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A 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.

The 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.

Five 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.

Engine # 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. 1947.

Thirteen 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 Mullens yard.

  Cirtsville Wreck #2 -- More images from the 1949 VGN Ry. wreck.



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