June 2017

Press Release




For Immediate Release: June 6, 2017



Stepping off a ship from their home country 185 years ago this month, 57 Irish rail workers were hoping to find prosperous new lives building the railroad now known as the Main Line.

Instead, within six weeks, all 57 were dead. Their bodies, some shot, others beaten, were thrown into a mass grave and forgotten.

This terrible secret was first made public in 2003 by Drs. William and Frank Watson  who uncovered documents kept secret by railroad officials for more than a century. They then formed a team for what is now known as the "Duffy's Cut Project". The designation “Duffy’s Cut” refers to contractor Philip Duffy who exploited the workers as he drove them to create a “cut” or excavation through a stretch notorious for the most treacherous rock formations on the entire rail route.

After nearly six years of backbreaking work, on March 20, 2009, the searchers located the remains of the first worker. Over the next three years, six more would be found.

Analysis would reveal the seven did not die from cholera but, in fact, were murdered. A skull with a bullet hole and shattered bones were among the evidence leading the team to conclude the workers were, in their words, "slaughtered”.  They believe local vigilantes, in an explosion of anti-immigrant hate, and fueled by fears they were spreading disease, then ambushed, beat, and shot the workers.

So far, two workers have been identified, returned to Ireland, and, at last, laid to rest in their homeland after moving religious ceremonies.

Meanwhile the search now resumes for 50 additional workers, still missing, and believed buried at the site along the Septa-Amtrak Main Line in East Whiteland Township, Chester County.

Hampered by legal and insurance issues involving Amtrak, and very limited funding, the search was virtually stopped for nearly five years following the discovery of the last bodies in 2012.

Now, however, with high tech equipment, the team is launching a new and urgent effort to find the "missing 50."

On Friday, June 9th, a "ground radar" device will be used at the site to search for underground "anomalies" that could target areas where remains may be located. The three dimensional, color-coded "ground radar" readings provide precise targets for the digging and excavating that will follow.

Soon, thanks entirely to the efforts of volunteers, there will also, for the first time, be a sign at the site that provides correct details about the victims.  
Each day, as trains rumble near and perhaps over the bodies of those who built the tracks, riders will be informed and reminded about the workers fate.

Despite the generosity of so many people and countless hours donated by searchers, the Duffy's Cut Project desperately needs financial support to find the remaining 50 workers and to conduct DNA tests to identify the five recovered, yet still nameless victims.

Donations can be made through the Project's "Go Fund Me" page The latest information on the search is always available at our website


Interviews/Site Access for Photographers/Camera Crews:

Please Contact Walt Hunter:
Phone: 844-494-6334