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A steam engine buried in Metroplex quicksand

Griff Hubbard of Longview is the fifth generation of his family to work for the railroad.

"When people in our family die, we just move archives and memorabilia from one attic to another," says Griff. "Right now it's all in my attic."

Griff says the railroad has been responsible for every meal he's ever eaten, every house he's ever lived in and every car he and his family have owned. He works for AMTRAK and is the person who sets the ticket prices on trains. If you have a complaint or compliment about the prices, he's the guy you want to talk to.

HE IS really excited about the increasing interest in trains.

"Our ridership is way up. With these high gasoline prices, more and more people are finding out it's a lot cheaper to go by train. Besides, it's a great way to travel."

His great-great grandfather was on a train that ran into a storm at Arlington on March 16, 1886.

"He was hauling a group of Thespians from the Fort Worth Opera House to the Texarkana Opera House when the storm became violent and the train plunged off the trestle at Village Creek in Arlington. The fireman on the train was my great-great-grandfather's brother-in-law and he was killed. He was the only fatality, although a few people were hurt."

THERE WAS a railroad strike going on in 1886 and there wasn't enough manpower for the railroad company to remove the engine, which was stuck in quicksand. But they rebuilt the bridge over that site.

"To this day, Wood-Burning T & P Steam Locomotive 642 is still buried underneath the Union Pacific Main Line Village Creek Bridge in Arlington. I have a great uncle who is an electrical contractor on a rather large scale in Shreveport, La. In the 50s, when I was a little boy, he approached the T & P railway and said he wanted to bring over some of his heavy equipment and raise the locomotive. He wanted to put it on his farm. The railroad was willing to make a deal and told Griff's uncle he could have the locomotive if he built a new railroad bridge. Consequently, it never came to fruition. So that locomotive is still buried 13 feet deep in the sand under the Village Creek Bridge. The guess is because it's been in airtight quicksand it's probably still in remarkably good shape."

GRIFF SAYS the location of the buried locomotive is near the site of the new football stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will play. Archeology students from UT Arlington have been in contact with Griff and told him they have used sophisticated equipment to determine just where the engine is, what position it's facing and other information about it.

Griff has his great-great grandfather's railroad pocket watch.

Read more: The Gilmer Mirror - A steam engine buried in Metroplex quicksand

The Gilmer Mirror
Tumbleweed Smith