Friday, October 11, 2013

Downers Grove Depot Front Sheared Off by Goddesses

In 1947 the "Train of the Goddesses" (one of the second pair of Twin Zephyrs) derailed at speed and hit the Downers Grove Main Street Station shearing off the front. Downers Grove is a Chicago suburb 22 miles from the city. Three people were killed and 30 injured in the accident.

Downers Grove Main Street Station, March 29, 1964

This is from the Downers Grove Historical Society.  The men in the foreground are restoring one of the tracks to get the railroad partially operating.

In November 1947 the repaired trainset was reassigned to Nebraska Zephyr service between Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska along with the "Train of the Gods".

The ICC accident report indicates that the derailment of Train #24 was caused by it hitting a bulldozer which had fallen off a flatcar in a freight train on the middle track. No. 24 was moving at about 73 mph when it hit the bulldozer, the locomotive involved was E5A 9914A "Silver Arrow" which was also repaired and returned to service. The engineer of #24 was one of the fatalities.

9914A, an E5A, built in June 1941 and was traded in March 1968. Most of the cars from the Train of the Goddesses are at the Illinois Railway Museum and run as a train.

Of interest are the names of the cars.  The cars of the "Train of the Goddesses" were named Venus, Vesta, Minerva, Psyche, Ceres, Diana,and Juno. Those of  the "Train of the Gods" were named Apollo, Mars, Neptune, Cupid, Vulcan, Mercury, and Jupiter.

Here's a YouTube video of Illinois Railway Museum's Nebraska Zephyr passing the station on the same track in 2012 by Patrick Kearn.

And note the following advertizement.

And I found another photo.