1962 PRR grade crossing collision

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1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby BR&P » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:18 pm

Who KNOWS what interesting things reside in boxes in the basement? :P Found the following clipping and thought I'd share it here. It's from the Rochester D&C of January 25, 1962, which would make the crash January 24th.

FWIW, the engineer, the last I knew, is still alive. In talking to him some years back, he said he was quite young at the time, and the railroad official who spoke to the news made his age quite a bit higher, just so it did not seem like he was too young to be running.

Not sure why a truck headed from Michigan to Connecticut was traveling down Ballantyne Road, but apparently that's the case.

The rail line in the story is now a hiking trail so you are free to visit the scene and picture in your mind what used to be.

img594.jpg
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby D Alex » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:26 pm

As a former truck driver myself, I think he may've been avoiding thruway tolls, although I suspect there was another reason why he was on what you could best describe as a 'secondary road'. Knowing truck drivers, there could be an unscrupulous reason or 2..., although it might've just been a shortcut from 104 or 31 to the old truckstop down at the Regional Market.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby BR&P » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:54 pm

D Alex wrote: Knowing truck drivers, there could be an unscrupulous reason or 2..., although it might've just been a shortcut from 104 or 31 to the old truckstop down at the Regional Market.


Yup, sailors were not the only ones to have "a girl in every port" but I suppose there are many other options as you point out. It's also possible that while most of his cargo was going to CT as reported, perhaps he had a portion which had to be delivered here in route.

Since that was 56 years ago and the driver was 44 then, it's safe to say we probably won't get an answer from him! :wink:
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby C2629 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:15 pm

Who knows what really happened or where the truck was coming from or going to. Lets just say that over the years the D+C reporters have made at least one or two errors when reporting things railroad related.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby jr » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:13 am

Mr. Husted was a 1955 hire at Olean. Assuming he was 18 at that time, he would have been about 25, at the time of the accident (and about 80 now).

I've had correspondence with him, as recently as September. A great source of information on rail operations in WNY, especially Olean.

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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby nydepot » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:04 am

Says he was 42 in article.

jr wrote:Mr. Husted was a 1955 hire at Olean. Assuming he was 18 at that time, he would have been about 25, at the time of the accident (and about 80 now).

I've had correspondence with him, as recently as September. A great source of information on rail operations in WNY, especially Olean.

JR
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby BR&P » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:02 pm

nydepot wrote:Says he was 42 in article.


That is explained in OP.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby FarmallBob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:06 pm

It's surprising there weren't more incidents at this crossing. AFIK its only protection was a pair of crossbucks - no automatic lights, etc. Vehicle traffic on Ballantyne Rd was of course was much less than today. But surrounding woods and underbrush afforded virtually no sight distance for road traffic using the crossing.

Incidentally the only automatic grade crossing protection along the PRR branch in Monroe County was at the foot of the hill on Scottsville-West Henrietta Rd in Scottsville. And in the final few years of RR operation, these lights were frequently OOS.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby MACTRAXX » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:05 pm

D Alex wrote:As a former truck driver myself, I think he may've been avoiding thruway tolls, although I suspect there was another reason why he was on what you could best describe as a 'secondary road'. Knowing truck drivers, there could be an unscrupulous reason or 2..., although it might've just been a shortcut from 104 or 31 to the old truckstop down at the Regional Market.


BR&P and D A:
Interesting find and post concerning an incident occurring almost 56 years ago...
I pulled out a 2009 MapWorks map of Rochester (they have good detail including railroads) out of
my collection to see where this grade crossing collision was - NYS 252 is Ballantyne Road at what
is now titled the "Genesee Valley Greenway" - was that the former PRR right of way which is to as
noted west of Scottsville Road/NYS 383?

The speculation about the trucker got me to thinking about why he was passing through Monroe Co.
going between Michigan and Connecticut: First-Where in Michigan was he coming from?
Depending on what part it may have made sense to drive across Ontario going via Niagara Falls on
US 104 east or on the Thruway via Buffalo - US and Canada Customs were probably easier to deal
with back then - or he went via Lake Erie's south shore on routes such as the Ohio Turnpike...

Keep in mind the NYS Thruway made sense since back then I-80 did not extend all the way across
PA unbroken in 1962. Using the PA Turnpike would have lead too far south and next dealing with
getting through the even then congested north NJ/NYC area to reach his CT destination.
It would have been interesting to have noted where in MI and CT that he was going between...

Second-The trucker was using more then likely maps or atlases available back then - no such thing
as GPS as we know - and may have just been looking for a rest stop or hotel in the area but then
found himself getting into this unfortunate accident at an unsignalled grade crossing...

An interesting website about NY State Routes to add to this topic: http://www.newyorkroutes.net
See NYS 252 and 383 in the Genesee Junction area; US 104 (became NYS 104 in 1972)

Three-How big was PRR's presence in the Rochester area back then knowing that the NYC was by far
the dominant railroad in Rochester? What if any ROC yard/facility did the PRR have on its own?
(hopefully not going too far off topic if it is OK)

Good to know that the PRR train crew made it through this incident without anyone hurt and the
trucker's injuries were not serious.

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EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby BR&P » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:41 pm

I would guess the PRR had the smallest volume of the 5 railroads serving Rochester, altho actual numbers - if they could be found - might prove me wrong. Their yard was on Scottsville Road just south of the canal, where the police and fire administration and academy is now.

As for the trucker, the most expedient route would have been the Thruway, altho the tolls no doubt drove some to alternate routes. That crossing does not seem to be on a logical route for either bypassing the Thruway, nor for getting off it and trying to find lodging or a truckstop. But as C2629 notes above, the news media have never had a reputation for accurate reporting in many cases.

Anybody recall a PRR derailment somewhere in that general area perhaps a year or two earlier, which jackknifed some RS1's and IIRC resulted in the engineer losing his foot?
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby C2629 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:15 am

I remember seeing the picture of that wreck with the RS1s. The engineer decided to bail out since the lead unit was heading down the embankment toward the water, and RS1s didnt float very well.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby FarmallBob » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:27 pm

BR&P wrote:I would guess the PRR had the smallest volume of the 5 railroads serving Rochester, altho actual numbers - if they could be found - might prove me wrong.

My personal observation supports your claim, at least as it relates to the PRR and B&O.

I grew up near the PRR tracks in Scottsville. In its final several years of operation PRR movements were infrequent; maybe 5 a week. Also trains were short - a pair of RS-1 locomotives, a dozen or so cars and a caboose, all creeping along at 15 mph.

On the opposite side of the village the B&O ran 2 or 3 trains daily. Each was maybe 40 or so cars with an A-B-B-A lashup of F units. These trains "blasted" through town at a breath-taking 30 mph(!)

Fond memories....
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby nydepot » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:12 pm

PRR freight share was about 8% in the last 20 years.

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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby BR&P » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:23 pm

FarmallBob, by 1965 or so RS3's had replaced the RS1's locally. But you are correct, the PRR was not jumping. From what I can tell, they still had cabooses assigned to a given crew and not pooled, and there were always 2 cabooses in Rochester, at least whenever I went there. If memory is correct without digging out slides, they were 477310 and 477688. In time they did get replaced with others but overall there was no change - thus suggesting only two crews on the line. I suppose it is possible those cabs were kept here as dorm facilities for the crews but I don't recall seeing any other activity.

The B&O by the way would have had 2,3 or even more a day in each direction when things were jumping at the docks.
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Re: 1962 PRR grade crossing collision

Postby RailKevin » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:03 pm

No one has asked the most obvious question--why wasn't the sand on a train instead of a truck? That whole mess could have been avoided! :-)
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