Train Indicators on the Frisco

Discussion in 'Operations' started by Karl, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Recent discussions on FB about the September 28, 1917 head-on collision of Frisco passenger train 407, engine 1025, and Extra 1322 East have lead me to an interesting paragraph in the ICC Accident Report. The accident, which occurred at Kellyille, OK is purported to be the worst railroad accident in Oklahoma history. Twenty-two passengers and one railroad employee lost their lives, and fifty-seven passengers and five employees received injuries.

    Train 407 received Order 58 at Sapulpa and Extra 1322 East received the same at Depew. Order 58 read:

    “ Extra 1322 has right over No 407 Depew to Kellyville”.

    When train 407 called on Kellyville, passenger train 408 and Extra 1343 East were in the hole at Kellyville. The crew of number 407, mistook Extra 1343 East for Extra 1322, and the passenger train continued westward. Just west of Kellyville near MP 447.8, Train 407 and Extra 1322 East collided. The high number of casualties can be attributed to the wood passenger cars, which were in 407’s consist.

    The ICC chastised the Frisco, because Frisco rules did not require the dispatcher to issue a middle order at Kellyville.

    This paragraph interested me:

    “Conductor Pugh of Extra 1343 (the train in the hole at Kellyville) stated that the caboose of his train was equipped with indicators and that these indicators were displayed at Kellyville in such a manner that the crew of train No. 407 could have seen the number of the train.”

    Numerous photographs from this era exist in which locomotives carry indicators, but I never have seen any depiction in which anything but the locomotive number was displayed. The ICC report gives us a clue that Frisco cabooses carried some sort of device that would display the train number.

    So, has anyone ever seen a photograph of a Frisco caboose with a train indicator? Is it possible to infer that the locomotive indicators were used to display the train number on the locomotive, al la the Espee and UP?
  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I've seen the early locomotive photographs with the indicators, and have always thought it would have made sense to utilize these to indicate train number, section, etc.

    At the same time, I always wondered why they seem to disappear from the photographic record into the 20s and 30s. Maybe they weren't being used, so it was easier to remove them with each subsequent shopping? Times like these make me wish that there wasn't such a paucity of equipment photos in the early issues of "The Frisco Man" and "The Frisco Employees' Magazine."

    Looking forward to see if any intrepid researchers can locate one of these dodos, vis-a-vis caboose indicators.

    Best Regards,
  3. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    When the Ozark & Cherokee Central from Fayetteville, AR to Okmulgee, OK (a distance of 143 miles ) was folded into the Frisco System in 1907 a number of engines were added to the roster. The Frisco must have had ID problems as the engines had two number boards, one corresponding to the Frisco engine number and a second corresponding to the O & CC number. A local museum has several images of the dual numbered engines.
    mountaincreekar likes this.

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