Info on runaway ACL steam engine? : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Yesterday's runaway CSX train prompted a memory of a story told to me by my grandfather about a runaway ACL steam locomotive. Seems a steam engine (P-5 class if I remember the details correctly)was sitting in Florence and managed to "come to life" and somehow worked its way southward through Florence SC onto the mainline. I believe he said they didn't get it stopped until St. Stephens, SC (between Florence and Charleston). Probably would have occurred in the late 30's. Just curious if any ACL employees out there remember this event.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 16, 2001


Maybe a little off the subject, but here goes. I was under the impression that the Alerter feature on the locomotive was supposed to prevent trains from "running away" without someone at the controls. CSX said the locomotive was in sound mechanical condition. What gives?

-- Vern Hobbs (, May 24, 2001.

No, but on December 30, 1959 ACL GP7s 148 and 240 walked away from Shops Yard in South Richmond, the 148 stopping after on a few hundred yards. The 240 continued on, running through five trailing point switches in the yard, then across the James River, accessing the C&O at 2nd St. Yard, and continued 67 miles up the Rivanna Subdivision until it could be stopped by a brave roadforeman and superintendent, racing beside it on a C&O GP7, breaking the side window, knocking the throttle back to idle with a packing hook--then jumping across to the runaway loco moving 20 MPH. The C&O dispatcher noticed a movement on his CTC and knew that [luckily] there were no trains nearby and called the superintendent at home. There was a lot of high speed auto driving by several people attempting to catch up with the SCL 240. Luckily, no one was hurt and property damage was confined to a few broken switches. The FBI intestiaged what was an obvious case of sabotage, but never could prove anything against anyone, altough it is thought (to this day) to have been a disgruntled, dismissed employee. The story appears in March 1960 Trains, with a photo of the engine in Trains the following month.

-- Doug Riddell (, May 19, 2001.

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