Birmingham, AL Cahaba River Bridge Train Wreck, Dec 1896


1896 Cahaba River train wreck (Blocton, Al)

My wife's grandfather who lived at Coalena, Al told the story of the train wreck. He said as children they went swimming in the Cahaba, and parts of the engine were still in the river bed. A friend of mine, Ken, and my son, Michael, went to see if we could find the wreck site. We found where the old Southern track crossed the road leaving Blocton and followed the old tracks through the woods. At times it was difficult because of strip mining in that area, but we were successful. To my surprise the old bridge was still there. There was no sign of wreckage in the river. I did, however, make some pictures which I will make available.
I looked up the area on maps and found the site. It did not show the bridge, but there were the two 110 ft. rock pillars located on each side of the river bank. Apparently the metal was salvaged from the bridge. I would love to post the pictures on google map so that others will be able to know about the history of what happened in December 1896, but I do not know how to post to maps.
I hope this information is helpful.

Cahaba River Train Wreck

Amazing. I have been reading about this wreck for a couple of years and wanting to get down to the river. I have seen the rock pillars in pictures and on Google Maps. I'm disaapointed that you found no remants of the wreck. I was told by Charles Allen, author of a book on West Blocton, that wreckage was still in the river until WWII when they were desparate for steel. I would love to see your pictures. I have been down the old RR bed a couple of times; I got blocked by overflowing creek last time. Where was Coalena?

Cahaba river 1896 train

I'd really love to se that. We swim at the abandoned Cahaba River trestle near Leeds where a coal train wrecked in 1908. There were 2 old bridges there and I'd love to find some history on them. The Jeff. Co. Historical Assc. is having a speaker on your bridge Jan 9th.369-7406 dave and julie

Cahaba River train wreck

Dear Sir. Do you have any pictures of the wreck that you could e-mail me. Me and my best friend used to fish that area. When we were fishing there in the mid 70's there was a railroad trestle across the river. We camped just below it and fished there many times. Of cocurse I am not sure we are talking about the same bridge. I have pictures of the trestle I could e-mail you.
Thanks so much.

Jerry Coshatt
Woodstock, Ga

Cahaba Bridge at Leeds

It was a Central of Georgia bridge. They are both gone and abandoned except for the trestles. The oldest is stone (1887) and the concrete was a replacement bridge about 1925 I'm guessing. I'd love to see pics! I go there about twice a week. 205 702-5038 These briges are in Leeds about 1 mile from the Bass Pro shop off I-20.

Cahaba River Train Wreck

I just found you comments on my article about the Cahaba River Train Wreck, Bllocton, Al.
I have no way of attaching the pictures in this response. If you would like to email me I will be glad to send them to you.
Sam Fitts

Email photos

I would greatly appreciate them. Were you a pilot at the 117 trw in Bham?

Cahaba River trestle

I am sorry I just saw your reply and I hope you are still available. I would like very much to share the pictures I made at the Cahaba River trestle. Just send an email and I will reply.
Sam Fitts

1896 wreck

It was good to find this page. I have a friend, Jackie Wright, that first told me about the wreck. His family was on the train, and all died except his grandfather, who was around five years old. The srory was that he was found sitting on a rock in the river when rescuers arrived the next morning.
We used to frequent the bridge in the 80s and would walk out onto the span. I went several years without visiting the bridge, but when I did in the late 90s, I was shocked to see the bridge gone, with only the stone pylons remaining. I still wonder when, and WHY, the effort was made to remove the bridge in such a remote location.

I grew up riding mountain

I grew up riding mountain bikes along the dirt roads that lead out to the trestle and have been on a decent amount of the rail bed leading up to the trestle. Last time I was out at the site someone previously had tied a rope to a mangled train rail and tried to pull it up the bank with their truck. Luckily they failed and the rail (40ft long) is laying on the bank, not sure how old it would have to be. As of 2017 the road leading out to the trestle is easily passable with a suv or 2wd truck.