Not Tracking Well Today


Catch That Train!

The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.

- Gilbert K Chesterton

A train in the street - Gare Montparnasse, Paris 22 October 1895

The Granville-Paris Express engine 120-721 failed to stop at the Gare Montparnasse platform (originally station Gare de l’Ouest, visible on the building above) and overran the buffer stop.  The engine careened across 100 feet of station concourse, crashed through a 2-foot wall, sped across the terrace and on outside, dropping onto the Place de Rennes 10 metres below, standing nose down.  All on board lived though 5 were injured: two passengers, the fireman and two crewmembers.  Unfortunately, a woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry.  The accident was caused by speeding drivers trying to make up for lost time and by a faulty brake.  The conductor was fined 25 francs; the engine driver received a 50-franc fine and was sentenced to 2 months in prison.

Source: Bibliotheque Nationale; photograph by Kuhn

What do you suppose this artist is commemorating?

I Think I Missed My Stop...

25 January 1948 - The combined Santa Fe Super Chief/El Capitan arrived on time, shortly before 9:00am.
For reasons never explained, the engineer on locomotive 19L, preparing to move ahead
then back onto the centre "release track" to head for Redondo Roundhouse, released his brake cutoff valve ...
and lost ALL his braking ability.  He plowed through the bumper, across the service drive, up the curb,
across the sidewalk and through the foot-thick retaining wall, coming to rest when his locomotive bottomed-out,
20 feet above Aliso Street.  It turned out to be Engineer Fred Hurst's last run on the Santa Fe.
He was relieved of duty and never returned to work.


I am grateful to Dan Tillmanns ( for bringing the above site to my attention.  Dan actually saw this mishap as a young adult.  He said:

"Mom and I were heading to an uncle's for a family gathering.  When we drove past, here was this locomotive hanging on the wall.  Traffic was flowing normally.  It must have just happened because the police closed the street as soon as they arrived.  My cousins had to detour.

"Mom was really happy when the next Life Magazine came out with a big picture of it..."

This Engine Is Not Trained

This picture was taken in Santa Monica about 1895 from the top of the Arcadia Hotel.  There wasn't anything much between Los Angeles and Santa Monica, so the engineer went for a record speed run.  Unfortunately when the train arrived the engineer did not set the brakes soon enough.  The engine overshot the end of the track and wound up on the lawn of the Arcadia.

It appears that the whistle was being blown to vent excess steam.  The normal vents of a locomotive are down low in the front and would have scalded that crowd.  The car partly hidden by the Ocean Ave bridge is on the track which went to the once famous Long Wharf. That was a couple of miles up the coast (see the photo at the bottom of the page).

Source: Dan Tillmanns.  See above.

Trains Playing Chicken

The Longest Wharf in the World

The Long Wharf in Santa Monica.  The building out at the end was a coal bunker which held 800 tons of coal.  The Long Wharf was 4700 feet long.

When I was a kid, that rock abutment was still there but now there is nothing left at all.

Source: Dan Tillmanns.  See above


An unusual optical illusion...

At first glance it appears the B26 is in big trouble with a smoking engine.  Actually, it's flying low directly over a freight train that is puffing the smoke.

Source: (where Alf is thanked for this photo)

For photos of the earth and moon, stained glass, sunsets on Wellington Harbour, Lady Fair, Civic Square, the old mill, the Whippany River, historical houses, Lake Parsippany and more click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index page for this Photographs section.

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