May 18, 2011

Past pain across the road

I like that there used to a railroad operating across 366 from me - I'm always interested in trains, and have a stack of books and models and assorted other bits from them. At the same time, I remember that it wasn't all a picnic:

Yard crews, road crews, and all other employees are also governed by Rule 8: "If an employee shall be disabled by sickness or other cause, the right to claim compensation will not be recognized. An allowance, if made, will be a gratuity justified by the circumstances of the case and the employee's previous conduct."

The EC&N's accident record over [1884-1890] is testimony to the hazards of working on the railroad. The railroad's annual reports to the state indicated there were over sixty injuries or fatalities... including an average of one employee fatality every twenty weeks and one non-fatal employee accident per month. - The Ups & Downs of a Rural Line, page 34.

I sometimes wonder why my employer pays workers compensation insurance while I work at home at a desk job, but then I think over the amazing use of passive voice in that first paragraph and marvel that it was considered legally just fine not not to take responsibility.

While most of the accidents Marcham describes in that book took place elsewhere, the Varna-Etna area seems to have been prone to washouts. A caption for a photo of Newton L. "Doc" Hunt on page 134 notes that:

Like nearly all his fellow trainmen, he experienced several train accidents including separate incidents in 1907 and 1944 caused by track washouts at Varna. He carried scars from these accidents to his death at the age of 67 in October 1952.

A few years ago Mike Lane sent me an article about some innovative way of replacing a culvert along this line somewhere in Varna. I didn't post it here because it was post-1922 and still in copyright, but I'll have to track it down and see if I can figure out where exactly that work was done. I understand that washouts were part of what ended the use of the line, which may someday become a trail and is now a key corridor for water and sewer infrastructure.

Posted by simon at May 18, 2011 7:03 PM in ,
Note on photos