Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading
My brother, now nearing age 76, worked for NWP in 1958 & 1959 and probably part of 1960. We were watching a 1930's movie about a runaway train that had been sabotaged and it reminded him of an incident at the Island Mountain Tunnel and the trestle at the South entrance. Perhaps another old timer will recall the incident.
It was another case of the Eel River raging out of control and Charlie Neal was on the scene. He feared the river was going to wash out the trestle and he thought he could save it by putting some weight at both ends to help anchor it. He told the train crew to position box cars at both ends, but the train crew was afraid to go onto the trestle and they refused to do it. So Charlie Neal, being head of Maintenance of Way ( I can't remember his exact title), jumped in the cab and pushed a bunch of box cars across the raging river to the North side and then crossed back over and positioned more box cars on the South side. My brother said he believes it did save the trestle. Unfortunately, the train crew reported him to the Union and he was in a heap of trouble.
My father was also an NWP MoW employee and he somehow earned Charlie Neal's respect. In the eyes of Charlie Neal, my father could do no wrong. I met Charlie Neal several times through my father and I am not surprised by this story.