Seashore Wreck

That was part of a headline on May 24, 1943. The previous evening, a train left Atlantic City, NJ at 9:oo pm and was due to arrive in New York city at 11:55 pm. The train was speeding around a sharp curve when it derailed in Camden County near the Delaware River Bridge (renamed the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in 1955) which connects Camden, NJ to Philadelphia, PA. The engine and first 7 cars derailed and it took over 2 hours to free everyone.

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Curve where train accident occurred.
Matilda and Jennie Zacchia

It was determined that the engineer was speeding and sadly resulted in 14 deaths and 91 injured. Three of the injured are my husband’s relatives. Two Great Grandmothers and a Grandmother were on that train. Injuries were listed in the paper and his Great Grandma Jennie Zacchia had an injured neck. His Grandma Matilda Zacchia had an injured left arm and

Rose Stanzione

lacerations. His Great Grandma Rose Stanzione was also taken to the hospital but no injuries were listed.

Fortunately, they were okay and 2 years later in 1945, Matilda married Michael who is Rose Stanzione’s son. The families did know each other before the accident and the 3 women were all traveling together. It is good that they had each other to rely on in those harrowing moments after the accident.



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14 thoughts on “Seashore Wreck

  1. Sounds like three lucky women! And the photo is interesting — what are those colored, circular things? All I can think of is paint cans, and I’m pretty sure THAT’S not right!


  2. If the tanks were there at the time of the accident, it could have been very much worse. So lucky for your husband’s relatives that they were ok.


  3. One reads about such tragedies every day and forgets that they do actually touch families in a way that will never be forgotten. Even though they all survived this accident has obviously been etched into the story of your family.


  4. So lucky the three only had minor injuries! Your mention of the bridge between Camden, NJ & Philadelphia, PA made me smile with a memory. When I was chaperoning a high school history trip in 1992, I fell in the old Congress Hall In Philadelphia & cut my wrist on the edge of a marble fireplace. I got patched up & all, but it ached like fury. So that afternoon I walked down to Penn Station Landing to sit & gaze out over the river. On the opposite side was a bldg. with all sorts of bright flags flying. I asked someone what it was & they said it was the new Camden Aquarium. I saw a ferry going back & forth across the river to a landing near the new aquarium, so took it & enjoyed a tour through the aquarium which took my mind off the pain from my accident – at least for a little while.


  5. An excellent choice for this weekend’s theme. In my research I’ve encountered hundreds of train wreck reports in old newspapers. They were once as common as car accidents are now, but since they usually involved many more people, the reporters often had dozens of perspectives. Very often the competing newspapers in a community tell very different views of the same accident.


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