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A look back in time: November 1958

By | November 3, 2008

50 years ago in railroad history... A supplement to the Classic Trains Online Look Back e-mail newsletter

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Rock Island buys GM’s two Aerotrains for suburban service out of Chicago, where they join RI’s own Jet Rocket Talgo train, powered by an Aerotrain-style locomotive. . . .

Illinois Central buys eight sleeping cars (four 10-5’s, four 4-4-2’s) from New York Central for City of Miami service. . . .

Pullman-Standard’s first 85-foot flatcar rolls out of the builder’s Butler (Pa.) plant, part of an order of 400 piggyback cars for Trailer Train. . . .

Norfolk & Western and Virginian announce plans to merge. . . .

On Nov. 25, Pennsylvania Railroad Director of Research John J. Clutz issues his first report on high-speed passenger service based on computer simulations and 100 mph tests with new Pioneer III M.U. cars and with GG1’s hauling both Pioneer III cars and Congressional cars; he concludes that PRR can offer economical and competitive New York-Washington passenger service and favors 10-car M.U. sets; the report is the genesis of the Metroliner project of the 1960s. . . .

Trains Aid Planes-1: A Marine Corps F-4D jet misses a runway cable at El Toro, Calif., and the plane skids off the runway, coming to rest on a Santa Fe main line — in the path of a 75-mph San Diegan; two F7’s and five cars derail; flagman Pat Shamber is flung off the rear vestibule and immediately sees that the pilot, Lt. Philip M. Schmidt, is lying only 10 feet from the burning plane; despite a knee injury, Shamber runs over to the Marine and drags him to safety — just before his jet explodes. . . .

Trains Aid Planes-2: In Alabama, an Air Force C-45 crashes beside a Southern Railway line, knocking out signals; at midnight, a freight approaches, crawling from one signal to the next; the engineer spots the injured crew, cuts his engine off the train and runs 2 miles into Town Creek, Ala., to call ambulances and ends up ferrying rescue personnel to the scene on his diesel. . . .

Mrs. John Luther “Casey” Jones dies November 21 in a Jackson (Tenn.) nursing home at the age of 92. . . .

On Nov. 29, Pennsy runs 27 special trains to the annual Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, carrying 21 percent of all spectators.

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