of #26 & 22 – Dec 19, 1941
Press Friday, Dec. 19, 1941
Pittsburgh Press Sunday Dec. 21, 1941
Some little side notes
collision from Jim Lane & Fred Rauschart as told to me in the
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
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
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
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.
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
As I said, this is based on employee's recollections 35+
years after the fact, so I, too, would enjoy learning more of this
Roth found two entries in his grandfather’s journal from 1941.
Roth was a Montour engineer from 1922 to 1952.
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.
Ickes buried at Mt. Calvary