Nancy Hanks Train Wrecksgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread
Does a relatively comprehensive list of Nancy Hanks (first one) train wrecks exist anywhere?
Specifically can someone out there shed light on a passenger train wreck that supposedly occured in the direct vicintiy of the Zetella Georgia depot.
Incidently, evidence of a freight train wreck near Zetella Georgia occurs in the Pike Co. Georgia newspaper of 1860's date.
This depot still exists as a family dwelling near the crossroads of GA 362 and Rover-Zetella Rd which is now a Griffin Georgia address. The tracks are long since gone. Was this the "Griffin" Nancy Hanks depot?
Can anyone provide a source for specific information on location of the Nancy Hanks (first one) rail beds and stations/stops?
Regards, Jameson Jenkins
-- Jameson Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 28, 2003
J. J., I know that the Nancy Hanks jumped the tracks July 6, 1949. I don't recall in we were 12 miles, or 40 miles. We were traveling about 60 miles per hour. I was enroute from Macon, GA to Charleston, SC. I was to change trains in Savannah.
-- Kenneth L. Newman (Kennethlnewman@cs.com), March 01, 2004.
I was born in Griffin in 1947 and grew up in Rover, Georgia, which is where you are talking about. I never knew of any train wrecks in the area. I know that it is now Central of Georgia Railroad Company, whick belongs to Norfolk Southern Corp. The tracks have been removed now. I will ask around to see if some old timers may know about any wrecks in Rover.
-- Charles Maloy (email@example.com), December 28, 2003.
1) Is there a definitive source(s) for the Southern Railway history?
"Southern Railway System Steam Locomotives and Boats" by R. E. Prince. Published by R. E. Prince.
2) There is a brief reference on the CoGHS website that several of the Nancy's jumped the track causing the cancellation of the Nancy Hanks (1). You state there is only one record of a wreck of the Nancy Hanks (1). Please elaborate.
I compiled that summary of Nancy Hanks information and the quote about some of the original Nancy Hanks trains "trotting off the tracks" is based on information from a secondary source. I suspect that Allen has a copy of a primary source, maybe from CofGa records, but don't know.
The Web site article in that sections was directed at: Why was the original Nancy Hanks canceled? Nobody today really knows for certain. The suggestion was that it was because the tracks were not capale of handling the speeds the train needed to make to meet its schedule, and the source only reported that some of the trains derailed, without listing details.
This seems like a plausible idea. The Central's tracks were supposedly not even ballasted in those days. It must have been difficult with manual labor to keep the tracks in good enough condition for the speeds the Nancy Hanks ran.
In the source publication derailment could be interpreted as anything from putting a couple wheels on the ground to a more serious accident like the one you mentioned. Only more serious accidents would have been reported in newspapers or in other public documentation. Even today when CSX or NS puts a wheel on the ground it is not reported unless it is serious wreck.
Of course, this leads to other questions about the original Nancy Hanks. Central ran other passenger trains at that time. How fast were they? Why didn't the Central just make the schedule longer and keep the Nancy Hanks train set? Derailing at high-speed often results in injuries and deaths. Nancy Hanks trains derailing at speed would have resulted in serious accidents, which would not have gone unnoticed.
I suspect that Central people knew that they were pushing the track to its limit and it only took one or two accidents for them to reduce running speed overall, or at least on troublesome sections, "temporarily," until the track could be brought up to requires specifications. The result was that train could not meet it schedule. It turned out to be too expensive (or impossible) to get the track in good enough shape, and the train was just discontinued.
Still leaves unanswered why the train was not just run on a less demanding schedule. It would be great to see a thorough investigation of these questions.
3) Short of many a tedious hour at the genealogy room, is there any other compilation of information on early train wrecks, incidents, etc., in Georgia? Southeastern US?
I have not seen one.
Sincerely, Ron. Wright
-- Ron. Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 28, 2003.
The best printed source for Southern Railway history is probably the Richard Prince book. It is out of print, but can sometimes be found on e-bay or at train shows. I do not have a copy of it, so perhaps someone else will provide you with the exact title. The Southern Railway Historical Association may also be able to provide you with further information (www.srha.net).
I don't know the source material used for the article on the web site. However, the December 1958 issue of the CofGa's company magazine (The Right Way) specifically notes that the first Nancy Hanks had "only one wreck." The article includes substantial quotes from the son of the regular engineer on the first Nancy Hanks.
The ICC investigates "modern" train wrecks, and their searchable collection of reports is available online at: http://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net/
Note that the earliest reports are from 1911. I am not aware of any other compilation of wreck information.
-- Allen Tuten (Allen@cofg.org), October 28, 2003.
Hi Allen, Thanks for the information.
Is there a definitive source(s) for the Southern Railway history?
There is a brief reference on the CoGHS website that several of the Nancys jumped the track causing the cancellation of the Nancy Hanks (1). You state there is only one record of a wreck of the Nancy Hanks (1). Please elaborate.
Short of many a tedious hour at the genealogy room, is there any other compilation of information on early train wrecks, incidents, etc., in Georgia? Southeastern US?
Regards, Jameson Jenkins
-- Jameson Jenkins (email@example.com), October 28, 2003.
The first Nancy Hanks passenger train began regular operations on the Central Railroad and Banking Company (predecessor of the Central of Georgia) between Savannah and Atlanta on January 22, 1893.
The references that we have note only one wreck involving the first Nancy Hanks. Although no date is given, it occured between Forsyth and Smarr while the Nancy Hanks was traveling at 60 mph. Both the engineer and fireman were slightly injured, but there were no fatalities.
The first Nancy Hanks was discontinued on August 13, 1893. It only operated for about 7 months.
Zetella, Georgia is on the Southern Railway. The Central of Georgia Railway Historical Society has no information concerning wrecks on the Southern. Since Zetella wasn't on the Central Railroad, the Nancy Hanks would not have travelled through that town.
Although there may have been some minor re-alignments over the years, the Central of Georgia's line from Savannah to Macon, and then from Macon to Atlanta, is the route that the first Nancy Hanks would have taken. I believe that entire route is still intact, even though ownership has passed from CofGa, to Southern, to Norfolk Southern.
The first Nancy Hanks had scheduled station stops at Guyton, Millen, Wadley, Tennille, Gordon, Macon, Macon Junction, Barnesville, Griffin, Jonesboro, Hapeville, and Atlanta.
-- Allen Tuten (Allen@cofg.org), October 28, 2003.