Submitted by scott on

July 15, 1895: After a two hour lay over in Buffalo Twain's party proceeded to Cleveland, Ohio. The railway was either the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad, which went into bankruptcy in 1893, or the reorganized Erie Railroad that emerged in 1895. They arrived that afternoon and Twain went straight to bed at the Stillman.

This railway is the result of consolidations of several smaller railways that have gone broke and or been taken over. One of the first in this region is the Franklin Canal Company. Chartered in 1844 the Franklin Canal Company built the original line from Erie, Pennsylvania to the Pennsylvania/Ohio state border.

The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Train No. 5, The Pacific Express, left Erie, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of December 29, 1876 in deep snow. Two locomotives, "Socrates" and "Columbia", were hauling 11 railcars, including two express cars, two baggage cars, one smoking car, three coaches, and three sleeping cars that carried 159 passengers.

At about 7:30 pm the train was crossing over the Ashtabula River about 1,000 feet (300 m) from the railroad station at Ashtabula, Ohio when the bridge gave way beneath it.

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