Appeals, Nos. 176, 177 and 178, Jan. T., 1961, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1957, No. 8428, and judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1958, No. 2157, in cases of Daniel J. Boyle et ux. v. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and John J. Schoening, Jr. v. Same. Judgments affirmed.
Gordon W. Gerber, with him Philip Price, and Barnes, Dechert, Price, Myers & Rhoads, for appellant.
Henry T. Reath, with him John M. Ross, and Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for appellee.
Bernard I. Shovlin, for appellees.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.
These two appeals involve a runaway boxcar which had been left by defendant on a siding leading from the track of a local spur of the defendant's railroad. It struck two automobiles in its course and the people who were in them were injured and brought suit. In one case Mrs. Boyle, who was driving, was given $2500 by the jury and her husband, who was not along but
owned the car, was given $1000. In the other case Schoening, who owned his car and was driving it, was awarded $60,000. When its motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial were overruled, defendant appealed.
Giving the plaintiffs the weight and inferences of the verdict that they won, it appears that defendant pushed the boxcar on to an abandoned siding and secured it on the slope. A hundred feet farther on there was a trestle and a level track. On the day of the accident there was no padlock on the switch from the main track to the siding, and one witness said that he had never seen one. There was evidence that the coordinating machinery between the switch and the automatic derailer did not work, and also that there was either no chock to hold the wheels or an inadequate one. There was a suggestion that the hand brake had not been tightly set up. It was admitted that there was no sounding or flashing signal at the intersection of the main track with the road where the accident happened. The train crew knew that children played on the railroad equipment on the siding.
On November 6, 1956, twenty-one hours after the boxcar had been put on the siding, a boy slacked off the hand brake and, being frightened when the car began to move, jumped off. The boxcar was loaded and weighed over sixty tons. It cleared the switch on to the main track of the spur, crossed several streets, and after three-quarters of a mile hit Schoening's automobile which was stopped for the traffic light at the intersection that the railroad crosses at an angle. This automobile, with Schoening inside, involved two other cars also waiting at the intersection, one of them the car of the plaintiffs Boyle, and was ...