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 Post subject: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:23 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
The History Center in Diboll, Texas is home to Southern Pine Lumber 4-6-0 #13 and several other pieces of rolling stock; and a large collection of logging and railroad documentation. The History Center has a website at:

http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/

On the History Center's website you will find a collection of photographs of East Texas Railroading. You will also find their monthly publication; The Pine Bough.

The December 2009 edition of The Pine Bough has an article on the Angelina National Forest; including Boykin Springs and former quarry now known as Blue Hole.

My pastor used to swim in Blue Hole when he was young; and related the story to me of how one night, after the workers left for the day, a sinkhole opened up in the quarry. They had left a dragline, steam locomotive, and several cars down in the quarry. When the workers returned the next morning, the dragline and train were both gone! An attempt was made to locate them, but they have never been found!

I added this to the webpage for a personal website I maintained in the 1990s. While it was up, I had the following e-mailed to me:

Quote:
Swam in Blue Hole many times and have seen the foundations for the stone lift and bits of rail and abandoned rights of way. Some of the stone for the Galveston seawall is supposed to have originated here. The story you heard of the industrial train in the bottom may well be true, as I have also heard of this some 20 years ago. Also heard from a plumbing and general contractor in Nacogdoches, a sport diver, that this locomotive and cars is there,along with dumped stolen automobiles and hundreds of 45 records frisbeed into the water.It is supposedly about 50 feet deep.


So, I added it to my Surviving World Steam Locomotive CD; it also shows up on Wes Barris' steamlocomotive.com website listed as sunk at the Boykin Springs Campground near Rockland.

Sadly, the article puts this legend to rest. Quoting from it:

Quote:
Tolbert also was one of the first writers to dispel a long held legend which said a lost locomotive and one or more rail cars rested deep at the bottom of the hole. He reported in a January 1960 article that the lake had been recently drained by engineers working on the Sam Rayburn dam. All they found, he said, were “a few small perch.” He said divers had earlier disproved the “ancient yarn” and “beloved East Texas legend” but “some folks weren’t convinced until the inky waters were drained.” The Blue Hole soon refilled, and remains so today, giving life again to the legend of the lost train.


Frank X. Tolbert was a longtime columnist for the Dallas Morning News; his material in the newspaper archives have been a gold mine for historians.

Since I started this particular "lost locomotive" legend; I also wanted to disprove it here on RYPN. Many of the stories behind this "lost locomotives" are probably similiar in origin and factuality; though I remain of the opinion they should be checked out before being dismissed.

The entire article, as well as the website as a whole; make for facinating reading if you are interested in East Texas railroading.

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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 145
Location: Southwest Virginia
Nice loco and preservation story, even if it has the smallest smoke box door I've ever seen!

Mike Stillwell
Buena Vista, VA.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:54 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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The problem with these lost locomotive legends is due to two things:

1) The ability of something as heavy and dense as a locomotive to get really “lost”, especially when dropped into muddy lakes or other soft ground.

2) The unrealistic common perception that a lost locomotive is an opportunity to acquire a free 4-8-4 and fire it up and return it to glory.


This wide disconnect between fact and false expectation tends to create extreme skepticism about lost locomotives. Therefore, there is as much energy expended in doubting and disproving such legends as there is in confirming them.

I know nothing about this quarry legend in Texas, having just learned about it here. If anything could swallow a locomotive, a sinkhole could certainly do the job. I assume that there must be some history of the locomotive of this legend operating in the quarry where the sinkhole opened, and I wonder what that history is.

The first impulse is to call in divers to put a rest to legends of lost locomotives or other equipment. But the truth often is that divers are woefully under equipped to discover the truth as time and soft soil have often obscured the subject from the view of casual diving.

In the same manner as the inadequacy of diving, the draining of the Texas sink hole and failure to observe a locomotive strikes me as wishful thinking to disprove the legend rather than a serious conclusion arrived at by proper effort. By nature, sinkholes do not have a hard bottom.

Equally as futile as diving or draining a mudhole, is mounting a group effort with dozens of volunteers with metal detectors as in the Kussler attempt to unravel the Kansas Pacific legend in Colorado.

A magnetometor would easily confirm that no locomotive exists in the Texas sinkhole if none did.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
The quarry was originally served by a railroad; the sandstone from the quarry being used to build the jetties at Sabine Pass, and later to extend the Galveston seawall in 1905. A portion of the railroad that served the quarry later became part of the Burr's Ferry, Browndel & Chester Railway; a portion of whose roadbed you can still walk in the Angelina National Forest. You can still see either the old road and/or the old roadbed in closeup views on Bing maps:

http://redirectingat.com/?id=673X542464 ... 52C%2520TX

I think where the legend went wrong was the sinkhole part. The quarry was drained in the 1950s not to retrive the locomotive, but to obtain more sandstone for use (I think by the Army Corp of Engineers) in highway construction and the construction of Lake Sam Rayburn dam and spillway.

What probably happened is that when the quarry was first shut down; it simply filled with rain water. The tracks were apparently left behind in the quarry; the legend of the sinkhole came later. (You can see the tracks in a 1918 picture on page 19.)

I understand what you are saying about lost locomotives. This was a rare instance where the body of water was drained for another purpose, and it turned out nothing was there.

That is not always the case; two examples are the tiny Porter found at the bottom of Butte Lake in 1997, restored and placed on display in Chester, CA; and 1850 Danforth, Cooke, & Co. 4-4-0 retrived from a swamp and now on display in Tallahassee, FL.

Some of the "lost locomotive" sightings on land are also no longer true because the reports are so old, the locomotives themselves were scrapped at a later date; many during the WWII metal drives. But, there are quite a few that have been found, and a few that have been retrived.

No, they are not 4-8-4s all fresh and ready for restoration; but still worthy of note if you are trying list all the surviving steam locomotives. And they make for a good story too, even when they turn out not to be there.

(Check out too the New Zealand Rip-Rap Restorations thread.)

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Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project - New Address!

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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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There is also a 18 car coal train in Lake Washington, near Seattle.

It's apparently a string of rather small (2 ton capacity) narrow gauge tramway cars. I keep hearing rumors of whether not there is a locomotive with them, but it sounds like there is not. If there is, it would probably be a small 0-4-0.

Quote:
The history of Lake Washington is often shaped by natural disasters but human tragedy also shapes the lake. Contained in the lake are bits of history known only to a few adventurous explorers. Aided with high-tech equipment UAS has located a train of coal cars lost to the lake in 1875.

The train belonged to the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company, one of the early local business enterprises that succeeded in putting Seattle and the eastside on the map. In the fall of 1863, surveyor Edwin Richardson discovered coal beside a stream later named Coal Creek. Wagons hauled sacks of coal down to the lake where it was transported to the west shore by sail boat, rowboat, or Indian canoe. Six weeks later, prospectors discovered a richer coal seam south of the Creek at a place called Newcastle, named after the famous English mining town. To bring the coal form Newcastle to Seattle, the company constructed a cumbersome system of tramways and barges to haul trains of iron-wheeled wooden cars. Each cart was capable of carrying two tons of coal from the mines to bunkers on the Seattle waterfront. In January 1875, the sternwheeler Chehalis was rounding the northwest point of Mercer Island when a gale blowing from the south tipped the barge it was towing and sent 18 cars plunging into the lake. They remain where they sank, well preserved in 200 feet of water, many of them upright and still carrying their cargoes of coal.



http://www.nwrain.com/~newtsuit/recover ... lkwash.htm


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:58 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
James,

Thanks for that additional information. If, as you suggest, there were no sinkhole, presumeably the quarry was a hard-bottom vessel filled with rainwater. If that were the case, and if they drained the water and found no locomotive, then I would have to conclude that no locomotive is there.

I agree that a lost locomotive does not need to be an operational 4-8-4 to be significant. My point was that I have detected that stories of lost locomotives seem to mostly conjure up a reaction that a lost locomotive is an opportunity to acquire a locomotive for restoration for display or operation. And this perception serves to widen the gap between believing in the possibility of a lost locomotive and dismissing it as impossible.

As you know, most lost locomotives, where they exist, have reached a state of ruin where they tend to resemble ancient fossils. So, if they are recovered, I generally think they should be preserved as fossils, rather than regarded as the basis for rebuilding. However, I believe that objective has often been blurred. It is a pertinent issue, for example, in regard to the recovery of the two small locomotives off the coast of New Jersey, and for the Churchill locomotive, if it should happen to be recovered. The absolutely worst thing than can be done to a “fossil” locomotive artifact is sand blasting, painting, adding a few mocked up pieces, and putting it into a rudimentary, outdoor display.

One interesting legend of a lost locomotive is that one was lost in Devil’s Lake at Pine City, MN. If it is true, it apparently dates from the pioneering era on the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad. Devil’s lake is like a small caldron alongside the east side of the railroad fill, and it is over 80 feet deep with a soft bottom. From the surface, the water is the color of coffee. It is the first lake in a chain of small water bodies stringing out southward from the larger Cross Lake. Apparently, these lakes have some type of subterranean connection to each other as they are in a small meandering valley that appears to be an ancient watercourse.

Newspaper accounts in the early days speak of unstable and shifting ground that is apparently slowly sliding into the west side of the lake and continuously dislodging the railroad alignment. They suggest that the railroad company place guards there day and night to make sure that the track is safe for trains.

I learned of the “lost train” legend at Pine City from a woman who lived there and told me what her grandfather had told her. He said: “We heard the train blowing its whistle coming toward town from the south, but it never arrived in town. So we walked down the tracks to find out what happened. When we got to Devil’s lake, the track was broken up and led right into the lake. It looked like the train had gone into the lake.” Another old resident of Pine City told me that the railroad used to skirt the west side of the lake on a trestle, but today the railroad grade is on an earth fill all along the lake. I have not found any documentation of this incident. It is not in the GN/NP archives, but much early history is likewise not in those archives.

There are stories of divers finding portions of boxcars protruding form the lake bottom in the past. About ten years ago, professional divers went into the lake through the ice in order to confirm or refute the legend. They failed to find any train remnants, however, they were unable to reach a conclusion because the visibility was extremely poor, and the lake bottom was irregular and covered with whole trees that were preserved in the dark water.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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It seems that this thread has migrated toward "lost locomotives". Always an interesting subject, even if most reports prove to just be "pie in the sky" scenarios. The ones that have always had some basis for fact to me are the ones in Canada; a Canadian Pacific engine on one of those disconnected lines that the CP reached by barge and had an engine roll off a barge one time, and a PGE steamer that also ended up in a lake. Both of the lakes were suposedly extremely deep preventing recovery of the locomotives. There were other stories, but those two seemed at least a bit plausible.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
Bonne Terre Mine, Bonne Terre, MO is another confirmed one. It appears to be a 4-4-0; the cylinders on it are not right, that and the fact that it is down in a mine leads me to believe it was used as a stationary boiler at the end of it's life.

A H.K. Porter in a Relief reservoir above Kennedy Meadows, CA was supposively seen when the seen in the '70s during a draining of the reservior and is said to still be there. I got that one from the old rumorweb website, a good repository of lost locomotive and other equipment sightings; I guess it is gone now?

I was told secondhand that a diver inspecting a pipeline found the train that an 0-6-0 with a leaky throttle took with it into the Tangipahoa River in Berwick, LA. I think this is the same location where several locomotives were rumored to have been sent into the river by the Confederates to prevent their capture by Union forces; but no confirmation of this story. Like the location Ron described, the Tangipahoa has a silty bottom and swift currents; so finding and retrieving them would be a challenge.

A pair of Empire Limstone Co. 0-4-0ST Vulcans in a former quarry in Sherkston, ON, Canada have been photographed; so they are there, too.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
I heard Atchifalaya Bayou for the Civil War sinkings.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:00 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
Dave wrote:
I heard Atchifalaya Bayou for the Civil War sinkings.

dave


If you look at a map, several rivers, including the Atchafalaya River, come together there before emptying into the Gulf. They all make up the Atchafalaya River basin.

The exact name for the location is Berwick Bay. My grandparents lived just a few miles down the road in Bayou Sale. It is an area I am familiar with since I was young.

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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
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I recall having read, or heard a story ( its been a few years) of a PRR engine that went off a bridge with several box cars. I forget exactly where, but supposedly someone had dived the site and found the cars, but not the engine as visibility was very bad- of course.... I think the engine was said to be a K4?
Then there is also the possiblity of such stories being the result misinformation.
Has anyone read the "sea hunters" by Clive Cussler? it details his hobby of locating shipwrecks, one story talks bout the lost locomotive of kiowa creek....locals believed the loco was buried in the river bed, the truth was the railroad had salvaged it secretly and apparently scammed their insurance company.....


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 618
Then there are the engines that are not really lost, but misplaced. At Mid-Continent the Lousiana & Cypress Lumber Co #2 is rumored to be mostly complete, but might as well be in the bottom of a quarry. Parts were scattered for years like bits and pieces of "Scarecrow" in "Wizard of OZ" when the flying monkeys took him apart. Not picking on MC as many museums have parts engines scattered about their property. But when you try to inventory parts or find parts belonging to a paticular engine and gather them up or send then with an engine that has been sold, it becomes no unlike an urban legend story. You become a cheap detective and archiologist.

When MC traded the UP #440 for the Copper Range #28 the group cosmetically restoring the UP #440 got about 75% of the locomotive, all the big parts. I am rather anal about trying to keep stuff together that belongs together. I had to round up the grates, injectors, throttle lever, throttle castings, tried to find lubercator, misc valves and piping, air receivers/tanks, bell castings, headlights/backup lights, generator and what ever parts actually belonged to the locomotive that was stripped down in the mid/late 1970s.

Point is you don't have to go looking for surviving or missing locomotives in the bottom of dark muddy rivers and lakes. Go to your local museum and find missing or surviving locomotive projects. Riverbanks, high grass, box cars, behind the Bullard and talking to the "old guys" who still remember where they last saw the parts. In the case of the UP #440 I remember we were missing one grate when we got the engine. Little things like that can save time. Personally I love the "lost engine" stories, truth or fiction. The "lost project" engines are not nearly as romantic as the ones in the bottom of quarrys and lakes. Cheers, John.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
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Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies
What other disassembled locos, in the process of being lost, are there? I can think of 3... the Oahu Railway 4-6-0 in Hawaii, East Broad Top #6 in Indiana, American Creosote #7 at IRM. There are probably others.


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:28 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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How much is known about these lost locomotives?

http://209.240.73.40/lists/search.php?s ... ountry=USA

I have heard of a few of them, but not all of them. What is known about the one in a quarry at Nicholson, PA? That is not the one that became famous (or infamous) in the several discussions on this forum in the last few years is it?


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 Post subject: Re: History Center in Diboll, TX; "Blue Hole" legend rebuffed
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
Ron Travis wrote:
How much is known about these lost locomotives?

http://209.240.73.40/lists/search.php?s ... ountry=USA

I have heard of a few of them, but not all of them. What is known about the one in a quarry at Nicholson, PA? That is not the one that became famous (or infamous) in the several discussions on this forum in the last few years is it?


I mentioned the ones for which I have seen photographs, or know of strong evidence for. Also already covered the engines at Boykin Springs campground (nothing there), and the Atchafalaya River, Berwick (train seen but not engine).

A book was reviewed here on RYPN about the Kaw River engines; look and see if you can find it online still. From memory: two of the engines were scrapped out, only remains are left; the third engine was never found.

The engine near bridge 4mi N of Cushing I believe is the one that has the footing for the existing RR bridge poured on it when the bridge was relocated at a later date. There was talk of removing it; but the UPRR would not allow it for fear of damaging the bridge. (I MAY have it confused with the engine in the Cimarron River, N of Kingfisher.)

The problem with the T&P engine lost at Village Creek, Handley, TX is that the bridge was moved after the engine was lost. So, it's exact location is not known; at least that is my understanding.

The GP 2-6-2 engine along with a train in Wynooche River Gorge, Grisdale, WA was left on a trestle, and the trestle set on fire during the filming of the movie "Ring of Fire". The gorge is steep, and it is hard to get to the engine's location; but one visitor as confirmed the engine is still there, sitting upside down; see:

http://www.brian894x4.com/RingofFire.html

The rest range from "almost certain they are there" to mere rumors.

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Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project - New Address!

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