails and explodes, causing at least 320 deaths and hundreds of injuries to residents in the area.
December 26, 2004 – Sri Lanka: Between 1,500 to 1,700 passengers aboard the Samudradevi, or Queen of the Sea, train, are believed dead when the tsunami sweeps their train off the tracks.
March 1, 1910 – Wellington, Washington: An avalanche pushes a passenger train and a mail train into a ravine, killing 96 people.
July 9, 1918 – Nashville, Tennessee: Considered the worst rail disaster in US history, two passenger trains collide on Dutchman’s Curve, resulting in 101 deaths.
November 1, 1918 – Brooklyn, New York: At least 90 are killed when a Brighton Beach Train of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company derails inside the Malbone Street tunnel.