The Blaauwkrantz Bridge disaster occurred on 22 April 1911. A mixed train, the “11:10” from Port Alfred travelling to Grahamstown, made up of six goods trucks, three passenger carriages and a guard’s van, came to grief when one of the goods trucks derailed on the Blaauwkrantz Bridge over the Blaauwkrantz Pass and, with the three carriages and the guard’s van, plunged into the ravine 61 meters below. Of the 55 passengers, 28 were killed and 22 seriously injured.
About 200 meters before reaching the bridge a goods truck left the rails. Near the center of the bridge the truck, which was carrying stone to build the Grahamstown Cathedral, turned over and broke the necks of the buffers which detached it from the front of the train. The sudden impact of the rear coaches against the overturned truck caused them to topple over the side of the bridge and turn somersault before being dashed to pieces on the rocks below. The passengers included farmers, farm workers, holidaymakers and commercial travelers on their way to a stock-fair day in Grahamstown.
The locomotive had made it to the other side of the bridge without damage, and so the engine driver raced to Grahamstown to get help.
Bev Young wrote an excellent piece on the disaster on the Heritage Portal website.