Deadly 1945 train crash in N.D. to be rememberedMICHIGAN, N.D. (AP) — A northeastern North Dakota town is planning to dedicate a memorial this summer to the victims of one of the state’s deadliest train accidents in its history.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
MICHIGAN, N.D. (AP) — A northeastern North Dakota town is planning to dedicate a memorial this summer to the victims of one of the state’s deadliest train accidents in its history.
Residents of Michigan, the site of what became known as the Michigan Train Crash of 1945, plan to commemorate the event and dedicate the granite memorial in Veterans Memorial Park on July 21, the Grand Forks Herald reported Sunday.
The Aug. 9 crash happened when one Great Northern Railway train stopped for repairs in Michigan and another train ran into it. The crash killed 34 people, including 19 soldiers returning from World War II action. More than 300 people were injured. The story made the front page of the New York Times, but it quickly faded from the headlines because it happened the same day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Japan.
Marian Pederson, who was 20 at the time and is now 87, was aboard the train, returning home to Brocket, when the crash happened.
“We sat on the grass alongside the tracks and watched all those terrible things, carrying dead bodies out, and many of them were servicemen,” she said. “It was so sad. I’ve told the story so many times, but it’s still hard to describe.
“I’ll remember it as long as I live,” Miller said.
Some history of the accident has been preserved in the old Michigan train depot, which is now at Stump Lake Park Pioneer Village south of Lakota. The depot contains railroad artifacts, pictures and a printed history of the 1945 crash, but it is open to the public only on a part-time basis, mostly between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“We realized that there really wasn’t anything in Michigan dedicated to the accident and the people who died,” said Maria Vasichek, one of the memorial organizers. “We wanted something that people could see in Michigan.”