Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by shlustig
Located on the Columbus division between "BURT" Galion and Bellefontaine. Double-track with ABS Rules. Night time with rain.)

EXTRA 2840 WEST (Train SLX-1A with 2 units, 97 cars + caboose) was moving at about 40 mph when an end door on the 64th head car swung open and fouled the adjacent main track.

EXTRA 3171 EAST (Train MC-6 with 2 units, 78 cars + caboose) was moving at about 45 mph, passed the head end of the westbound, and the units were struck by the open end door killing the head brakeman who was in the second unit.

12 cars in SLX and 20 cars in MC derailed.

Investigation revealed that the end door mechanism on the NP boxcar had been partially torched off on the B&M RR before the car was interchanged to the PC. However, the end door locking assembly was seen to be defective on the PC at 3 different terminals including at its dispatchment from Selkirk. However, the accident report by the FRA noted that neither the PC nor the AAR had any specific procedure for dealing with this type of defect.

Also of interest was the fact that the NP car had been dispatched as a load on Feb. 18th from Arlington, WA and was 2 months into its roundtrip trek.
  by Roscoe P. Coaltrain
Regarding the 2 month trip cycle time, in those days lumber was one of those commodities that was often shipped before a final buyer was found, and ultimately sold by a broker to a final buyer while enroute. Subsequently, the cars usually took a slow ride across the country. A lot of that slow moving lumber in search of a buyer during its trek east is what kept the Chief Wawatam car ferry operation in business between Mackinac City and St Ignace, MI. The route was circuitous and water-going on purpose.
  by ExCon90
The lumber tariffs provided for "open routing"; i.e., a the shipper could choose any combination of railroads he wanted, as long as they had established interchanges at the points specified. When I worked as a trace clerk we jokingly referred to those routings as "seasoning in transit." I once traced a car that looped back over itself crossing the country from the West Coast; of course as soon as the shipper found a buyer he lodged a diversion order with whatever railroad had the car at the time for movement directly to the new destination as fast as possible.