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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory


Date: 01/06/21 12:42
Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: spider1319

The memorial seen below is on the old South Track now Number Three Track between Summit and Cajon on the BNSF Cajon Subdivision.The crosses memorialize Gilbert Ortiz and Kevin Williams, killed on what would be later called Cajon ll.Both Ortiz and Williams jumped from their out of control train while Engineer Foster stayed on board.Foster lived ,but retired from engine service.I was on duty at the San Bernardino yard office when the runaway occurred and the beginning of the radio transmissions of the event.I left the room unable to listen to the calls of desperations being broadcast on the radio.Both Conductor Ortiz and Brakeman Williams had stellar reputations and were great to work with. The old South track is  mostly 3% with some exceptions but definately more challenging than the 2.2% North Track or the now tracks one and two.Bill Webb  



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/21 12:49 by spider1319.




Date: 01/06/21 19:48
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: cewherry

I can relate to your loss, having also lost acquaintances in rail disasters. 
When did this "Cajon II" occur? Maybe there's a DOT/FRA report available.

Charlie



Date: 01/06/21 23:13
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: ShoreLineRoute




Date: 01/07/21 06:17
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: 3rdswitch

.   .   .   Nice catch. Cajon I was a few years earlier when a Santa Fe stack train ran away around the same spot running into the rear of a UP coal train stopped only a mile or so ahead, or to the right, of this shot. All crew members survived that one after jumping. Gill Ortiz was a Marine veteran and actually survived his jump but unfortunately succumbing to chemical vapors released during the pileup. IF I remember correctly, Mr Williams was a fairly new hire and was a football star from either USC or UCLA? Yes, mountain railroading is a bit more challenging than the flat lands of the mid west, but all aspects of railroading has it's dangers.
JB



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/21 06:21 by 3rdswitch.



Date: 01/07/21 08:17
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: trainjunkie

I've been up and down Cajon Pass hundreds of times, both in the old two-track days, and now in it's present form. Every few days I pass by that memorial and it always makes me think about a couple things.

First, to this day I lament the loss of cabooses and all the jobs that went with them. A rear crew could have saved those men that fateful day. 

Second, it still pisses me off that two men perished and one had his career cut short because of the hasty deployment of the poorly thought-out technology that ultimately lead to this disaster. I frequently cite this accident in my rants about how the railroads are quick to deploy poorly vetted technology in order to reduce jobs, which is exactly what they did with ETDs, which lead to this tragedy.

You can read all about it in the accident report linked to above.

It seems that the carriers learned nothing from this and their obsession of employing unvetted technology to eliminate labor marches relentlessly on. In the mean time people will die as they "work the bugs out".

Rest In Peace brothers.



Date: 01/07/21 08:54
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: spider1319

Kevin Williams played a while for the Denver Broncos,so in addition to being a good railroader he was fun to talk to about the NFL and some of the football personalities.Bill Webb



Date: 01/07/21 18:28
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: 567Chant

That trackside memorial is thought-provoking.
Somewhat akin to the 'white bicycle' memorials.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_bike
...Lorenzo



Date: 01/07/21 20:59
Re: Sad Reminder to the Danger of Heavy Mountain Grade Territory
Author: bradleymckay

spider1319 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Kevin Williams played a while for the Denver
> Broncos,so in addition to being a good railroader
> he was fun to talk to about the NFL and some of
> the football personalities.Bill Webb

Kevin Williams played college football at USC as a wide receiver in the late '70's.

Allen

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/21 21:00 by bradleymckay.



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