Tuesday, November 6, 2012

February 17, 1950: Rockville Centre Train Derailment

The other morning I woke to find my father had left me a stack of old family photos bundled together by a rubberband. Really dad, really?? A rubberband?

Anyway, among the photos were these 7 pictures. I can not identify anyone in them or where exactly it was photographed or by whom BUT, there is a date written on the back; "Feb. 1950."

 So I googled "Long Island train derailment February 1950" and found this entry in wikipedia

February 17, 1950 – Rockville Centre, New York, United States: Two passenger trains collide head-on at Rockville Centre train station. The engineer of train number 192 ignored an Approach and the following Stop signals and collided with train number 175 on temporary gantleted (overlapping) track which had been installed to facilitate a grade separation project. Both engineers survived but 31 people were killed, and more than 100 people injured.[1]


My father would have only been 2 1/2 months old at the time of this accident. My grandfather was a machine operator. I suspect he may have been the one to take these pictures and perhaps he worked on the crash site. I don't know for sure but I am now on the hunt to understand how we came to hold on to these pictures for so long.


  1. I believe that the first is that of my Father William E. Van Deusen, who worked for the RVC Power Plant and was a fireman. He spent the night cutting victims out of the train.. He is the one with the cigarette and plaid shirt. I have an idea of who is standing next to him.

  2. Wow, Linda. I am so glad you commented on this post. Was your father a member of the RVC fire department? I have a follow up post about this accident that lists all the victims.

  3. Hello,
    Just looking at saved pages and it appears I didn't answer you. He was a member of the RVC fire department. If you would like I can find which one.. Sorry for an over a year delay..