MontourMontour Railroad

Montour Railroad








Working on the Montour


Railroading 101



Wreck of #26 & 22 – Dec 19, 1941

Pittsburgh Press Friday, Dec. 19, 1941

Pittsburgh Press Sunday Dec. 21, 1941

Some little side notes of this collision from Jim Lane & Fred Rauschart as told to me in the late 70's:

The helper engineer had a son stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec.7 1941. He was supposed to have heard nothing of his son's well being as of the date of the collision, so his thoughts had been preoccupied with concern. This was a contributing factor, as was the main conversation of the transportation department that day was the reimbursement of overdue back pay.

The light running engine was #22 heading east from Montour Junction on a regular helper assignment. They had a "wait" order at the Junction for the westbound, but overlooked it.

The engines came together just west of Ewings Mill grade crossing around 15 to 20 MPH. The fire was immediately dropped in engine #22, on account of the loss of the tender water, requiring it to be towed
to the Junction, about 2 miles.
The #22 was repaired at MRR Jct shops, the tender being completely rebuilt and some repairs to its bent frame. There was also damage to the rear of the cab and engine frame, which was repaired by MRR shopmen as well.

The #26 suffered considerable damage to the smokebox and pilot as well as several cracks in the engine frame including bends in the frame in front of the cylinder chests. The fire was allowed to die out because of poor steaming abilities with the damaged smokebox and drawbar damage. It required a tow to the Junction, after the #22's tender was re-railed and moved.

The #26 was repaired enough for a "dead in tow" movement to the P&LE McKees Rocks backshop, where P&LE men removed all the wheels to make the welding repairs and straighten the frame. This required a complete reconditioning of the running gear to get all the valve gear to return to the original specifications. All other damage was addressed at this time, too. The engine was returned to the MRR around the middle of 1942 (Also heard around May?)

Now for the crewmen, engine #22's fireman "joined the birds" as did the head brakeman on #26. The others evidently remained on board.

Lastly, I understood that engineer H. W. Ickes of helper #22 died at a later date, due to injuries received when the tender was pushed into the cab on impact. I tried to confirm this years ago, but found no written proof.

I have also looked for ICC reports for this collision, but have not located any, though I continue to search for one. I had heard that no report was filed since the railroad was owned by Pittsburgh Coal Co. and they handled it internally. Not sure if this was true or not, so I will keep looking.

I was told that some photos of the #26 were taken at the P&LE shops and the #22 at Montour Junction by the P&LE company photographer. I never found these, nor did they appear in the P&LE photo collection. I talked to the Pittsburgh papers at one time, trying to locate the original photos or negatives of the collision scene, but got nothing. I am not sure if the people I had worked through really tried too hard.

As I said, this is based on employee's recollections 35+ years after the fact, so I, too, would enjoy learning more of this incident.

Tim Sposato

Carter Roth found two entries in his grandfather’s journal from 1941.

John Roth was a Montour engineer from 1922 to 1952.

Dec. 19 - Ickes on Eng. 22 met Jim Harper on Eng 26 at Ewing’s Mill. We worked all day cleaning up wreck. Minor was my fireman. Ickes dead, Harbaugh in bad shape in Mercy Hospital. John Mayne has broken foot.

Dec. 22 – Ickes buried at Mt. Calvary