Missouri’s worst train wreck may be visible 160 years later

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GASCONADE, MO (KPLR) - A railroad bridge collapsed beneath a train in Gasconade County 160 years ago. The wreck on November 1, 1855, was the worst in Missouri history. When the Gasconade River is low, something is unveiled on the river bank. In fact, you can walk right up to it. One local outdoorsman believes it`s part of that train.

The town of Gasconade, Missouri, is marked by the river and the railroad. For decades trains have been passing through, crossing the railroad bridge.

"If you look behind me right over here you can see the boiler sticking on the bank. And if that's the boiler for the train that wrecked, then that boiler has been there since 1855," said Kevin Kennedy. "Well, what we're looking at is the boiler; the rest of the train is gone."

Kennedy believes the boiler is from a train engine that crashed into the river, along with several passenger cars. The railroad bridge collapsed 160 years ago; 20 people died and dozens were injured.

Gasconade RiverThe Museum of Transportation in St. Louis County has trains from this era. For the record -- the round, cylindrical thing on top of the engine is what is known as a boiler. That is what's stuck in the mud at the bottom of that river.

But one FOX 2 viewer says this boiler is too small to be from the train engine that crashed into the Gasconade. That person believes while it's a boiler, it's from a boat. Kennedy says he's heard other possibilities.

"There's a theory that it was on a tug, but I've only heard that from three people compared to I don't know how many," said Kevin Kennedy.

Gasconade will continue to be a town with train traffic. This fossil, from a mystery transportation dinosaur, will continue to mark the passing of time in centuries.