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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Close call on a covered wagon!

Date: 12/12/23 18:59
Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: ApproachCircuit

A Santa Fe Hostler working 8th St in Los Angeles told me this story I have never forgotten.
Seems that a 4 unit F3/F7 consist plowed into a Cement Mixer at speed on the Second District.
The impact was so severe that the Cement Mixers Barrel while rotating split open engulfing the
entire consist in Concrete!  But that was not the worst of it.
The force of the concrete snapped open the nose door on the lead unit, filled the entire area and then forced the second
door into the cab atfer proceeding up the short stairway, entered the cab proper and then tore out the electrical
cabinets behind both the hogger and fireman. They were not seriously injured! If you remember the car-body units,
the 3 facing seats were elevated on a post above the floor maybe 20 inches(?). The concrete entered the cab but remained below 
the crew due to the elevated seating and probably spared them from death!
But hitting a fuel tanker semi was almost certain death from fire.
SP Hogger Bob Ward knew personally the crew that died after the S. J. Daylight, behind  steam, hit a tanker between Fresno and Bakersfield.
merry x-mas.

Date: 12/12/23 20:49
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: Drknow

Road graders, loaded dump trucks, and anything with a liquid tank on it are horrible to think about, but a school bus is no.1 what nobody wants to hit.


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Date: 12/12/23 20:52
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: 90mac

Was the Hostler Ray (Not to Scale) Younghans?
REY was one of the nicest people I have ever known.
He used terms like "keen", and "swell" and never forgot a name.
I have fond memories of talking to Ray and Walter Abbenseth over the years.
True Legends.
And BTW, don't forget the Oildale wreck which incinerated ATSF 37 LABC after the SF Chief hit an oil tanker killing 17 .
ATSF rebuilt the 3 F7's, 37L was destroyed, but they were jinxed and had several more terrible wrecks.

Date: 12/12/23 21:57
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: JasonCNW

Glad the Santa Fe crew on the concrete mixer wreck were not seriously hurt. I remember a similar story, this took place in the late 1970's or very early 80's in central Iowa on the Chicago & Northwestern.

A major snowstorn dumped quite a few inches of the white stuff and the railroad sent out some F units light without a snow plow to bust thru some drifts. One snow drift they hit also busted thru the front nose door and bulkhead door ( they open inwards on F units) filling the cab with snow and engulfing the crew.

There was 3 men in the cab engineer and conductor plus the 3rd man was a mechanic out of the diesel shop at Marshalltown. They also wernt to badly injured,the control stand kept most of the snow off the engineer but the mechanic who wasnt wearing gloves and sitting in the middle seat did suffer minor frostbite on his hands,,heres the best part CNW management wanted to disciplin the mechanic for getting frostbite due to not wearing gloves! That issue was quickly thrown out due to the absurdity of it.

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/23 22:00 by JasonCNW.

Date: 12/12/23 22:43
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: dan

the UP 6936 hit the sugar cane truck / mud truck killed the guy in the middle around 2004

UP streamliners hit a few gas tankers north of denver with terrible results

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/23 01:27 by dan.

Date: 12/13/23 00:00
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: Notch7

ApproachCircuit Wrote:
> If you remember the
> car-body units,
> the 3 facing seats were elevated on a post above
> the floor maybe 20 inches(?). 

I well remember that space between the frame floor and the cab floor on F's and E's.  We had an incident one night on Southern Railway No. 5 - the Piedmont, a Washington to Atlanta passenger/pig train.  I was firing, and we just had our regular 4-unit set of FP7's as power - no freight engines on the point that night.  We were slamming through the town of Gaffney SC at full track speed when we heard a loud explosion and the alarm bell ringing.  We immediately thought we had a crankcase explosion, but it turned out to be an airbox explosion - the only one I had in 50 years.  I jumped up and started through the engineroom door behind me., but as I cracked the door - I saw the wall of smoke coming at me.  I ran to the door from the cab into the nose, intent on unbolting and opening the nose door to get fresh air into the cab as we did a heavy service stop.  Not a good idea.  All that smoke forced its way through that space between the two floors under the cab and boiled out into the cab.  The smoke was dense and choking and the engineer and I couldn't see each other.  He leaned out the window for fresh air and kept blowing the endless crossings.  I was out on my sideladder watching the crossings and looking for the next block signal as our heavy mixed train ground finally to a stop.  I jumped down and ran in the ballast rocks to open the side doors to the engine room to let smoke out.  I found the airbox covered wedged into the wall.  Thankfully we had enough battery left on the lead FP7 to make it to the next intermediate terminal/station (Spartanburg SC) with a working headlight and radio.  The shopmen repaired the cover and mounting bars in the station, and we recranked and left under full power.  That lead FP7 (6137) made it to Atlanta under full power with no further trouble.  I was very lucky.  In my years as fireman and engineer on the FP7's on fast trains, often at night, 7 days a week, and sometimes two trips a day - we never hit a vehicle or a trespasser or even had to "shoot 'em' in a near miss.  Other crews weren't that lucky.

Date: 12/14/23 14:08
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: mojo

I looked in the cab on that engine, the snow was level with the bottom of the window on the firemans side.

Date: 12/14/23 15:44
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: RetiredHogger

IIRC, decades ago an IC crew on an E-unit hit a tanker while running on the double track south of Chicago. The truck's cargo came right into the cab as described above, igniting somewhere along the way, and killing the engine crew.

Date: 12/18/23 15:20
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: LocoPilot750

In about 1964, the agent at Pauline called dad about 9:30pm, and asked if he could come out with a torch, and cut off part of the pilot on an F7 that was bent down, rubbing on the rail. It was the lead unit on a westbound passenger train that hit a grain semi at Pauline, that was hauling corn. I went with him of course, and we were home by midnight. It cut the grain trailer in half, and the rear two axles were clear over by the highway. The engine had been set out, and the train was already gone. It was cold, and an eastbound was coming, so the trainmaster had us up in the cab, warming up and staying out of the way. But I remember all the corn that filled the nose, and corn all over the floor of the cab.

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Date: 12/18/23 18:41
Re: Close call on a covered wagon!
Author: johnsweetser

90mac Wrote:

> And BTW, don't forget the Oildale wreck which incinerated ATSF 37 LABC after the SF Chief hit an oil tanker killing 17 .

The location where the San Francisco Chief hit a tanker truck on Mar. 1, 1960 has never considered to be in Oildale.  It happened just west of Bakersfield at the Allen Road crossing (the crossing was incorrectly identified as Rosedale Highway in some issues of The Warbonnet, magazine of the Santa Fe historical society).

There were 14 deaths, not 17.

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