mime-version: 1.0 content-location: file:///C:/251B9221/Accidents-Montana.htm content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable content-type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" TT00002

Accidents, Montana            = ;            &= nbsp;           &nb= sp;            = ;      TT00002

08/= 12/01 10:42  D. T. Sprau<= /b>        =    Ron Nixon told me (while showing his photos of the wreck) that as he walked to= ward the scene he encountered the engineer and the fireman walking down the hig= hway away from the wreck. Both of them had very short conversations with Ron, w= hom they knew, and they expressed the fear that the passengers might harm them= . I will leave it at that without further comment or speculation. However I sh= ould opine that these catastrophes should not become a personal thing against anyone. The engineer had some relatives who also were railroaders. I worked with one of them; professional and competent in every way.  Evaro= NCL North Coast Limited Ron Nixon  Compiler  C Frissell


08/= 12/01 17:57  Dick Carlson        >> What happened to cause the wreck? I don't want to speculate for fear of offending any on= e, I am just curious if the NTSB or equivalent found the cause of the accident<= span class=3DGramE>?<<  Speed was the cause. I will let someone more knowledgeable and who was involved answer the why as the only information I remember is hearsay.  Evaro= NCL North Coast Limited speed  Compiler  C Frissell


08/= 12/01 20:29  Jim Woodward      For NPRHA member= s and others who have it, the NPRHA Mainstreeter  Volume 7, Number 4 (Fall 1988) has a five page article by Bill  Kuebler on the Evaro Wreck, which occurred the morning of June 10,  1962. Speed was certainly a facto= r, with the NCL estimated to be  traveling at 87 mph into a 30 mph curve. Bill's article contains  addit= ional details regarding the circumstances that led to this  situation.   For those who have access t= o the NPTellTale via groups. yahoo.com= ,  check the bottom of messag= e 2347 for a brief synopsis of a major  underlying cause of the wreck.&nbs= p; I almost was on #26 that morning. My mother and I had taken the NCL  from Butte to Seattle f= or the Worlds Fair, and were originally  planning to return to = Butte on that particular train, but our plans&n= bsp; changed.  Evaro NCL North Coast Limited source  Compiler  C Frissell


08/= 14/01 19:19  Bill Kuebler          1. Re: Evaro & Sprau. Dave's right. The engineer on No. 26 had relatives who worked for the NP, = and from everything I've learned about them from reliable sources who knew and worked with them, they were good, dedica= ted employees. What happened at Evaro should in NO= way adversely reflect upon them whatsoever. Ron Nixon told me the whole (I thi= nk) story about his encounter with the two enginemen at E= varo (Ron's story to me corroborates Dave's account), and also about what he di= d as soon as he took those pictures of the wreck--his first pic was 15 minutes after it happened (the dust had hardly settled). After Ron = took all those pics, he left town under an alias, q= uietly ensconced in a roomette on No. 25, and went to Portland, so as to avoid be= ing subpoenaed for the court hearings--and I don't blame him one bit. It was u= gly, and as it was, one of Ron's photos (he took it without realizing what it captured) was used as evidence to show that a member of the engine or train crew had tampered with an angle cock on the forward end of the water bagga= ge car, right after the accident, so as to make it look like brake failure had caused the accident. Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys were after= Ron to testify, which is mainly why he left town. He gave no testimony, at lea= st not in court.  The situation = with No. 26 was most unfortunate. Frankly, the article I wrote about it for the Mainstreeter was tough from the standpoint of the nature of the event. I debated about whether or not to write that article, but then decided that = it was as much a part of NP history as was any other major event, good or bad. Since the story needed to be told, I tried to tell it as accurately as possible, and in reasonably complete (though not exhaustive) form. There is always more to say. For example, I intentionally omitted the crew names, e= ven though they are easy to discover and are a part of the public record. My opinion now, recently changed and shared by many, is that they should appe= ar in a treatment of the event, but only after a long-enough period of time has passed (it has) and only if the story is properly told (it will be, in the= NCL book).  When I think of the <= span class=3DSpellE>Evaro accident, a line from Clint Eastwood's "D= irty Harry" character comes to mind. With a bit of alteration to fit it to= this occasion, it would go something like this: "Ya know, there must be a thousand good things about alco= hol consumption...but right now, I just can't think of one."  Those were sad days for NP employ= ees everywhere.  2. Carlson &= Aspebakken Dick, good to hear from you again! No nee= d to apologize for being away...ya gotta do whatcha gotta d= o. Just post when you can; your accounts are greatly appreciated by all--and saved, too.  As for the 2.5 or 3-inch elevations on Butte Mountain...interes= ting but not surprising. I guessed three inches account the Evaro accident curve being 3 inches, although it was only six degrees (six degre= es, ten minutes, to be exact), not twelve. Lots of other curves on the Evaro line sharper than that one, but of all the one= s they could have gone off, that was perhaps the least dangerous one, so they were real lucky compared with what one might expect in that territory for an 87 mile-per-hour eastbound train. Two curves farther, it would have been far = worse for train 26. And just beyond that...Marent Tr= estle. Anyway, I was curious if the = Butte line was engineered pretty much the same as the Evaro= line, as the two territories are quite similar, track-wise. Incidentally, = in case anybody's curious, the curve in the Evaro accident had been laid in 1947 with 131-pound rail, tie-plated with canted single-shoulder tieplates having two rail-hold= ing spikes and two plate-holding screw spikes per tieplat= e, and four-hole 24-inch jointbars. Sound familiar, Dick? Evaro NCL North Coast L= imited source  Compile= r  C Frissell


06/= 09/02 11:35  John Aspebakken    Tomorrow morning, June 10 at 4:35 a= m MST (5:35 am MDT) it will be  exa= ctly 40 years since the North Coast Limited left the rails at high  speed just east of Evaro, Montana, west of Missoula.   This was a particulary dark day in the = history of the NP as this&nbs= p; incident resulted in the only passenger fatality ever record= ed in the  70 year history of the N= orth Coast Limited. A three year old girl  traveling with her family,= Teresa Ann Dooms, suffocated after being  <= /span>buried in mud that was scooped into the leading door of dome car 552  as it slid down a rain soaked hil= lside and came to an abrupt halt at  the shoulder of US Highway 93 paralleling the tracks.  I was a month short of seven year= s old at the time of this accident.  I lived with my parents and three year old sister in the section  house at the west end of Plateau = siding, a little east of Plateau  tun= nel between Lothrop and Cyr, across the river on t= he "Natural Pier  Bridge&qu= ot; from the Milwaukee town of Alberton. My Dad had recently bid  in on the section foreman job at Florence, i= n the Bitterroot Valley,  so he was gone during the week, b= ut since this was a Sunday morning  he was at home.   I'm not s= ure how my Dad learned of the Evaro wreck. It may have= been  from the signal maintainer who lived across the track from us and had  company phone lines in the house = (we had no phone), or it may have  ju= st been from the regular TV or radio news. In any case when he=   found out about it he put = me in our '59 Plymouth and drove the 30  miles from = Plateau to Evaro. We arrived there about the middle of  that= fateful Sunday.   We slowed to a= crawl as we approached the right hand curve on Highway  93 just south of the wreck= site. There were a lot of cars parked  along the shoulders of the highway, with workers and others who had&= nbsp; come to see the wreck site. We parked and got out of the car, then  started to walk around the curve. My dad stopped to talk to sever= al  NP employees he knew who h= ad also come to see the wreck site.   <= /span>Bear in mind that while I had been around railroads all my life, we  lived on the "low&quo= t; line between Missoula and Paradise used  exclusively by frieghts, so I did not have a lot of exposure to  passenger trains. I suppose I had= seen the Mainstreeter in Missoula  on Sat= urday afternoons on occasion when we were in town shopping. = I  may have seen some picture= s of the NCL, butI had not yet actually  ridden any train.   We continued around the cur= ve until we finally saw the cars and  locomotives strewn all ove= r the hillside in all conceivable  positions. I distinctly remember one of the first things we saw was  the= lead locomotive unit laying on its side with the nose almost  touching the shoulder of the road= . I also vividly remember that dome  car aimed down the hillsid= e with its front end jammed into the side  of the highway. This was perhaps the most impressionable sight to  me, = both the odd position of the car, and the fact that I don't think  I had ever seen a dome car before= .   I don't know if I was aware= at that time that a little girl, who was  the same age as my younger sister, had died there that morning, but=   that fact would weigh on me in la= ter years.  As many of us are inv= olved in the transportation industry are well  aware, it is a sad occasio= n any time an incident happens that results&nbs= p; in the loss of life or bad injuries. When that loss of life occurs  to persons, and particularly to little children, who have been  entrusted to our care, it is even= more poignant. That this happened  only once to passengers on the premier train of the Northern Pacific  Railway is a tremendous tribute t= o the fine work ethic of the  emplo= yees of that railroad. Still I am sure that this incident must=   have been a serious blow t= o the pride of those employees.  So= on this Sunday morning, 40 years after the fact, in the t= rue  spirit of NP employees, I = feel compelled to take a moment to reflect&nbs= p; and pray for those who were impacted by this incident, the railroad=   employees, the emergency personne= l who responded, and particularly  = the Dooms' family whose lives were undoubtedly changed forever by the  loss of their little girl.  Evaro= NCL North Coast Limited Compiler  C Fri= ssell


06/= 10/02 7:31    Bill Kuebler          Aspebakken wrote:  > That this happened > only once to passengers on the premier train of the > Nor= thern Pacific > Railway is a tremendous tribute to the fine work ethic of >= ; the > employees of that railroad. Still I am sure that this > incident m= ust > have been a serious blow to the pride of those employees.  Both of the above two statements a= re absolutely true. When one stops to think about the operating conditions fa= ced by the railroads in the northern tier states--mountains, snow, cold, heat, thunderstorm downpours (now called "micro bursts"), floods, slid= es--one must conclude that their safety records, and especially that of the NP, we= re beyond remarkable. They were outstanding. I have often cited the statistic= of the North Coast's one-only passenger fatali= ty in its 70-year NP operation to non-rail fans, people I work with, etc., and q= uite often they simply don't believe me. Ironically, what with Amtrak's less-than-sterling safety record (arguably better than that of today's air= lines and far better than that of automobiles), some of the people I work with h= ave this notion that passenger trains derail every week, which is nonsense. Ev= en so, Amtrak has come nowhere close to the fine record achieved by the NCL a= nd other trains of that era. When I describe to non-rail fans the NCL operati= on under steam, then early diesel, in the operating conditions the NP faced, = well, they find the cited fatality statistic to be amazing.  > > > So on this Sunday morning, 40 years after the fact, in the > true > spirit of NP emplo= yees, I feel compelled to take a moment > to reflect > and pray for those = who were impacted by this incident, the > railroad > employees, the emer= gency personnel who responded, and > particularly > the Dooms' family whose lives were undoubtedly changed > forever by the > loss of their litt= le girl.  She would be about 43 = or 44 years old today. She was traveling with her mother and one other relative. What's worse, had a Nashville= man by the name of Aaron Scott not given up his coach seat for the Dooms g= irl to stretch out (Scott slept up in the dome), the girl might not have been killed. Scott's seat was at the front of the car, whereas Dooms' assigned = seat was further back. First-hand accounts described how the girl's mother claw= ed her way through the mud to rescue her young girl--but it was too late. As = for NP employees, their lives, too, were impacted across the system and for a long time. I had a conductor friend who was working No. 25 out of Fargo one night. One of the coach pass= engers who had boarded that night stopped the conductor as he walked past in the coach, and said something to him like, "Say, what's with this drunken outfit anyway?" and other such remarks, all alluding to the Evaro accident. This was in 1966, four years after t= he event.  Todd Wilson writes:   > Does anyone know what = the > cause of the wreck was? Seems like he said the train was going too fa= st for the curve. > Railroad and ICC officials knew the cause almost immediately. Excessive speed? Well, yes. One of= the first officials to arrive on the scene went right for the speed recorded i= n the cab of the 6510A, and when he studied it, he simply disbelieved what it sh= owed. The train's speed had increased so rapidly and to such a high value that h= is first thought was that the recorder had malfunctioned. It was later tested= and found to be accurate. At the point of derailment, the speed was rapidly accelerating past the 87 MPH mark. This was a 30-MPH curve.  Blood alcohol tests of the engine= er and fireman taken a few hours after the accident revealed that at the time of = the accident, both were inebriated, well past the "legal limit" for driving an automobile. The train went over the summit at 54 MPH, instead o= f the usual 30, with the throttle in Run 8 and ran that way all the way down to = the point of derailment. There was no brake application. The rear brakeman was asleep in the rear dome, so there was no running brake test prior to summi= t, a test required by rule.  Incidentally, there may have been only one passenger fatality in th= at accident, but in all probability, the accident actually caused two fatalit= ies. The road foreman of engines who was the supervisor of the engine crew invo= lved committed suicide not long after the accident.  Evaro= NCL North Coast Limited Compiler  C Fri= ssell


07/= 07/02 21:48  Bill Kuebler          Fairchild AFB about a dozen years a= go. They were practicing a low-level pass for an upcoming airshow, messed up, and crashed on the field, killing all aboard. One who was not a= board (since the flight was a practice for an air show) was that crew's boom operator. Headed home, he stopped his car just long enough to watch his cr= ew do a pass. The airplane crashed into his car and he was killed.  Which brings = up a general thought about "coincidences." Several NP ones com= e to mind. Like the fateful 1917, a W-2 smacked head-on by = Extra 6011D west at Wibaux on 9/20/54. Dickinson crews really liked the 1917 in yard service, where it usually served the N= P in those years. They said it was the best steaming W-2 and had all kinds of n= ice characteristics for an engine of that vintage. However, a periodic trip to Glendive for boiler cleaning and some other routine maintenance meant that= it was on the mainline local, on its way home, on that fateful morning. The e= ngine was destroyed, even though it had at least one or two good years left in i= t, diesels notwithstanding. Dickinson crews were almost as sorry to hear about their favorite yard engine's demise as they were to hear that one of the m= ost respected enginemen, "Deacon" Hunter Picken= , was critically injured in the collision. As a further "strange,"= Engineer Picken was actually pronounced dead at the sce= ne of the wreck--by three different men.  Then there was young Brakeman Diebel on= the 1917 crew. Like that boom operator, he was unknowingly in a very vulnerable spot. Unlike the boom operator, Diebel survive= d. The brakeman was just about to cross the track behind the stopped 1917, but for some strange reason, hesitated. Just as he hesitated, the 1917 was smacked= by Extra 6011D West. He would have been run over by the W-2. As it was, the "flying" W-2 hit his arm and bruised it. By coincidence, his dad, Tony Diebel, was at that moment in the rear ca= b of X6011W, praying to God that the flying boxcars would miss him. They came a= t him every which way. All of them missed him.&= nbsp; Luck can run either way.  Then there's NP caboose 1005 and dome sleeper 314. These two pieces= of rolling stock have one thing in common, making them all but unique among t= heir peers. There is no known photograph of either. Were these cars operated by= the CIA? Did men in dark suits with wires in their ears appear out of nowhere = and rip the film out of cameras suspected of having captured these cars? I have seen at least four or five photos, and in some cases as many as dozens, of= all ten of the other dome sleepers. As for the cabooses, I have or have seen p= hotos of 1000-1018 and most of the other 31 in that group, except for the '05 th= at is.  Then there's NPRHA membe= r Duane Durr. One day, circa 1964, he looks out the wi= ndow of his car wash on west Main= Avenue in Fargo, only to see 603 storming out of town--with a loose truck trailer aboard one of = the flatcars. A phone call to the right NP people resulted in a big save. Then= ...a few weeks later, the same thing happened. Same train, time-of-day, place, = and scenario, but...different date and trailer. Another phone call saved the d= ay, and just in time, as by then the trailer had somehow lodged between its fl= atcar and the car behind. A few days later still, Duane stops by the Fargo Divis= ion headquarters building to look around. As one "official" is about= to throw him out, another, more senior, official quickly educates the lesser = one as to Duane's previous saves and then tells Duane he can come around the property any time he wishes. Interesting coincidences = with a good ending. (Duane's story reminds me of the fact that I was never= once thrown off NP property, in spite of being in a lot of places I wasn't supp= osed to be.)  = Finally, a personal one. I was sitting in a fine slide show at an NPRHA convention a few years ago when, out of the blue, the slide shower shows t= his slide of NP No. 1 at the Farg= o depot "sometime in 1969." In the image, No. 1's rear brakeman is busily chatting with a well-dressed man. The two men appear in the left foreground, almost dominating the scene, and it looks kind of awkward. Som= eone in the audience wonders half to himself what that was all about, so I quie= tly told him. Brakeman Gregory Belland was trying desperately to divert the NP exec's attention away from No. 1, because I h= ad just jumped aboard the rear car to hide in one of the roomettes (extra sle= eping car that trip). The porter on the bottom vestibule step is dutifully block= ing the view of the retreating kid as best he can. The scene was stunning; all= the details were there. It was somewhat eerie, not having known that a camera = was around that day. (I was busy doing other things at the time!) Our trip back home that night on No. 26 was much easier. Anyway, thirty years later...this slide show.  It has been said that there is no= such thing as a "coincidence" and that everything is somehow "rigged". I beg to differ.  "Deacon" Hunter Picken 1938 E= xtra 5105 East Z-6 Missoula Ray Harstick Willis Wibaux=   Compiler  C Frissell