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U.s. f P IoeTOp'Y j
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION.
REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF SAFETY, COVERING
THE INVESTIGATION OF AN ACCIDENT WHICH OCCURRED
ON THE KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY NEAR AIR LINE
JUNCTION, MO., ON OCTOBER 19, 1914.
NOVEMBER 9, 1914.
To TIlE COMMISSION:
On October 19, 1914, there was a deraililivent of a pa)e-nger train
on the Kansas City Southern Railway near Air Line Junction, MIo.,
which resulted in the death of the engineman and the injury of the
fireman. After investigation of this accident, the chief of the divi-
sion of safety reports as follows:
The train involved in this derailment was southbound train No. 7,
consisting of one combination coach and one coach, hauled by loco-
motive No. 51, and was in charge of Conductor Courtway and
Engineman Letters. It left Knoche Junction, Mo., at 6.25 a. m.,
'10 minutes late, bound for Independence, Mo., and at 6.45 a. m. was
derailed at a point about 1 1 miles south of Air Line Junction, while
running at a speed of about 15 miles per hour.
After derailment the locomotive turned over and went down a
10-foot embankment on the right side of the (rack. Both passenger
cars were derailed, with the exception of one wheel on the rear truck
of the second car. These cars remained at the top of the cmibalik-
ment and were undamaged.
This accident occurred on a single-track line. Train movements
between Air Line Junction and Sugar Creek Junciltion, between
which two points this accident occurred, are governed by block
clearance cards, issued by operators, this block system being absolute.
The track is laid with 65-pound rails, the majority of which are 30
feet in length, single spiked to about 19 oak ties under each rail, tie-
plated in places. Both two and four bolt angle bars are used. The
track is ballasted with cinders. The derailmelnt occurred on a curve
to the right of 5 degrees 16 minutes, at a point about 100 feet lbevinnd
the beginning of the curve, at which point the grade was about 1
per cent ascending for southbound trains. The approximate eleva-
tion on the outside rail on this curve was 2 inches. The weather
The foreman stated that the first indication of derailment was
when the engine began to run along on the ties. Neither he nor the
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION.
(Ienginmiina had an opportunity of jumping, both goir
the engine, the fireman being thrown clear.
The statements of all the employees on train No.
the speed was very moderate at the time of deraih .ic, the i
having left its last stopping point, less than 2 miles distant,
minutes prior to the occurrence of the accident.
Examination of the track showed that the wheels of the locomotive
had dr,,ppedl down inside of the outer rail of the curve, due to the
spreading of the inside rail. There were flange marks on the inside
of the wel s of the next two rails, which indicated that these rails had
turned over, the locomotive running along on the we1 s. At this
No. 1.-View of track approaching point of derailment from the north.
point the angle bars gave way and the locomotive ran over the ties
an additional two rail lengths before the coupling was broken between
the engine and tender, the engine turning over and going down the
emba kinkllnt on the inside of the curve.
The track for a distance of one-half mile on ealch side of the point.
of derlilmlnt, was f, 'und to be in bad condition, and in many instances
the gauge was tight at the rail joints while at the centers the rails
wore spread out ward. In some of these cases the gauge at the joints
was 4 feet 8 ichles, while at the centers it xwas 4 feet 94 inches. This
condition is shown in illust ration No. 1, a view taken from the north,
lookinllg toward the point of the accident. Illustratiotn No. 2 shows
a similar -lndition exi-ting south of the point of derailment. Two
rail, wrv.l found with crescent-shaped breaks in the flange on the
in-ide, one 6 inch es in length and ,ono 11 inches in length. About 50(
ACCIDENT NF-.,\l AIR LINE JUNCTION, MO., OCTOBER 19, lI!l4. 3
ir~p' .o,. vere found having only one or two bolts it them, this con-
'luo to the fact that some of the railis had no bolt holes
1, while others were so ad1,lly matcli
1'tt'rtion Iv i. 3 shows the use of a broken ;a ngle bar at a rail joint,
~a lIle illistratii.ns Nos. 4 and 5 show the II-- of angle bars in c;-,-
where no bolt holes were drilled in the rail, or the bolt holes in the
rails did not match with the holes in the Ugle bars. Tw\enty-five
angle bars w\ere found in this mile of track which were broken or badly
-ihenared, while in some cases there were spaces of as much as 2 inches
between the ends of the rails.
No. 2.-View of track south of point of accident.
This examination of the track also developed a poor ci editionn of
spiking. Many could be drawn by hand, while in other places five
or six consecutive ties had no spikes in them. It was also found that
in some places spikes had been loosened until they were from three-
quarters of an inch to 1 inch away from the base of the rail; in one
rail only two spikes out of 17 consecutive spikes on the inside of the
rail were holding the same. Many ties were found which were not
in serviceablee condition, the ends being broken off. Illustration
No. 6 shows the ends of broken ties which had been allowed to remain
in the track.
Discussing the track conditions, Division EngLineer Bayse stated
that the appropriation allowed for maintenance on the Terminal
Division, on whose tracks this accident occurred, was used in the en-
4 INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION.
deavor to keep up the \weak points in order to keep traffic moving,
although they were not always successful in doing this before acci-
dents occurred. Mr. Bayse further stated that the track on which
this del'rillnent occurred was in the same condition as when he
took charge, one Nyear previously, no improvement of conditions
No. 3.-Use of broken angle bar at joint.
having been inlile, although there had been 10 or 12 derailmnents
in that time.
Locomotive No. 51 is a six-wheel switching locomotive. It is not
adapted to p;e-;c ngr service, but on account of the fact that the
locomotive regularly ;i-igned to this run had been in the shops since
No. 4.-Use of angle bars not matched with holes drilled in rails, or where no holes had been drilled
August, six-wheel switching locomotives had been used to haul this
train since that time. Examination of locomotive No. 51 showed
the lateral motion, flalngcs, etc., to be in good cinditioni, and there
was nothing about the engine which it was believed could have been
responsible for the derailnent.
ACCIDENT NEAR AIR LINE JUNCTION, MO., OCr'OIlEH 19, 1914. 5
This accident was caused by the spreading and turniiIng, o(er of
three rails on the inside of the curve, due to the existence of track
conditions which were so bad as not to permit of the operation of
trains in safety. The1 iralck conditions were extrciit-ly dangerous,
No. 5.-Improper use of angle bars; same condition as shown in figure No. 4.
embracing bad ties, worn and bent rails, short and broken angle
bars, joints fastened with but one or two bolts, on account of rails
undrilled at the ends, or angle-bar holes not registering with the
No. 6.-Ties remaining in track with ends broken off.
holes drilled in the rails, loose and mini.ing spikes, and track out of
surface, g;iuge, and alignment.
In connection with previous accident, investigations, attention has
been called to the fact that many derailments have been due to the
existence of track conditions so bad as to constitute a dangerous
6 INTERSTATE COMMERCE CO1.MMSSION.
menace to the traveling public. In many cases the speed of the
train-i involved has been a contributing factor, the speed limits
allowed having been higher than seemed to be warranted by the track
conditions. In the case of the accident here under investigation,
how\\ver, the question of speed is not involved, there being no doubt
that the track conditions existing in the vicinity of this derailment
w-ere such that rains could not be operated with safety even at low
H. W. BELN .P,
Chief of Division of Safety.
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