Marysville, Wash., 1969


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On June 6, 1969, a rear-end collision occurred between two Great Northern Railway freight trains at Marysville, Washington. It resulted in death to two, and in injury to two, members of the train crews.

Marysville

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FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION

File Number -4152
Railroad GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY (BURLINGTON NORTHERN, INC.)
Date 06/06/1969
Location MARYSVILLE, WA
Accident Type H.E.
HE 1780 .A32 No. 4152

RAILROAD ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION
REPORT NO 4152

 

SUMMARY

Railroad
Great Northern
Date
June 6, 1969
Location
Marysville, Wash
Kind of accident
Rear-end collision
Equipment involved
Freight Freight
Train number
Extra 675 South Extra 725 South
Engine number
675 725
Consists
3 cars, caboose 35 cars, caboose
Estimated speeds
Standing 63 m.p.h.
Operation
Timetable, train orders, automatic block-signal system
Track
Single; tangent; 0.40% descending grade southward
Weather
Clear
Time
3:44 a.m.
Casualties
2 killed; 2 injured
Cause
Engineer of following train lapsing into unconsciousness and failure of front brakeman to maintain a lookout ahead, resulting in following train passing a stop signal and colliding with train standing on the main track.

Marysville

Synopsis

On June 6, 1969, a rear-end collision occurred between two Great Northern Railway freight trains at Marysville, Washington. It resulted in death to two, and in injury to two, members of the train crews.


Cause

The collision was caused by the engineer of the following train lapsing into unconsciousness and failure of the front brakeman to maintain a lookout ahead, resulting in the following train passing a stop-signal and colliding with the train standing on the main track.


Location of Accident and Method of Operation

The accident occurred on that part of the railroad extending southward from Blaine to Everett, Wash., a distance of 85 6 miles In that area the railroad is a single-track line over which trains operate by timetable, train orders, and an automatic block-signal system.

At Marysville, 79.2 miles south of Blaine, a siding and a team track parallel the main track on the west, as shown in Plate No 1

The collision occurred on the main track, 140 feet north of the Marysville station.

Several city streets cross the railroad at grade within the Marysville city limits. Because of this, the maximum authorized speed for all trains moving through Marysville is restricted to 25 m.p.h.

A 25 m.p.h. speed restriction sign for southbound trains is adjacent to the main track, 2961 feet north of the collision point.


Main Track

From the north, the main track is tangent approximately 2.5 miles to the collision point and 1489 feet southward The grade for southbound trains in that area is 0.40% descending.


Time and Weather

The collision took place at 3:44 a.m., under clear weather conditions.


Signals

Automatic signals 40.9 and 39.5, governing southbound movements on the main track, are 2.1 miles and 3071 feet north of the collision point, respectively. They are of the upper-quadrant semaphore type and are approach lighted. The applicable signal aspects, indications and names are as follows:

Signal Aspect Indication Name
40.9 Yellow Proceed prepared to stop before any part of train *** passes the next signal. Trains exceeding 40 MPH must immediately reduce to that speed before any part of train *** passes the signal Approach
39.5 Red Stop then proceed at restricted speed through entire block Stop and Proceed

When the block of signal 40.9 is unoccupied and the block of signal 39.5 is occupied, signals 40.9 and 39.5 display Approach and Stop-and-Proceed aspects, respectively, for an approaching southbound train.


Authorized Speeds

The maximum authorized speed for freight trains between Blaine and Everett is 60 m.p.h. It is restricted, however, to 25 m.p.h. in the speed-restriction zone at Marysville.

Carrier's Operating Rules

34 All members of the crew in cab of engine must *** communicate to each other by its name the indication of each signal affecting the movement of their train *** as soon as it becomes visible ***

804B When conditions or signals require that the train be stopped or speed of train be reduced and the engineer or conductor fails to take proper action to do so, or should the engineer become incapacitated, other members of the crew must take immediate action to stop train, using emergency brake valve if necessary.


Train Equipment

The locomotive and caboose of Extra 725 South, the following train involved in the accident, were equipped with radio-telephones. The control compartment of the locomotive was equipped with an Alertor safety control system. This is an electronic system which includes a built-in antenna in the engineer's seat. It is so designed that any motion by the engineer will be detected by the antenna. A timing circuit set for 20 seconds is actuated each time the seat antenna detects motion. If the antenna detects no motion within that 20-second period, an audible and visual indicator calls the engineer s attention to this fact. If the seat antenna detects no motion within the following 10-second period, a relay contact opens, causing an automatic application of the train brakes.

The Alertor safety control system of the locomotive of Extra 725 South was not functioning the day of the accident, due to the system having been cut out. This matter will be explored later in our report.


Circumstances Prior to Accident

Train Extra 675 South

Extra 675 South, a southbound local freight train, left M.V.B. Station, 48.6 miles south of Blaine, at 12:15 a.m. the day of the accident. Shortly before 3:20 a.m., the train, consisting of 1 road-switcher type diesel-electric unit, 3 cars and a caboose, passed signals 40.9 and 39.5, and entered the 25 m.p.h. speed-restriction zone at Marysville. A few minutes later, it stopped on the main track in the block of signal 39.5, with the rear end 3071 feet south of that signal and 140 feet north of the Marysville station. The locomotive then moved to the siding and the team track for switching operations, leaving its train on the main track without any crew member providing flag protection against following trains. The carrier's rules did not require such protection, due to the train being stopped in automatic block-signal territory.

Train Extra 725 South

Extra 725 South, a southbound freight train, left Vancouver, B C , Canada at 7:05 p.m. the day before the accident. After entering the United States and stopping at Blaine, Wash., where the crew members dined while a customs inspection was made, the train resumed its trip southward.

Extra 725 South, consisting of 1 road-switcher type diesel-electric unit, 35 cars and a caboose, passed English, 7.1 miles north of Marysville, about 3:35 a.m. Soon afterward, it neared signals 40.9 and 39.5. The engineer and front brakeman were in the control compartment at the rear of the locomotive. The conductor, flagman, and swing brakeman were in the caboose. The train brakes had been tested and had functioned properly when used en route.


The Accident

Extra 675 South

About 20 minutes after leaving its train on the main track at Marysville, the locomotive of Extra 675 South completed switching operations at the north end of the team track and began to push three empty flat cars slowly southward on the siding. The engineer and fireman were in the control compartment at the north, or rear, end of the locomotive. The conductor, flagman, and front brakeman were on the leading flat car in the direction of the movement.

After passing its train and the Marysville station, the locomotive began to push the three flat cars over the Fifth Street grade crossing located just south of the station. A few seconds later, as the locomotive was about to move clear of the crossing, the portion of its train standing on the main track was struck from the rear by Extra 725 South, at 3:44 a.m. Derailed equipment of the latter train then struck the locomotive pushing the three flat cars, killing its engineer and fireman.

According to some of their statements, the conductor, flagman, and front brakeman of Extra 675 South were unaware of anything being wrong before the collision on the main track. Their other statements, however, indicate that they had seen Extra 725 South approaching Marysville and had thought it would stop short of their train. In either event, the conductor, flagman, and front brakeman jumped from the leading flat car immediately before or at the time of the collision on the main track, and escaped injury.

Extra 725 South

This train was moving on an ascending grade at 35 m.p.h. as indicated by the speed-recording tape, as it neared English, 7.1 miles north of Marysville. It then entered the descending grade on which the collision occurred, and passed English while moving about 45 m.p.h. and increasing speed.

The engineer stated that he had not noticed any fumes in the locomotive control compartment while en route from Vancouver, and that he had been alert and feeling well until shortly after his train passed English. At that time, according to his statements, he "blacked out." Although the investigation revealed information indicating otherwise, the engineer said he vaguely recalled having seen a "yellow block" (signal 40.9) in the distance before becoming fully unconscious, and having moved the throttle from Run 8 to Run 5 or 6 position for controlling the speed properly in the block of signal 40.9. He further said that he could not remember anything else leading up to the accident, except for a vague recollection that he saw the train ahead and applied his brakes in emergency a moment or two before the collision.

The speed tape shows Extra 725 South continued to increase speed after the engineer allegedly lapsed into unconsciousness. It was moving about 60 m.p.h. when it passed signal 40.9, which indicated Approach. The train had increased speed to 62 m.p.h. when it passed signal 39.5, which indicated Stop-and-Proceed, and entered the 25 m.p.h. speed-restriction zone at Marysville Approximately 30 seconds after passing signal 39.5 and entering the speed-restriction zone, Extra 725 South collided with the train standing on the main track while moving at 63 m.p.h.

The front brakeman of Extra 725 South stated that because of a nauseous feeling caused by fumes in the locomotive control compartment, he rode with his head out the window on the left side of the compartment and looked back at the cars as his train moved on the tangent track in approach to signals 40.9 and 39.5, and the collision point. In essence, the front brakeman's other statements are that (a) he and the engineer had called the indications of some signals to each other while en route from Vancouver (b) he did nor see signals 40.9 and 39.5 or hear the engineer call the indications of those signals (c) he had no knowledge of the engineer's condition nearing Marysville (d) he had taken no exception to the excessive speed at which his train moved after entering the Marysville speed-restriction zone, and (e) he was unaware of anything wrong until just before the collision, when he looked ahead and saw the caboose of Extra 675 South standing on the main track a short distance ahead.

The conductor, flagman and swing brakeman of Extra 725 South were in the caboose as their train approached Marysville. The swing brakeman was holding a radio conversation with a yardmaster located at a point south of Marysville. According to their statements, none of the crew members on the caboose (a) saw either signal 40.9 or 39.5 (b) took any exception to the excessive speed at which his train entered and moved in the 25 m.p.h. speed-restriction zone at Marysville or (c) was aware of anything wrong before the brakes of his train applied in emergency before or at the time of the collision.


Damages

Extra 675 South

The caboose of this train was derailed and destroyed. The impact propelled the three cars ahead of the caboose 1135 feet southward on the main track, without derailing or damaging them. The locomotive was struck by derailed equipment of Extra 725 South, while moving slowly southward on the siding at the south edge of the Fifth Street crossing. It derailed, stopping upright on and in line with the siding structure about 80 feet south of the crossing. The engine hood was torn off and the engine was somewhat damaged. The control compartment was crushed, as a result of a derailed gondola car stopping on top of it. The photo on the cover page shows the extent of damage to the locomotive.

Extra 725 South

The locomotive and first 20 cars of this train were derailed. The locomotive overturned onto its left side. It stopped at a 40-degree angle to, and with one end across, the main track about 450 feet south of the collision point. The derailed cars stopped in various positions on or near the structures of the main track, siding and team track, as shown in Plates No 2 and No 3

Of the derailed equipment, the locomotive and 11 cars were destroyed; 6 cars heavily damaged, and 3 cars slightly damaged.

Marysville Station

The southern half of the station was struck by derailed equipment and was virtually destroyed. The station was unoccupied.


Damage Cost

According to the carrier's estimate, the cost of damages to train equipment and track structures was $319,810


Casualties

Extra 675 South

The engineer was killed as a result of multiple compound skull fractures. The fireman was also killed, by crushing injuries to his head and chest. The engineer and fireman were found near their locomotive, on the ground between the siding and team track.

Extra 725 South

The front brakeman suffered a concussion and internal injuries. The engineer sustained bruises, and lacerations of the right arm.


Post-Accident Examinations and Tests

Signals

Signals 40.9 and 39.5 were tested after the accident and were found to be functioning properly.

View

Tests revealed that signal 40.9 is not visible from a southbound locomotive in the area where the engineer of Extra 725 South allegedly lapsed into unconsciousness, due to track curvature and trees alongside the railroad. The locomotive must reach a point more than two miles farther southward before the signal comes into view, indicating that the engineer's vague recollection of having seen a "yellow block" (signal 40.9) before becoming completely unconscious was erroneous.


PLATE NO 2

Extra 725 South

1st car - NP 60582
2nd car - GATX 74447
3rd car - NP 7189
4th car - PLC 16221
5th car - NP 42296
6th car - NP 8411
7th car - NP 15459
8th car - NP 41926
9th car - ARR 11510
10th car - HP 6409
11th car - SF 692174
12th car - WP 2824
13th car - PRR 611110
14th car - GN 15341
15th car - EJE 62031
16th car - GN 200155
17th car - PC 557260
18th car - REWX 64461
19th car - GN 78493
20th car - GN 78501


Locomotive of Extra 725 South

Examination of this locomotive soon after the accident found the throttle in Run 8 position, indicating that the engineer's vague recollection of having moved the throttle to Run 5 or 6 position before becoming completely unconscious was also erroneous. The reverser of the locomotive was found in forward position; the independent brake valve in release position; the emergency brake valve on the left side of the control compartment in closed position; the cutout cock of the Alertor safety control system in cutout position; a broken seal attached to the aforesaid cutout cock, and a plastic covered foam-rubber seat pad belonging to the engineer. The automatic brake valve was found in emergency position, indicating that the engineer may have moved the brake valve to that position immediately before the collision, as alleged.

Alertor Safety Control System

This system was removed from the locomotive of Extra 725 South, installed in the control compartment of a similar locomotive, and tested. The system functioned properly after it was cut-in on the test locomotive. It was also tested with the engineer's foam-rubber seat pad in use. In some of the latter tests, the pad interfered with the seat antenna's ability to detect normal motion of the employee at the controls. In those cases, the employee was required to move in an unusual manner to nullify the Alertor system action, i.e. prevent the system from applying the brakes automatically.


Hours of Service

Extra 675 South

All the crew members of this train had been on duty 14 hours 44 minutes at the time of the accident, after having been off duty 9 hours 15 minutes.

Extra 725 South

All the crew members of this train had been on duty 10 hours 14 minutes at the time of the accident, after having been off duty 11 hours 20 minutes at Vancouver.

Best information available indicates all the crew members had motel rooms for their layover at Vancouver, and had slept there before reporting on duty for the accident trip. The engineer stated he had eight hours sleep before reporting for duty, and had felt fully rested at that time.


Engineer and Front Brakeman of Extra 725 South

The front brakeman, age 22, was first employed by the carrier in May 1969, after passing physical and rules examinations. His record was clear.

The engineer, age 66, was first employed by the carrier as a fireman in 1945, and was promoted to engineer in November 1961 after passing a mechanical examination. His service record indicates he last passed a physical examination by the carrier on July 8, 1968, and an operating rules examination on January 22, 1969. It further indicates he was subjected to disciplinary action by the carrier in (a) September 1964, for responsibility in connection with a side collision involving a cut of cars in a yard, and (b) March 1969, for failure to stop a train before passing a stop-signal.


Post-Accident Medical Examinations

The front brakeman of Extra 725 South refused to undergo a blood test after the accident.

Examination of the engineer of Extra 725 South by the carrier's physician revealed that his heart and neurological conditions were normal, and that his blood was negative for alcohol and sugar content.

In connection with his physical condition, the engineer stated he could not recall ever having "blacked out" before the day of the accident, but there was a possibility he had done so without knowing it. He further stated that some time shortly before undergoing the carrier's medical examination on July 8, 1968, he went to a private physician for a complete examination, indicating that he had felt some concern about his physical condition. According to the engineer, the examination by his personal doctor revealed that he had a minor diabetic condition. As a result, he was given a prescription calling for him to take one Orinase tablet every day. He said that he followed the prescription faithfully, and had taken an Orinase tablet before reporting on duty for the accident trip.

Apparently the carrier's examination on July 8, 1968, detected no diabetic condition of the engineer. He stated that he did not inform the carrier's physician about his recent examination by a private doctor; the diabetic condition disclosed by that examination, or the medication he was taking daily.


Condition of Alertor Safety Control System
Before Accident Trip

The engineer of Extra 725 South operated locomotive 725 on his northward trip to Vancouver. He stated that the Alertor system was inoperative during that trip, for some undetermined reason, and that he found it was still inoperative after the locomotive left the Vancouver engine-house for its return trip southward. A bulletin of the carrier requires an engineer finding an Alertor safety control system defective to report such finding by wire to the division superintendent from the first available point of communication. The engineer said he did not make the aforesaid required wire report after finding the Alertor system to be inoperative on the northward trip to Vancouver, or after leaving the Vancouver engine house for the southward trip. He further said that after completing the northward trip, he did not submit a locomotive inspection report showing the Alertor system was inoperative and in need of repair, as required under such circumstances.

According to the carrier's engine house records, the Alertor system of locomotive 725 was cut in, sealed, tested and found to be functioning properly before the locomotive was dispatched for its northward trip to Vancouver. The records further indicate the Alertor system was tested again at the Vancouver engine house and found to be functioning properly, before the locomotive was dispatched for its southward, or accident, trip.

After the accident, the engineer of Extra 725 South was charged with manslaughter for the deaths of the engineer and fireman of Extra 675 South. A trial by jury in the Snohomish County Superior Court of the State of Washington found him guilty of this charge. The conviction was based on criminal negligence, fox cutting out the Alertor safety control system of his locomotive.


Conclusions

Extra 675 South

The rear portion of this train was standing on the main track at Marysville in accordance with applicable rules and regulations of the carrier, under protection afforded by the Approach and Stop-and-Proceed indications of signals 40.9 and 39.5, respectively. None of the crew members was providing flag protection against following trains, due to such protection not being required under the carrier's rules.

Extra 725 South
  1. Considering the speed (62 m.p.h.) at which this train entered the 25 m.p.h. speed-restriction zone at Marysville, and the relatively short distance (2961 feet) between the southward speed-restriction sign and the collision point, the crew members on the caboose probably could not have stopped their train short of a collision had they taken action to apply the brakes in emergency after the train entered the speed-restriction zone at excessive speed.

  2. The aforesaid crew members lack of concern for compliance with the speed restriction imposed on trains at Marysville apparently contributed to the severity of the accident. Had they felt proper concern when the train neared and entered the speed-restriction zone without reducing speed, and promptly attempted to establish radio communication with the engineer, the crew members in the caboose might have alerted themselves to the necessity of applying the train brakes in emergency. If they had then taken such action, it is possible the train would have decreased speed materially before the collision, lessening the accident consequences with the possibility of the enginemen of Extra 675 South escaping fatal injuries.

  3. A significant causal factor in the accident was failure of the front brakeman of Extra 725 South to maintain a lookout ahead as his train approached signals 40.9 and 39.5, and to call the indications of those signals to the engineer as required by the carrier's rules. Considering that the engineer noticed no fumes in the locomotive control compartment; that if the front brakeman was feeling nauseous as alleged, he could have refreshed himself just as well by looking ahead from his open side window as by looking back; that the train was moving on tangent track in approach to signals 40.9 and 39.5, and the collision point; that the front brakeman merely had to look ahead occasionally to see the indications of those signals; that calling the indications of those signals to the engineer required no great effort by the front brakeman, whether or not he was feeling nauseous, and that safety of a train movement requires a diligent lookout ahead be maintained, the reason given by the front brakeman for not maintaining a lookout ahead and seeing the indications of signal 40.9 and 39.5 lacks validity. Consequently, it is concluded that for some unjustifiable reason the front brakeman neglected to maintain a lookout ahead while approaching signals 40.9 and 39.5. Had he maintained such a lookout, he would have seen the engineer was not complying with the indications of those signals and realized the necessity of taking action to stop the train, as required by the rules. Thus, he might have averted the accident.

  4. Extra 725 South left Vancouver with the Alertor safety control system of the locomotive inoperative, due to being cutout. From all indications, this system was functioning properly when the engineer took charge of the locomotive at the Vancouver engine house, as evidenced by engine house employee work reports; the lack of any wire or locomotive inspection report by the engineer that the system was malfunctioning or inoperative, and by tests conducted after the accident. Hence, it appears that the engineer cutout the Alertor system some time after leaving the Vancouver engine house, possibly due to his privately-owned rubber seat pad interfering with the ability of the system's seat antenna to detect motion, and to the engineer wanting to prevent the system from causing undesired brake applications resulting from the seat antenna's inability to detect motion.

  5. The inoperative Alertor safety control system was a significant contributing factor in the accident, as the engineer evidently was motionless in his seat for a considerable period of time while his train approached the collision point. Had the Alertor system not been cutout, it would have detected the engineer's lack of motion in approach to signal 40.9 and stopped the train by applying its brakes automatically, averting the accident.

  6. Since the investigation revealed nothing in contradiction to the statements of the engineer of Extra 725 South that he had eight hours sleep before going on duty at Vancouver and had been alert until shortly after his train passed English, there is no support for an assumption that he fell asleep at the controls. Thus, it is concluded he "blacked out," as claimed, resulting in his inability to operate his train in accordance with the indications of signals 40.9 and 39.5, and to avoid the collision. The incapacitation of the engineer was the primary cause of the accident.

  7. The investigation revealed that about 12 months before the accident a medical examination by a private physician found the engineer had a minor diabetic condition. It further revealed the carrier's medical examination conducted about 11 months before the accident apparently did not find that the engineer had a diabetic condition, and the engineer did not inform the carrier's physician about the results of the previous medical examination. As a result of the examination by his personal physician, the engineer was given a prescription calling for him to take one Orinase tablet daily. He followed the prescription faithfully, taking one Orinase tablet the afternoon of the day he reported on duty for the accident trip Under the circumstances, it would appear that the engineer became incapacitated while approaching the collision point because of adverse affects from the medication he was taking for control of his diabetic condition.

  8. That the consumption of Orinase can cause physical incapacitation is evidenced by a Federal Aviation Administration regulation which prohibits pilots on active duty from taking such medication. It is further evidenced by our Accident Investigation Report No 4142, concerning a collision involving a passenger train engineer who had a diabetic condition and was taking Orinase tablets for medication. In that case, the engineer suddenly lapsed into unconsciousness after entering a siding to meet an opposing train, resulting in his train failing to stop short of the other end of the siding, and colliding with the opposing train.

  9. The circumstances involved in this accident serve well to illustrate the necessity of all crew members assuming and sharing equal responsibility for the safety of their train, to prevent an accident in the event one of the crew members fails to take proper action under conditions requiring the train to stop or reduce speed.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:
  1. All line-haul railroad carriers prohibit engineers taking Orinase for medication, or any other medication susceptible to producing serious side effects, from service on locomotives engaged in line-haul operations.

  2. All railroad carriers having locomotives equipped with Alertor safety control systems or similar systems, issue instructions prohibiting enginemen's of privately-owned seat cushions that might affect proper functioning of the safety control systems. Such instructions would be conducive to eliminating the possibility of an engineman cutting out an Alertor system being adversely affected by his privately-owned seat cushion, due to believing the system is in defective condition.

  3. The Burlington Northern, Inc take measures to ensure that supervisory officials are informed of every case in which a locomotive arrives at an engine house with a broken seal of a cutout cock or similar valve, so that such officials may exercise appropriate supervision over the use of sealed cutout cocks or valves.

  4. The railroad industry undertake a comprehensive study of the serious safety problem caused by neglect or failure of enginemen to operate trains in accordance with signal indications, speed restrictions, train orders, operating rules, etc., and by failure of other crew members to take appropriate action for the safety of their trains when enginemen neglect or fail to do so.

Dated at Washington, D C, this 2nd
day of July 1970
By the Federal Railroad Administration

Mac E. Rogers, Director
Bureau of Railroad Safety
NOTE: *The Federal Railroad Administration has no jurisdiction over railroad operating rules; track structures; bridges; rail-highway grade crossing protection; track clearances; consist of train crews; qualifications or physical condition of railroad employees, running and draft gear on cars, or the construction of cars except those appurtenances within jurisdiction of the Safety Appliance Act and the Power Brake Law of 1958.


Newspaper account from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

MARYSVILLE TRAIN CRASH KILLS TWO
Seattle P-I June 6, 1969

MARYSVILLE- Two trainmen were killed and two others injured early Friday in a thundering, flaming crash of two Great Northern freight trains here.

A southbound express freight, clocked by two Marysville policemen "at over 50mph," rammed the caboose and three cars of the second freight on the GN main line near the depot.

Freight cars hurled off the main line and into the second freight engine and two cars, which were switching on a siding. The engineer and fireman on the switching engine were killed.

They were:

Joe Haegely, 42, of 2313 W. Newton St., Seattle, the engineer, and Howard Dearing, 27, Marysville, the fireman. Both were thrown out of their cab and died instantly.

The engineer and brakeman aboard the other freight, both Seattleites, were injured. They are:

John Schlosstein, 66, of 519 N. 104th St., treated at Everett General Hospital and released, and Hardy Clay, 23, of 4235 S. Juneau St., reported in critical condition.

Some 20 freight and flat cars and the two engines were derailed and a half dozen of the express freight's cars burst into flame when the two trains crashed at 3:45 a.m.

The impact propelled one or more cars into the Marysville depot, shearing about a fourth of the building off. No one was inside.

Sgt. John Faulkner of the Marysville Police Sept. said two officers, Sgt Tom Holstad and Patrolman Robert Curtiss clocked the express fright "at over 50 miles per hour" as it came through town.

Faulkner said the legal through-town speed limit for trains is 25 mph and that the city in the past has cited trains exceeding the limit. But he added that most trains slow down to observe the limit.

The spectacular crash tore up about 350 feet of main line tracks and Great Northern officials said an industrial track would be used to detour traffic.

The main line was expected to be repaired sometime early Saturday, the spokesman said. He said an investigation is in progress.

The express freight was hauling 35 cars, only one of which was loaded.

Police and other residents of Marysville said the thunderous crash, "like an earthquake," was felt all over the city. Parts of boxcars, including truck, were hurled 200 feet beyond the impact.

The 20 or so derailed cars lay in a jumbled tangle of wreckage along the tracks and the depot was a shambles.

Marysville fireman, aided by one truck from Everett, brought the fires under control before the endangered adjacent buildings.

 

 

 

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