There are actually more train mysteries than you would think. We are talking unsolved murder, disappearances, man-made derailments...all kinds of stuff. Should be a good change of pace since many of our readers have a past connection with trains. You know who you are!
The Sunset Limited Derailment
On October 9, 1995, an Amtrak passenger train known as the Sunset Limited was making a routine trip from Los Angeles to Miami. At approximately 1:40 AM, it was crossing over a trestle in a remote desert area of Arizona when it suddenly jumped the tracks and derailed, sending four of its cars crashing 9 meters (30 ft) into a ravine. An attendant named Mitchell Bates was killed in the crash and over 100 people were injured.
It quickly became clear that the derailment was a deliberate act of sabotage—29 spikes had been removed from the track so that the rails could be shifted out of position. The perpetrator was careful to keep the rail’s signal circuits intact, so that the train would not be alerted about any problems with the track. This suggested that whoever was responsible had an intimate knowledge of railroads.
In fact, the method used to derail the Sunset Limited was very similar to an act of sabotage from 1939, which caused a passenger train called the City of San Francisco to derail in the Nevada desert, killing 24 people. An article about the City of San Francisco crash had been published in a train journal shortly before the Sunset Limited derailment and may have inspired the perpetrator.
At the crash site, investigators found four typewritten copies of a note claiming responsibility for the attack. The notes were signed “Sons of the Gestapo” and criticized controversial incidents involving the ATF and FBI, such as the Ruby Ridge siege of 1992 and the Waco siege of 1993. However, investigators have yet to uncover any evidence supporting the actual existence of a group known as “Sons of the Gestapo.” The perpetrator remains unidentified.
My biggest question is always this. If the people responsible for acts of terrorism such as this are so proud of their actions, why do they not make themselves known? Why hide behind some phony name, and just come out and say who they are? Seems a bit cowardly to me, ya know?
Coffee out on the patio this morning, I think. The birds are really active early!