Groseclose Wreck in Early 1920s

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Fri Sep 22 21:15:08 EDT 2017

Haven’t seen these before, but am suspicious of the direction.  There is a reverse curve west of Groseclose on the downgrade out of Rural Retreat that continues through Atkins on almost to Marion; it would be easier for me to understand a westbound going downhill out of Groseclose turning over on this reverse curve,.


From: NW Mailing List 
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2017 4:16 PM
To: NW Mailing List 
Subject: Groseclose Wreck in Early 1920s

I am attaching two photographs of a wreck thought to have happened at Groseclose on the Bristol Line in the early 1920s.  Some old head on the Bristol Line (whose identity I have now forgotten... may have been Bill Hill, Agent at Glade Spring) loaned me the original box camera prints back in the 1960s, and I made photocopies.  He told me that he believed the photos were taken at  the Groseclose wreck where a double-headed eastbound passenger train overturned.

The 1940-hire Enginemen (like Bill Whittaker and others) and the 1926 Conductors (like Wilbur F. "Bud" Aliff) pointed out to me the spot where the wreck had occurred.  All reported that the cause of the wreck had been overspeed on a curve.

The interesting thing about this wreck is that, in every verbal account I ever heard,  R.H. (Race Horse) Smith is said to have been riding the engine that night and was greatly begrimed by the coal which partially covered him up when the engine overturned.

Since the train was an eastward train at night, it was probably No. 18, the Memphis Special.  That was always a heavy Pullman train in those days and was frequently double-headed.

Has anyone seen these photos before?  Has a positive identification ever been made of the location and date of the wreck pictured?

          -- abram burnett,
superannuated old brakesman
                  Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844


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