Magnolia, MS Train Crashes Into Truck, Jan 1961



Magnolia, Miss. (AP) -- The crack passenger train "City of New Orleans," barreling through Magnolia en route to Chicago at about 80 miles per hour, rammed into a gasoline truck at a whistle stop crossing today, killing six persons and injuring six others.
Earlier reports had as many as nine dead, but Illinois Railroad spokesmen in New Orleans said the revised figure came from its claims agent at the crash scene.
THe streamliner, en route to Chicago from New Orleans, streaked 300 yards after smashing into the truck with flames sweeping the length of its nine cars.
Illinois Central authorities said the City of New Orleans was not due to stop in Magnolia, about 100 miles north of New Orleans. The truck driver, they said, apparently did not hear the train or realize it was approaching.
Among the dead were J. A. (JIMMY) LIVINGSTON, the engineer from McComb, Miss.; fireman, JOHN COLLINS; truck driver MORRIS PIGGOTT; PERCY NELSON and BOB GWIN, white freight yard employe; and four workers in the train yards.
The IC track splits the downtown section of Magnolia, a community of about 2,200. Flaming gasoline from the explosion spewed over the workers unloading grain from three freight cars and onto one warehouse. The cars and the warehouse was badly burned.
R. L. WILLIAMS, a Magnolia painter, was in a store along the main street, heard the City of New Orleans and its whistle "blowing like hell."
"The train smashed into the truck," he said, "and shot flames as high as the trees and spread the length of the train."
"I couldn't see nothing (sic) but fire, screaming and blazes," he said. "It looked like hell."
"I knew somebody was burning up and I couldn't do anything about it," he said. "I could feel the flames."
Railroad spokesmen both in Chicago and New Orleans said there were no reports of passenger injuries.
Spokesmen at McComb said the gasoline truck driver apparently was unaware the City of New Orleans was due and started across the track. The train plowed into the truck with "a terrible explosion," MRS. WILMA GRAY told newsmen. She worked in a drug store near the crash scene.
"Fire went everywhere," she said. "The front sections of the train were burned and killed several people. I don't guess I ever heard as loud an explosion."
JOHN EMMERICH, editor of the Enterprise Journal in nearby McComb, said most of the bodies were burned.
Hospital corridors in Magnolia were jammed with high school students and others, offering to help tend the injured and offering blood to those who needed transfusions.

The Delta Democrat Times Greenville Mississippi 1961-01-17



Chicago (UPI) -- The president of the Illinois Central Railroad blames a truck driver for the train-truck collision at Magnolia, Miss., that killed six persons Tuesday.
President W. A. Johnston wired Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnell Wednesday that the crash of the crack passenger train, "The City of New Orleans," and a gasoline truck could have been averted if the driver obeyed the law and stopped at the crossing.
Witnesses said the train blew its whistle several times at the driver, A. M. PIGOTT, 45, of McComb. PIGOTT was killed in the crash.
Johnston urged a rigid enforcement of the Mississippi law.
Gov. Barnett said "we all agree with him" that the law should be rigidly enforced.

Delta Democrat Times Greenville Mississippi 1961-01-19