On Sunday, September 1, 1957, at around 11: 30 p.m., “a train consisting of two diesel engines ahead of twelve wooden coaches crowded with passengers – reportedly about 1,600 the majority members of a day excursion organised by St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Kingston, …, was approaching Kendal, a small station prior to Williamsfield, on its way back to Kingston from Montego Bay” (Daily Gleaner, Tuesday, September 3, 1957, pg. 1).
Eyewitnesses observed that the train was “coming to a bend in the line … at considerable speed, because the coaches were swaying and actually passing through a narrow cutting in rock, when there was a terrific jolting and swaying likened to an earthquake and eight of the coaches were wrecked” (Daily Gleaner, Tuesday, September 3, 1957, pg. 1).
An estimated 200 persons lost their lives that night, and more than 700 persons were injured.
The following is the Daily Gleaner’s front page of Tuesday, September 3, 1957 about the train disaster.
For a detailed description about the train disaster see this Jamaica Gleaner ‘Pieces of the Past’ column, “Tragedy at Kendal – 1957” by Dr Rebecca Tortello.
Until next time…
Daily Gleaner, Tuesday, September 3, 1957