More than 30 people were killed when an 11-car Pere Marquette train slammed into a seven-car freight train in Northville Township shortly after 9 a.m. Most of the approximately 650 people aboard the Pere Marquette were railroad employees who had set out from Ionia that morning for a company-organized day-trip to Belle Isle in Detroit.
The other train, which was hauling gravel, was heading west from Plymouth when they collided at 9:12 a.m. near the northeast corner of 5 Mile and Napier, according to Gilbert Terry of the Salem Area Historical Society.
Neither train was speeding. The problem was the freight train conductor misread the confusing schedule and thought he had until 9:25 a.m. to clear the tracks.
Source : “More than 30 people killed in Michigan’s deadliest train crash in 1907”, Detroit Free Press, July 17, 2011.