Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers

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Mr. Hall: “That bolt”, referring to the part of the column bolt in his hand. Answer – The part of

the column-bolt in my hand. That bolt there is sheared this way; you can see the side of the bolt where this has been down against the side of the rail.

By Mr. Keith:

Q. What would be the result with the arch-bar and the column-bolt to the truck in the condition you have just described when you reached that frog, and the switch? Answer – After this was broken off then it would drop still lower, it would drag on the ties.

Q. Then what would take place? Answer – Then, when it comes to a switch, going into the point of the switch, then something would have to open up. It forms a wedge right in between what we call the stock rail and the switch point, and the weakest point has got to give way. That nut there shows that it was dragging on the ties before it was broken off.

Q. You say it would displace that rail? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And the derailment of the cars would follow as the natural result? Answer – Yes, sir, everything behind it; the same as an open derail switch.

Q. If the tie-straps would break off first, what effect would it have on the box-bolts? Answer - I don’t think it would have any effect on the box-bolts at all. It might allow the box to spread slightly at the bottom.

Q. Why don’t you think it would have any effect on the box-bolts? Answer – Because the box-bolts are solid and through the bars. It might cause the bars to bend a little bit at this point (indicating), but the tie-bar simply ties the boxes together to keep them from opening up or closing in, and have nothing to do with carrying the weight of the car.

Q. The tie-strap, you say, has nothing to do with carrying the weight of the car? Answer – Practically nothing.

Q. Did you examine the condition of that track from the point of the accident back to Bristow Station.? Answer – I did the next morning.

Q. What condition did you find it in? Answer – I found it in good condition.

Q. What condition did you find the rails and ballasting and the ties in? answer – In good condition.

Q. Was there anything in the condition of the rails or the ties, or of the ballasting, or of anything else connected with that truck and roadbed, that could have had any effect in the derailment that occurred? Answer – Nothing that I could see at all.

Q. I hand you a part of one of the box-bolts that has been produced here, and I will ask you to say whether that is one of the top bolts or one of the bottom, if you know? Answer – That is the bottom end of box bolt.

Q. Will you state whether that is what you would call a break or a shear? Answer – That is a break.

Q. You have spoken of the shearing process that would take place in box-bolts where the holes had worn oblong; would that shearing take place on the top bolts or bottom bolts? Answer – Do you mean the top or bottom ends?

Q. Yes, the head of the bolt or bottom? Answer – Always at the top end, just between the two bars.

Q. Always in the top end? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And it was the top arch-bar that was worn oblong? Answer – It was worn oblong in both, the top and bottom arch bar; it was clear on top of the box, - both the top and bottom arch-bars are on top of the box; they are an inch and a quarter thick and that is two and a half inches right under the head of the bolts. Bolts usually shear just the thickness of the top bar, which is an inch and a quarter from the head.

Q. Have you had any experience before in the shearing of box-bolts with accident resulting? Answer – Yes. sir, several cases.

Q. What has been your experience in respect to the shearing of those bolts and the dropping of the arch-bar and the truck and consequent derailment, has that been the case in the others? Answer – Exactly the same thing in all of them; we have had them to drop down and go for half a mile, and as soon as they strike a switch point it puts everything on the ground. In every case we found that it was caused by the box-bolts being loose. In one or two cases the nuts were entirely gone from the bolts.

Court: How long, Mr. Fuller, would a train likely run after the arch-bar was loosened, as you

describe here, before it would be derailed? Answer – Well, if it had not been for that switch there, that train, I am satisfied, would have come to Manassas here. We have had one or two cases which we discovered like that and the train was stopped before the accident occurred, because it didn’t have any switch to go in.

Mr. Keith: That steel coach that you found there, will you state whether or not that was a standard

coach, and in good repair, except so far as damaged in this accident? Answer – Yes, sir, it was a standard car and in good condition in every way. Q. There were only two coaches, the combination coach, which was a wooden coach and next the tender, and then this steel coach? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. Mr. Fuller, whose duty is it to inspect the condition of engines and trains on the Southern, on the part of the road that lies between Alexandria and Bristow, or Alexandria and Charlottesville, I will say, or Monroe? Answer – Well, we have at the terminals engine inspectors inspecting engines, and car inspectors to inspect cars before trains are allowed to leave terminal points, and it is also the duty of the train crew to look over their trains. Q. Who has charge of all this work, who is at the head of it? Answer – I am. Q. Will you state whether it is any duty of the railway to inspect the engines and cars of the C&O Railway Company? Answer – None whatever unless they are being handled in our trains.

Mr. Mackey: That could not effect our rights in any way, any contract between them.

Court: I understand that, but this is a controversy between the two roads.

Mr. Keith: You do not inspect the C&O trains? Answer – No, sir. Q. And you have no duty to

inspect them? Answer – No sir


By Mr. Browning (A.T.)

Q. Mr. Fuller, you say that column-bolt that was handed you just now was sheared off or broken? Answer – It shows that it has been slightly sheared.

Q. You say it sheared then? Answer – Yes, sir; it struck the frog and knocked off and that would have a tendency to shear it unless the bolt was badly crystallized; if it was badly crystallized a slight blow would break it off like that, but that was a better grade of iron and it sheared before it would break.

Q. You say, as a matter of fact, that column-bolt was sheared, as disclosed by your inspection of a few moments ago; is that right? Answer – I say it has a tendency to be sheared by being struck on the side and knocked to one side.

Q. Can you tell by an inspection of that column-bolt whether it was sheared or broken? Answer – I just looked at it and I told you it has indications of being sheared by being struck slightly on the side; you can see the metal was pulled this way (illustrating).

Q. I do not understand you. Was it sheared or broken, in your opinion, based upon your examination? Answer – I don’t know; all I can say is by the looks of the iron. I just told you a good piece of iron would have a tendency to shear off if it was struck here, but if it was a badly crystallized piece of iron, it would strike there and pop off the same as a piece of steel. The bolt there is broken off and is not sheared at all.

Q. Didn’t you say in your examination in chief, when that column-bolt was handed you and you examined it, that it was sheared off? Answer – No, sir, I didn’t.

Q. You didn’t say that? Answer – I say there are indications there of being slightly sheared by being struck on the side.

Q. You said you saw none of the bolts there that morning? Answer – No, sir.

Q. But someone told you that they had found some? Answer – Yes, sir, my car foreman, Mr. Puckett.

Q. Mr. Puckett had found some? Answer – Had found one, the head of one bolt.

Q. What car did you say that was that was derailed on the C&O freight train? Answer – I think the eleventh car from the engine, but I am not positive about that. It was a C&O coal car, and I can give you the number.

Q. Never mind about that, I didn’t ask that,. You say you examined the holes in the arch-bar through which the box-bolts go? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How closely did you examine them? Answer – With my eye.

Q. And you could detect an elongation of them with your eye? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Would not a pressure sufficient to cause the breaking of the box-bolt cause an elongation of the upper surface of those holes? Answer – A shearing off of those bolts would have a tendency to slightly oblong the holes, but as much as they were oblong. The holes showed to be worn oblong and not pulled oblong.

Q. Wouldn’t it elongate them to the extent of one-sixteenth or one-thirty second of an inch? Answer – As much as one thirty second; these were elongated probably one-eighth, but I didn’t measure them. As much experience as I have had I can look at a thing and tell how much it is worn.

Q. You think an inspection by looking at it, without measuring it, would disclose the amount it was worn to a sufficient extent that you could judge of it to one eighth of an inch. Answer – At least one – eighth of an inch.

Q. Could you judge of it to within one sixteenth of an inch by your eye? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q .Which part did you examine, the top of the hole or the bottom of the hole or both? Answer – I don’t know what you mean now.

Q. If this was the bar, and a hole through there (indicating) this would be the top and this the bottom. Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Stoop down and look up? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. But did not measure either the top, bottom or center? Answer – No, sir, as I didn’t have my rule with me, and I don’t know that I would have measured it if I had it.

Q. What is the function of the tie-bar? Answer – That is simply to keep the bars from spreading at the bottom, I mean the box.

Q. To tie the box together? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. If the tie-bar is removed or broken, what happens to the journals, to the box-bars? Answer – It might have a tendency to cause the box to spread slightly at the bottom, and might bend the bars slightly right here (indicating).

Q. At the top? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Would it not also cause the journal box to tilt or incline inwards? Answer - No, sir.

Q. It would not? Answer – It would have a tendency to cause then to spread slightly at the bottom; if the bars were not stout enough to overcome it, they might bend slightly back at the heel.

Q. Would not that throw the bottom of the two boxes further apart, and the tops of the two boxes closer together? Answer – It wouldn’t throw them closer together. It might open them slightly at the bottom.

Q. Would not that cause the lower bar to shorten and the upper bar to lengthen? Answer – No, it wouldn’t have anything to do with that.

Q. It would not have that effect, then, you testify? Answer – That wouldn’t have that tendency; it would have a tendency to bend both bars slightly at the weld where the inside bolt is.

Q. That would be the only effect of the taking away or removal of the tie-bar from a truck? Answer – Yes

Q. Would that weaken the truck? Answer – It would to a certain extent, but very slightly.

Q. It would not weaken it appreciably? Answer – I say it would to a certain extent, but very slightly.

Q. It would not weaken it appreciably? Answer – I say it would to a certain extent, but very slightly.

Q. To a very little extent? Answer – A tie-bar doesn’t carry the weight of the car at all; it ties the boxes together to keep them in place.

Q. The function of the tie-bar is not important, in your opinion? Answer – Oh, yes, sir, it is important too.

Q. At what point in the tie-bar is the greatest strain from the pressure of the load? Answer – How is that?

Q. At what point on the tie-bar is the greatest strain from the pressure of the load or loaded car? Answer – I don’t know that there is any difference much. It would be between the column-bolt there and the box, if any.

Q. It would not be at the column-bolt, or between the column-bolts? Answer – No, no more there, not as such strain there, because you have the tie-bar there bolted to the other bar, and the friction between the two would take the strain off that. Most of the strain would be between the column-bolt and the box-bolt.

Q. The box bolts are one and a quarter inches in diameter, are they not? Answer – For that capacity car.

Q. Is not one box-bolt sufficient in strength to sustain a standard car under ordinary conditions? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Is it not? Answer – No, sir.

Q. I mean, of course, one on each end? Answer – One on each end, yes.

Q. I mean here (indicating on model) Answer – No, sir if it had been they wouldn’t have put four there.

Q. As a matter of fact, is not the strength in the arch-bar and box-bolts at that point ten times, usually estimated as much as ten times as much as is necessary to carry it with one and a quarter inch box-bolts? Answer – No, I don’t know that it is.

Q. Would you say that it is not? Answer – It wouldn’t be ten times as much; they usually construct a car, all parts, to safely carry the load that it is intended to carry; we are allowed ten per cent to load a car, ten per cent above the stencil capacity of the car.

Q. Throughout all parts of the car? Answer – That is, if a car is stenciled one hundred thousand capacity, we are allowed to loan one hundred and ten thousand pounds in that car.

Q. But, as a matter of fact, or of expert opinion rather, at this particular point; that is, the box-bolts, is not the margin, instead of being ten per cent, one thousand per cent, in the opinion of expert car builders? Answer – No, sir, I never heard that before.

Q. Do you know, or have you ever heard what that margin was at that particular point? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You don’t know? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Then you are not qualified to testify on that particular point? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Do you know what margin of that percentage is in the tie-bar? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You are not qualified to testify upon that point? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Mr. Fuller, if the tie-bar becomes broken, through whatever cause, and a loaded car is run with the tie-bar broken, will not the spreading of the journal box naturally produce a derailment and a wreck, occasioned primarily by the breaking or removal of the tie-bar? Answer – If they were to spread enough it would, yes, sir.

Q. Would they not naturally spread enough? Answer – Well, I don’t know that they would; I never saw that happen.

Q. Do you mean you are not qualified to speak upon that point, or that you don’t think it would. Answer – I couldn’t say about that, whether it would or not. As I say, I never saw that happen and I never saw anyone else who did.

Q. What was your answer – Answer – I say never saw that happen, and I never saw anyone else that had that experience.

Q. You say you have seen how many wrecks caused by the shearing of the box-bolts? Answer – I don’t know; we have had several of them, I don’t remember just how many.

Q. Two or three? Answer – I suppose so.

Q. In those cases was the tie-bar broken, or was it intact? Answer – Afterwards the tie-bar was badly bent from dropping down and dragging on the ties.

Q. Was that true in all two or three instances of which you spoke? Answer – Yes, sir; we didn’t have a tie-bar to break in either case.

Q. I mean was it true in all two or three instances that after the wreck the tie-bar was detached or bent up? Answer – It was still there and bent up, yes, sir.

Q. What do you mean by “still there”? Answer – It wasn’t broken off, was still on the truck, the entire bar.

Q. Was it attached at both ends to the truck in all three instances? Answer – No; it was in the center, wasn’t at the ends.

Q. It was detached at the ends? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. In all two or three instances? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. On those occasions, Mr. Fuller, it is simply your opinion that the primary cause arose in the box-bolts and not in the tie-bar, isn’t it? Answer – Well, all indications there were that the box-bolts sheared off at the top.

Q. Well, if the loosening of the tie-bar, or breaking of the tie-bar caused a shearing at the top the box-bolts, you said awhile ago it did not to a great extent, but if, as a matter of fact, it does, then your opinion, based on those two or three occasions, would be worthless, wouldn’t it? Do you understand the question? Answer I don’t understand the question exactly. (Question read to the witness) Answer – I don’t think I get that question exactly yet, what you are driving at.

Q. As a matter of fact, on those two or three occasions of course you did not see the accident happen? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Your opinion of the cause of the accident was based upon your investigation after the accident, of course, wasn’t it? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And this investigation disclosed that the box-bolts were sheared off? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And that the tie-bar was not attached in its normal condition, did it not? Answer – It was attached to the truck, but of course, when the box-bolts shear off they drop down out of there and leave the tie-bar free from the box, and dropping down on the ties of course bends the end of the tie-bar up. In one case we had the front bolt to break off and the front end dropped down and it bent it back under the truck. This bar here (indicating) dropped down and hung in the ties and bent back under here; that end of it there was under here (illustrating).

Q. Let us get that into the record. “That end of it”, indicating the end of the tie-bar, was bent under beyond the bolster in the direction of the opposite journal box? Answer – It was bent back as far as that end of it would reach, I don’t say it was beyond it; there is a difference in trucks. It was bent right back there at the column-bolts.

Q. Was it bent back as far as the column-bolts? Answer – I will not say about that at all.

Q. Was it bent back as far as half way between the journal box and – Answer bent as far as it would reach.

Q. Give me your best judgment? Answer – I don’t say how far it was bent back at all, because I didn’t measure it, but I simply say that the bar was bent right here, and it simply lapped right back; the distance from here to the end, whatever that would be, was bent back under here. (indicating)

Q. Doubled back? Answer – Just doubled back, yes, sir.

Q. You said in your examination in chief that after the arch-bars had gotten down, they would hang in the first switch or frog, I believe, did you not? Answer – Yes, sir, but they might pass over one; they wouldn’t pass over, that is, they would pass over a frog because there is a block in the frog would let it pass over, and it might pass over a switch.

Q. Which one did this hang in, a frog or switch? Answer – First hung in the frog at Bristow Station and then passed over another frog just before the accident occurred. When it struck the switch then it pushed the stock rail out, and of course that derailed everything behind it.

Q. Do you know where the column-bolt was found in this instance? Answer – No, I don’t know. I was told it was at the frog.

Q. At the frog of which switch? Answer – The one nearest Bristow Station. In fact, I examined the frog and it showed to have been struck by the bolt.

Q. You noticed that this column-bolt nut is worn on one side? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Decidedly so? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You noticed that the wearing is not in alignment with the lower surface of the nut, do you? Answer – Well, you see the lines run here almost parallel; that nut could have been turned a little so that this part comes in contact with the rail harder than this, and it naturally ran down further, but you see the wearing lines here are almost parallel with the nut, but the nut was setting parallel with the rail.

Q. Would not that be naturally explained by the fact that the point of the switch points inward to the rail? Answer – The point of the switch didn’t do that, I don’t think.

Q. What do you think made it? Answer – It come in contact with the side of the rail.

Q. With the outside of the rail? Answer – With the outside of the rail.

Q. You said you thought the truck was in good condition at the place of the accident; what do you mean by “the place of the accident”? Answer – I don’t say the place of the accident, because the track as torn up at the place of the accident when I got there.

Q. Where did you mean it was in good condition? Answer – From the place of the accident to Bristow Station.

Mr. Patterson: Mr. Fuller, you spoke of that coach in which Mr. Sullivan was riding as a steel

coach; was it a solid steel side or only a portion? Answer – Up to the bottom of the windows. Q. Up to the bottom of the windows? Answer – Steel, yes, sir. Q. What was it from the bottom of the windows to the roof? Answer – It was wood. Q. Approximately, what proportion of the distance from the bottom to the roof was steel? Answer – I would say about fifty per cent. Q. Fifty per cent wood and fifty per cent steel? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. On all sides? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. You did not go through that coach until about 9:15 on the evening of the accident? Answer – About 9:15, yes, sir. Q. Of course yo have no knowledge how many persons had been through before you? Answer – No, sir. Q. Was there lumber piled up on the east side of where that coach was lying or standing? Answer – No, there were cars strung along. Q. Was there any indication of lumber having scratched against that car. Answer – It had been scratched on the side.

J. E. Cassaday another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:


By Mr. Hall: Q. Where do you live? Answer – Alexandria. Q. What is your employment? Answer

– Train dispatcher. Q. For what company? Answer – Southern Railway. Q. Have you with you a train sheet showing the movement of trains over the northbound Southern Railway track passing Bristow, Virginia, on February 23rd 1915? Answer – Yes, sie, but it don’t show Bristow. Bristow is not a telegraph office. Q. I asked you whether it showed the trains passing Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. Does it show the times when those trains passed Nokesville or what station south of Bristow? Answer – Calverton. Q. What is the next station north of Bristow at which the time is shown? Answer – Manassas. Q. What is the distance between Calverton & Manassas? Answer – About 13.6 miles. Q. Do you know about the schedule rate of speed at the various trains passing over that track? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. It is a part of your business? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. Can you, by looking at that train sheet, which I now wish to offer in evidence, say what trains passing over this northbound track between Calverton & Manassas on the day you have mentioned?

Mr. Browning: We do not object to this until we know its purpose. We object unless there is

some purpose shown. We do not know that it is relevant or material.

Mr. Hall: We want to show by persons riding on some of these trains how the trains run, and

under what conditions, and if there was any trouble, and I want to show by this gentleman the speed of certain trains between those two points on that day.

The Court: I will over-rule the objection.

Mr. Browning: I think I should state to the court another objection also. I do not think that this

witness has qualified to testified from this record as to the speed of those trains. It has not been shown how the record was made up, whether he saw the trains or not.

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