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Riverdale Park train tracts Blundons Crossing

Riverdale Park train tracts Blundons Crossing

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  • Date Posted: Apr 30, 2014
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  • Address: Riverdale Park, MD, USA


The train track that runs through Riverdale Park is the most haunted location in town. There have been numerous fatalities on that track throughout the history of this town.

Just up the tracks towards Hyattsville, the trains come around a bend toward the at-grade crossing in Riverdale Park- that’s the most haunted spot.

People crossing these tracks claim to become disoriented, especially at night.

At one time, there were two switching houses along that stretch of track because it was considered so dangerous. The fatalities in the early days included children, horse drawn wagons hit by the approaching trains, as well as derailments. The psyche of the town has been transformed by tragic events involving train deaths and injuries.

Joseph Blundon, one of the founders of the Riverdale Park Company, devoted his life to Riverdale Park, lived in a lovely three-story Queen Anne-style mansion at the corner of Oglethorpe Street and Lafayette Avenue.

Blundon was the long time head of the civic association and intrinsically involved in the politics of Prince George’s County.

The Blundon family shared their palacial summer home in Riverdale Park with their relatives, the Browns. Both families had young sons and these two boys along with a local neighbor, Charles Lynch would embark on Huckleberry Finn-type adventures during the long summer.

The Blundon house was located just across the street from the B&O Railroad and trolley car tracks. The boys spent their days, playing on the railroad tracks, because that was a common place for them to play and the only place for them to play.

One hazy summer evening in 1895 the boys set out for an adventure to Hyattsville. Their intention was to buy some pigeons for a project they were working on. They crossed the tracks near the infamous bend, just across the street from the Blundons and Browns summer house, and soon lost track of time.

It was after 8:30 p.m. the boys realized they had been out a little too long. They attempted to return crossing the railroad tracks at the bend, near Oliver Street and Lafayette Avenue.

It’s always been said there is something strange about the acoustics on those tracks and it’s difficult to tell what direction the trains are coming from.

The three young boys were used to being on or near the tracks when trains came roaring by. This night as they sat on the northbound tracks as the No. 9 express train was headed south to Hyattsville. The sound of the that train masked the oncoming north bound Philadelphia Express that would have normally already have gone by but this night it was 15 minutes late.

The three were apparently unaware of the approaching train which swiftly took their young lives.

Newspaper accounts at the time described the grizzly scene in detail.

On Sunday morning, a laborer walking the track to work found the boys bodies on the tracks near their favorite crossing. The pigeons they purchased the night before were found dead on the tracks, their feathers ruffled by the rain that had fallen overnight.

Mr. Blundon never recovered from this tragic event. He continued to manage the Riverdale Park Company, but his health went into a decline.

One summer’s night he set out early in the evening crossing the tracks near his summer home. His family became alarmed when he did not return after midnight.

His son-in-law, Claude Warren, set out to search for him. As night wore on to day, he discovered Joseph Blundon’s coat near the spot the three boys had met their fate.

Not far from that he found the body of his mentor and wife’s father, mangled beyond recognition.

Authorities determined Joseph Blundon was struck by an 8:45 PM train heading into Hyattsville, the same train that had distracted his son and companions 14 years earlier. The authorities stated that due to his failing health, poor eyesight and bad hearing he became disoriented on the track and stepped into the path of the oncoming train.

Was it his failing health or perhaps he was mesmerized by a glimpse of three young shadows crossing just ahead of him, he reached out, and stumbled in the path of an approaching fate.

Claude Warren went on to become manger of the Riverdale Park company and latter Mayor of Riverdale Park for a decade. His wife was a longtime eductor at Riverdale Elementary school. Together they devoted time and effort to helping the youth of our town.

There are many accounts of fatalities near this crossing which has become known as Blundon’s Crossing. Is it the light of the moon, a wisp of fog or something far beyond our understanding?

For those of you who think it would be quite impossible to not detect a train in such close proximity, be warned, don’t ever try to cross the track at night at this location for something may catch your eye or ear and draw your attention away from an approaching train and you to will become a victim of Blundon’s Crossing.

http://riverdalepark.patch.com/articles/the-tale-of-blundons-crossing

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