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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Tower Tuesday Part 2


Date: 05/31/22 12:09
Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: Zephyr

SP's Burbank Jct. tower once stood tall, governing movements in both directions using the Coast Line or the Valley/Saugus Line.  On one unforgettable December moning in 1966, Burbank Jct. started to change.  The "SMV" (Santa Maria Valley or better known as the "Smokey" by us SP railroaders) perishable train, handling all the perishable loads originating on the Coast Line between San Luis Obispo and Oxnard, derailed at speed coming off the curve entering the interlocking limits of the tower.  This derailment wiped out the old interlocking consisting of pipes and levers, but, thankfully, the tower escaped most of the damage.  The tower remained in service but the interlocking plant was modernized with electrical contacts and circuits which made the tower levers much easier to push and pull.

The Record book contained the tower operator's remarks on that fateful morning.

Photo 1:  The "book" containing much history of what went on at Burbank Jct.
Photo 2:  December 15, 1966 notation of SMV derailment
Photo 3:  The scene at Burbank Jct. after the derailment  (this might be a Doc Jones photo as we have overlapping pictures of this timeframe)

More next week!








Date: 05/31/22 18:06
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: OliveHeights

This was the same day Walt Disney died in Burbank. The LA Times had a headline announcing Walt's passing with a picture of the SP derailment under the headline. 



Date: 06/01/22 03:23
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

The famous Joe Niemeier salad. I worked with Joe several times over the years and he stated he was doing 40 mph..the speed limit. He claimed that a piggyback came loose from a hitch on a flat car caused the derailment. The rest of the world figured it was excessive speed that caused the pig to become unhitched.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/22 15:34 by SanJoaquinEngr.



Date: 06/01/22 10:55
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: wabash2800

"OPR Martin suffered head lacerations"???

Victor B/.



Date: 06/01/22 12:33
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: PHall

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "OPR Martin suffered head lacerations"???
>
> Victor B/.

According to the article he wrote for the SP Trainline a couple of years ago, yes.



Date: 06/01/22 18:35
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: ExSPCondr

Supposedly an ice bunker hatch off of an ice reefer flew off and hit the corner of the tower and injured the operator.  The top landing of the wooden stairway was the only damage to the tower itself.
G



Date: 06/03/22 07:16
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: monaddave

Looks like an SP lettered LCL truck on the overpass?
Dave in MT



Date: 06/03/22 09:08
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: King_Coal

The "Record" book seems to be an interesting document. Items that couldn't be placed on the normal train sheet?



Date: 06/03/22 10:54
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: PHall

monaddave Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like an SP lettered LCL truck on the
> overpass?
> Dave in MT

Yep, very common in the LA Basin at that time. 



Date: 06/03/22 13:33
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: WAF

King_Coal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The "Record" book seems to be an interesting
> document. Items that couldn't be placed on the
> normal train sheet?
Tower had a daily OS sheet



Date: 06/03/22 16:46
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: Zephyr

WAF, you are correct in that the tower had a daily "OS" record, broken down by an eastward column and westward column.  On the SPRR these were an 8.5 by 11 pre formatted page with no space for unusual or notable events.  In the case of Burbank Jct. the tower operators started the "Book" where such events could be recorded and preserved for historical reference, details of which were sometimes used in future investigations and/or defense of tower operator actions.  Some events were purposefully never recorded in the "Book" thereby preserving the "team spirit" discussed above.



Date: 06/03/22 22:01
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: 567Chant

I was among the contingent of students from nearby Burbank High School that observed the salvage operations from atop the Burbank Blvd bridge during our lunch break.
...Lorenzo



Date: 06/03/22 23:43
Re: Tower Tuesday Part 2
Author: TAW

Zephyr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF, you are correct in that the tower had a daily
> "OS" record, broken down by an eastward column and
> westward column.  On the SPRR these were an 8.5
> by 11 pre formatted page with no space for unusual
> or notable events.  In the case of Burbank Jct.
> the tower operators started the "Book" where such
> events could be recorded and preserved for
> historical reference, details of which were
> sometimes used in future investigations and/or
> defense of tower operator actions.  Some events
> were purposefully never recorded in the "Book"
> thereby preserving the "team spirit" discussed
> above.

Many towers I worked had such a book. I also had my own personal book and train record, some of which has been posted ehere. I broke in at a tower with a guy who kept his own. He was blamed for a train delay he didn't cause. At the investigation, the official tower record for that day seemed to be missing. He had written up the whole incident on the sheet. It was the only one missing from the records. He started keeping his own records. Thereafter, I did too. 55 years later, it's fun to look back at them, but it's not what they were for.

TAW



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