N&W in 1911--Two hit

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 26 11:51:20 EDT 2011

.........both were drinking and it is evidently the same old story of not keeping in mind the danger they were facing while walking on double track under the influence of liquor.

I wonder how many people had died by getting in front a moving train or sleeping on the tracks when drunk?

When I lived in Clemson, SC in the 1990's my property was on the Southern/NS Washington-Atlanta mainline in Central, SC, I kept a scanner on pretty much constantly to listen to the railroad operations. One evening NS #173 passed by my house with the crew in a fun mood having a good time talking with the dispatcher in Greenville and the crew of another train they had met at Johnson. After descending down grade from Central and crossing the bridge over Lake Hartwell at Clemson the railroad has a pretty good climb up to Seneca. This day the train was short and light with good power so it probably pulled the grade at around 50 mph. Just south of Courtney nearing Seneca with the grade diminishing and the railroad goes around a pretty good curve. After rounding the curve the engineer in a very somber voice told the dispatcher they had put the train into emergency and were stopped due to running over a person lying on the tracks. The dispatcher asked the crew if they thought the man might still be alive......they responded there was no way and that when they had hit him he was lying on the tracks using the rail as a resting place for his head. All the notifications were made to the police and EMS. The train crew got off the locomotives and went back to absolutely verify what they knew, after which they came back to the locomotives and communicated their observations to the dispatcher in Greenville. The dispatcher asked the train crew if they were OK to take the train on to Atlanta once the situation was cleaned up. They told the dispatcher they needed to be relieved. #173 was re-crewed and the crew that had been on the train at the time of the incident was taken to Atlanta by cab. It was later determined that the individual had an extremely high blood-alcohol level. Basically he was "drunk as a skunk" and had laid down and passed out on the mainline tracks. The train crew could do nothing and was helpless to avoid hitting him. All they could do was shoot the air and watch as the man was killed.

Does anyone ever think about the mental anguish train crews experience each time they observe a situation like this that they can't avoid ending in a messy death or deaths? I've known many train service employees over the years. Hitting and killing people whether it's a car trying to beat the train at a grade crossing or someone walking of lying on the tracks is their worst nightmare. For many train crewmen who experience this kind of situation the horror of what they saw requires a long painful recovery.

Ed Painter - Narrows, VA

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:40 PM
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Subject: N&W in 1911--Two hit

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 30, 1911

Jessie Lewis Killed at Thacker and Charles McCoy Badly Injured

As she stepped from the west bound track to the east bound track near Thacker last night, about ten o'clock, Jessie Lewis, of Pikeville, Ky., was struck by a train and instantly killed, while Charles McCoy, of R???* Siding, was badly injured and may have sustained serious internal hurts. ????* Ward, who was with the couple, said after the accident that both were drinking and it is evidently the same old story of not keeping in mind the danger they were facing while walking on double track under the influence of liquor.
*Names were indistinct on microfilm.
Gordon Hamilton
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