For the purposes of fiction I am creating a train wreck, set in the year 1929. The way I’m creating it is to have someone throw a switch halfway, so that instead of being directed on to one track or another, the train derails. It is not going that fast but causes lots of damage nonetheless.
(1) I know that there is a key to switchboxes, but I am assuming that rail employes in 1929 were as lazy as they are today and would leave the key in. Is this assumption realistic?
(2) Would there be any way to go back later and prove that the switch was tampered with? No CSI in those days . . .
(3) Would someone be at the switch? Say, to signal?
(4) Where would the switch be in relation to the place where the track splits? I would like to have the switch itself buried for a couple of days by train wreckage, if that’s feasible.
I have a moderately gung-ho railroad buff who’s agreed to read the draft of this, but he didn’t know the answers and anyway I don’t want to start down the wrong track and derail the plot right off the bat.