• General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

In Myrtlewood Alabama, just west of Naheola, the Meridian & Bigbee lost another train, off the two mile trestle, across the swamps, approaching the Tom Bigbee River. While I was there, I witnessed three derailments, causing haz-mat cars to fall off the bridge, and into the swamp, by the same crew!!! As the derailment sight was not visible, or accesible to the public, the accidents went unnoticed. The trestle is approximately 15 feet high, and cuts across a swamp, on the approach to the Bigbee bridge. The train that derailed today carries rocket motors, for Nasa, to and from Thiokol. I have some great shots, of piles of tank cars, laying in the swamp, at the base of the trestle. Interesting to note, the speed on the trestle is only 5 mph, and the trestle has been undergoing a complete rebuild, over the last year and a half. Hopefully the armed guards, and car attendants are unhurt, who accompany the train, any time it travels. As a whole, I saw more derailments on this line, and it's 140 miles, than all other roads combined, in 25 years of railroading!!! (not to mention 2 overlapped track warrants, and 2 times running into a work site, where men and equipment had been reported in the clear, but were still hard at work, oblivious to the train that stopped a couple hundred feet away, after making an emergency stop, from 25 miles per hour...... :( )

  by UPRR engineer
I saw the booster train come threw here last week sometime, they had a new box car in the train since i saw it last. One with a roll cage attached to it. (If something hit the cage then it would hit the rocket motor cars) Had to have been the same train.

Same one, as there's only one. Empties head west, loads go back east. I understand 6 people were hurt. This sounds like the crew, and the 2 guards, and 2 car attendants. This accident also shuts down the mainline, from Meridian to Montgomery, and the KCS/CSX pool trains will have to find alternate routes now. After Katrina, the trestle had over 100 trees laying on it, and they took a week to be removed, and the trestle was rebuilt, replacing any wood that was damaged, or had been rotted away. The thing actually seemed pretty sturdy, and we wondered why we weren't running 25 over it. The bents, diagonals, stringers and even the deck, were replaced. All hardware was replaced, and it was unclear what caused the three derailments, in late '06 and early '07. At 5 mph, over all new lumber, with new ties, spikes and even bolts in the bars, the reasons were not related to us, even at the time I left. If you are local to the area, you might see the remains of the last few derailments, as well.......... :wink:

  by SooLineRob
Hey GA...

Duplicate topic with video link here:


The duplicate post has been locked. The locos in the picture are EX-UP SD-90's, the 6000 hp version. They are now leased units. The Rocket cars are indeed on the ground, as the trestle has collapsed, at that point in the train. The crew would have been 2 men, so the riders in the coaches had to have suffered, the sudden stop, as the cars bottomed out, after the trestle collapsed. The words "Union Pacific" have been painted out, with a thick, tar-like paint, which I mentioned months ago, while talking about my time running those engines, in the same service as the derailed train. The derailment is in the same location, where the other trains lost haz-mat tank cars, as well as other cars too. As the area is a swamp, it will be interesting to see, how this mess is cleaned up, and how long it will take to repair the trestle, again......... :P

  by powerpro69
Why is "UP" painted out?

  by Nelson Bay
powerpro69 wrote:Why is "UP" painted out?

Cost savings- cheaper to paint out UP than to paint in EX.

  by powerpro69
I'll buy that
  by Desertdweller
I worked temporary assignments as an engineer on M&B through Railtemps of Overland, KS. I was working the night switch job at Naheola Yard a few days before this accident happened.

Naheola is the site of a Georgia-Pacific paper mill. GP at one time owned the M&B, and Naheola Yard was their operational hub. When M&B bought the operation, they leased track from CSX between Selma and Montgomery, and operated run-through trains from the CSX at Montgomery to the KCS at Meridian, MS.
Myrtlewood was directly across the Tombigbee River from Naheola. A few passing tracks in Myrtlewood Swamp enabled CSX and KCS power to be swapped there, so both railroad's power arrived back at their own terminals. Both railroads sent trains over the M&B. In addition, M&B has its own local traffic, most of it based on the paper mill. The actual M&B headquarters, shops, and operational hub was at Meridian.

While working the night job at Naheola, I heard an emergency call from a westbound through train from Myrtlewood Swamp. The tracks on a long trestle in the swamp had come loose on the trestle deck, and the locos were in danger of falling in the water!

I drove to the swamp and walked out on the bridge, carrying a bright battery lantern. It wasn't easy. There was a good opportunity to fall 15 feet off the bridge into the black water. Worse, the swamp was home to a thriving population of alligators, the biggest of which lived in a hole directly beneath the bridge. This big black dinosaur was the subject of much discussion, its size increasing with the number of stories told. I would judge its size to be about 12 feet. In addition, the swamp was home to water moccasins. I have also seen a mountain lion cross the track in front of my train in that area, although "officially" none are supposed to live in the area. The locals call them "painters" (panthers) and say they hear them screaming like a woman in the swam at night, although I never heard them.

Anyway, I carefully walked onto the trestle and guided the engineer off the bridge. He was shaken but OK. I reported the incident, but knew nothing could be done until daylight.

The next day, our track crew did some lining on the bridge and that night I very gingerly eased the train off the bridge and into Naheola Yard. Fortunately, the train had not derailed. A regular crew then forwarded it to Meridian.

The railroad closed the bridge and hired an engineering firm to repair the bridge. It took a week, and several through trains were stacked up in Naheola and Myrtlewood waiting to cross. The highest priority train was the "Space Shuttle Train". This train was carrying loaded booster rockets, the spacer car mentioned in a previous post, and a Budd stainless steel business car. I had run this train on its movement through on its previous trip.

One of the regular M&B engineers and the General Manager had gone to the bridge early in the morning to make a light engine test run over the bridge. The GM stood below the bridge while the light engine passed over it without incident. He declared the bridge fit for traffic, and the Space Shuttle Train was to be the first one across.

The engineer who made the test run got on the Shuttle train and eased onto the bridge. I was back in Meridian, getting my sleep at the Comfort Inn.
Anyway, when he got out on the bridge, it collapsed under the train. The GM, who was still watching beneath the bridge, narrowly avoided being crushed.
The locos, the business car, the spacer car, and several booster engines fell 15 feet into the swamp. I don't know if the big gator was killed or not.

The engineer suffered head injuries. There were injuries inside the business car ( the car carried NASA engineers, security guards, and its elderly woman owner. A refrigerator landed on her, severely injuring her). Fortunately, the car was air-conditioned and had sealed windows, so no one drowned.

I reported for work at the office in Meridian early that morning, and immediately knew that something terrible had happened. I was told what had taken place, and was a little shaken to realize I had driven the last train to make it over the bridge.

I was told to return to the hotel and wait for further instructions.

Later that day, was called back to the office and told by the GM that the railroad was being shut down until the trestle could be replaced, and no one knew how long that would take. I was released and went back home to Nebraska.

The M&B was a wonderful little railroad to work for. As far as I am concerned, there was not a single "bad apple" working there, and the employees and management truly cared about each other. A good attitude permeated the operation.