Wreck of the Red Arrow


Pennsy railroaders called it “The Slide,” the steep grade that governed train speeds on the descent from the tunnels at Gallitzin down to the Horseshoe Curve and into Altoona. Now, Dennis P. McIlnay has added a new book on the Pennsylvania Railroad, “The Wreck of the Red Arrow: An American Train Tragedy,” to his earlier award-winning book on the Horseshoe Curve. In the early morning hours of February 18, 1947, this Detroit-New York train, part of the “Blue Ribbon Fleet,” running an hour late, left the rails on The Slide causing death and injury to 164 passengers and crew. I’ve read excerpts on McIlnay’s web site and intend to purchase a copy. I think it will prove to be a thorough portrait of operations on the PRR during this era along with this tragic narrative.


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