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 Post subject: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:12 pm 

A recent book on the Key West Extension (Last Train To Paradise) discusses the rescue train of Sept. 1935, during the hurricane that wiped out the line (and much of anything man-made on the Keys). FEC 4-8-2 447 was handing the ill-fated rescue train, and photos taken after the storm show it still on the rails, with it's train of heavyweight coaches blown onto their sides.

The question is, was 447 left where it sat (on Matecumbe Key), or was it removed somehow? I suspect the passenger cars were cut up where they lay, but what about the locomotive, especially with most of the bridges and track to the mainland gone?

Not really a preservation question (unless we want to start a "Lost Engine of the Florida Keys" story), but I figured the talent that hangs out on this forum ought to have some answers, ideas, theories, W.A.G's.

hpincus@mindspring.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:56 pm 

> A recent book on the Key West Extension
> (Last Train To Paradise) discusses the
> rescue train of Sept. 1935, during the
> hurricane that wiped out the line (and much
> of anything man-made on the Keys). FEC 4-8-2
> 447 was handing the ill-fated rescue train,
> and photos taken after the storm show it
> still on the rails, with it's train of
> heavyweight coaches blown onto their sides.

> The question is, was 447 left where it sat
> (on Matecumbe Key), or was it removed
> somehow? I suspect the passenger cars were
> cut up where they lay, but what about the
> locomotive, especially with most of the
> bridges and track to the mainland gone?

> Not really a preservation question (unless
> we want to start a "Lost Engine of the
> Florida Keys" story), but I figured the
> talent that hangs out on this forum ought to
> have some answers, ideas, theories, W.A.G's.

Howard:

First I ever heard of the 447 being stranded. Live and learn! Can't believe that the FEC left the engine there. Too valuable in those days. They must have figured some way to retrieve it. Barge maybe? Must be a story there. Someone must know.

BTW, on my first visit to the Keys a few years ago, I thought that here was a perfect spot for a tourist/museum railroad. Take one of the bridges (surviving ones are no longer part of U.S. 1 but exist in many places) and run over the bridge from one key to the next. Not far; just enough for people to understand what an achievement "The Railroad that went to Sea" really was. There are even former FEC steam engines around! I sent a proposal to the State of Florida but got turned down. So much for historical preservation!

BTW, a C&O wood caboose was used down there for a tourist office for one of the communities. Was trucked in. Probably the farthest south any piece of railroad equipment is preserved in the United States!

Les Beckman (HVRM)

midlandblb@cs.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 1:24 am 

> First I ever heard of the 447 being
> stranded. Live and learn! Can't believe that
> the FEC left the engine there. Too valuable
> in those days. They must have figured some
> way to retrieve it. Barge maybe? Must be a
> story there. Someone must know.

*I just reviewed three books on the FEC, including "Last Train to Paradise", for Railfan & Railroad Magazine, then donated the books to the Maryland Rail Heritage Library. I don't remember specifically, but I do believe that 447 and train were finally rerailed and taken off the key. Believe me, if they had buried it or even left the stuff there, I would have come to this forum that has the obsession with buried steam locomotives!

> BTW, a C&O wood caboose was used down
> there for a tourist office for one of the
> communities. Was trucked in. Probably the
> farthest south any piece of railroad
> equipment is preserved in the United States!

May I gently remind you that 1) Hawaii has been in the United States since 1959; 2) it is further south than Florida; and 3) there is active rail preservation there as well? <:-)

LNER4472-NOSPAM-@bcpl.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 1:59 am 

> *I just reviewed three books on the FEC,
> including "Last Train to
> Paradise", for Railfan & Railroad
> Magazine, then donated the books to the
> Maryland Rail Heritage Library. I don't
> remember specifically, but I do believe that
> 447 and train were finally rerailed and
> taken off the key. Believe me, if they had
> buried it or even left the stuff there, I
> would have come to this forum that has the
> obsession with buried steam locomotives!

> May I gently remind you that 1) Hawaii has
> been in the United States since 1959; 2) it
> is further south than Florida; and 3) there
> is active rail preservation there as well?
> <:-)
There was a train stranded at Key West when the storm hit.It was later barged to Miami.See www.rinbad.demon.co.uk/us_key_w.htm I am by no means certain but seems like I once heard the 4-8-2 was taken back to Homestead on track hastily repaired with help from the Army.The track then quickly removed to provide a good roadway for automobiles and trucks.

wink638@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:51 am 

> *I just reviewed three books on the FEC,
> including "Last Train to
> Paradise", for Railfan & Railroad
> Magazine, then donated the books to the
> Maryland Rail Heritage Library. I don't
> remember specifically, but I do believe that
> 447 and train were finally rerailed and
> taken off the key. Believe me, if they had
> buried it or even left the stuff there, I
> would have come to this forum that has the
> obsession with buried steam locomotives!

> May I gently remind you that 1) Hawaii has
> been in the United States since 1959; 2) it
> is further south than Florida; and 3) there
> is active rail preservation there as well?
> <:-)

A gentle reminder is not necessary. I SHOULD have said in the "contiguous" states.

midlandblb@cs.com


  
 
 Post subject: See latest issue of I&T
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 10:56 am 

The Key West Extension is on the cover of the latest issue of American Heritage of Invention and Technology, with a good summary article on Flagler, the FEC, and the Key West bridges. There's a photo of the 1935 train on its side, and a description of the disaster that suggests that the cars were pushed over by a storm surge of water, not the 200-mph wind. No mention of what happened to the equipment, though.

- Aarne Frobom


  
 
 Post subject: Equipment salvaged...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:09 pm 

On a trip to the Keys some years ago, I stopped in at the Pigeon Key Historical Society and picked up a couple of books on the Key West Extension. One book had a photograph of a work train on the east end of the extension after the hurricane, working its way to the site of the tragedy. The line was rebuilt as far as the wreck site for the express purpose of recovering the train. It should be noted that of the train's crew only the engineman, fireman and road foreman of engines survived. Reportedly, they took cover in the tender when they realized their dilemma.

awalker1829@yahoo.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:38 am 

Just as a historical aside, the Great Hurricane of 1900 (no female names given back then!) which devastated Galveston, TX also stranded a train on the Port Bolivar & Iron Ore line between Beaumont and Galveston. It was a few years before the line was completetly rebuilt and another train ran again. Santa Fe eventually acquired the line.
Freight and passenger service on the entire line lasted until 1942. In regular service, a railroad ferry was used to bring the train on or off Galveston Island.


  
 
 Post subject: Re: FEC 4-8-2 447 and the 1935 Hurricane
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:31 pm 

George;

Thank you for answering a question I have been wondering about. My family and I have driven Hwy 87 to Galveston many times in the past few years; and some recent pipeline work alongside the road uncovered bridge approaches and other remains of this railroad.

I had wondered what railroad it was, and where it terminated. Thank you for answering both questions.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

> Just as a historical aside, the Great
> Hurricane of 1900 (no female names given
> back then!) which devastated Galveston, TX
> also stranded a train on the Port Bolivar
> & Iron Ore line between Beaumont and
> Galveston. It was a few years before the
> line was completetly rebuilt and another
> train ran again. Santa Fe eventually
> acquired the line.
> Freight and passenger service on the entire
> line lasted until 1942. In regular service,
> a railroad ferry was used to bring the train
> on or off Galveston Island.


james@survivingworldsteam.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re:1915 Galveston Hurricane
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:45 pm 

According to the "Interurbans" book on the Galveston-Houston Electric Rwy, there is still a Houston Electric work trolley missing from the Galveston causeway during the 1915 hurricane.
A 2-car G-H E Rwy. trolley passenger train and another HE work car were recovered from the same site. The one G-H E passenger trolley to be marooned on the island weathered the worst of the storm in the trolley terminal and afterwards had sand inside the car walls!
This book doesn't mention what happened to the Galveston city trolleys.

TyburnRR@cs.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Morgan Lines relics
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 7:46 am 

If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you might find the .pdf file link below interesting. Charles Morgan had holdings in railroads and maritime shipping.
Be patient! It took awhile for the 13-page report to download to my computer.

Morgan Lines relics


  
 
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