It was a wet, chilly September night like any other—until a freight train hauling carloads of chocolate skipped a slippery railroad track, went airborne, and showered its goods upon a gleeful New York state town. It sounds like delicious myth, but it’s all true.
I learned about the 1955 wreck in an a recent article from the Utica Observer-Dispatch. The Observer-Dispatch reports that the crash took place in Hamilton, New York, after a freight train engineer saw that someone had mistakenly thrown a railroad switch to send the train off the main track onto side rails. The engineer braked quickly, but he was driving the train around 40 mph and the tracks were wet and covered with fallen leaves. The train reportedly skidded off of the track, crashed through a shed, went fully airborne, and plummeted to the ground—along with two carloads of Nestle chocolate chips, Quik bars, and Crunch bars.
Per the Observer-Dispatch, townspeople flocked to snap up the train’s spilled goods. “They say people did not have to buy much chocolate for Halloween that year,” one local told the newspaper. Fortunately, there were no major injuries and no arrests made. Chocolate was eaten, the train’s conductor was saved, and good times were had by all (except for the doofus who accidentally flipped the wrong railroad switch).
The event remains a quirky local tale, which the residents of Hamilton celebrate today with an annual Great Chocolate “Wrecktoberfest.” Per the Observer-Dispatch, Hamilton’s Good Nature Farm Brewery hosts the event, which falls on September 11 and 12 this year. The Oktoberfest-style celebration includes a German-themed menu, chocolate and beer flights, live music, tours of the crash site, and the annual release of the brewery’s imperial chocolate stout, aptly named “The Great Chocolate Wreck.” A splendid occasion, indeed. Any of our readers planning on making the trek to Wrecktoberfest?