Wreck at Sheep Creek
Sometimes when things go bump in the night, it can make a real mess. On August 27,1992, at about 7:30 PM, a Rio Grande piggyback train sideswiped a Utah Railway coal train near Sheep Creek, Utah, on the western approach to Soldier Summit between Thistle and Mill Fork. A local resident captured the aftermath on film. His description:
Back in 1992 I got to see an incredible accident. A switch didn't make up at Sheep Creek and a piggy back freight nailed a Utah Railway coal haul on a siding. I wanted to show you this photo of 3146 which was on the lead. Also in this wreck were 3155, which I was quite fond of, 3039 and 3051. In the clean-up, they used the GP30's 3008 and 3020.
Both trains were westbound. The piggyback train had a clear block indication, but a crossover switch was lined improperly, so as to send the piggyback into the side of the coal train it was passing. The subsequent investigation revealed a problem with signal maintenance.
|The lead unit was ex-Conrail GP40 No. 3146. When it hit the misaligned switch it sideswiped the coal train on the adjacent track, then went on the ground.|
|The trailing units are visible in this view. Notice the piggyback trailers that have also spilled onto the ground.|
|Railroad employees are checking out the lead unit in this view.|
|Another look at the trailing units. No. 3155 is a GP60, one of only three delivered in D&RGW paint, and is only about 2 years old at this time. No. 3039 behind it is a GP35, nearly 30 years old, and No. 3051 (GP40) is only a year or so younger.|
|The next day, a work train is cleaning up the mess. It's in the care of a pair of GP30s, Nos. 3008 and 3020.|
|Here's a look at the opposite side of the lead unit, showing the effects of scraping along the coal train.|
Railroading can be a hazardous business. The forces involved in moving several thousand tons are considerable. Hats off to all those who do this for a living...
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