It spread, until people talked of little else
July 28, 2017 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Sure is boring around here. Hey - what if we deliberately crash two trains into each other!
posted by Chrysostom (28 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'll be honest, the death toll was much smaller than I would have expected.
posted by tommasz at 12:33 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


But where would you bury the survivors?
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:37 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


“the most realistic and expensive spectacle ever produced for the amusement of an American audience.”


It does sound better than any of the Transformer movies.
posted by nubs at 12:40 PM on July 28 [8 favorites]


the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company—more commonly known as the Katy

And just like that, I now get this Blues Brothers song.
posted by Naberius at 12:49 PM on July 28 [11 favorites]




But otherwise, opportunities for mass enjoyment were few and far between, which gave railway agent William Crush an idea: smashing two trains together purely for public spectacle.

"Of course," Crush thought. "It's so obvious." The idea had been staring him in the face his entire life.
posted by notyou at 12:51 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


It's pretty incredible that only one expert thought that smashing two pressurized containers of boiling water together might cause an explosion, and he was either not able to make his case or he was shouted down by the idiots around him.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:52 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


Gomez Addams approves.
posted by adept256 at 12:56 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


“A crash, sound of timbers rent and torn, and then a shower of splinters. There was just a swift instant of silence, and then, as if controlled by a single impulse, both boilers exploded simultaneously and the air was filled with flying missiles of iron and steel varying in size from a postage stamp to half a driving wheel, falling indiscriminately on the just and unjust, the rich and the poor, the great and the small.”

Oh, how I love 19th century newspaper prose!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:58 PM on July 28 [19 favorites]


Sorry that's pretty dark. This jumped out at me:

Despite the accident, the line had become an overnight sensation, catching headlines in the international press.

Accident?

And this kind of thing makes me wish Mythbusters had an unlimited budget.
posted by adept256 at 12:59 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


William Crush is the kind of name i associate with music video directors
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 1:00 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


His film clip for Dream caught the Gay Nineties’ fancy is a classic.
posted by adept256 at 1:03 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


So much prep when into this:
A line of track was laid 15 miles north of Waco, just beyond the natural amphitheater of three tall hills. Crush drilled two wells and ran pipes for spigots, hired a man from Dallas to run a dozen lemonade stands, brought in tanks of artesian mineral water, erected a restaurant and even a wooden jail that would be patrolled by 200 hired constables. But the main attraction—apart from the trains themselves—was the row of carnival attractions based on Chicago’s highly popular Midway Plaisance at the 1893 World’s Fair. “This feature alone will be worth going to Crush [City] to see,” construction foreman A.D. Arbegast told The Galveston Daily News. “[This] is going to be the event in Texas this year.”
Lemonade! And yet no motion picture cameras.
posted by notyou at 1:05 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Ctrl+F "Uncle Fester" - Phrase not found

Really, guys? I'm disappointed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:15 PM on July 28


Previously.
posted by misteraitch at 1:20 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


To do: Photoshop a sepia-toned Busto 2.0 discreetly into the background
posted by knuckle tattoos at 1:37 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


“the most realistic and expensive spectacle ever produced for the amusement of an American audience.”


It does sound better than any of the Transformer movies.


I was looking in vain for the cost of destroying two locomotives (and presumably, some tracks and nearby terrain) so I could compare it in budget and fleeting entertainment value to a modern blockbuster. I would have gone more in a Snyder direction myself, but yours works.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:52 PM on July 28


opportunities for mass enjoyment were few and far between, which gave railway agent William Crush an idea: smashing two trains together purely for public spectacle.


Thinking on this, I'm realizing that the only difference between Mr. Crush (there's a super-villain name) and my sons is:
-the size of the trains available to play with;
-the notion of destruction for public spectacle and profit, as opposed to destruction for its own sake.
posted by nubs at 1:52 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


“To me, I think it’s just incredible,” Derbes says. “This sort of thing could be staged in modern day and still be as interesting..."

This sort of thing is staged today all over America. It's called a monster truck and tractor pull!

AT THE THUNDER DOMEDOMEDOMEDOMEDOME
posted by klanawa at 2:04 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


This is the original Oregon Whale.
posted by rhizome at 2:08 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


It's called a monster truck and tractor pull!

Around this part of the country we have combine demolition derbies.
posted by hippybear at 2:12 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I'm realizing that the only difference between Mr. Crush (there's a super-villain name) and my sons is:
-the notion of destruction for public spectacle and profit, as opposed to destruction for its own sake.


But are they so different? Imagine your sons trying to convince you to do something like this.

"It could be a community thing! We could make some money! Pleeeeease, Dad?"
posted by straight at 2:52 PM on July 28


But are they so different? Imagine your sons trying to convince you to do something like this.

"It could be a community thing! We could make some money! Pleeeeease, Dad?"


Not yet. Give them a couple more years, and they'll have it.
posted by nubs at 2:56 PM on July 28


"It could be a community thing! We could make some money! Pleeeeease, Dad?"

Indiegogo-crash-boom...
posted by Pinback at 3:13 PM on July 28


This sort of thing, called a "cornfield meet", wasn't that unusual. Many old locomotives were disposed of this way.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:33 PM on July 28


Old timey machinery appeals to me, except for the idea of a steam boiler... I want that all NEW and hydro-statically tested, and certified by a competent safety inspector, and a certified operator who knows what they are doing.

The amount of power stored in compressed gasses is insanely large... in this case steam, but also in compressed air tanks in the garage environment.... they usually have rust on the bottom from water condensation over time.... Old American iron is usually the best machinery on the planet... but not old tanks.
posted by MikeWarot at 8:08 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Nubs! Record the model train crashes in high speed for slow mo on phones and stick them on Youtube - there's your public spectacle and profit right there!
posted by quinndexter at 8:14 PM on July 28


@Naberius: One of the few times my having a train otaku father has paid off.

(Plus, check out Taj Mahal ... )
posted by oheso at 2:20 PM on July 30


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