1. 1943: New high speed train derailed on way to New York
It was on this date in 1943 that the new high speed train, known as the Congressional Limited, derailed and caused 79 deaths and over 100 injuries. The train was designed to carry passengers all over the northeast at an estimated 65mph, a speed normally unheard of at that time. According to reports, so many people turned up for a ride from Washington to New York that it was decided an additional car would be added. They didn’t have another car designed for the high speed Congressional Limited, so apparently they used a dining car off an old train. Just as the train was leaving the scheduled stop in Philadelphia, the old car began having problems. The axles were not intended to travel at those speeds at all, let alone over that distance. They started burning up and spitting sparks everywhere. Just two miles later, as the train was passing Frankford Junction, the car derailed after the axle fell off. To make matters worse, the train happened to be passing a steel structure known as a signal gantry and, because they were still traveling at high speeds, the old dining car was sliced in half. The impact ended up ripping seven more cars off the tracks, causing a major pile up. When investigations into the crash took place, rather than placing blame on the decision to add the old dining car it, was instead the location of the signal gantry.
2. 1997: More than 2.5 billion tune in to watch memorial service for Princess Diana
When Princess Diana was fatally injured in a car accident on August 31st, 1997, a shock of grief spread around the world. She was one of the most iconic figures in pop culture and the cameras couldn’t get enough of her. According to some people, it was the media’s love for her that would lead to her demise. A week later her memorial service was held on this date in London where thousands of people lined the streets. They were there to pay their respects as they watched her coffin transported along Hyde Park in route to Westminster Abbey where the official ceremony was held. There was more than 2,000 people in attendance, including both celebrities and politicians. According to reports, an estimated 2.5 billion people tuned in making it one of the most watched events in history.
3. 1995: Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record
It was May 30th, 1982, that Cal Ripken Jr. started his streak of consecutive games played that would last over 17 seasons. At the time, Lou Gehrig held the record for most consecutive games played with 2,130. It would only take Ripken roughly 13 and a half seasons before breaking that record on this date in 1995. In attendance that night was President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, Ripken’s entire family, and even baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. To make things even sweeter, Ripken cranked a homerun in the fourth inning of the game. The Orioles went on to win the game 4-2. He would eventually voluntarily remove himself from a game on September 19th, 1998 against the New York Yankees, which ended his streak of 2,632 consecutive games, a record not likely to ever be broken.