Derailment in1932 or 1933. : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

My great-grandfather John Schelling was Chief Scale Inspector for COfG during 20-30s> He was severely injured in a derailment of a freight Train that was moving his scale inspection equipment car. The derailment occurred in 1932 or 1933 somewhere between Macon and Savannah. Does anyone have any details?

-- Lisa A Prillaman (, August 25, 2002



Your great-grandfather appears to have conducted himself most admirably and to have been the hero of this accident.

According to the ICC report, on August 18, 1932, about 11:45 a.m., there was a derailment of a mixed train on the Central of Georgia Railway near Maricopa, Ala., which resulted in the death of 1 passenger, and the injury of 7 passengers and 5 employees.

Westbound first-class mixed train No. 15, which had the scale test car in its consist, was hauled by engine 419, and was in charge of Conductor Hardy and Engineman Young. This train was derailed while traveling at a speed estimated to have been between 30 and 35 miles per hour.

The scale test car was bottom up and the employees injured were the conductor, brakeman, baggage master, mail clerk and your great- grandfather, who is referenced in the ICC report as "Scale Tester Sehelling."

At the time of the accident he was in the camp car accompanying the scale test car. He stated that on the trip in question he become very much concerned about the manner in which the cars were riding. The speed of the train was at least 35 miles per hour, and he told the conductor they were running too fast and left the camp car and went back into the coach to ride; the conductor's reply was that he had lost his nerve.

On reaching Glenwood his helper also expressed fear on account of the manner in which the car was riding, so he told his helper to come back into the coach and ride. During the trip your grandfather looked over the scale test car, but found nothing wrong.

The ICC confirmed your great-grandfather's concerns, concluding that this accident "is believed to have been primarily caused by excessive speed":

Passenger trains handling freight cars are restricted to the permissible freight train speed of the district involved, and on the Andalusia District freight trains are limited to a speed of 30 miles per hour in the territory in question. There was no further restricting speed for the scale test car, nor were there any instructions as to where it should be placed in the train, although there was painted on the side of the car, in large letters, the words "MUST BE HAULED ON HEAR (sic) OF TRAIN". This is a car of unusual type, and proper instructions should be issued to insure its safe handling when moving it around over the system.

If the conductor had listened to your grandfather, the accident may have been avoided.

To read the complete ICC report, go to: login&site=dot_railroads

(The above must be one line if you copy/paste in your browser).

Enter "scale" in the search term box. The report will be the first "hit" listed. Please contact me if you need any help reaching the URL. The ICC web site is sort of a tough one to navigate.

Ron. Wright

-- Ron. Wright (, August 26, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ