April 19, 1940 – Little Falls, New York, United States: The westbound New York Central Railroad’s Lake Shore Limited, running fifteen minutes late in rainy conditions, fails to reduce speed to 45 miles per hour at Gulf Curve near Little Falls, sharpest on the NY Central System, and at 59 mph the locomotive derails, crosses two tracks and strikes a rock wall whereupon it explodes and nine cars pile up behind it. At least 30 known dead, including the engineer, and 100 injured in the this accident.
No. 19, a first-class west-bound passenger train, with Conductor Grattan and Engineman Earl in charge, and with Road Foreman of Engines Bayreuther also on the engine, consisted of engine 5315, of the 4-6-4 type, one express car, one baggage car, two coaches, four Pullman sleeping cars, one dining car, five Pullman sleeping cars, and one coach, in the order named; all cars were of steel construction. This train departed from Albany, 73.49 miles east of Little Falls, at 10:09 p.m., according to the train sheet, 21 minutes late, passed Fonda, the last place where time is shown 30.17 miles east of Little Falls, at 11:07 p.m., 23 minutes late, passed St. Johnsville, 9.73 miles east of Little Falls, at 11:25 p.m., and while moving at a speed of 59 miles per hour, as indicated by the speed-recorder tape with which engine 5315 was equipped, be-came derailed on Gulf Curve.