Death Of Casey Jones Went Almost Unnoticed , Pubished 15 August 1955Now who would ever suspect that there runs in the veins of that well known office equipment impresario, Jack Evans, the soul of a railroader? Hardly had my effort on Casey Jones, hit the print, when in came a letter from Jack Evans, at 132 Queen Street. He referred to the picture of the ten wheeler No. 382 that accompanied my article on Casey Jones.
"For all her fame," cries Jack, "there is not a photo of the actual locomotive in existence. The "382" shown in your Citizen was actually a sister engine No. 388, with her numbers retouched in the photo."
Then Mr. Evans moralizes on the death of Casey Jones. He brushes it off thus: "The wreck itself was not much, as wrecks went in those days."
"So," continues Jack, "Casey Jones' death went almost unnoticed. But Wallace Saunders, a negro cinderpit man who had looked after Casey's engine during layovers, grieved. He and his helpers were soon singing their original version of the song Casey Jones and before long it spread up and down the railroad and finally to the vaudeville stage. In 1903, "Casey Jones, Brave Engineer" was one of the nation's ten most popular songs.
"Thus fame came to Casey Jones, and through him to No. 382. After Casey's death the 382 was rebuilt and renumbered 212 but she seemed to miss Casey's hand. She became known as a hoodoo engine and even changing the number to 2012 and 5012 did not break the jinx. She had several wrecks and even jumped the tracks when, in 1935, she was on her way to Chicago to be scrapped."
I am glad to have the advantage of Jack Evans' great locomotive lore in this connection. Speaking of changing numbers, I once did some number changing myself wilh a little collusion by Edgar March of the Canadian Pacific. When the Canadian Pacific were running their own fast train from Toronto to Montreal, their Hudson type 2808 made 106 miles an hour. I sought a picture of 2808 for my feature. Edgar did not have a photo of 2808. With his permission, I got the artist to change the number of 2806 to 2808 and the public never knew the difference.