[Masthead] Overcast ~ 48°F  
High: 51°F ~ Low: 47°F
Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Picturing the Past 97: 1950 train wreck

Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 3:01 PM

The train wreck east of Shelbyville along Railroad Avenue on July 4, 1950. (Photo provided by Trey Arnold)
You may have seen this before, especially if you have a copy of the Times-Gazette's 1969 sesquicentennial edition.

This train wreck occurred July 4, 1950 along Railroad Avenue between Wartrace and Shelbyville.

I've never figured out the exact location of this. It looks to me similar to an area about a mile or two east of Stanley Boulevard (which didn't exist in 1950) where the railroad bed is raised. Or am I totally off in my guess?

One other odd question: You always think of 'avenues' as being in cities. I've wondered how this rural road became known as Railroad 'Avenue' as opposed to 'Road.' It's now called Railroad Road by the post office, I think, but still 'Avenue' on Google maps.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I think that you are about right on the location David, but I am not sure because I did not go out to the site of the wreck. We were friends with all of the men who worked on the train at that time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 5:44 PM

Freeman H. Hubbard wrote a book published by McGraw-Hill in 1945 called Railroad Avenue: Great Stories and Legends of American Railroading. If a town had a railroad it would often have a Railroad Avenue or Street.

-- Posted by Jerry Fox on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 6:04 PM

Does anyone have photos of the Normandy train wreck that occured in the early 70's? This one had piggyback trailers full of liquor.

-- Posted by Grit on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 8:23 PM

As best I can recall, the 70's Normandy train wreck also involved railroad cars full of new automobiles.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 12:23 AM

I took many pictures of the Normandy wreck mentioned by Grits and Tim.Most were immediately after the wreck. As i recall I went to the scene a few more times as crews cleaned up the area.

-- Posted by bomelson on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 8:18 AM

I remember the Normandy train wreck too. I was pretty young at the time but I do remember seeing a lot of liquor bottles laying around. What year was it in?

-- Posted by Harleytodd on Thu, Jan 27, 2011, at 12:59 PM

The location of the Shelbyville wreck was just west of "Grey's Crossing". There was a concrete block manufacturing facility close by. You can tell the repaired track section because rthe replacement rails are heavier. My father was conductor on the train.

-- Posted by Hbomar on Tue, Feb 15, 2011, at 6:05 PM

Hbomar thanks for the input. I remember H.I. Bomar very well.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 11:12 AM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.