The Relief Train (Cont.)

Approximately 1:45 p.m.: Sheldon contacts Ghent and tells him that the evacuation train should be ordered. Ghent informs Sheldon that he will take care of it.

Approximately 2 p.m.: Ghent contacts the FEC train dispatcher. Locomotive number 447, coupled with six passenger cars, three baggage cars, and a pair of boxcars ordered to be assembled. The process takes two hours.

4:25 p.m.: Train rolls out of FEC rail yard. Almost immediately the train is halted by a drawbridge to allow boat traffic to pass through. Train remains idle for 10 minutes.

5:15 p.m.: Train stops in Homestead to load telephone wires and allow a repair crew to board. Decision made to turn the locomotive around and head to Islamorada in reverse.

5:30 p.m.: Train leaves Homestead.

6:50 p.m.: Train arrives at Camp 1 on Windley Key. As the train departs, it becomes entangled in a cable that had been used to secure a crane. It takes 80 minutes to untangle the heavy-gauge cable from the train.

Approximately 8:10 p.m.: Train arrives at Islamorada Depot. Wind blows one of the 75-ton boxcars over.

Approximately 8:20 p.m.: Reporter for the Miami Daily News William Johns reports: “We had been stopped but 10 or 15 minutes when a wall of water from 15 to 20 feet high picks up our coaches and swirls them about like straws.”