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Casey Jones/Lifetime Railroad Man/Great American Hero

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Casey Jones/Lifetime Railroad Man/Great American Hero
Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, January 05, 2019 2:40 PM

I do remember when I was a very young kid that Casey Jones was a Railroad Hero. I don't remember the exact reason why I knew that but there must have been some reason while I was watching that old Casey Jones broadcasted program on TV.

When I visited the Casey Jones home and museum in Jackson Tennessee the story of how he lost his life that day was somewhat new to me. 

Although somewhat familiar to me hearing the story again at an older age, made me wonder why.

Casey had taken the place of another engineer that was sick that day. The train was already behind schedule but the legend is Casey always arrived his passengers on time.

I'm not really out to tell the whole story verbatim here, nor do I think I could. That's why I thought this thread can make a good discussion piece.

The story I understood at the Museum is Casey sped his train that day at high speeds to make up for lost time to get his passengers to the depot on time.

At a depot siding prior to his destination there was a problem with another train that had to be put on the siding but there was another train already on that siding and it wouldn't quite fit.

The Caboose was hanging out past the turn out or switch track as they were called back then. Casey spotted certain disaster and managed to slow his train down from 75 miles an hour to 35 miles an hour.

He told his break man to jump, seconds before the Collision. In doing so nobody was seriously injured or killed that day, except for Casey.

He saved everyone's life except his own.... Casey Jones became a hero that day.

The only question I have is why didn't Casey jump at the very last second after the break man. He couldn't do anymore at that point and still would have been a hero that day.

I know there's no Coulda Shoulda Woulda..... but he could have saved his own life too. I wonder what his thoughts were at those last seconds while he was to concerned about saving everyone else's life....... What a Great Railroad Man!

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Posted by maxman on Saturday, January 05, 2019 2:48 PM

Track fiddler
Casey sped his train that day at high speeds to make up for lost time to get his passengers to the depot on time.

     He threw caution to the wind.

Track fiddler
why didn't he jump at the very last second after the break man.

     He just couldn't catch a "brake".

Track fiddler
I wonder what his thoughts were at those last seconds

   I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, January 05, 2019 3:17 PM

maxman

 

 
Track fiddler
Casey sped his train that day at high speeds to make up for lost time to get his passengers to the depot on time.

 

     He threw caution to the wind.

 

 
Track fiddler
why didn't he jump at the very last second after the break man.

 

     He just couldn't catch a "brake".

 

 
Track fiddler
I wonder what his thoughts were at those last seconds

 

   I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

 

 

Yep.... Makes sense to me. Don't think I didn't think about that too.

Who drives 200,000 Tons of steel down the tracks through caution zones like a wild......... rabid wildebeest if you willTongue Tied

Still there must be more to be said on this subject...... So far we got crazy man that shouldn't be going that darn fast and shouldn't even be labeled a Hero.

Good Good, this thread is starting to take some shape hereYes

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, January 05, 2019 3:49 PM

Casey was not a "hero" by any means because had he obey his orders  regarding those trains he was to meet and slowed down he would have stopped.

This is not the first time Casey disobeyed train  orders he had several reprimands for rule infractions including excessive speed.

."Hero"? No,just a engineer that overstep  his orders.

Larry

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Posted by robert sylvester on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:09 PM

Crying  He is truly someone in the books when it comes to railroad history. Believe or not when I was a little fellow, Casey's house was in downtown Jackson where I lived. His story was told all of the time. I used to visit the house, it was near the IC&G office building and knock on the front door and Mrs. Jones would let me in and we would sit in the parlor eating cookies and drinking a glass of milk and talk about railroads. At an early age she knew I loved train. When she could, we would walk down to the tracks, isn't wasn't that far but she was up in years so we would make it a short walk.

She would remenice about her husband, you could tell she still missed him. He actually had a deep faith, they both were Catholic and he is buried in the Catholic Cemetary over in East Jackson. There is even a carved replica of his engine on the stone. Casy Jones days are still a big deal in that city but it is fading a little now, after all it's been over one hundred year since the accident and his death.

In the nineteen seventies, when I worked for the local television station I covered a story when the IC&G produced a commemortive GP-38 with his name on the cab. I got a chance to get on that engine and the engineer ran it a short distance then backed it up. It was similar to the engine in the background.

101-2398.jpg

Great memories for you kid.

Robert Sylvester

Newberry-Columbia, SC

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Posted by maxman on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:22 PM

Track fiddler
Who drives 200,000 Tons of steel down the tracks through caution zones like a wild......... rabid wildebeest if you will

Well, there was a guy just within the past year or two who did exactly that.  They still haven't found the exact cause or what to charge him with, other than he was in charge when the train reached its tipping point.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:30 PM

Okay this is good, ...I have some closure here.

Isn't it funny, my whole life since I was a little boy sitting on the living room floor eating waffles watching crazy Casey Jones coming out in his winter underwear (that should have been my first clue) and seeing his sidekick Roundhouse.... that should have been my second clue.  I always thought he was a Railroad hero all these years.

I have to admit I sensed some doubt in the museum in Tennessee.  I knew he was going to fast to be safe but I didn't want to believe it.  I am somewhat let down here. 

Sure glad I got this childhood hero clarified. Don't know how I missed that oneIndifferent

I might as well post the rest of the pictures of the tour.... I did drive two hours to get thereTongue TiedCrying

PS. And the funny thing is one of the forum members here suggested this Museum in JacksonSad

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:36 PM
The risk of close examination of a hero/legend is that sometimes, unfortunately, we may discover “feet of clay”.
 
However, I believe this is not the case in this piece of NZ railway history.
 
Cheers, the Bear.

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Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:50 PM

Track Fiddler ... Thanks for starting this thread. We visited the Casey Jones Museum last August, and it was very worthwhile. .... Jackson, TN in its day, was a busy railroad town. 

Robert ... Thanks for sharing your memories. I liked reading them. 

Below are some of the photos of our visit to the Casey Jones Museum. They had a locomotive lettered as if it was Casey's locomotive. The engine was actually a Clinchfield RR locomotve. The GM&O sleeper was not Casey's railroad, but GM&O was big in Jackson with its locomotive shops there. The funeral coach was the same one used for Casey's funeral. 

 

GARRY

HEARTLAND DIVISION, CB&Q RR

EVERYWHERE LOST; WE HUSTLE OUR CABOOSE FOR YOU

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Posted by drgwcs on Saturday, January 05, 2019 4:59 PM

Went through that museum quite a long time ago. There has been a lot of discussion of this through the years, the freight was too long for the siding and was doing a saw by. The official report said that Jones failed to see the flagman and fusees but the fireman always maintained that there were no flagman or fusees. As for speed Jones had the official right of way- a lot of times the engineers were penalized more for being late than breaking the rules. That could be fatal however. I live in Danville VA- home of the wreck of the old 97. There speed was a great factor as well. The train was an hour late when it left Monroe and was supposed to make up time. The railroad was penalized for every minute the mail was late. When they hit the trestle in Danville the engeneer was going too fast for the curve. Of course in the end the engineer was given the blame and the railroad denied telling him to make up the time. It is hard to tell what really happened in either case. Jim

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 05, 2019 5:24 PM

Somebody posted a video in here.  I think it was MLC, and I thought it was in Diner.

I'll have to look.

Mike

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, January 05, 2019 6:56 PM

Robert.... Thanks for your reply.

Milk and cookies with Mrs Jones in the parlor when the house was still in town and short walks conversing railroad stories down to the tracks as she was getting older.

Your story made me smile and I do believe it..... Nobody comes up with stories like that if it didn't really happen. Especially at our age. 

Jim.... Thanks for your reply as well.

Schedules to keep back then instead of Safety First is what you basically said in a nutshell. And the mail had to be delivered on time.  Engineers were pushed hard to keep schedules back then and docked every hour they were late.

One must remember there are two sides to every story.  Sometimes too eager to jump the gun.

Sometimes the need to just relax and listen to everything there is to be said before making a determination is important.

It seems Casey Jones has two sides to the story hereWhistling

                TF

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Saturday, January 05, 2019 7:34 PM

Irrespective of the speed and caution issues, Casey Jones was a hero when he told his fireman to jump free of the engine. That fireman lived a long life, passing away in the 1950s. That another man was given life while he sacrificed his own is sufficient for me to regard him as a hero.

Cedarwoodron

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, January 05, 2019 8:00 PM

Guys,For the record #382 was not Casey's engine.

Casey's assigned engine was #384.

Casey doubled out on the 382 on his fatal run after completing his regular run..

Its sad how   things get twisted  over the years due to myths and folklore. 

Larry

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, January 05, 2019 8:04 PM

drgwcs

Went through that museum quite a long time ago. There has been a lot of discussion of this through the years, the freight was too long for the siding and was doing a saw by. The official report said that Jones failed to see the flagman and fusees but the fireman always maintained that there were no flagman or fusees. As for speed Jones had the official right of way- a lot of times the engineers were penalized more for being late than breaking the rules. That could be fatal however. I live in Danville VA- home of the wreck of the old 97. There speed was a great factor as well. The train was an hour late when it left Monroe and was supposed to make up time. The railroad was penalized for every minute the mail was late. When they hit the trestle in Danville the engeneer was going too fast for the curve. Of course in the end the engineer was given the blame and the railroad denied telling him to make up the time. It is hard to tell what really happened in either case. Jim

 

Went through that museum quite a long time ago. There has been a lot of discussion of this through the years, the freight was too long for the siding and was doing a saw by. The official report said that Jones failed to see the flagman and fusees but the fireman always maintained that there were no flagman or fusees. As for speed Jones had the official right of way- a lot of times the engineers were penalized more for being late than breaking the rules. That could be fatal however. I live in Danville VA- home of the wreck of the old 97. There speed was a great factor as well. The train was an hour late when it left Monroe and was supposed to make up time. The railroad was penalized for every minute the mail was late. When they hit the trestle in Danville the engeneer was going too fast for the curve. Of course in the end the engineer was given the blame and the railroad denied telling him to make up the time. It is hard to tell what really happened in either case. Jim

 

[/quote]

There were two freight trains on the siding,  The combined length too long for the siding.  The freights had to "saw" north to allow two sections of a northbound passenger train to reach a house track to clear the main.  While in the north saw position an air hose burst on one of the freight trains.  The diagrams I've seen show the flagman was out beyond his torpedoes.  It's been debated that the torpedoes may have been placed when the freights were in the south saw position.  The torpedoes are a signal to get the engine crews' attention.  Being out beyond them it is very plausible they missed seeing the flagmen.

From the accounts I've read, Casey Jones was making up time as allowed by his run-late orders.  That he had orders to meet trains at Vaughn, but being the superior train probably expected them to either be in the clear or properly protected.  To me, the debate is whether proper protection was provided.  Newberry being out beyond his "guns" to me says it wasn't. 

I don't think he was operating in a recklass manner.  He was operating in a manner expected of railroad crews at that time.  

Jeff

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, January 05, 2019 9:31 PM

Thanks for all the participation here so far. 

There are positive and negative points to any discussion. They are all important aspects. You need the bad with the good to make a conversation interesting.

Casey's home surroundings.

The Parlor I think.

The living room

The Hall

The kitchen  Notice the coal to cookWhistling

The bedroom.................. the latrine shown on requestIndifferent

Talk to you guys tomorrowSmile, Wink & Grin ....I'm gonna hit the rack.      TF

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, January 05, 2019 10:05 PM

jeffhergert
To me, the debate is whether proper protection was provided. Newberry being out beyond his "guns" to me says it wasn't.

Casey had been warned about those trains ar Vaugh and failed to take precautions before arriving at Vaughn nor did he heed Newberry's Torpidos and flag.

Newberry was found innocent of any negligence. Casey was held  fully accountable for the wreck  at Vaughn.

Being a former railroader I can't help but wonder if fatique played a part since Casey had doubled out with little or no rest between runs.

But,there is Casey's record of voilations and suspenions that can not be overlooked.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 05, 2019 10:40 PM

mbinsewi
Somebody posted a video in here.

Found it, it was posted by Ken (cudaken), in the diner, 12-28-2018.  I thought it was interesting, especially what remains of the memorial sign that was erected.

I don'tknow how to link to it. too complicated to link previous threads, etc., on this forum.  Too many hoops to jump through.

Mike.

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, January 06, 2019 8:57 AM

As with many accidents there were multiple failures.  Jones was probably speeding, he was probably "short flagged".  Since there was no NTSB at the time, there was no independent investigative body.  The easiest course was to blame it on the dead guy.

Having multiple train meets that involved a saw-by was not uncommon in that day.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, January 06, 2019 9:01 AM

jeffhergert
From the accounts I've read, Casey Jones was making up time as allowed by his run-late orders.

Technically a "run late" order doesn't allow you to make up time, it actually does the opposite it forces a train to remain late.  If there was a "run late" order, then the opposing trains would have had a copy and would have expected him later than his scheduled time.  If he was running ahead of the run late order then that was a clear rules violation and would have contributed to the problem.  Techinically the flagman wouldn't have had to have protection out until just before the departure time at the previous station, if he was running ahead of the run late order then that mitigates the flagman's responsibility somewhat.

That he had orders to meet trains at Vaughn, but being the superior train probably expected them to either be in the clear or properly protected. To me, the debate is whether proper protection was provided. Newberry being out beyond his "guns" to me says it wasn't.

Agreed, from what I read, short flagging was an issue.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, January 06, 2019 9:46 AM

dehusman
Agreed, from what I read, short flagging was an issue.

According to Sim Webb the torpidos went off and Casey started to slow but,not enough.

Again Newberry was found innocent of any negligence.

Folklore has blamed Newberry not the IC RR.

Larry

SSRy

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“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, January 06, 2019 10:21 AM

I'm finding this discussion and debate interesting. I'm glad to be learning more about things than I did.

We had drove from Graceland to the museum that day. When we arrived to the Museum it was going to be closing in another 45 minutes. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to take the care to read everything like we wanted to.

Thanks for somewhat continuing my visit to this placeYes     TF

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 1:34 AM

dehusman

 

 
jeffhergert
From the accounts I've read, Casey Jones was making up time as allowed by his run-late orders.

 

Technically a "run late" order doesn't allow you to make up time, it actually does the opposite it forces a train to remain late.  If there was a "run late" order, then the opposing trains would have had a copy and would have expected him later than his scheduled time.  If he was running ahead of the run late order then that was a clear rules violation and would have contributed to the problem.  Techinically the flagman wouldn't have had to have protection out until just before the departure time at the previous station, if he was running ahead of the run late order then that mitigates the flagman's responsibility somewhat.

 

 
That he had orders to meet trains at Vaughn, but being the superior train probably expected them to either be in the clear or properly protected. To me, the debate is whether proper protection was provided. Newberry being out beyond his "guns" to me says it wasn't.

 

Agreed, from what I read, short flagging was an issue.

 

One account has the "late" time in the run-late order decreasing in segments over his run.  In this account, his fireman said they would've been back on their time table schedule somewhere south of Vaughn.

Brakie, torpedoes are (or were-we don't have them anymore) used to get the attention of the engine crew.  To get them to reduce speed and look for a flagman, or other stop signal, ahead for a prescribed distance.  If the flagman is out beyond the torpedoes, it's very possible to miss him.  The fireman could be attending the fire, the engineer could be reading his orders.

Is it surprising the flagman was cleared?  As the one account put it, "Engineer Jones was not able to give his interpretations of signals that night."

The two accounts I'm most familiar with are in "A Treasury of Railroad Folklore."  It's collected stories on a variety of railroad subjects published originally in the 1950s.  I recommend it to anyone interested in railroad history and folklore.

Jeff

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 3:40 AM

jeffhergert
Brakie, torpedoes are (or were-we don't have them anymore) used to get the attention of the engine crew. To get them to reduce speed and look for a flagman, or other stop signal, ahead for a prescribed distance. If the flagman is out beyond the torpedoes, it's very possible to miss him. The fireman could be attending the fire, the engineer could be reading his orders.

Jeff,Indeed the torpedos are or rather was a warning device..Casey could have missed Newberry's flag for another reason that should be discussed..

Was Casey asleep and woke up after the topedo went off? After all he had doubled out with little or no rest.

On the Chessie I was called with 4 hours rest and nodded off while riding in the cupola and nothing was said by the conductor.

For the record  if I was at home instad at my away terminal I would have marked off that run due to lack of rest.

 

Larry

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 11:19 AM

Probably the best place to learn more about the true story is to pick up the April 2000 Trains magazine, whose cover story was on the 100th anniversary of the wreck that killed Jones.

There may some confusion re TV shows. There was a nationally syndicated "Casey Jones" western series in the 1950's, starring Alan Hale Jr. In the 1960's - early 70's there was a local "Lunch with Casey" kid's show here in Minneapolis-St.Paul area.

It's interesting to me that the wreck in 1900 probably wouldn't have happened 10 years earlier or 10 years later. Several trains were trying to clear the main for Casey's train, but one was stuck with several cars not in the clear due to a problem with an airbrake - technology that wasn't around a few years before. Had the incident happend 10 or so years later, there probably would have been electric light signals warning Casey to slow down and eventually to stop clear of the trouble. Of course, he had been running trains for something like 14 hours at that point, so might not have seen the signals anyway.

Interesting (to me anyway) that the two most famous U.S. Caseys - Jones and Stengel (Hall of Fame baseball manager) - weren't really named Casey. The engineer was John Luther Jones. Since John Jones was so common a name, he was nicknamed for his hometown of Cayce, Kentucky. Similarly, Charles Dillon Stengel got his nickname for bragging to his teammates how much better things were in "K.C." - his hometown of Kansas City.

Stix
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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 5:34 PM

Thanks Stix

I wish I had the April 2000 trains magazine. I have the April 2000 Model Railroader magazine but that doesn't quite cut it, does it?  Recently I have a subscription to trains magazine. 

I just want to give a thank you to everyone that posted. I learned a lot from you on this thread from your posts.

I am the type of person that just wants to grab a little more knowledge every day all the way until the time I can't grab anymore.

Thanks    Track Fiddler

 

 

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 6:15 PM

Some pictures on the wall that day

This is my favorite

 

The crew

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 7:20 PM

Guys,The only known picture of Casey is in the cab of his beloved 2-8-0 #638 his assigned freight engine while he worked the freight pool.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.

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