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SECRETS OF THE DEAD: Death On The Railroad

Airs Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Re-enactment: Railroad contractor Philip Duffy selects workers in Phili Port.

Credit: Courtesy of Tile Films

Above: Re-enactment: Railroad contractor Philip Duffy selects workers in Phili Port.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Tile Films

Archaeologist Sam Cox removing skull.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Tile Films

Skull with possible bullet wound.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Tile Films

Burial ceremony at Duffy’s Cut with Watson brothers.

Part detective story, part true-life drama, SECRETS OF THE DEAD explores some of the most iconic moments in history to debunk myths and shed new light on past events. Using the latest investigative techniques, forensic science and historical examination to unearth new evidence, the series shatters accepted wisdom, challenges prevailing ideas, overturns existing hypotheses, spotlights forgotten mysteries and ultimately rewrites history.

"Death On The Railroad" is a classic story involving foul play, cover ups, a murder mystery and a voyage of discovery explains what happened to a group of Irish men who immigrated to America.

In 1832, railroad contractor Philip Duffy hired 57 Irish immigrants to lay railroad tracks in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Less than two months after their arrival, all 57 were dead. Did they all die—as was widely believed—from cholera? Or were some murdered?

In 2003, twin brothers who discovered a secret file among their grandfather’s papers investigated the deaths of these men and found the location of their final resting place.

Using the latest forensic and scientific investigative techniques, DNA, forensic analysis, facial reconstruction and historical detective work in Ireland and the U.S., modern detectives and experts unravel this extraordinary story.

This episode originally aired in 2013.

SECRETS OF THE DEAD is on Facebook. Past episodes and video clips from this series are available for online viewing.

Death on the Railroad - Preview

Less than two months after 57 Irish immigrants were hired to lay railroad track in Pennsylvania in 1832, all were dead. Were they victims of a cholera epidemic or something much darker?

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