The goal to premiere a documentary film on the Ashtabula Train Disaster in November will not be met as the coronavirus pandemic has put the film on hold.

Len Brown is directing the piece on the tragedy that claimed dozens of lives Dec. 29, 1876.

"The pandemic has definitely caused a delay. We are definitely shut down," Brown said.

He said discussions have started with film organizations regarding when filming can continue in a safe manner. A safety consultant could be  on site when filming continues.

Brown said the film was supposed to be completed this winter but a realistic completion date is unknown.

Many area residents have been extras in the film with many filming sites complete. "

It is kind of a shame as we are 85 percent completed," Brown said. 

In February 2019, the Jefferson Depot was the site of an evening filming and the Strasburg Railroad, in Pennsylvania, was the last site where filming took place, Brown said.

"We still have the Pymatuning Valley Dam, Center Village in Burton, Williamsfield Community Center and Ohio Village in Columbus," Brown said. 

He said he has been working on the project for nine years.

Brown visited Ashtabula earlier this year and so many people tried to attend the event people were turned away.

The tragedy occurred on Dec. 29, 1876, as a bridge over the Ashtabula River collapsed killing dozens and injuring many more.

A memorial to those killed is along Main Avenue near Ashtabula County Medical Center, on a path to the site where the crash occurred and in the cemetery. Brown said the train disaster was a catalyst for railroad regulation in the late 1800s and early 1900s causing safety procedures to be put in place after 92 people perished and more than 60 injured.

Area leaders have also credited an area response to the disaster with the eventual construction of Ashtabula Hospital which eventually became Ashtabula County Medical Center.

 

 

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