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CSXT Arlington Wreck The Historical Marker Database Sinkhole de Mayo Memphis Johnston Yard Photos from # 59

JUNE 2008

Memphis Chapter Officers President – David Chase

Vice President – Bruce Smedley National Director – Bill Strong

Secretary – Oliver Doughtie

Treasurer – Thomas Doherty

Librarian – Mike Pendergrass Publication Editor – Tom Parker

Last Month’s Meeting We had fifteen attendees at the May meeting. Dave Chase brought the meeting to order and discussed the potential closing of the White Station Library, per the proposed budget cuts by the City of Memphis. If anyone has an idea of a ontingency location if the library is in fact closed, please let Dave know. Also, Dave received an email from the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke, Virginia, informing him that the museum is in severe financial trouble. He will keep us updated on his conversations with the museum and any developments. May’s presentation was by Joe Moran, who worked as a boiler inspector for Hartford Steam Boiler Company. Naturally, the presentation was about steam boilers, their history and a question and answer session regarding his experiences with steam boilers. The earliest steam boilers developed in the 1800s maintained pressure of around 30lbs. Over time, the pressure increased with technology and at their peak, the highest pressure boilers maintained pressure of approximately 300 lbs. Around 1925, superheated steam became the standard among steam boilers and interestingly enough, the last set of standards for a riveted boiler were released in 1971. During the question and answer session, Joe was asked about any boiler explosions around the Memphis area. According to his recollection, he was not aware of any boiler explosions in the Memphis area. The closest one to us was a stationary boiler explosion at an ammonia plant in Blytheville, Arkansas. In this accident, the cylinder head was launched approximately 400 yards into an adjoining field and the shock wave from the explosion crushed all the windshields in the parking lot of the facility.

June Meeting Members of the Memphis Railfans Yahoo Group are familiar with the name Alton Lanier. Mr. Lanier is also an accomplished photographer and will present a slide show of his pictures at the June meeting. He presented the program a couple of years ago and got rave reviews. BUFF ONLINE: User Name:Member Password: Buff (Capital “M” & “B”) Cover Photo: A sight not to be seen for several months, Amtrak's #59 “City of New Orleans” climbs the Beale Street hill in downtown Memphis as it emerges from the morning mist in this undated Tom Parker photo.

CSXT Derailment at Arlington Tennessee Compiled from various news sources Photos by Kenneth Young

Close up of the lead unit. Note the corn syrup dripping off the plow.

Things are normal today on the CSXT's Memphis Subdivision. That was not the case a month or so ago when a westbound CSXT automobile train with two engines and 26 cars collided with a tanker truck carrying liquid sugar at about 3:30 PM on Friday, April 25th. The truck driver had ignored the flashing crossing signals

This was the trailing unit (EMD SD40-2). It DID roll over on it's side

on Jetway Road in an industrial area of Arlington, TN. The impact caused the train to leave the mainline and follow a rail siding just beyond the road crossing. The lead engine , a Dash 8-40CW, derailed but remained upright. The trailing unit, a SD40-2, turned over in the curve and ended up on its side with about six auto rack piled up behind it. A total of 10 cars ended up on their sides while 16 remained upright. Two CSXT employees in the lead unit were slightly injured and were treated and released from the hospital while the injuries of the two riding in the second engine which overturned were a little more serious and they were required to stay overnight at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The employees in the lead engine were 39 year old Brian Thompson and 61 year old Allen Frazier. Thompson was on his last run as a student before qualifing as an engineer and Frazier was slated to retire within a few days. The employees in the trailing unit were 35 year old Daniel Allen and 41 year old James Ralls.

A few of the derailed auto racks The truck driver, 33 year old Marlin Liggins, was uninjured as his cab had cleared the crossing at the time of the impact. He was charges with disregarding a railroad signal.

The auto racks were loaded with pickup trucks from the Nissan assembly plant at Smyrna, TN. Most of the trucks were a total loss. All the trucks were being returned to Smyrna where they will be destroyed.

The Historical Marker Database outdoors, must be permanent, and must state at least one historical or scientific fact beyond names and dates. A commemorative plaque that says “John Smith 1580-1631” does not qualify for inclusion, but “ John Smith 1580-1631 lived here” would qualify.Full instructions are on the website.

Casey Jones Historical Marker at Front Street and Poplar Avenue

I discovered the Historical Marker Database while looking for railroad related material on the internet. I noticed that there weren't any railroad related markers posted from anywhere in the Mid-South area. I had made a picture of the Casey Jones marker at the corner of Front and Poplar so it wasn't any big deal to post it on the site. You can find my post at:

I've added a few more markers on the data base, but they're not railroad related. Right now, the only railroad marker listed in Tennessee, Arkansas or Mississippi is the Casey Jones marker.

If you don't want to bother with posting them yourself, I know there are a lot of you can e-mail me the markers in and around picture along with the partMemphis, many of them rail iculars such as location, etc., related. If you have pictures and I'll do the rest. of some of them or you Tom Parker know where some are located you might want to Two other interesting sites add them to the website that I have found are: which is located at: Abandoned Rail.Com and . Abandonded RailThe basic rule for a marker They feature being included in the pictures of abandoned database is as follows: Rights-of-Way, depots, rail equipment, etc. The marker must be er.asp?marker=6862

Sinkhole de Mayo by Tom Parker

The first hint I had that something was amiss was when my wife and I stopped by Central Station the afternoon on April 22nd to pick up tickets for our

strung across the tracks. Some of the hats and vehicles bore CN logos. I assumed there was some sort of track problem and didn't give it another thought.

which was constructed in 1897. It was about fifty feet below ground and estimates of six week to six months were given for the repair to be completed.

It was only the next afternoon that I found out about the sinkhole. I read a message from the CN Dispatcher's office posted on the “City of New Orleans” Yahoo Group. that stated the “City” was being detoured via the “LA Belt”, due to a sinkhole south of Central Station, leaving the normal route at Woodstock, TN and rejoining it at the west end of Johnston Yard in South Memphis. The detour

Plan A Amtrak's initial plan was to handle the trains in a “pushpull” mode between Woodstock and Central Station. Amtrak P42Genesis locomotive numbers 96 & 196 were dispateched to Woodstock on April 21st to handle the operation. The locos were coupled to the rear of the trains when they arrived and were used to either pull the northbound train to Central Station or pull the southbound train back to Woodstock. Plan B

Top: The Hole – Early On Bottom: Crew digging up the pipe. The portion of track which runs along the top of the concrete retaining wall has been removed.

upcoming trip to Seattle. As we were leaving the parking lot, I noticed several vechicles and a number of people wearing hard hats congregated at the south end of the station property. Yellow “crime scene” tape had been

City of New Orleans Detour Purple – Detour Blue- Closed Route Green – Normal Route

was expected to last “for the next several days”. Investigation revealed that the sinkhole was caused by the collapse of an old storm drain

“Plan A”did not prove to be a satisfactory solution as the trains were excessively delayed, so on April 24th “Plan B” was initiated. Busses were used to pick up passengers at Central Station at the usual train departure time and take them to either Woodstock, TN or Lakeview, MS to meet their respective northbound or southbound train. Passenger destined to Memphis would be carried to the station on the returning busses. The Answer

Finally, someone came up with an answer so simple I'm sure Amtrak wondered why they hadn't thought of it sooner.

#59 goes under Jackson Avenue on the LA Belt - Kenneth Young photo Boarding the bus at Central Station -Tom Parker photo

On May 5th, Amtrak began meeting both trains at the intersection of Rivergate and Riverport Roads where the new Johnston Yard bypass track meets the Y&MV. The east side of Rivergate road is Amtrak's new temporary open air station. Amtrak has even given it a station code, MEJ.

#59 heading Southbound along Scott Street. Summer Ave viaduct is in the background - Kenneth Young Photo

passengers. It then backs up

and switches over to the new Johnston Yard bypass and then heads north on the LA belt line. Times have been adjusted changed somewhat to accommodate this new arrangement.

Boarding the train at MEJ -Bill Strong Photo

Southbound train #59 backs a few hundred yards north on the Y&MV to the grade level crossing. Northbound # 58 runs directly up the Y&MV, stopping to load and unload

#59 approaching Southern Ave underpass. Hollywood Street is just around the curve. K. Young photo

For southbound # 59 passengers depart Central Station by bus at 6:30am. The train then departs MEJ at 7:25am. For northbound # 58 passengers depart Central Station by bus at 9:15pm. The train then departs MEJ at 9:55pm.

The City of New Orleans detour afforded a unique photo-op of the new Johnston Yard. I shot these the morning of May 23rd from the train.

The new track from E Yard passes through the Seawall....

.... as the tracks are taken up.

...... as the tracks are being removed.

..... and goes over Nonconnah Creek on a new bridge.

A Yard sits empty and forlorn......

A couple of box cars go over the hump....

..... and a tank car rolls to a gentle stop in the new yard Tom Parker photos


In my day we had a Caboose Track . Today we have a End of Train Device Rack. (Williston ND) Tom Parker photo. Meeting Schedule June 9, 2008 July 14, 2008 August 11,2008 September 8, 2008 October 13, 2008 November 10, 2008 December 8, 2008 Meetings are the 2nd Monday of each month in the White Station Branch Library from 7-9 pm. 5094 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN (in front of Clark Tower)

Contact the Editor Tom Parker 3012 Wood Thrush Drive Memphis, TN 38134

THE MEMPHIS BUFF welcomes contributions for publication. Copyrighted materials must contain the source. Original documents and photos are preferred for clarity. Enclose a SASE for the return of your materials. Articles sent via the Internet should be in Microsoft Word format. Photos should be JPEG files @ 72 dpi and at least 800x600 size. Consideration for a cover photo would require a much higher resolution. THE MEMPHIS BUFF is a not-for-profit publication for the Memphis Chapter of the NRHS. All credited photos herein are copyright by the photographer and may not be reused without permission.

June 2008 Memphis Buff  

Sinkhole de Mayo Sinkhole de Mayo Memphis Memphis Johnston Yard Photos from # 59 Johnston Yard Photos from # 59 CSXT Arlington Wreck CSXT Ar...

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