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Steam & Excursion > April 27, 1953


Date: 01/10/20 06:28
April 27, 1953
Author: apollo17

On April 27, 1953, UP Big Boy 4005 was involved in an accident that killed the head end crew, save for Brakeman James R. Anderton who died later from second and third degree burns over 80% of his body. He lived long enough to give investigators detailed information on what happened in the final minutes leading up to the wreck. After the investigation was over the ICC concluded it was Kenneth M. Mayfield Foreman and Ralph Vicenty section worker that were responsible for the accident. According to the story listed on The Forney Museum of Transportation, both blamed the each other and there were considerable differences in their stories. Vicenty had been working with the UP for only an hour and twenty minutes when the wreck happened.  

James Dover who related his first hand experience of the wreck site told of another story that happened a few days later when he was back at the dispatchers office in Rawlins I believe. He was told that the engine that had been involved in the wreck was being brought back in that night. Sometime later in the night or in the early hours of the morning he said he could hear the groaning and wrenching of metal somwehere in the darkness as 4005 was being brought in. It was an eerie and haunting sound and then it appeared under a flood light in the yard as it slowly moved past him under tow. The cab was completely destroyed. He said it was like seeing a ghost watching it pass by.  This is the part of the story that stood out the most to me . I could only imagine what that must have been like to have been there that night and see a  Big Boy limping back in almost completely destroyed. It had to be an experience I'm sure he still vividly recalled decades later.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 06:28 by apollo17.



Date: 01/10/20 06:36
Re: April 27, 1953
Author: Cumbresfan

As they say, what is the rest of the story? Details on what happened - head on collision? Derailing? Was the engine rebuilt or scrapped?



Date: 01/10/20 07:08
Re: April 27, 1953
Author: Southern-Pacific-fan

Cumbresfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As they say, what is the rest of the story?
> Details on what happened - head on collision?
> Derailing? Was the engine rebuilt or scrapped?

https://www.forneymuseum.org/News_BigBoyWreck.html



Date: 01/10/20 07:14
Re: April 27, 1953
Author: Bob3985

4005 was rebuilt and today rests at the Forney Museum in Denver Colorado. In fact it was the 4005 that was used to experiment with as an oil fired 4000 class locomotive.
But it was converted back to burning coal, probably due to the fact that coal was cheaper (UP had their own mines). Also there were some thoughts that the burner in that larger firebox heated unevenly and led to higher maintenance costs replacing broken stay bolts but that may not be the reason that they converted the locomtive back to coal.
4014 recently seemed to have fired just fine with its oil conversion.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 07:15 by Bob3985.



Date: 01/10/20 07:25
Re: April 27, 1953
Author: Cumbresfan

Southern-Pacific-fan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cumbresfan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > As they say, what is the rest of the story?
> > Details on what happened - head on collision?
> > Derailing? Was the engine rebuilt or scrapped?
>
> https://www.forneymuseum.org/News_BigBoyWreck.html

THAT is the rest of the story - Thank you!



Date: 01/11/20 11:54
Re: April 27, 1953
Author: Mike4960

It turns out that there is an ironic twist to this event. I searched for the accident in newpapers published on the following day (4/28/1953) and found this interesting AP story which was used by dozens of newspapers across the country. The gist of it is that the 4005 accident which blocked the UP double track main line caused the San Fransisco Overland Limited to be rerouted south to Denver where it struck a gasoline truck that same day. So two accidents, not one. As Paul Harvey used to say, "and now you know the rest of the story".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/20 12:01 by Mike4960.




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