Early wreck on Atlanta &West Point RR

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Can any one give me any ideas on how or where I can research a 1912/1913 wreck of a Atlanta & West Point train (probally a freight)? The crew would have been based out of Calera, Ala. At least one member of the crew (the engineer) was killed.

-- Donald Rosborg (drosb@prodigy.net), September 18, 1999


On February 28, 1912, Train 37 of the West Point Route (Western of Alabama in this case)derailed at Milstead, AL, killing engineer A. J. Smedley and injuring two others. It was caused by vandals tampering with a switch.

WofA Pacific 150, a baggage-RPO, and the club car left the rails, "practically destroying the club car", according to Charles Wickersham, President of the A&WP and WofA.

Hope this helps.

Bob Hanson

-- Robert H. Hanson (RHanson669@aol.com), September 20, 1999.

I was going to suggest using Interstate Commerce Commission accident reports as source, but I reviewed their investigations between April 29, 1911 and Feb. 26, 1929 and found no incidents on the A&WP or the Western Railway of Alabama (the Alabama extension of the A&WP if you will). This is NOT to say there was no accident, only that the ICC didn't investigate. Montgomery and Opelika were on the WofA. I believe A&WP and WofA pooled motive power and they may have had a labor agreement allowing pool crews as well.

Don't overlook the L&N however. Calera was an "L&N town" and it's quite possible your relative took his engine running talents to another road because of lay-offs, etc. ICC investigated a derailment at Hays Mills, Ala on 10/01/12 and one at Cunningham, Ala. on 10/12/12. I'll try to get info. on these two wrecks on my next trip to D.O.T. library in D.C. (probably in October).

-- Harry Bundy (y6b@aol.com), September 20, 1999.

Harry, Thanks for the reply. Let me give a little more background on this matter. The engineer that was killed was my grandfather Walter Griswold. My mother was only about 4 at the time and did not remember any of the details including the date. What made me think he was out of Calera was that the 1910 census shows the family living there and his occupation as rr engineer. I have a collection of yellow onion skin telegraphic train orders from late 1911 hand written on A & WP forms. These have been passed down from my mother and all show him as engineer. They show destinations in Ga but many of them are for towms in Ala (Opelika, Montgomery, etc.). Thanks again for the reply.

-- Donal Rosborg (drosb@prodigy.net), September 19, 1999.

Is it possible that the incident involved a Louisville & Nashville train instead of an A&WP train ? I don't believe A&WP operated west of West Point, Ga. Therefore no A&WP crews would be based at Calera, Alabama.

-- Harry Bundy (y6b@aol.com), September 18, 1999.

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