Rail Chairman at Controls as Steam Engine Derailed

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United Press International

A Norfolk Southern official said today the railroad’s chairman was at the controls of steam engine “Old 611” when it derailed and injured 128 people during an excursion for 1,000 workers and their families.

“He is a fully qualified locomotive engineer. He enjoys doing it,” the spokesman said of Robert Claytor, chairman and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern is the parent company of Norfolk & Western, which owns the steam-powered train, called “Old 611, that is used for company excursions.


Claytor was not hurt in the wreck Sunday on a stretch of track through the Great Dismal Swamp, said the spokesman, Robert Fort.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railway Administration went to the scene today to seek the cause of the derailment, officials said.

Seven people remained hospitalized today, three in critical condition with chest and spinal injuries. Officials said 121 others were treated for minor injuries received in the accident, about seven miles east of Suffolk. Officials earlier had put the injury toll at 185.

Crash Story, Page 13.