BG Tower - Petersburg Va : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Have been trying to determine exact date when BG Tower in Petersburg was knock down in railroad accident The accident occurred when 3rd trick yard engine, with a cut of several passenger cars, was unable to pull the grade from the N&W crossing up to Washington Street. Apparently, the operator working in BG was told that when the rear of the train cleared he could realigned the derailer. Once the engine stalled and was unable to pull the hill, it started backing down the grade without a brakeman on the rear. The cars naturally derailed and crashed into the tower. Fortunately, the operator, last name believed to be Parrott, was not injured when the tower crashed into the street. Subsequently, the tower was not replaced. The operator's position was relocated into the nearby N&W Yard Office. Any info would be appreciated.

-- Herman J Wilkins (, October 31, 1999


An excellent photo of BG Tower appeared in the December 3, 1988 edition of the Petersburg Progress Index newspaper. The photo was credited from the collection of Mr. Robert O. Nugent.

-- William E. Griffin, Jr. (, July 18, 2003.

A research of a local newspaper article revealed an answer to my question concerning BG Tower accident in Petersburg, Va.. For those who may be interested here goes: The accident occurred around 1:55am on the morning of Tuesday, May 6, 1952. ACL yard engine, started up the hill from the ACL-N&W crossing pulling four passenger cars and pushing several freight cars. The engine failed to pull the hill on the first try and it backed down and to make another attempt. Again, it failed to make the grade and started back down the hill for another run. BG Tower operator, identified as Leonard S. Perritt, had reset the derailer to allow an N&W train to pass over the crossover. It is believed that the ACL train crew thought the derailer was still set for their train. While backing down the hill all four passenger cars derailed, ran along the ground for some distance then struck the tower and pushed it over, totally destroying it. The N&W train had not reached the crosssover when the accident happened. Luckily, the operator was saved from injury or death when a wooded wall locker stopped the roof of the tower from falling on him. The tower was build around 1908 when an interlocking plant was installed.

-- Herman Wilkins (, January 07, 2000.

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