“I have stood on the battlefield, and heard shot and shell rattling around me, and seen my comrades falling like leaves in autumn, but I have never seen anything that curdled my blood with horror or moved me to deeper depths of compassion than the scenes of that dreadful night”
Major Henry N. Martin, Wreck Survivor
A storm like no one had ever seen caused tiny Wolf Creek in Thaxton, Virginia to rage in the darkness of night. An earthen fill that carried the railroad over the creek could not hold, and Norfolk & Western passenger train Number Two plummeted into a hole in the earth. There in the valley beneath the shadow of the towering Peaks of Otter, passengers and crew scrambled from the wreckage and water in a life-or-death struggle. The best and worst of humanity were on display in the small hours of the night, as some worked heroically to rescue those trapped in the debris, while others stood by concerned only for themselves. A terrible fire ensued, and those that remained trapped were consumed by the flames. The bloodied and battered survivors suffered through four more hours of isolation and torture in the rain alongside the burning wreckage before help would finally arrive.
Written and extensively researched by the great-great grandson of the railroad section master at Thaxton, Lost at Thaxton tells the forgotten story of one of the worst railroad accidents in the history of Virginia, and the people that lived and died that night.
Voices from Lost at Thaxton
“Oh, to see the wounded—all is a picture before me continually, and I never will again travel in the night.” – Irene Jackson, Wreck Survivor
“I never passed through a more terrible experience in my life, and I assure you I have no desire to participate in such another.” – J. Fred Temple, Wreck Survivor
“It was the most horrible sight I ever witnessed” – J.W. Scott, Wreck Survivor