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January 22nd, 1942 'The Crew of the Forty-Two'

ON THIS DAY— January 22nd, 1942

In memory of Mr. James J. Toland of the Meridian & Bigbee River Railroad No. 660 After hours in the Meridian Lauderdale County Public Library-- we were finally able to track down the article pertaining to a lead that was given to us regarding a Meridian resident's late grandfather, Mr. James Toland. From The Meridian Star January 23rd, 1942... ‘James J. Toland, 53, 1508 16th Ave., engineer on Meridian and Bigbee extra train No. 660 was killed and two members of the train crew were injured about 5:55pm Thursday at Whynot, 16 miles east of Meridian, when the engine and tow freight cars left the track....Engineer Toland was scalded to death, Bradshaw who was riding on the engine was pinned under the wrecked cab and the cab had to be lifted to free Mr. Bradshaw’s leg.’  May we always remember Mr. Toland and his legacy. We cannot confirm nor deny this...but there is speculation that the poem written on the dedication of the M&B 116 entitled ‘The Crew of the Forty-Two’ was in fact written in honor of this very accident. If we don’t tell their story... who will?

"Sometimes at night a ghostly crew Climbs to the deck of the Forty-two; The engineer with his long oil can The fireman with his scoop in hand. Astral lights from the firebox gleam As the boiler hums to the rising steam. Black smoke curls from the rusty stack; The headlight gleams far down the track; The watchman on his lonely round, Can hear a ghostly whistle sound, And muffled bell with muted chimes Whispers of other days and times. The stars grow dim in the coming dawn-- The Crew of the Forty-two has gone."

In Memory of Deceased Railroad Men of Meridian, Mississippi by Casper C. Phillips. #WeWillNeverForget #keeptheirstoriesalive #railroad #History #railroadlife #InMemoryOf #steamengine #keepsteamalive

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