Man VS Train
It's history in a way you've never read before.

Warning: This post contains material that may be offensive to some.
Contains graphic material.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last Fridays Freaky Friday Post

March 28, 2014.    Copied From Operation Lifesaver and Christian Science Monitor


Teen Couple Struck By Train
Mateus Moore and his girlfriend, Mickayla Friend, were walking on railroad tracks on their way to a dance at the Marysville Charter Academy For The Arts in Marysville, Calif. Reports suggest they were walking in the same direction the train was traveling and did not notice it approaching them from behind until the last moment.
At that point, Mateus pushed Mickayla off the tracks, saving her life, according to eyewitnesses who were at a Little League baseball game nearby. Mickayla was taken to a local hospital with traumatic injuries but is expected to live. Mateus died at the scene.
Pedestrian train accidents increased dramatically in 2013, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Through Aug. 31, there had been 352 pedestrian deaths compared with 281 during the same period in 2012, a 25 percent rise. The newspaper reported that the fatality rate in the first eight months of 2013 was the highest in a decade.
In a three-part series on pedestrian train accidents, the Post-Dispatch reports that pedestrian accidents are a problem without an easy solution. Railroad tracks are private property, which means victims are trespassing at their own risk. Yet train operators take few if any measures to mitigate the risks, such as building fences to block trespassers in some high-traffic areas, the newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, USA Today has reported on the growing phenomenon of "distracted walking," with pedestrians losing a sense of their surroundings as they text and chat on mobile phones.
"Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported," the paper reports, referring to pedestrians in general, not just those on train tracks. "There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, but there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics."
That did not appear to be the case in California. Union Pacific, which owns the tracks, is conducting an investigation. So far there is no evidence that the couple was intoxicated or wearing headphones, according to KXTV in Sacramento, Calif.
Union Pacific spokesperson Aaron Hunt said the teens had their backs to the freight train. He said there was ample time for the teens to leave Union Pacific property after the horn sounded. It is unclear why they didn't realize the train was approaching.
"Sometimes these trains, when you're directly in front of them, can sneak up on you," Marysville Police Chief David Baker said, according to KXTV."

 This was posted by Operation Lifesaver Utah
Which is a nonprofit group, raising awareness of train safety.   Amazing group!
At The Station  applauds Operation Lifesaver and hopes to help them spread the word about train safety.

Please be train safe.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Freaky Friday

The Lucin Cut Off a freaky kind of bridge.

  Celebrating the day 112 years ago when construction started on the Lucin Cut-off the bridge across The Great Salt Lake.
    I'm compiling these chapters of my book "Death At The Station".  I've found so many interesting things to share about how difficult it was to build this cut off.
     The cut off was proposed to save money by avoiding the Promontory Mountains, where the grade was steep and there were many curves making it difficult for the trains.  They had to be broken apart and each section had a helper train that would take it through the curves and to the other side.
    The cut off was 46 miles shorter than the route through Promontory Mountain but the most significant saving was time.   Any where from 6 to 12 hours could be saved with the cut off.
    $61,000 in operating costs compared to the same month in 1903.  The cut-off would pay for itself in  eight years.

Several places in The Great Salt Lake had black holes that seemed to be insatiable.

      Bear River Bay on the east side of the lake is where fresh water mixed with the salt water of the lake.
The Bear River drains into the bay and filters into the lake.  A tressle was built to cross this bay.
While filling in the piles at the eastern arm of the lake, two pilings (70 foot long logs) one one top of the other were driven into the lake floor and disappeared.  The lake at that point was less than ten feet deep.  In Bear River Bay, over one hundred feet of sand, salt and silt, something other than the solid bottom that they needed,  had collected .  It seemed no amount of fill would ever be enough to stabilize the bottom of the lake here.
     During this stage of construction the tracks in this section settled continually, each time being built back up again.  The fill material was coming from a site on the lake's east shore, just west of Ogden, Little Mountain.  It was said by the newspaper, that Little Mountain, Just keeps getting littler.
       The continuing settling of the tracks created momentousness problems.  December 10, 1902 the newspaper reports "Sixteen cars and one engine dropped into the water. . . this occurred in the same place where similar accidents have happened so many times before.  No one had lost their life. . . . yet.  For weeks the ballast train has been dumping hundreds of carloads of rock in an effort to make the track solid enough to sustain the heaviest loads.
       On March 26th, 1903 As the result of the continual sinking of the Ogden Lucin cut-off, an engine went under.  The track settled over night, the engine started across, when it reached the soft spot the heavy engine lurched and then dropped falling over on its side and settling.

      In April 1903 another larger sink hole was found west of Promontory.  This is where the Rambo Station was suppose to be constructed.  
       On April 3, 1903, five hundred feet of tressle work gave way.  Four cars of gravel and an engine were precipitated into the lake.

      In October of 1903 it was reported by Scientific American that the principle trouble was in two main areas comprising nearly ten miles in all.  It was said Rambo had consumed 2,500 tons of rock everyday for a month without showing any significant change in depth.  By the time Rambo finally stabilized, it alone had consumed 70,000 carloads of rock.  In the end, the section at Rambo proved to be too unstable for an embanked roadway and it was bridged by extending the trestle a mile on its western end.

More on the Lucin Cut off later.    For now, Please be train safe.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Answer to March 17th, question

The answer to the question earlier in the week is The Lucin Cut Off.
 The bridge that spanned The Great Salt Lake
Construction officially started on March 17, 1902.

In conjunction with that, does any one know what "Rambo" was? I'll give you a hint, it had to do with the Lucin Cut off and the wooden tressle.

Which, by the way, the company Tresslewood has reclaimed most of the wood from the tressle that went across the great Salt Lake. They have made beautiful mantel pieces and beams for homes. The Lodge by Maddox Ranch House is built with some of this reclaimed wood from the tressle.

Monday, March 17, 2014

112 Years Ago Today

       112 years ago today, March 17, 1902  a project started that was so monumental it was touted as one of the most ambitious and successful engineering feats of the era, a herculean project.

"one of the most remarkable and courageous engineering accomplishments of the time."
Thomas Edison wrote: "Certainly a bold piece of engineering and well worth seeing."

It is still viewed today as a monumental achievement by engineers

Nay-sayers said it was not possible. 

 It would take two years to complete, with over 3,000 men working around the clock, that also had to be housed and fed,  almost unfathomable amounts of rock, gravel and timber were used. 
Over 500,000 gallons of water per day had to be brought in.
Estimated cost $3,000,000,   final cost, over $8,000,000,  today that would equal $22,000,000 

Do you know what it is?


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Repost from Union Station Blog

I admit, I am cheating this week.  But I had to share this Blog from Ogden's Historic Union Station.  The Blog is about Negatives of pictures.   But it tells of the day a street car ran into the Broom hotel.  No deaths, no horrific body smashes.  Just a streetcar run a muck.   Enjoy!!!

The Union Station Library is a fantastic resource of Ogden history, Train history and the Union Station history.   Check out the Station and it's museums sometime, Especially the library.

Street Car Wreck! Old negatives are a time machine

The wreck of the 25th Street street car. Photo by Lester Perry

So, we know that on the afternoon of Nov. 14, 1918, four days after Armistice Day, Lester was in downtown Ogden, probably hoping to cash in on any post-war optimism by selling bricks, when the street car  crashed into the Broom Hotel.

The street car had been going east, up past Adams Avenue, and stopped when its crew got out to help another street car in front of them. The car’s brake let go and back down the hill it went, careening towards the busy intersection of then-Washington Avenue and 25th Street.

It flew through the intersection, jumped the tracks and bashed into a hat shop on the south side ground floor of the Broom Hotel. The newspaper said it was a miracle hundreds were not injured. As a matter of fact nobody was injured, but its more fun to say a miracle occurred.

And there was Lester, off to the side, taking pictures.

I think his are as good as the one the paper ran.

Nov. 15, 1918 Ogden Standard
                                                                          Click to go to the actual article. 

I love Lester’s pictures. Because I have the negatives, I can make good prints, dodging and burning, working the contrast to bring out details.

Why is this important? Almost nobody saved the negatives back then, which means every image we have from years ago is a copy. Copies from prints always lose some of the original data, and copies of copies lose more.

Detail from street car photo
To put it in digital terms, think of saving an image as a jpg, then expanding it, then saving it again, over and over. Every time you save it, you compress it digitally, meaning your computer is taking out pixels. Every time you open it, your computer expands it again, replacing those pixels with what it thinks goes there, but it is just guessing and after a while things degrade.

Same with copies of photographs. Every iteration gets worse.

So when someone has the original negative, that’s treasure. The actual light from the actual subject came through a lens and nudged a few silver atoms on the negative.  Ninety nine years later you can still see the mark that light left: The US Liberty Bell, a row of army barracks at Fort Douglas, a street car wreck in Ogden, farms in fields long gone but the mountains behind, still familiar.

Look at the buildings in the street car photos, the store fronts, the details of life.  I love the hats everyone is wearing, and notice all the men have on white collars and are dressed well? Nobody wore jeans and t-shirts back then.

Check out the bicycles. And $3 hats!

Liberty Bell in Ogden. Photo by Lester Perry
In 1915 the Liberty Bell made a national tour on its way to an international exposition in San Francisco. Of course it had to go through Ogden, and talk about excitement. The paper ran dozens of stories, people from all over the state came to see, an estimated 30,000.  This at a time when the population of Ogden was about 30,000.

And there was Lester. He got the bell, the crowd, and an amazing shot of the train leaving Union Station. I love the women wearing their bloomers.

And on and on. He shot the new army camp in Salt Lake City up at Fort Douglas. He took the camera along when he and some other guys went rabbit hunting, killing hundreds of the critters.

Liberty Bell train. Note the
Autographic notes
Yes hundreds. Back then rabbits were a major scourge. Parties would  shoot thousands of them. During The Depression those rabbits fed a lot of Utah’s poor.

We’re still sorting and scanning negatives. Bruce brought his dad’s pocket diary down, so we also have some details of daily life, and I recorded an interview of Bruce talking about his dad’s later life. The brick yard had to lay off all its workers when The Depression hit in 1929, and his dad traded bricks for a few years to buy food.

In the 1940s Lester set up a flower shop on Grant Avenue between 24th and 25th Street. Bruce said his dad always wanted to be an artist, and in flowers he found an outlet that paid the rent.

Flowers wilt, but a good photograph lasts forever. When Lester died he left his camera and his negatives. His children, being wise, didn’t throw either out, but saved them, a window to his time.

Thanks Lester, for your good work. And thank you, Bruce, for bringing it to us in the Union Station archive so it can be preserved and admired in the future.

Detail, Liberty Bell train leaves Ogden. Note the original station’s tower and the ladies’ bloomers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Random Weird Things in Utah Histoy

Just after I posted this I saw a news story that was much more interesting.  It didn't happen here in Utah as most of my posts do but it was far better a story for those with a macabre mind like mine.


Ogden Standard 1894-08-17


Information was received today by the standard that the remains of an unknown man had been found by some boys lying with the head pillowed on a kind of cushion in a shady nook near the Baldy Watch, a stream some five miles south east of Huntsville and South of the Langsdorf ranch, on the afternoon of august 16th.  The body was badly decomposed and deceased had evidently been dead for at least a week.
  When the news of the discovery was brought to Huntsville it caused intense excitement.  The authorities have started to the scene of death, but as the Standard goes to press the result of their investigation is unknown.  Mr Angus Wright, of W. H. Wright sons and Co.  who had been to Huntsville on business, and who was interviewed regarding the ghastly find stated that from the meager particulars learned of by him it is probable the dead man may have been a camper-out as he was fairly well dressed and was thought to be a Scandinavian by birth.

Ogden Standard 1894-08-18

Jess G. Langsdorf came down from Huntsville this morning with the bottle which was found with the remains of the dead man discovered near there, as reported exclusively in the Standard yesterday, to have the contents analyzed by a chemist.  No further particulars have been developed in the case.

July 13, 1889  Milford Utah

A lamentable accident occurred on the Utah Central near Milford early Saturday morning, resulting in the death of a young man named Stephen Stephenson.  The first announcement of the sad affair in Salt Lake city was the following telegram, received by Hon. John Sharp.
     "Milford, Utah,  July 13 1889.  Steve Stephenson, one of the train hands south of Juab, was killed this morning.  He was riding on the back of the tender after putting the freight on a switch, and must have been crossing the draw head when he fell off the tender.  Part of the engine passed over his body.  One leg
was cut off, his bowels cut open and several bad cuts made about his head.  He died instantly.  His parents and family live at Levan."
   An inquest was held at Milford, the result being announced in the following dispatch:
"The coroner's verdict is that Stevenson came to his death by falling from the tender of an engine, the same passing over him, while in the performance of his duty and that no blame can be attached to anyone."
      The Utah Central sent a special down with a coffin, and the body will be taken to Levan for interment.
-Deseret News.