T&P I-1b #638

Big Spring, TX


"Hello -  in this picture, Oran Waters is the tall man standing in the middle.  He was the 638's Engineer.  I believe that Ed Merrill was the fireman, and is the man standing second from the left.  The man second from the right is the Conductor, but I do not know his name.  The two men on the ends are the front and rear brakemen.  Waters and Merrill were both killed in a head-on collision at Toyah, Texas on January 1, 1947.  Mr. Waters was the younger brother of my Uncle by marriage, and I drove him to the funeral at Big Spring.  I believe that the engine was the same 638 as shown in this photograph.  They were killed on that engine when a brakeman turned a switch that threw a fast fruit block into their train as they were waiting on a siding for the speeding train (70 mph) to pass.  Apparently the brakeman thought that the switch was open when it had already been closed.  I have pictures from newspapers of the wreck which may show the engine's number and should give the identity of the fireman for sure.  Mr. Waters had pulled the Sunshine Special for several years until nos. 3 & 4 were discontinued and he had lost his seniority and returned to freight service.  I would love to get this picture due to its personal associations."  WRITTEN BY VERNIE BARBER.