NEW MARKET, Tenn. - John Coker stares at a thick, black rectangular smudge that runs along a section of the north bank of Lost Creek, a small stream that eventually disappears into a cave system.
The dark vein, about a foot wide and perhaps two feet long, is not a coal seam. Rather, it is the result of years of train debris packed and compressed into the earth when locomotives ran on steam powered by coal furnaces.
"You are standing in the middle of a catastrophe," says Coker, grandson of the man who was an eyewitness to one of the most catastrophic train wrecks in Tennessee history.
Known as the New Market Train Wreck, the accident killed at least 64 people and injured more than 100 others. Continued