Steam over Trout Brook! For the first time in 86 years, a steam locomotive crossed Trout Brook during the 2019 Fall Work Weekend. All of this activity was associated with work trains of one sort or another. The very first crossing delivered a load of rail, while multiple subsequent crossings delivered stone for ballast. Here, we see #9 just on the northern approach to the bridge, with a ballast train behind her, as viewed from down at the brook level. The brook is pretty tame today. During rainy periods, the water can be much higher. The bridge is positioned above the historic high water mark.
The location seen here is the site of one of the most notorious and spectacular wrecks on the original WW&F Railway. Known as "The Mason's Wreck" the September, 1905 accident involved a passenger train headed up by WW&F Forney Locomotive #4. The train was southbound, carrying a group from the local Mason's Lodge, coming back from their annual picnic. Just as the locomotive approached the bridge....about where you see #9 in this photo, the engine jumped the tracks. With no guard rail installed on the bridge, the engine plowed into the bridge structure and then plunged into the brook, along with several cars. I should also mention that the bridge was destroyed in the process. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt! Historic photos taken by a local photographer depict survivors and passers-by standing in various positions on the wrecked train. Cleaning up that wreck was quite a chore. Lacking a big hook, the railroad built an earthen ramp just south of the bridge, and literally dragged the engine back up onto the right of way. The remains of that ramp can still be seen beside the current trackage. Speed limits, safety-conscious crews, much better track and a much stouter bridge with sides on it should ensure that type of accident is very unlikely in the future.