SCL wreck, Portsmouth Division-1972 : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I'm am trying to find information on an alleged 1972 SCL derailment that occured somewhere between Portsmouth-Suffolk or Portsmouth-Norlina along the former SAL route. This would have forced the railway to divert all its trains briefly onto the old ACL route out of Pinners Point. I remember at that time, while living in the community near old Bruce Station, a sudden surge of extremely heavy freight traffic along the route. The sight was so uncommon then that it is still the subject occasionally of conversation of those who still reside there.

-- Andrew Callo (, February 07, 2000


Andrew Callo,

I remember my father telling me on a few occasions that there was a wreak near Frank's truck stop, sometime before my time. The truck stop is very close to the diamond with the Virginian, so I would assume that this is the same wreak refered to in past posts. I am not to sure what caused this derailment though, but I believe a friend of my father's has some pictures of the aftermath.

-- Grady F. McKinley (, July 26, 2000.

Certainly it was before Andrew's time, but "a really big show" occurred at Algren on June 17, 1947 when, for a few brief seconds, both a northbound SAL freight and a westbound Virginian Class AG 2-6-6-6 occupied the diamond simultaneously.

-- Harry Bundy (, May 22, 2000.

Yes Van, I believe this is the derailment. I confirmed your statement with my relatives who by chance, also remember seeing cars overturned in peoples yards. No one knows for sure what caused the derailment. Anything from hitting a car at grade to two freight trains colliding head-on. I wonder if anyone else could shed some more light on thi

-- Andrew Callo (, May 21, 2000.

Andrew, I am thirty two years old and a native of Portsmouth. When I was a little child, around 1972, my father took me to see a derailment in the Bowers Hill section of Chesapeake. Bowers Hill was about 3/4 of a mile north of Algreen, where the Seaboard crossed the Virginian. As I remember the derailment was a freight train. I can remember seeing piggybacks laying in the yards of homes bordering the tracks. The speed limit through Bowers Hill is 49 mph and was perhaps higher in 1972. The derailment was bad. I hope this helps.

-- Van Welton (, May 20, 2000.

I'm not sure of the date, but if it's the same wreck, No. 18 (northbound passenger train) hit a truck load of bricks at Kilby, derailing the engine. The fireman (an man for whom I later fired) had his ear severed and later reattached, and thought at first that his engineer was dead, but after noticing some movement found that he was alive and was taken to a local hospital. The funny part was that the rear end of the E7 was sticking up in the air. A Norfolk Southern road foreman of engines happened to be riding the train that day as a passegner, and upon finding the fireman pointed out that both of the E-units motors were running and feared that they might catch fire if the fireman didn't climb back into cab, or up on the fuel tank, and pull the emergency fuel shut off. The fireman, holding his ear in his hand looked at him with astonishment and replied, "Well burn baby burn!" True story.

-- Doug Riddell (, February 07, 2000.

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