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  • Writer's pictureBecky Fifield

Transportation Tuesday: Runaway!

This post is not about servants. So much of the time when I refer to runaways, it’s in relation to indentured and enslaved women.

Communipaw Terminal’s now grassy rail beds. RL Fifield, 2011.

Thanks to Mr. I for sending around this link to a well-written article in Popular Science about a runaway Jersey Central ghost train that charged out of Jersey City’s Communipaw Terminal on November 12, 1959 at 10:30pm. Read the article here. How the locomotive jumped a closed switch and other safety features to prevent runaway engines from entering the main line remained a mystery for many years, and continues to be a subject of occasional discussion on several rail fan forums today.

I particularly love the sidebar proclaiming “Double Length Feature of True Science Adventure.” I’d like to remind readers that this article is from the “good old days” and Popular Science was written to address a general audience thrilled by science. Even if I think trains have a greater role to play in the US than they do today (just think about Comlink going out of business and loss of regional air service) it can be funny to remember that rail was science – and still is. Enjoy the adventure that is science.

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