The wreck at the East Fork of Halls Creek on the east edge of Merrillan
when the bridge collapsed in August 1968.
These two photos capture the dramatic aftermath of a bridge collapse on the
Whitehall Division in the late 1960s. Much thanks goes out to Bob Gile
for these photos.
Here's his description of the wreck:
"The Green Bay Route had a huge derailment Merrillan the summer
of 1968. Eastbound #2 was leaving town at noon, heading along the top of
an embankment and bridge over the East Fork of Halls Creek. The lead unit and
the second one -- I believe -- both went down the side of the embankment about
50 feet when the bridge collapsed. I remember being at home for summer
vacation (I was 17 at the time) and hearing a big bang that shook the house;
we lived about a mile away. At that time, US Highway 12 was a heavily traveled
route, as Interstate 94 hadn't been built yet and the crossing in the
center of town was blocked. There was traffic backed up for miles in both
directions before the police finally got an alternate route set up. Merrillan
was cut in half for about a day before the railroad finally got the halves of
the train moved."
The bridge was replaced with a culvert on high fill. All I can think of
when looking at these pictures is "Wow, the Great Northern sure must have