Wreck near Orlando about June, 1962

greenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I recently aquired a color photo (3.5"X5") of a wrecked ACL train. On the back it states the 3 engines and 12 cars burned in a huge fire, near Orlando. Caption on back dated June 12, 1962. Signed "Charles" who writes as if he is one of the crew members. One F-unit appears to be an FT or an F2, while the 2nd Funit has larger number boards like an F3 or F7. Looking at Warren Calloway's book and the retirement dates I wonder if one is 328. Third unit is out of sight but I wonder if it is 331-B. Can anyone give me more info on this event and "Charles" as well as the engines involved? Thanks.

-- Mike Durhan (mdurhan@bellsouth.net), January 13, 2001


I remember this wreck. We moved to Orlando in 1955. I was 15 when this wreck happened. It happened at Pinecastle. The woman in the station wagon had just dropped her kids off at school, as I recall. The train scattered into a field to the west of the tracks- to the east, and it would have wiped out Pinecastle! We drove down there that evening and I remember the jumble of cars pile

-- Larry Brennan (lpbrennan@aol.com), April 04, 2001.

The wreck was quite a remarkable event in the local railroaders conversations. Probably the main contributing factor to the trains damage was the woman's car becoming lodged under the lead engines front truck.

Quite a distance was traveled with automobile debris under the front engine. I will estimate that the train traveled about 1/4 mile before what was left of the automobile was ejected from under the engine, (Engineers side) to underneath the depot's freight dock.

At the next road crossing North of the depot, there was a facing point switch (again on the Engineers side)serving a feed mill. That is where the lead engine went into the feed mill track, with the following engines scattered on the ground along the mainline.

The force of the wreck was such that while I was digging in new crossing signal cables, I encountered a boxcar door that was about one foot underground.

There was much talk about the head-end crew stepping directly from the lead engines door to the ground without using the engine steps. Remember this was a "F" unit (covered wagon in the terms of railroaders) and quite high from the ground to the engine cab door.

The head brakeman reportedly went back into the engine for his grip. Understandly the rest were more concerned with vacating the vicinity with haste.

I do not know who "Charles" is, due to dim memory over passage of time. You may wish to call Charles David Story, (High School and Marine Corps buddy of mine) we hired out on the ACL at the same time. He was a brakeman out of the Sanford terminal, and may be able to add a last name to the "Charles" on your photograph. He lives in the Bithlo area, which is in the Orlando telephone directory.

Merrill Chrissy, on this forum, and I had a telcon about this wreck. He knew who the trainman was that went back into the burning engine for his grip. Hmmmm, wonder what he had in the grip that was so valuable? Most likely, the shock and natural reflex from riding the engine down the tracks from the auto crash to the engines final rest.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (curtisd@northarkansas.net), January 15, 2001.

Mike, I'm familiar with the wreck in question. Check with the Orange County Fire Dept. at the Conway or Edgewood fire stations. They have photos at the station of this wreck. My father-in-law was at the wreck site as the railroad supervisor. More to come later.

-- frank brubaker (fnbrubaker@webtv.net), January 13, 2001.

Mike, look back in the "Older Messages" under the heading "Specific Locales." Merrill D. Crissey Sr., posted a request for information regarding a wreck. As it turned out, he was inquiring about a different wreck.

My response was about the wreck you are inquiring about. At the time, I was an Assistant Signalman at Kissimmee, and responded to the wreck you are describing.

If I can answer any specific questions, please let me know.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (curtisd@northarkansas.net), January 13, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ