A Tribute To A Great Locomotive


| September/October 1989



Thomas G. Lee and Stephen A. Lee

Thomas G. Lee and Stephen A. Lee in the cab of Locomotive #8444.

Pres. International J. I. Case Heritage Foundation 1508 Kentucky 1080 Calhoun, Kentucky 42327

Our American Heritage is rich in history and lore of railroading in this great country of ours. Songs and volumes of books have been written about various steam locomotives and the men who ran them, and about the Golden Age of Steam Railroading in America.

First, we have the Western & Atlantic Railroad's little 4-4-0, No. 3 better known as the General. This now famous locomotive was stolen at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw) Georgia, April 12, 1862 by 19 Union Army soldiers disguised in civilian clothes, led by James J. Andrews, a Union Secret Service Agent. The events that followed that day in 1862 are remembered today as 'The Great Locomotive Chase.' The General was completely overhauled by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in 1962 and she ran once again under steam across many parts of the country during the Civil War Centennial. She is now on permanent display at Kennesaw, Georgia.

Secondly, we have the New York Central & Hudson River (later New York Central) Railroad's 4-4-0 No. 999. This now famous locomotive, while still equipped with high 86 inch drivers, was officially clocked at a speed of 112.5 miles per hour near Batavia, New York, May 10, 1893, thus becoming the first steam locomotive to officially exceed 100 miles per hour in the United States. The famed 999 was officially retired from service in 1921 and was presented to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry for permanent display in 1962.

Third, we have Illinois Central Railroad's 4-6-0 No. 382 that was involved in a now famous train wreck at approximately 5:00 a.m. April 30, 1900 at a little town named Vaughan in Mississippi. The engineer, John Luther (Casey) Jones was the only one killed. The legend of Casey Jones and the wreck of his passenger train known as the Cannon Ball were forever immortalized in a ballad 'The Brave Engineer,' by a black engine-wiper by the name of Wallace Saunders, a friend of the late engineer. The locomotive 382 was scrapped by the Illinois Central, July, 1935.

Fourth, we have Southern Railway's 4-6-0 No. 1102 that jumped the rails on a sharp curve leading into Still House Trestle near Danville, Virginia on Sunday September 27, 1903. The locomotive, No. 1102, was pulling Southern's famous and very fast Mail & Express train No. 97. The locomotive and cars ended up in the creek 75 feet below. Ten crew members including the engineer, fireman, conductor, flagman and six mail clerks, lost their lives in this very destructive wreck. The 1102 spent her last days on the St. Louis division and was scrapped by the Southern Railway at Princeton, Indiana September 9,1935. That fatal day in 1903 will always be remembered because of the classic ballad 'The Wreck of The Ole 97.' It is indeed ironic that this train wreck will be remembered by the number of the train, not the number of the locomotive.