May 20, 1972 Paola, KS

Discussion in 'Action Photos' started by Karl, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    On Saturday, May 20, 1972 MP Extra 787 collided with SLSF extra 915 South, which had occupied the MP-Frisco Crossing at Paola, KS in advance of the MP Extra.

    The details of the collision are recounted in the ICC report, which may be found in the attached PDF document.
    In order to pick up the pieces, the Frisco dispatched its 160 ton, Kansas City wrecker and its 250 ton, Springfield wrecker. The MP sent its more modern wrecker from Coffeyville.

    Two month-old 666 handled the Springfield Wrecker.

    One of the tool cars in the Springfield Wrecker set had an interesting history. Seen in the image with the 666, this former 6-door baggage car began life in May 1925 as Point Polo, a Plan 3584, Lot 4846, 10-2 Pullman. It was rebuilt in Sept 1939 as Magdalen Tower, a Plan 4090, 8-1-3 Pullman. The Magdalen Tower and sister, Rathaus Tower were assigned to trains 3 & 4 during the mid-50’s. As a result of the 1940 anti-trust action against Pullman and the following 1944 decree, the Frisco purchased the car in Dec 1948, and leased it back to Pullman. It was withdrawn from its lease in June 1961, and shortly thereafter rebuilt into baggage car 446. Even after rebuilding the car retained its distinctive Pullman roof lines.

    My father called from Paola, reported that the derailment was a bad one, and he asked that my brother and I bring him some extra clothing. We arrived at the derailment just before dusk, and I was able to get some relatively close shots.

    As reported in the ICC Report the MP train struck a hopper of coke; which was one of 3 or 4 hoppers of that contained that commodity. I remember that when the KC Wrecker attempted to lift the hopper, it literally fell apart, and the coke cascaded onto the ROW with a roar.

    I had been to a couple of other derailments of a minor nature; this was the first one in which I saw freight cars standing on end.

    The site of the accident was near the cemetery, which filled with Saturday afternoon and evening on-lookers. There where several vendors selling food, and the scene had a carnival-like atmosphere. This was especially true after dark, when the flood lights lit the site.

    As I recall this was a repeat of a similar wreck ,in which a year or two earlier, the MP hit a Katy train at the MP-MKT crossing, which was several hundred yards to the west. The ICC Report indicates that the signals were working properly, but I heard that in both cases glare from the sun on the MP approach signal may have caused the MP crews problems. After the May 1972 wreck, the MP did move its approach signal.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2016
    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  2. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Awesome post. The report is very interesting reading.

  3. JohnFoster

    JohnFoster Member

    I was an slsf engr--retired in 2007. I had just hired out with Frisco in May 72. That accident put the fear of God in me. From then on when i got close to the Paola interlocker I would open the engr window to listen for a train blowing the MOP crossing.

    Can't type...had to get help editing this. Y'all will have to figure it out on your own if my wife isn't here to help me type!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2010

Share This Page