In The Line of Duty

Mark W. Cain and Arthur L. "Buddy" Irby

BLET Division 203 (Jackson, Miss.) members Mark Cain and Arthur "Buddy" Irby were killed on July 10, 2005, when their CN/IC locomotives collided head-on in Anding, Miss.

Two other crew members were also killed in the collision. Conductors Shannon Purvis, 21, of Puckett, Miss., and Samuel Jones Sr., 58, of Jackson, Miss., were both members of the United Transportation Union.

Brother Cain, 51, joined the BLE on November 1, 1986. He is survived by his wife, Genny Cain of Kosciusko, Miss.; his parents, Paul and Frankie Cain of Sallis, Miss.; a son, Brian Cain of Sallis; five step sons, Timothy Bohrer, Jordan Bohrer, Joshua Bohrer, Jonathan Bohrer, and Josiah Bohrer, all of Kosciusko; a daughter, Lisa Burr of Oxford, Miss.; two step daughters, Amanda Bohrer and Alyssa Bohrer, both of Kosciusko; two brothers, David Cain of Durant and Arthur F. Cain of Sallis; and two sisters, Paula Cain Sawyer of Fredericktown, Mo. and Glenda Dodd of Sallis.

Brother Cain and his wife Genny were married on June 4 - just five weeks before the accident.

Brother Irby, 58, joined the BLE on October 1, 1973. He is survived by his wife, Becky L. Irby of Sandhill, Miss.; his parents, Marbo and Bettie Irby of Sandhill; three daughters, Stacy Trest and her husband, Rodney of Sandhill, Susan Irby of Sandhill and Sandra Shivers and her husband, Shannon of Richland; one son, David "Bo" Irby of Ft., Hood, Texas; one sister, Margaret Watts and her husband, Jacky of Sandhill; two grandsons, Taylor Trest and Connor Shivers; and one granddaughter, Shelby Trest.

Brother Irby served over 20 years as a BLE local chairman. He was a Mason, a member of the Masonic Lodge in Pelahatchie and was a member of the Miss. National Guard for eight years.

Together, Brothers Irby (39 years) and Cain (29 years) had 68 years of total railroad service.

"All railroad workers are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy," said BLET National President Don M. Hahs. "The lives of these two Brothers and the two other members of their crews were taken far too early. I send my deepest condolences to their families, friends and co-workers."

The accident occurred about 4:15 a.m. when a northbound train and southbound train collided on the north side of the bridge on Anding Oil City Road. A total of 17 cars were derailed, including seven that were carrying combustible materials. Fire and heat hampered rescue and recovery efforts for nearly two days.

The northbound train from New Orleans, on its way to Iowa, had 137 cars and four locomotives and the southbound train from Champaign, Ill., to Ferguson, had 107 cars and two locomotives.

The BLET Safety Task Force is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board in its on-going investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

The BLET flag was lowered atop the Standard Building in memory of the two Brothers.

"These brothers, their crew members and their families are in our thoughts and prayers," said President Hahs. "Railroad safety is such an important issue to our organization and this accident makes it all the more urgent."

Donations may be made in Brother Cain's name to Stump Ridge Cemetery Fund, c/o Wayne Bishop, Rt. 2, Box 72, Sallis, MS 39160.

Memorials can be made in Brother Irby's name to Leesburg Baptist Church, Building Fund, c/o Wesley Parker, 796 Hwy. 481, Morton, MS 39117.


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen