• Whippany Line Passenger Derailment

  • Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.
Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, mikec, cjl330

  by 4353
Last edited by 4353 on Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by njt4172
Why the heck did M&E use the alco when they had the FL-9's ready with HEP, etc...? And why did they go East where track conditions are poor. They should have gone west to Morristown!! Bad move on M&E's part!


  by Jihn z
Well Steve, I agree that this wasn't the brightest thing the M&E could have done, but they ran east beacuse there is a "little" more to look at rather than to Morristown. Don't get me wrong, because I love the M&E, it's my favorite railroad, but this wasn't excatly the best thing that they could have done. I'll assume no one was hurt or anything, but this could put a big damper on WRMs future trips. Does anyone know what happened to the equipt?? Is it still sitting in E. Hanover?

  by njt4172

I think 1 NJT passenger car and the ex CP alco was down there as of 9 am this morning.... Apparently they will be going west today with the FL-9's and 1 NJT car plus the PV cars... I sure hope it doesn't put an end to Santa trips, etc....


I was just over there with my digital camera and was asked to leave in rather serious manner, so I didn't get any photos.

There was an FL9 there with one NJT passenger car back on the tracks. The other passenger car and the locomotive were still off - they were working on the passenger car when I arrived. This is an area where just about every third tie has been replaced, however, most of the new ties were not spiked yet. A few of the older ties in the area didn't have fish plates and the spikes held the rails down directly.

It's possible that the rails just spread due to the incomplete track work, although I spoke to another bystander who got a closer look yesterday and said that he had seen a bent or twisted rail at the derailment.

  by Angus202
Both comets were rerailed and headed back to whippany for the 1:00 train, the 4228 was still on the ground but running when I left, think I heard it returning to whippany over the radio. 18 took its place on the east end, but the 3rd comet's air refused to charge and was left for the trip. Snapped a couple of distant shots as the guys from 'Transit on the scene weren't very friendly. Of all times for something to go offrail, it had to be on a passenger trip, what made 'em think they could keep running on unspiked rail without this happening?

  by RS115
I was around Whippany on Saturday and briefly on Sunday and saw the derailment site from a distance. While the decision to go east was, in hindsight, a bad one I leave that to M&E's internal workings to review where communications failed about conditions in the area. That said I give management and employees extremely high marks for how the situation was handled in an orderly and professional manner. They got the people off and back to Whippany using the FL9 and their two cars that remained on the track in two runs. Everyone remained cheerful and upbeat and professional in their dealings with members of the public. (Remember that this is largely a small child/parent event - the possiblities for screaming children were endless. I didn't see any and I have a low tolerance for screaming kids - I'd have noticed.)

Once the crowds were gone they set about trying to make things as right as possible for their other customer - the museum - by pulling out everything they had direct control over at Whippany to make Sunday's train. At that point they didn't know how many, if any, of the NJT coaches would be available. They fired up the other FL9 to return to derail site and on Sunday the (unfortunately filthy) 18 the cover the passenger job. (choice of 1 FL9 and the 4228 was probably based on both FL9 currently facing west).

I imagine that the events for the museum are contracted at breakeven to a small profit. (An old board post from Mr. Fuller said they contract by the year) Between the extra locomotives, calling in staff on OT and the physical repairs it was an expensive weekend for the M&E. Nevertheless they did it with style. Mr. Fuller, in particular, was (at least outwardly) an unruffled COO taking care of business. That gets high marks in my book.

Will this hurt them in Union - maybe. But the base issue of a mechanical failure of track structure is minimized (it can never be totally alleviated) by the rebuilding going on prior to train operation. The extensive work underway on the Whippany line, when complete, should remove concerns there as well for future museum events.

  by Jihn z
I'm just wondering if word spread about the derailment, possibily turning people away from furture trips because of concerns about safety.

  by denvillerailfan
4228 was back on track and stored down by Merry Ln. Monday evening.


  by Greg
Caught the two locos pulling out of Meery Lane on my way to work at 10:30 today. I made a point of getting caught at the Ridgedale Ave crossing as well.

  by rushhour
Did anyone get pics of the derailment?

I tried to get pictures, but they told me to leave the property. I explained that I was a railfan, but they weren't impressed. I did get on head-on picture of the FL9 idling waiting to pull one of the passenger cars away.

  by rushhour
Geez....they sound nasty!

I didn't recognize any of the crew working the derailment; I think they were either RCC or NJT. I see the M&E guys all the time and, although the foreman has lectured me, they've never taken a hard line like that before.

Once an M&E foreman caught me walking the ROW and told me that each year 6000 people are killed or injured doing just what I was doing. I told him that seemed excessive for the M&E by itself and that they should be more careful. He said that the figure was for all railroads, not just the M&E. I don't think he knew I was kidding.

  by njtransitrookie
You haved to look at things at the M&E's perspective. You just derailed a passenger train with a whole lot of people on it and then a bunch of people show up wanting to take pictures. I would have to say the people at the M&E are just a little embarassed to say the least. What they don't need are people with cameras on the property. And remember, it's RR property and they have the right to shoo anyone away.