small group of onlookers and
Virginia workers gather to watch
the clean-up of the wreck. At
about 7:00 p. m., on March 9,
1949, 16 cars and 2 locomotives
derailed at Cirtsville crossing.
Virginian freight train was moving
at about 20 MPH when the lead
engine jumped the track. It was
believed that a split or
"cocked" switch was the
cause of the accident.
The great force of the
wreck hurled VGN engine #701 around like a toy. #701 was a 2-8-8-2 Mallet
built by Alco in 1919, originally classified as Class USA by the VGN. Just a
year before the wreck, #701 had been rebuilt in the VGN's Princeton Shops in
April 1948 and was reclassified as Class USD.
Virginian crewmen, shaken up in
the crash, were taken to Oak
Hill hospital for X-rays and
treatment. The engineer of the
2nd engine (# 736) of the
double-header, William Sowers of
the Page area, suffered possible
broken ribs. His fireman, A. M.
Jackson, suffered a hand injury.
Two Elmore area men, Ira Stone,
Engineer, and R. W. French, on
the lead engine (# 701), escaped
with minor bruises as did a
brakemean, who was unidentified.
# 736, a 2-8-8-2 Mallet classified
as Class USE by the Virginian, was
built in 1919 by Alco. This
locomotive was originally N&W
# 2014. After being sold to
AT&SF in 1943, the engine
returned to the W.Va. Coalfields,
being purchase by the VGN in Dec.
of the train's cars and two nearly
identical Mallets locomotives,
weighting over 240 tons each, were
overturned in the wreck. The
freight train was enroute to
Dickinson, Page County, Virginia.
However the Virginian train crews
would have been swapped with crews
from eastbbound trains at the