March 04, 2015

Do NOT Mess With Granny...

...she will not hesitate to make your world a nightmare.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:37 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 15 words, total size 1 kb.

1 So many questions...

Posted by: GreyDuck at March 05, 2015 10:41 AM (AQ0bN)

2 I'm with you. How did that engine derail? Why didn't the company come in and save it? Even if it was going out of business, that engine is valuable and could have been sold, unless there's something wrong with it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 05, 2015 11:41 PM (+rSRq)

3 Don't worry everyone!  I've fixed it!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 05, 2015 11:54 PM (2yngH)

4 Pixy apparently followed the same search path that I did!  Minneapolis & St Louis 407 was a F7A built by EMD in November of 1949. 

The accident took place in December of 1960, outside of Oskaloosa, IA.  The woman in the pic is the wife of the train's engineer; he's probably the person who took the photograph.  I can't find any details on what the wreck was.  Did the broken ties cause the derailment, or did they get that way when the train fell down?  Did it hit something?

It is a puzzlement.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 06, 2015 12:03 AM (jGQR+)


It  sure looks like the track burned. Whether that was sabotage before the wreck, or consequent damage after it, we obviously can't tell.

But if it was operating at yard speed, then hitting a section of track that was ruined wouldn't cause a catastrophe after a derail.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 06, 2015 01:23 AM (+rSRq)

6 The Internet says the old railroad merged with the "Chicago & North Western" in November of 1960, if that helps, so technically it wouldn't be a Minneapolis & St Louis train wreck.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at March 06, 2015 08:31 PM (ZJVQ5)

7 I don't know much about trains but take a question I can't answer as a personal challenge, so here are some details on how I couldn't answer it.

Hofsommer's The Tootin' Louie makes no mention of sabotage and only one incidental mention of locomotive 407, but the pages available for preview on Google Books paint a grim picture of the year 1960.  In the context of a national recession, the year saw  the end of the railroad's dying passenger service, then, in November, finalization of a takeover by the Chicago & North Western, which in both layoffs of redundant employees and managerial attitude did nothing to help M&STL morale to say the least.  This doesn't answer the question, except inasmuch as it fails to rule-in sabotage, but is tangent to a few points below. 

I'd have to see a bigger, higher-resolution picture to guess whether the ties look burnt or just like creosote-impregnated wood (old wood -- I'm guessing that a modest-sized railroad in financial difficulty got their money's worth out of the  infrastructure).      Some of the rail seems... messy and blackened with something, but the ground doesn't look burned or heavily spilled upon either, to me.    The loco doesn't look burned at all, nor heavily damaged. 

I'm not sure what that is in the background -- some kind of work car?

Anyway, it doesn't look like a very high-speed wreck, certainly, and it wasn't a big enough detail to be worth a mention in the book.   

After all that, my Google-fu and amateur-NTSB ESP unequal to the task, I must say I have no idea of what caused this,  unless Granny took that pickaxe lying at her feet and  knocked it sideways off the tracks... or perhaps  glowered at it in such disappointment at its behavior that it just jumped. 

So then what happened?  Nothing especially notable, I guess, just the  last years of a small ordinary locomotive that'd had its unexpected moment of fame.  This page makes me think it was bought in 1949 and retired --  traded in to EMD,  apparently -- in 1963.  (Not to be mistaken for a different F7A of similar vintage, original to C&NW and also designated 407, which served   RTA  until 1983, if I interpret this page correctly.)  

By implication they must've repaired the track and retrieved it. 

Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at March 06, 2015 09:31 PM (470Py)

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