Rediscovering the original old Route 23 in Russell. The great flood of ’55 wiped out the bottom of the big hill of Route 23. Even earlier, before Route 20 was a State Higway and was located lower down by the Westfield River, Route 23 was a main route that winded its way up to Blandford, the major connection to Blandford and Otis. Hurricane Diane dropped over 15 inches of rain swelling Potash Brook to whitewater rapids down the mountainside.
Probably the worst accident related to this storm occurred when a passenger train, headed to Boston from Western Massachusetts, hit a washed out section of tracks in Woronoco. Approximately 30 people were injured, and two diesel engines, along with several passenger cars toppled down a steep embankment into the Westfield River.