Beware the number thirteen – at least when it comes to the trains running near Spuyten Duyvil station in the NYC borough of the Bronx. The number thirteen seems to vex this particular station and the notoriously sharp curve located nearby. On a cold January day in 1882, Friday the 13th to be exact, an express train carrying thirteen cars was traveling down the tracks when their brakes failed. Conductors were, fortunately, able to bring the train to a stop. However another local train, running thirteen minutes behind the first, was unaware of the stalled out locomotive and barreled into the express resulting in a catastrophic fire killing at least a dozen people. Passengers who escaped rolled giant snowballs in hopes of extinguishing the flames. Another interesting thirteen reference in relation to the Spuyten Duyvil station: On the morning of December 1, 2013 (12/1/13 12+1=13), a bit more than 130 years after the previous disaster, a Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line passenger train derailed near that same station killing four and injuring more than 100 people. Oh, and in case you were wondering Spuyten Duyvil literally translates to “Spouting Devil” in Dutch.


A Frightful Crash. January 14, 1882. The Sun. New York, New York.

Bodies Burned to a Crisp. January 18, 1882. Lancaster Intelligencer. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Greene, Leonard. Spuyten Duyvil curve has a deadly history. December 1, 2013. The New York Post. New York, New York.

The New York Truth. January 15, 1882. New York, New York.

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