City of Alamo honors the 34 who died in 1940 train accident

Local News

The train-truck collision occurred on March 14, 1940, killing 34 people.

February 07 2021 06:00 pm

Alamo residents gathered to honor the 34 people who died in a train accident 77 years ago on Tuesday morning. 

On March 14, 1940, an oncoming train collided with a truck carrying more than 40 agricultural workers, killing 34 people ranging in ages from ten to 48.

The collision at the railroad crossing on Tower Road in Alamo resulted in the most deaths on a Texas highway in the 20th century. 

81-year-old Sixto Villarreal remembers the accident that killed four of his father’s cousins.

“There was a rosary and mass every Saturday,” said Villarreal. “It was very hard, and for those who died, poor them.” 

Former mayor, Rudy Villarreal, was six years old when the train accident occurred. He says he remembers trying to leave school and head towards the wreckage, but his teacher didn’t allow him to. He says many across the Valley responded to help.

“After that, a lot of the truckers had to buy vans to transport their workers to the fields, and they didn’t want that to happen again,” Villarreal said.

Alamo Police Chief Arturo Espinosa says in spite of the tragedy, renewed attention was brought to safety around railroad crossings, and the transportation of agricultural workers.

“Because of this accident there was a lot of things that were initiated,” Espinosa said. “New laws were made, new procedures to transport people.” 

Espinosa tells CBS 4 News that the city of Alamo will continue to honor the memory of those killed in the tragic accident at the same site every year. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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