Thursday, July 09, 2015

B&LE 864's career suddenly ended in September, 1974

Received the following via email from our correspondent in NW Pennsylvania. 

SD38AC #864 ended its B&LE career just south of Furnace Road in Conneaut, at about MP 135.8 on the Hogback in September of 1974, when it became a 'bumping post' that intercepted a cut of runaway coal hoppers that had gotten loose from B Yard in Cranesville. Ironically, she'd just returned to B&LE rails in August, 1974 from her October, 1973 Meharg, PA head-on wreck rebuilding by the Illinois Central Gulf at its Paducah, KY heavy repair shops. The 3-year-old EMD had thus only been back on the property a matter of weeks when the runaway hoppers did her in. NObody was still aboard, when the hoppers 'arrived'.
Kim Piersol recorded this 35mm Kodachrome transparency of her shell and frame resting on wood blocking on June14, 1975 at Industrial Maintenance Services after a drenching rainstorm in Hammond, Indiana, near Chicago:

A half-decade later, the Fireman's door is now missing and the plywood has weathered almost to black in this July 1, 1980 view by Alan Gaines. Weeds almost obscure what appear to be shop trucks. Contrary to the caption, this view was NOT taken anywhere near 'Greenville, PA' (location unknown, but possibly at Paducah, the second time):

On the move, again, aboard a Missourri-Kansas-Texas RR (MKT) flat car, the picked-over carcass is being shipped back down to Paducah Shops. As about the only unblemished, unbent metal on what remains, those two airbox doors below the logos, with the road number freshly painted (after her rebuilding) on them, would have made nice wall relics for the RR museums at Conneaut and Greenville:

The upside-down radiator end section of #864's long hood, plus the dynamic brake blister, loaded on an...Illinois Central flat car #606:

Jim Scott got some dramatic photos at the wreck scene that show the 864 amidst the mountain of spilled coal and smashed hopper car debris shortly afterward. He also got shots several days later after the engine had been shoved to the side of the Right-of-Way - - and she's still got a piece of a hopper car end stuck "in her mouth,"