Trucker with Monon 50 on board says pilot car took a wrong turn

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Monon50cabdestroyed
Monon No. 50 after striking a bridge in Indiana.
Don Nickel
LOGANSPORT, Ind. — The trucker who was driving when Monon SW1 No. 50 struck a bridge says a misrouting and a pilot car that failed to call him when its over height pole contacted the bridge led to the incident last week that sheared off the cab of the 1942 vintage unit that was the railroad’s first diesel.

“We were within our legal rights to be there,” says truck driver Tom Schumann of STS LLC, the heavy-haul trucking company. “The company that did the route survey got us on the wrong road. We should have gone a mile farther to the west. The front escort vehicle’s high pole should have hit the bridge, but he (the escort driver) apparently didn’t see it.”

The Cass County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office corrected an earlier report that said the truck struck a Norfolk Southern bridge. A sheriff’s spokesman said the accident occurred at Burlington Avenue (state Road 25) and Monticello Road.

Schumann says the company had the necessary permits to move the privately owned engine from Noblesville, Ind., to Logansport, where the Indiana Transportation Museum is relocating. He said the company moved 12 other pieces out of the museum previously. The company has moved more than 100 pieces of railroad items in the past. This is the first incident like this for the company.

“The bottom line, is when you do something like this it’s kind of a team effort, and we dropped the ball,” says Schumann, who was a Chicago & North Western engineer 20 years ago. “We’ve moved a lot bigger pieces than this locomotive, and pieces that were a lot taller.”

STS has the support of others in the railway preservation field.

“They are in my opinion, one of the best trucking firms in the business when it comes to roll-on, roll-off equipment moves,” says Brett Goertemoeller of BMG Railroad Contractors. “In all of our interactions, the staff were courteous and very professional. We had no issues with any of the moves, and were very impressed with the way in which they did all of their due diligence in terms of routing and permitting the move.”

A source from the Monon Historical Society board says that McHugh Brothers in Chicago will do the repairs and have quoted a price of $75,000, which includes transportation both ways. It is hoped that insurance will cover this cost.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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