Editor’s Note: This timeline is not all-inclusive. Selected rail incidents with at least 200 fatalities are listed, plus US incidents.
Here’s some background information about major rail accidents since 1900.
Notable International Rail Accidents
January 1915 - Guadalajara, Mexico: More than 600 people die when a train derails into a ravine during a steep descent.
May 22, 1915 - Gretna, Scotland: The United Kingdom’s worst rail disaster occurs when three trains collide at Quintinshill, resulting in 227 deaths, many of whom were soldiers of the Royal Scots.
June 1915 - Montemorelos, Mexico: A military train derails into a canyon, killing more than 300.
December 12, 1917 - Modane, France: 427 people die when a train carrying more than 1,000 soldiers derails in the French Alps.
January 16, 1944 - León Province, Spain: A train wrecks in the Torro tunnel, killing more than 500 people.
March 2, 1944 - Near Salerno, Italy: At least 521 people die from carbon monoxide fumes when a train stalls in a tunnel.
October 22, 1949 - Poland: More than 200 are killed when the Danzig-Warsaw express derails.
April 3, 1955 - Guadalajara, Mexico: About 300 die when a night express train derails into a canyon.
September 29, 1957 - Montgomery, western Pakistan: 250 die when a passenger train collides with a cargo train.
February 1, 1970 - Buenos Aires, Argentina: The worst train disaster in Argentina’s history occurs when an express train crashes into a standing commuter train, killing 236.
October 6, 1972 - Saltillo, Mexico: 208 people die after a train traveling at excessive speed derails and catches fire.
June 6, 1981 - Bihar, India: India’s worst rail accident to date occurs during inclement weather when a train derails and plunges into a river in the state of Bihar, killing 800 and injuring more than 100.
January 13, 1985 - Near the town of Awash, Ethiopia: The government says that 392 people died when a passenger train derailed while crossing a bridge over a ravine.
June 4, 1989 - Ural Mountains, Soviet Union: 575 people die when a gas pipeline leaks, causing two passenger trains to explode.
January 4, 1990 - Sindh province, Pakistan: More than 210 people are killed after the Zakaria Bahauddin Express passenger train crashes into a stationary freight train.
September 22, 1994 - Tolunda, Angola: 300 die after malfunctioning brakes cause a train to derail and fall into a ravine.
August 20, 1995 - Firozabad, India: 358 are killed after an express train collides with another train that had stalled after striking a cow.
October 28, 1995 - Baku, Azerbaijan: A subway fire kills about 300 passengers and injures more than 200.
August 2, 1999 - India: Brahmaputra Mail train en route to New Delhi slams into the idle Awadh-Assam Express at Gaisal Station in West Bengal, killing 285 and injuring more than 300.
June 24, 2002 - Tanzania: A runaway passenger train collides with a freight train and then derails, resulting in 281 deaths.
February 18, 2004 - Near the town of Neyshabur, Iran: A runaway 51-car chemical train derails and explodes, causing at least 320 deaths and hundreds of injuries to residents in the area.
December 26, 2004 - Sri Lanka: Between 1,500 to 1,700 passengers aboard the Samudradevi, or Queen of the Sea, train, are believed dead when the tsunami sweeps their train off the tracks.
Notable US Rail Accidents
July 9, 1918 - Nashville, Tennessee: Considered the worst rail disaster in US history, two passenger trains collide on Dutchman’s Curve, resulting in 101 deaths.
November 1, 1918 - Brooklyn, New York: At least 90 are killed when a Brighton Beach Train of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company derails inside the Malbone Street tunnel.