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INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF SAFETY
IN RE INVESTIGATION OF AN ACCIDENT WHICH
OCCURRED ON THE DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN
RAILROAD NEAR GRANITE, COLO., ON AUGUST 20, 1925.
(OC'TcBu E s. 1'l.;..
To the Commission:
On August 20, 1925, there was a head-end collision between t\\r,
passenger trains on the Denver & Rio (rande Western Railroad
near Granite, Colo., which resulted in the death of 2 employees, and.
the injury of 96 passengers, 19 employees of the railroad company.,
and 2 Pullman employees. The investigation of this accident wva:.
made in conjunction with representatives of the Colorado Public
LOCATION AND METHOD OF OPETIONN A E OF rETI
This accident occurred on subdivision 3 of the Salida Division.
extending between Minturn and Salida. Colo., a distance of 86..S5
miles. In the vicinity of the point of accident this is a single-trark
line over which trains are operated by time-table and train orders..
no block-signal system being in use. Eastbound trains are superior
to westbound trains of the same class. Under the rules train orders
on Form 19 may be used in restricting the superiority of trains, with
certain exceptions. The point of accident was about 114" miles east
of Granite, the alignment of the track in each direction consisting
of a series of short curves and tangents. Approaching from the
east the last curve is a 4 curve to the right about 540 feet in length,
followed by tangent track to the point of collision, a distance of
about 350 feet; approaching from the west there is a compound
curve to the left 1,178 feet in length with a maximum curvature of
120, about 150 feet of tangent and then a 120 curve to the right 305.
feet in length, followed by about 55 feet of tangent extending to
the point of accident. The grade is generally ascending for west-
bound trains for a considerable distance in each direction from the
point of accident, with the exception of a short stretch of level track
in the immediate vicinity of the point of accident, the maximum
grade being 1.70 per cent. The crews of a pproachin trains could
not see each other a distance of more han J4 .fM.. FL LIU,
The weather was cloudy at the ti e oMI f h o
curred at 2.58 p. m.
5589-25 l. lt a
4tA. BEPOc TORY
2 INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
Westbound passenger train No. 7 consisted of one baggage car, one
private car, five sleeping cars, two dining cars, three sleeping cars, and
one observation sleeping car, in the order named, hauled by engines
759 and 787, and was in charge of Conductor Conway and Engine-
men Willingham and Duncan. The second, eighth, and ninth cars
were of steel-underframe construction, the remainder being of all-
steel construction. At Salida, 42.2 miles from Granite, the crew in
charge received a clearance card, together with a copy of train order
No. 65, Form 19, reading as follows:
No. 7 Engs 787-759 wait at Brown Canon until one thirty five 1.35 p. m.
Arena one forty five 1.45 p. m. for Exa 1186 east, hold main track meet No.
8 Eng 778 at Pine Creek.
Pine Creek is 5.16 miles east of Granite. Train No. 7 left Salida
at 1.19 p. m., 44 minutes late, and when passing Buena Vista, 16.99
miles from Granite and the last open office, the crew received a
clearance card together with train orders Nos. 67, 71, and 72, all on
Form 19, these orders reading as follows:
No. 7 Engs 787-759 run twenty five 25 mins late Americus to Waco. Twenty
20 mins late Waco to Ma.lta. Fifteen 15 mins late Malta to Tenn. Pass.
No. 8 Eng 778 take siding meet No. I Engs 759-787 at Granite instead of
No. 7 Engs 759-787 wait at Pine Creek until two thirty six 2.36 p. m.
Train No. 7 passed Buena Vista at 2.14 p. m., 34 minutes late,
passed Pine Creek, and was approaching Granite moving at a speed
of about 18 miles an hour when it collided with train No. 8.
Eastbound passenger train No. 8 consisted of one combination car,
five sleeping cars, two dining cars, five sleeping cars, and one observa-
tion sleeping car, hauled by engine 778, and was in charge of Con-
ductor McGary and Engineman Clare. The seventh and eighth
cars were of steel-underframe construction, the remainder being
of all-steel construction. On the arrival of this train at Ten-
nessee Pass, 23.68 miles from Granite, the crew in charge received
a clearance card, together with copies of train orders Nos. 56, 65,
<69, and 72, all on Form 19. Train order No. 65 was worded
the same as the train order of that number delivered to the crew of
train No. 7. Train orders Nos. 56, 69, and 72 read as follows:
No. 8 Eng 778 wait at Tenn. Pass until one forty 1.40 p. m. Keddar one
forty-.seven 1.47 p .m. Multa one fifty six 1.56 p. m. Snowden two two 2.02
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
p. m. Kobe two seven 2.07 p. m. Granite two fifteen 2.15 p. m. Riverside two
twenty eight 2.28 p. m. Buena Vista two thirty nine 2.39 p. m. Nathrop two
forty nine 2.49 p. m. Arena two fifty nine 2.59 p. m. Brown Canon three eight
3.08 p. m. Belleview three thirteen 3.13 p. m.
No. 8 Eng 778 run twenty 20 mins late on order No. 56 Tenn. Pass to S;lid;i.
No. 8 Eng 778 run thirty five 35 mins late on order No. 56 Tenn. Pass to
A copy of train order No. 71, previously quoted, had been put
out by dispatcher to the operator at Tennessee Pass for the crew
of train No. 8, but this order was not delivered. Train No. 8
departed from Tennessee Pass at 2.19 p. m., 3 hours and 29 minutes
late on its time-table schedule and 39 minutes late on train order
No. 56, received a clearance when passing Malta, passed Granite
at 2.55 p. m., 3 hours and 11 minutes late on its time-table schedule
and 40 minutes late on train order No. 56, and collided with train
No. 7 at a point east of Granite while traveling at a speed estimated
to have been about 30 miles an hour.
Engine 759, the lead engine of train No. 7, was derailed, but
remained in an upright position, with its own tender, together with
engine 787, on top of it; none of the cars in train No. 7 was derailed
or seriously damaged. Engine 778 and the first four cars in train
No. 8 were derailed, but remained upright. All of the engines were
Considerably damaged. The employees killed were the fireman of
train No. 8 and the fireman of the second engine of train No. 7.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
According to Operator Rehklau, on duty at Tennessee Pass, he
received train orders Nos. 56, 65, 69, 71, and 72, all of these being for
delivery to the crew of train No. 8. The first four of these orders
were separated ready for delivery when he received train order
No. 72; and after receiving this order, directing train No. 8 to run
35 minutes late on train order No. 56, he decided to file train order
No. 69, which directed No. 8 to run 20 minutes late, but through
error he took out the copies of train order No. 71, threw away the
carbon copies, and filed the original. He then filled out the clear-
ance from the orders he then had on hand, entering on it the num-
bers of those orders, and he said that he read off the numbers from
the clearance card when repeating them to the dispatcher, reading
them from right to left; that is, in the following order: 72, 69, 65,
and 56, ind he said he did not include train order No. 71 among
those numbers which he repeated to the dispatcher. He said he
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
received the dispatcher's 0. K. to the clearance and that he did not
know train order No. 71 had not been delivered until the dispatcher
(nliled him on the telephone at al)out tli, timn the accident occullrred.
Operator Rehklau further .-tat that lhe'int.nded to file trainil order
No. (;!, without receiving instructions to do so, and that this had been
done so often in previous cases as to make it almost a matter of
reil;dar procedure. He admitted that the proper way would have
been to have had the order anm:lled by the dispatcher. In this con-
nection he made the statemiit that the dispatcher made the remark,
"You are not giving them both of those run-late orders," or w-,ords
to that effect, and that he replied in thenegative this co era ion,
however, was after he had filed the order.
Dispatcher Smith, on duty at the time of the accident, said that
previous to that day the telegraph office at Granite had been cloIsed
at 1 p. in., that when he came on duty at 8 a. m. that day the dis-
patlcher he was to relieve was extremely busy, and that he himself
sat down to work without going through the bulletins, etc., and
therefore did not know that the hours of the office at Granite had
belen changed, as a result of which the office would be open until
4 p. m., his first knowledge of this fact being when the operator at
Granite called him on the telephone for some purpose which he didi
not recall. Shortly afterwards he gave Operator Berger, on duty
at Granite, a train order for delivery to the crew of train No. 7, this
being at about 2.25 p. m., but told him not to hang out the yellow flag
I..- d to indicate that there are orders on Form 19 to be delivered to
the crew of an approaching train, inasmuch as train No. 8 was going
to take the siding and meet train No. 7 at that point, and he was
afraid that if the engineman of train No. 8 saw the yellow flag dis-
played he would conclude that the meeting point had been changed
and would approach the station on the main track instead of entering
the parsing track at the west. switch. Dispatcher Smith also told
Operator Berger to let him know when train No. 8 arrived and that
he would tell him when to hang out the yellow flag for train No. 7.
Sometime later Operator Berger called him on the telephone and
said he had heard the whistle of train No. 7, and he told the operator
tliat it must have been train No. 8 as train No. 7 had not had time
to reach Granite. Operator Berger then told him train No. 8 was
aplproaching on the main track,and inquired if he should stop it, and
Dispatcher Smith said lie at once told the operator to place the
train-order board in the stop position and to go out and stop the
tr;in. his first idea being that the crew of train No. 8 had over-
looked that part of their meet order requiring them to take the siding.
Shirtlv afterwards Operator merger returned to the telephone and
told him lie thought he had stopped the train, saving he had placed
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
the train-order board in the stop position and also had1 given the
flagman of train No. 8 an eniergency stop signal. In the iiieaiiltii
D)ispatcher Smiith called Operator IR hkl;iu at Tenrnessee Pass, alked
him if he had given train order No. 71 to the crew of train No. 8,
and at this time found that the crew did not have the order.
While Operator Rehklau said that in reading the numbliers of the
orders to the dispatcher he read them in the following order: 72, (!9,
65, and 56, yet in the dispatcher's train-order book the nlmbelrs of
the orders appeared as follows: 71, 72, 69, 6.), and 56. Dispatcher
Smith said the dispatchers endeavored to have the operators give the
numbers in numerical order, beginning with the highest number,
and when asked how train order No. 71 appeared in his train-order
book preceding train order No. 72 he replied that he copied the
numbl)ers exactly as repeated by Operator Rehkliau and that in his
opinion the operator had separated from the other orders the one
which he thought was train order No. CO but which was actually
train order No. 71 and placed it on top of the others, intending to
ask the dispatcher for an annullment, and then when reading the
numbers to the dispatcher preparatory to clearing the train he read
the number of this order first followed by the others. He also said
Operator Rehklau made the remark that he had one order which
was going to be annulled. Dispatcher Smith further stated that
ordinarily when orders are not to be delivered to trains an annul-
ment order is issued to the operator, but that he had known of a
few cases where such annulment orders were not issued. He did not
recall any conversation with Operator Rehklai in which he sug-
gested to the operator in any way that train order No. 69 should
When asked why he did not put out train order No. 71 at the
meeting point, Dispatcher Smith said it was because he did not
know the office at Granite was open. As a matter of fact, however,
there was ample opportunity, had he so desired, of giving the order
to the operator at Granite after he ascertained that the office was
open, and it developed that during the 12 years he had been em-
ployed as a dispatcher he had never used the so-called middle order
and that, although he had never brought this matter to the attention
of the management, yet Mr. Carter, a trainmaster, had inspected
the train-order books and had never taken exception to the failure to
use the middle order.
Tennessee Pass is a registering station as well as a point at which
trains are inspected, and under such circumstances trains are likely
to be at that point for a period of several minutes. Dispatcher
Smith was asked why, in view of this fact. it would not have been
an additional safeguard to have used an order on Form 31 when
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
changing the meeting point between trains Nos. 7 and 8, thereby
still further restricting the rights of the superior train, and he
said it might have been an additional safeguard, and when asked
if it would not have prevented the accident. he said it might have
gone a long way in that direction, but that under the new book
of rules, which took effect on March 1, 1925, he felt he was carry-
ing out the wishes of the management in issuing the order on
Form 19 and that the rules were put in effect for the primary pur-
pose of using orders on Form 19 wherever possible in order to save
the time which would be required were it necessary to obtain signa-
tures to train orders written on Form 31.
Dispatcher Olsen, on duty in the office with Dispatcher Smith,
said that by means of the loud speaker with which the office is
equipped, he was able to hear enough of what the operator at
Granite told Dispatcher Smith to realize that there was something
wrong, and on inquiring as to the nature of the trouble he was
told that train No. 8 had passed its meeting point with train No. 7.
After a very short delay Dispatcher Smith asked him to call the
chief dispatcher, and on returning to the room with the chief dis-
patcher they looked at the train-order book and the record of the
clearance received by train No. 8 at Tennessee Pass, Dispatcher
Smith having called attention to the clearance with the remark that
he did not see how the difficulty arose, since the train-order book
showed that train No. 8 had received a copy of train order No.
71. Dispatcher Olsen said train order No. 71 was the first to be
listed and that he did not notice anything to indicate that the
writing was not in the same handwriting, or that anything had
been added to what was originally written in the book.
Chief Dispatcher Hulse said he looked at the train-order book
almost immediately after entering the room and found that the
numbers of the orders were shown in the book, and apparently there
was nothing wrong with the manner in which train No. 8 had been
cleared at Tennessee Pass. Mr. Hulse said it was the practice, when
not desirable to give an order to the crew of a train after it had
been issued to the operator, to annul the order by an order addressed
to the operator. Mr. Hulse said he had heard a dispatcher tell an
operator to file an order, and that whenever he had heard such in-
structions given he had criticized the dispatcher very severely. One
of the duties of the chief dispatcher is to check train-order books, but
Mr. Hulse said it had been several months since he had performed
this duty as there had been other duties which occupied all of his
time.. Whenever such checks had been nlmde in the past he had
failed to find evidence of negligence on the part of Dispatcher
Smith, and he considered the latter to be a competent dispatcher.
Chief Dispatcher Hulse was aware of the fact that the middle order
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
wais not used but had never objected to this failure to obey the rules
simply for the reason that it was not c.stoniary to use this order.
On the day of the accident the Denver office inquired as to whether'
or not instructions were in effect to use the middle order and then
told him to place such instructions in effect immediately. He con-
sidered the middle order to be a precaution which should be exer-
cised wherever possible and to be the only precaution they had which
would guard against an error such as the failure of an operator to
deliver an order, but he further stated that in the majority of cases
a middle order could not be used even if desired on account of the
fact that the meeting points were at blind sidings.
Operator Berger, on duty at Granite, said he received the train
order for delivery to the crew of train No. 7 and was instructed not
to display the yellow flag until train No. 8 was into clear. When
train No. 8 approached Granite the engineman sounded the whistle.
and Operator Berger told the dispatcher train No. 7 was coming;
the dispatcher at once said it was train No. 8, and on looking west-
ward Operator Berger saw the rear portion of train No. 8 as it
passed around a curve. As he had no orders for train No. 8 he at
once cleared the train-order board. Operator Berger said he then
looked eastward to watch for the approach of train No. 7, as he had
an order to deliver to that train, and when the engine of train No. 8
reached the station he turned and looked in that direction and then
saw that the train was on the main track instead of on the passing
track. Operator Berger said he at once notified the dispatcher of
this fact and also told him it did not appear that the train was
going to stop and inquired if he should stop the train, to which the
dispatcher replied in the affirmative. Operator Berger said he at
once restored the train-order board to the stop position and then ran
out of the door to the station platform. By this time the rear por-
tion of the train was passing the station and with his hand he gave an
emergency stop signal to the flagman, who was on the lower steps at
the head end of the rear car. Operator Berger said the flagman
looked at the train-order board and then looked at him as he gave
the stop signal, after which the flagman went up the .steps into the
car, and the operator said this action on the part of the flagman made
him feel certain that the train was going to be stopped. After the
accident Flagman Willis, of train No. 8, returned to the station and
Operator Berger said he went to meet the flagman and asked him
why he did not apply the air brakes by means of the conductor's
valve, and he said the flagman replied that he was unable to do so.
On returning to the telegraph office he told the flagnian the train-
order l oaid had been thrown to the stop position and that he had
given the flagman a stop signal and again asked him why he did
not stop the train and he said the flagman again replied by savinir
INTERSTATE COMERCE COMMISSION
lie was unable to do so. Operator Berger had a red flag rolled ilp and
placed- on hooks under his desk, but he said he did not think about
lusing it, devoting his attention to getting out on the platform before
the entire train had passed the station. Operator Berger further
,-tated that an inspection train had been at Granite within the past
fe'. months, at which time a trainmaster inspected the location of
the flagging equipment, and he said it seemed to meet with the ap-
proval of that official.
Mrs. Berger, the wife of the operator, said she went into the sta-
tion after train No. 8 had passed and that shortly afterwards Flag-
man Willis came back to the office, and when Operator Berger re-
marked to him that he felt sure the train would stop the flagman
replied that he had been unable to stop it.
Flagman Willis, of train No. 8, said he was on the steps at the
forward end of the rear car, that he saw the train-order board drop
to the clear position before the engine reached the station, and that
it was still in the clear position when he passed it, at which time the
:slied of the train was about 25 or 30 miles an hour, while Operator
Berg'er was inside of the office. Flagman Willis said he did not see
the operator give a stop signal of any kind, and after the train had
passed the station he went back up the steps and closed the trap
door of the vestibule. Flagman Willis did not remember any conver-
sation with the operator after the accident except, that after finding
out what the difficulty was he said he asked the operator if he had
the order for the two trains to meet at Granite. He denied that the
,operator said anything to him about placing the train-order board
in the stop position or giving him a stop signal with his hands.
Engineman Clare, of train No. 8, said he had an order to meet
train No. 7 at Pine Creek, the first station east of Granite, that the
train-order board at Granite was not cleared until his engine was
close to the station, and that he then began to work steam in an
endeavor to increase speed as quickly as possible. He thought the
speed of his train was nearly 45 miles an hour when he first saw a
puff of smoke from the engine hauling train No. 7 and he said he
at once shut off steam, applie'-, the air brakes in emergency, called
to the fireman and jumped. Both Engineman Clare and Conductor
McGary stated that at Tennessee Pass they received all the orders
called for by the clearance card and that they knew nothing about
train order No. 71.
Conductor McGary was riding in the first car in the train when
pia.ting the station at Granite, and at that time he saw Operator
Berger seated at his desk in the office. He did not notice any attempt
made by the operator to stop the train after the engine had passed
tfi. train-order board. Conductor McGary estimated the speed of
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
his train at the time of the collision to have been 25 or 30 miles
an hour. Brakeman DeVoss, who was riding in the same car with
Conductor McGary, said he looked back when about six or seven
*car lengths beyond the train-order board and that at that time the
board was still in the clear position. His other statements were
generally the same as those of Conductor McGary.
Engineman Willingham, of the lead engine of train No. 7, was
unable to make a statement at the investigation on account of in-
juries received in the accident. Fireman Roberts, also of the lead
engine, said he had finished putting in a fire, and on getting upon
his seat box he saw train No. 8 apparently only a few car lengths
distant. Engineman Duncan, in charge of the second engine, said
that on account of the curvature of the track he was unable to see
train No. 8 approaching and that his first knowledge of anything
wrong was when he felt a jar as if the air brakes had been applied;
.at first he thought -the train had been derailed, and he did not know
there had been a collision with another train until he got off the
engine after it had come to a stop. He estimated the speed of his
train to have been about 18 miles an hour. The statements of Con-
tlictor Conway and Brakemen Corrigan and Strott, all of train No.
7, did not bring out any additional facts of importance.
Trainmaster Carter said that from June, 1919, until February 16,
1925, he had been employed as supervisor of safety and fire preven-
tion. In January, 1924, he was given instructions that when he had
:an opportunity he was to check the dispatchers' train-order books
for the purpose of seeing whether or not train orders were being
issued in accordance with the rules. It also appeared that during
all of the period between January, 1924, and February 16, 1925, he
reported directly to the general manager. Mr. Carter stated that he
examined train-order books about once a month and that when he
first began checking the books he found irregularities, which he
handled in writing with the chief dispatcher, with a copy going to
the superintendent, while the general manager was also notified.
These reports mentioned the books checked, dates, and irregularities
found to exist. He thought the last time he checked the train-order
books at Salida was in January, 19"5, and he said he had never found
that the middle order was not being used where practicable, nor
did he ever find that orders were being filed by operators without
first having been annulled. He was unable to recall any specific
instances of violations of rules in the transmission, receiving, or
delivery of orders which he had discovered as a result of his inspee-
tions. At the time of the investigation of this accident Mr. Carter
was a tvainmaster on a double-track division, so that he did not
feel qualified to speak with regard to present violations of the rule
requiring the use of middle orders.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
This accident was caused by the failure of Operator Rehldau. on
duty at Tennessee Pass, to deliver a copy of train order No. 71 to
the crew of train No. 8, and by the failure of the responsible operat-
ing officials to enforce the rules governing the handling of train
Operator Rehklau had received a copy of train order No. 71,
changing the meeting point between trains Nos. 8 and 7 from Pine
Creek to Granite; when train order No. 72 was received, directing
train No. 8 to run 35 minutes late, he decided to file train order
No. 69, which had directed train No. 8 to run 20 minutes late. but
instead of doing this he filed train order No. 71 by mistake and
delivered train order No. 69. Operator Rehklau stated that he
entered on the clearance card the numbers of the order he then had
for delivery to the crew of train No. 8, which were Nos. 56, 65, (t6,
and 72, and reported them to the dispatcher, reading them in order
from right to left. On the dispatcher's train-order book, however,
the numbers of the orders appeared in the following order: 71, 72,
69, 65, and 56. There is a direct conflict between the statements of
the dispatcher and the operator as to whether or not the operator
repeated the number of train order No. 71 as among those he was
going to deliver to the crew of train No. 8. Operator Rehklaau fur-
ther stated that he acted on his own responsibility in filing the train
order without receiving an annulment of the same and that this
method had been followed on previous occasions. That this nmay
have been true was somewhat apparent from an examination of the
train-oirder book covering the orders issued on August 18, on which
date trains were cleared at two different stations without having
received orders which had been issued, which orders had not been
The rules of this railroad require that a copy of a meet order be
addressed to the operator at the meeting point wherever practicable.
A copy of train order No. 71 was not sent to the operator at the
meeting point, the dispatcher not knowing that the station was open
at the time this order was issued. As a matter of fact, however, it
appeared from the record that that part of rule 208 requiring the
use of middle orders had not been enforced for a period of .ever;al
years. It further appeared that the only reason that the dispatcher
did not know that the office was open was because he had not taken
the trouble to look in the compartment in the desk where bulletin
notices are placed daily in order that dispatchers nay be kept fully
informed of what is occurring. Proper enforcement of the rule
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
requiring the placing of middle orders probably would have pre-
vented the occurrence of this accident.
Rule 202 requires that each train order must be given in the same
words to all employees or trains addressed. When transmitting
train order No. 72, however, the dispatcher sent one part of it to the
crew of train No. 8 and the other part to the crew of train No. 7,
with the result that while his records of the clearances issued by the
operators to the respective trains showed that they received train
order No. 72, yet neither crew actually received train order No. 72
as it appeared in the train-order book.
Under the rules in effect prior to March 1, 1925, it was provided
in the last paragraph of rule 211 that a train order on Form 19
could not be used to restrict the rights of trains. Train order No.
71, however, restricting the rights of train No. 8, was issued on
Form 19, this being in accordance with the rules as they appear in
a new book of rules which took effect on March 1, 1925. This par-
ticular rule in question, No. 211-B, reads as follows:
A "19" train order may be used for restricting the superiority of a train,
but the "31" order form must be used in the following cases:
(A) As required in Rule 4-A.
(B) When necessary to restrict the superiority of a train which is at a blind
siding or closed office.
(C) As required in Rule 208-A.
(D) When necessary to restrict a train which has been cleared. (Rule 219.)
(E) When reducing time order.
(F) When necessary to notify trains of obstructions or extremely abnormal
conditions of track or bridges.
(G) When moving against the current of traffic on double track. (Train
order Form R.)
(H) When using a section of double track as single track. (Train order
Rule 4-A relates to the issuing of new time-tables; Rule 208-A
requires the use of a train order on Form 31 when, in a single-track
territory, a train order is sent to one of two opposing trains at a point
where the superiority of the particular train is restricted.
The operation of trains in a mountainous country requires the
highest degree of care, and when, as in this case, the railroad in
question is a single-track line with no block-signal system in use,
and, as stated by the chief dispatcher, the majority of the meeting
points are at blind sidings, then it is a matter of absolute necessity
that the dispatcher know beyond any question or doubt that train
orders have been properly delivered and are thoroughly understood
by those who are to execute them. Such was not the case in this
instance. Had train order No. 71 been addressed to the crew of
12 INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMIISSION
train No. 8 on Form 31 it is probable that this accident would not
have occurred. :
Incidental to the examination of the train-order book in connec-
tion with the orders involved in this accident, several irregularities
were noted which occurred on the second day previous thereto, along
which, besides violations -of the rule requiring the use of the middle
order, were the following: The secondd section of a first-class train
was cleared at a certain station after receiving orders, but there was
nothing in the train-order book to show that it had been cleared;
several orders restriicting the rights of trains were put out on Form
19 at the points where schll rights were restricted, whereas they
should have been on Form 31, both under the former and under the
present rules of this railroad. It also appeared that while train order
No. 6 of August 18 was addressed to train No. 61 at Salida, the train
was cleared without the order, and there was nothing in the train-
order book to show that the order had been annulled. The same situ-
ation existed in the case of train order No. 54 of the same date issued
to train No. 8 at Tennessee Pass. It was also noted that on August
17 there were two different orders bearing the same number. A
check was made of the train-order book covering a period of a few
days in October, 192-4, at a time when Trainmaster Carter was sup-
posed to be checking these books, apparently without finding any-
thing other than minor irregularities; this was before the new rules
took effect. Within a period of five days 10 orders were issued
which violated either the rule requiring the use of a middle order or
the rule requiring an order to be wr it ten on Form 31 when restrict-
ing the rights of a superior train; some of these 10 orders embraced
violations of both of these rules.
It would be difficult to imlaglin a more inherently dangerous sys-
tem, or lack of system, for the operation of trains under the train-
order method, of operation than that which appears to exist on this
railroad. The disastrous ret.-lt, il-tally attendant upon careless
handling of train orders are well illustrated in the present case. and
the number and character of the violations of the rules (governing the
handling of train orders raises a question as to whether the operating
officials of this railroad have a proper appreciation of the responsibili-
ties of their positions. While the immediate cause may be found to
rest with the failure of onie individual occupying a comparatively
minor position, those responsible for the general conditions re-iilt-
ing in .-uih failure occupy higher positions. They have the duty
first to provide .afe and adelqu ate rules for the operation of trains
and then to enfo r'. obedience to tlihoe ruile.- on the1 part of all co n-
ACCIDENT NEAR GRANITE, COLO.
corned. This ws not (lone in this case, and for their failure they
are r'liiilly responsible for the ci'irrl'iic' of this ac-'idnt.
TInd an aldeijinate block-sigrnal system been in u.-s on this line this
accident probably would not have occurred; an adequate traini stop
or train-control device would have pre\vnted it.
The employees involved were experienced men, and at the time
of the accident none of them had been on duty in violaitico of any of
the provisions of the hours of service law.
W. P. BORLAND, D;'reffr.
WASHINGTON : GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1915
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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