Head On Collision at Glade Spring, September 1, 1899
NW Mailing List
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Mon Apr 1 13:00:32 EDT 2019
Wrecked head end collision Extra 297 Class G Roanoke built and 281 Class
G Baldwin Built, with Train 86 and Class G Roanoke built Engine 310 at
Glade Spring, VA on Sept. 1, 1899.
Guess 281 did not make it in the photo.
On 4/1/2019 10:20 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Immediate gratification -- the spirit of I want it and I want it NOW
> -- has been the prevailing Zeitgeist since the tumultuous days of the
> But sometimes gratification is delayed for a significant time, as in
> the instant case.
> That afternoon in 1964, now 55 years ago, when I first walked into the
> telegraph office at the Glade Spring depot, a framed photograph on the
> wall caught my eye. It was a truly awful photograph, having obviously
> been photo-reproduced several time, and being degraded with each
> reproduction. It was blurred, the extreme contrast blew out any
> details in the highlights, and details in the shadows were swallowed
> up by the blacks. The frame was probably the cheapest frame ever
> made, the glass was grimy, and the whole thing, uncared for, hung
> crookedly on the wall.
> But the photograph depicted a head-on collision, at some undetermined
> date in the primeval past, right in front of the Glade Spring's Grand
> Union Terminal Depot. None of the railroaders workers, of course knew
> a thing about the collision, or even cared.
> And so it was that I used my 35mm camera to take a picture of the
> framed photograph on the wall.
> The miracle of Photoshop now reveals the date lettered onto the
> photograph to be Sept. 1, 1899.
> And the miracle of ;the Newspapers.com digital archive now provides us
> a brief, single-paragraph article from the Baltimore Sun on the
> following day, September 2, 1899.
> The cause of the collision? The regular train, No. 86, "got beyond
> the control of its crew." Which sounds like a generic explanation for
> 90 percent of the railroad wrecks which have ever happened.
> So as my good deed for the day, I am attaching both the photograph and
> the newspaper article. And for those of you who never saw good old
> Glade Spring depot, a photo of that is attached, as well.
> We shall leave it to the Estimable Mr. Jim Blackstock to come up with
> the engine numbers. He has a good crystal ball...
> -- abram burnett
> overseer of the turnip patch
> Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
> Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844
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