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Thread: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

  1. #1
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    Default Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Following are some pics of an accident that happened ON the Gasconade River bridge, MP 123.3 on the Frisco's Eastern Division, on or shortly before January 18, 1961. This location is between Arlington and Jerome, about four miles west of Newburg, Mo.

    As with my earlier postings of the Mansfield, Mo accident (also in 1961 - it was a bad year!), these pictures were taken by the late John Sillick, and are now part of the collection of Jeff Cooney, a Rock Island friend of mine and of others in frisco.org. Thank you, Jeff, for providing these pictures, and thanks also to Don Wirth who kindly scanned them (from 35mm slides) into digital pics for us.

    You can see the accident resulted in a number of freight cars derailing on the bridge, causing significant damage to the bridge structure, and blocking the line.

    The repair crew is hard at work as shown on these pics. They are removing each wrecked car and, where necessary, are simply shoving them over the side to fall down into the Gasconade River. The pics show parts of the car falling into the river (note the truck frame) and splashes from other parts hitting the water. You can also see some of the structural damage to the bridge truss.

    I have additional pics of the recovery work and bridge repair, and will post them shortly. There is a surprise included with them you will enjoy seeing.

    Comments and observations from any of you are most welcome. For one thing, I can't decide which direction we are looking at in the work train view (pic 1464). Any ideas?

    Also - does anyone have any info on this accident? Was it an eastbound or westbound train? Which train? Is this the accident that resulted in the replacement of one or more of the bridge spans here?

    Once again - be patient, these are big pic files. I left them that way so it will be possible to zoom in and still see detail.

    Ken
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img1464.jpg   img1480.jpg   img1482.jpg  
    Last edited by meteor910; 04-24-2010 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Probably looking north. I rode a train later that year. There was a very s-l-o-w order for trains going over the bridge.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by TAG1014 View Post
    Probably looking north. I rode a train later that year. There was a very s-l-o-w order for trains going over the bridge.

    Tom
    Thanks, Tom. The work train is on a siding, which no longer shows up on my 1980's track plan. Plus, the signals do not show on my track plan. And, there are Ozark hills in the background in both directions, so I had no idea which way we are looking here. What gives you the thought it is an eastbound view?

    The wreck sure tore up the bridge truss. The wreck crew had a lot of faith going out there and working on it with the load of all the wrecked cars still on the bridge.

    Ken

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Due to the shadows (angle of the sun) in picture 1464, the view has to be in one of three possible general directions, East, West, or South. In picture 1480, the sun is coming from the from the right, the hillside in the background implies the river is curving around to the left, and the vehicle under the bridge is sitting on a sand/gravel bar. Looking at satellite and topo images, tells me that picture 1480 is looking to the Northeast. The last picture is from the same side of the bridge (Southern) as picture 1480. Notice the rail car on the riverbed on the opposite side of the bridge (Northern) and the gaping hole in that side of the bridge seems to indicate that most of the energy of the derailment when to the North side of the bridge.
    THEREFORE, picture 1464 is looking West because of the angle of the sun, the derailed rail cars on the right side of the bridge, the relatively long straight run before the bridge, the presence of houses high on the hillside to the right in the distance, and what looks like the Route D overpass in the distance beyond the bridge.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Jerome wreck.JPG  
    Last edited by klrwhizkid; 04-25-2010 at 10:22 AM.
    Keith Robinson
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    The direction of the photos may actually be more northeasterly than "true" north. I'm not exactly sure of the actual compass direction at that spot, but it's the "highway" side of the bridge. As if you're going ("easterly") toward St. louis, it's on your left. So it's "generally" north. I drove through the area a couple of times and took two train rides later that year. There was a slow order for a long time and several steel bridge members were removed completely.

    Tom
    Last edited by TAG1014; 04-25-2010 at 03:24 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    The orientation of line and the bridge over the Gasconade is close to true east-west with a slight upward tilt to the northwest. I'd guess westbound is maybe 275-280 degrees, eastbound 95-100 degrees there.

    If I can find a protractor, I'll measure it off of my USGS map.

    Ken

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Ken,

    The first photo showing the work train with the signals in the background is setting in Arlington looking towards the West/ Southwest into Jerome. Great posting, I have seen a few poor photos of the wreck in a diner at Newburg, but never anything of this quality. I'm sure this is the wreck that took out the two western truss spans.

    Brad

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Thanks Brad! Given that view looking at the wreck train being to the west, one assumes the wrecker came down from Lindenwood. Notice one of the big silver wreck cranes sitting just in front of the bridge behind the switcher. But, it probably did not prove to be of much value given its size, and much of the wrecked cars being inside the second and third bridge trusses. It likely didn't have enough clearance to do much.

    And that is a good lead in to the second grouping of slides, which I will try to post tonight. Not enuf time now. You will enjoy them, and the surprise I promised.

    Ken

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Here is the second series of pictures of the 1/18/61 accident on the Gasconade River bridge between Arlington and Jerome, Mo.

    As with my earlier postings of this accident, these pictures were taken by the late John Sillick, and are now part of the collection of Jeff Cooney, a Rock Island friend of mine and of others in frisco.org. Thank you, Jeff, for providing these pictures, and thanks also to Don Wirth who kindly scanned them (from 35mm slides) into digital pics for us.

    These pics provide some better views of the damage to the bridge trusses, and the temporary repairs that were made. Shortly thereafter in 1961, the middle and Jerome side (west) truss bridge structures were replaced by two deck girder spans. The truss bridge on the Arlington side remained, and is still in use today. It must have been damaged only slightly, or not at all, in this accident.

    Here are some comments on the individual pics:

    pic 1462: Look who has arrived to help out! Surprise! - small crane SLSF 99053 and steam generator car SLSF 52. They are shown on the Jerome side of the bridge (Brad - am I correct?). Crane 99053, which was ancient, was at one time steam powered with its own boiler. I would presume the boiler has been removed by 1961, and SLSF 52 is providing steam for it and for a pile driver it has with it. You can see how much easier it will be for crane 99053 to work within the confines of the truss structure than could the big wrecker crane that came down from Lindenwood as shown on pic 1464 posted earlier.

    pic 1479: Here is 99053 at work. You can see steam gen car 52 at work also. And - the extensive damage to the west and center truss bridge structures is evident. The main channel of the Gasconade is to the left, under the east truss bridge, which is longer than the other two spans as I recall.

    pic 1481: A close up of SLSF 99053 and SLSF 52. You can also see the pile driver at work. The crew is driving in piles to help shore up the bridge structure.

    pic 1484: A close up of the pile driver. Is it steam powered or compressed air powered? Note the yellow generator set there, which could be an air compressor.

    pic 1463: An even closer view of the pile driver. Looks like it has a steam exhaust to me. You can also see some of the piles it has driven into the bank below.

    Once again - be patient, these are big pic files. I left them that way so it will be possible to zoom in and still see detail.

    Comments and builds will be appreciated! Does anybody have a diagram of SLSF 99053?

    Ken
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img1462.jpg   img1479.jpg   img1481.jpg   img1484.jpg   img1463.jpg  

    Last edited by klrwhizkid; 04-25-2010 at 11:39 PM. Reason: Pictures moved to this post

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Ken--Do you think the SG car is "powering" the bridge crane or just "assisting" it? I wasn't aware that they could do much more than heat a train?? Or does the little crane not require much steam? Inquiring minds want to know...

    Tom

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Tom - Dunno.

    That's why I was asking if anyone in frisco.org had a diagram sheet for SLSF 99053.

    Cranes don't need a boiler supply with a lot of capacity - because of the mechanical advantage of their winch & drum systems, all they need is a boiler of sufficient pressure to do the job.

    Certainly if a boiler good enuf could fit within the cab of 99053, the 52 should have been able to supply it enough steam. What was the psi output of the 52? Does anyone know?

    Could also have been that the 52 was there just for the pile driver. I really don't know. One thing is for sure - they needed the 52 there for something! I don't see any exhaust coming out of the crane cab, so my assumption was that the 52 was supplying steam to the pile driver and the 99053. That's just my assumption - hope others in frisco.org can confirm.

    One thing we know for sure - this accident did the center and western trusses in!

    Ken

    ps - I'm sure glad I didn't have to do the shear and bending moment diagrams on the western and center trusses in pic 1479 to say if they were safe or not! Yikes! I bet they called up "Wild Bill Atchley" at MSM on that one.
    Last edited by meteor910; 04-25-2010 at 08:51 PM. Reason: Added ps

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    I don't know all whys and wherefors, but a lot of the time they had the big hooks coupled to an engine even when they were self propelled. I thought it was just handier for the derrick (or crane) operator not to have to "drive" the thing and operate boom at the same time.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    In picture 1484, there are two welder generators present - no air compressor. I am pretty sure that 99053 and the pile driver are operating on steam pressure. A small steam engine such as would operate 99053 would typically operate on about 125 psi, which is also enough for a pile driver. I had a great uncle who was a crane and dragline operator for a local construction company in Cape Girardeau and he told stories about oeprating steam powered cranes and pile drivers. As I recall the most pressure that he ever mentioned was 150 psi for either. I would image that the Steam Generator had to have a relatively high pressure steam system in order to deliver enough thermal energy the length of a passenger train.
    Keith Robinson
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  14. Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Neat set of pictures.

    That second set gives those of us wanting to model a steam generator car another use for them.

    Thanks!
    Paul

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Paul - I had the same thought!

    Other than in some 1050's troop trains, I wonder how often the steam gen cars were actually used in SLSF passenger service?

    Ken

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    They were used (Or at least moved) fairly often in the 1960-62 period. I drove by the depot almost daily on my way to (or from) work--One day an SG would be parked at the depot, next day (or two) it would be gone or replaced by the other one. A few times both would be parked there. Since Springfield was the center of the Frisco "X" it was probably easier to send them from here to wherever they were needed. I'm guessing military moves. In 1961, there was still a big passenger train network and chartering a train was way cheaper than chartering a plane.

    Tom
    Last edited by TAG1014; 04-26-2010 at 06:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    I would venture to guess that the 52 was supplying pressure for the pile driver. Several years ago I was inspecting a bridge job where the contractor drug out an antique steam/compressed air pile driver. By this time it was obviously using compressed air, we were all concerned that the thing would hold together long enough to do the job! It put on quite a show and was very noisy but it did the job, but went through alot of air to drive the steel. I have always thought the new bents that had to be cast in the centers of the original trusses where constructed in a hurry because the sheet pilings where used exterior forms. Normally the sheet piles are set, soil is excavated to bedrock forms are set, the bent is cast and the sheet piles are removed. I suppose when a mainline bridge is down ascetics are not a major concern! Great photos!

    Brad

  18. #18

    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    My great-aunt had a scrap book containing pictures in the Rolla Daily News of the wreck and clean up. I remember in one of the captions, the RDN praising the "hard working Frisco crew". I can only guess, because they're both gone now, but Grandpa was probably part of that crew, this being the reason why she kept the pictures and article.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    I was a Freshman at MSM in Rolla in Jan, 1961, fighting off the math and chemistry tsunamis that make the first year there so much fun. Thus, I didn't pay much attention to the local news and have no memory of ever hearing this accident reported - on the radio or in the newspaper.

    If I had, I would have picked up a copy of the Rolla Daily News, and for sure, would still have it today. Rats!

    Ken

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    Neat set of pictures.

    That second set gives those of us wanting to model a steam generator car another use for them.

    Thanks!
    Paul
    Paul and other aspiring Steam Generator car modelers -
    FMIG Newsletter #23 has a thorough article on modeling Steam Generator Cars #51 and #52, along with drawings, provided by Dan Overbey.

    I'm trying to spend a few minutes of lunch break working on the FMIG Newsletter index, and just came across this article.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Abernathy
    Columbia, MO
    (Modeling the Frisco's Northern Division - Kansas City Terminal in HO-Scale c. 1943)

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    A recent post of an ad with #99053 made me review this thread. I believe that by January, 1961 #99053 had been converted to Cat Diesel power but the pile driver being used is steam driven. Someone may be able to confirm the conversion date of #99053 from steam to diesel.
    Keith Robinson
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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Keith, I have always used the list that Mike Condren has compiled on his website:

    http://condrenrails.com/Frisco/Frisco_Derricks.htm

    However, it does not list 99053 anywhere. I think we can safely add it to this list, but perhaps add some further detective work to try to nail down a more precise date.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Abernathy
    Columbia, MO
    (Modeling the Frisco's Northern Division - Kansas City Terminal in HO-Scale c. 1943)

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    Default Re: Accident, Jan 1961, Gasconade River Bridge

    Jeff was kind enough to lend me these slides for inclusion in my book, Frisco in Color, Vol. 2, which will be released later this year. The thing I found most interesting was the second image, which shows the contents of one of the cars (flour or maybe kaolin) being spilled into the river. One has to wonder how that would have been handled these days when we are much more sensitive to environmental issues. Good stuff!

    GS

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