us army railroaders in iran during ww2

A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt


Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:13 am

I'm going to move/cross-post this to Short Lines and Industrial/Military for a little more visibility, and it may fit there better. I'll leave a shadow here in Worldwide. In the meanwhile, here's a quote from the article, and thank you for posting this fascinating piece of history!

ON A CHILLY AFTERNOON in late 1943, a U.S. Army train was chugging north between Arak and Qom, Iran. The trip had departed Khorramshahr, on the Persian Gulf. At Tehran, Red Army railroaders would take over, shepherding train and cargo into the U.S.S.R. to supply the fight against the Germans. For the delivery crew—an engineman, a fireman, and a conductor, all GIs, plus an Iranian brakeman—operations like this usually were milk runs.

But not today.

Today’s 1,000-ton load was 10 tankers of volatile aviation fuel, plus 11 boxcars packed with ammunition and high explosive. And the big steam locomotive’s throttle was jammed wide open.

The train had just summited the towering Zagros Mountains at a point nearly 200 miles north of the Gulf when the throttle valve sheared. The locomotive’s power plant was revving at peak output as the train started a 2,500-foot descent that would last 42 miles—if it stayed on the tracks. Engineman Virgil E. Oakes hit the air brakes, but only four cars had them; of the rest, few had working brakes. Oakes tried reversing the drivers. No go. The train obeyed the laws of physics, quickly accelerating to 65 miles an hour. Like the rest of the crew, the fireman—Corporal Harry Slick, 23, a Pennsylvanian with a passing resemblance to actor Robert Taylor—was clinging for dear life.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator
Jeff Smith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7404
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby David Benton » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:21 am

I wonder why no one thought to put it in reverse at the beginning?
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7809
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby philipmartin » Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:19 pm

That's certaily a good railroad story. To bad the engineer who joined the birds broke his head. I guess he didn't want to be around a crackup of all the aviation gas cars and munition cars. Too bad there were only four cars with power brakes on a train like that.
Here's a link to a Wiki article "Trans-Iranian Railway." The section on Engineering and geological challenges describes unusual conditions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Iranian_Railway.

Top photo: picturesque railway bridge at Do Ab, Mazanderan Province on the Gorgan — Bandar Shah line.
Middle: 1000 hp Alco GE road switcher pulling a train of tank cars. Not the world's most powerful locomotive.
Bottom: supposedly an American locomotive with its number written on the smokebox in chalk or paint.
Attachments
Mazandaran_Sevatcow_Dowab.jpg
Supply_train_through_the_Persian_Corridor.jpg
Supply_train_through_the_Persian_Corridor.jpg (20.1 KiB) Viewed 2467 times
Somewhere_in_Iran._An_American_engine_transporting_allied_aid_for_Russia,_stopping_at_a_station_rimmed_by_mountains.jpeg
User avatar
philipmartin
 
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:42 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby philipmartin » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:09 am

David Benton wrote:I wonder why no one thought to put it in reverse at the beginning?

They did, David, but it didn't do any good. I wonder if they used sand?
User avatar
philipmartin
 
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:42 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:49 pm

it seems weird the original article is saying Iran as it did not exist till early 1980's, the country was known as Persia
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer
User avatar
DutchRailnut
 
Posts: 21176
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby philipmartin » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:16 pm

philipmartin wrote:
David Benton wrote:I wonder why no one thought to put it in reverse at the beginning?

Throttle stuck open? Why not drop the fire? (Although putting that fire under the cars of aviation fuel and munitions might have been problematic.)
User avatar
philipmartin
 
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:42 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby Rbts Stn » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:23 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:it seems weird the original article is saying Iran as it did not exist till early 1980's, the country was known as Persia


Pretty sure it's been Iran a whole lot longer than the 1980s, Heck the hostage crisis started in 1979 and it was definitely Iran then. Check to see when the Shah took power, I think he changed the name
User avatar
Rbts Stn
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:09 pm
Location: waiting for an "A" train to Watertown

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby David Benton » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:29 pm

Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7809
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: us army railroaders in iran during ww2

Postby Vellian722 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:38 am

Here some information on operations in Iranin WW2. I have more in a book at I can share later.
http://militaryrailwayservice.blogspot.com/2013/02/view-730th-railway-operating-battalion.html
User avatar
Vellian722
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:40 pm


Return to General Discussion: Short Lines, Industrials, and Military

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests