An Eau Claire man who bought some Soo Line railroad antiques got more than he bargained for when he popped open a can in the collection.
Inside Pat Thoney found about 50 railroad torpedoes. Thoney called authorities who alerted the Marathon-Oneida Bomb Squad which arrived at Thoney's house Thursday night. A bomb squad member, in a protective suit, retrieved the torpedoes and took them to a shooting range west of the city where they were detonated.
Thoney told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram the torpedoes are equivalent to about five sticks of dynamite.
The explosives were used in the days before two-way radios to warn train crews of dangers ahead on the tracks. The devices would be secured to the rails and when a train ran over them the explosion would alert the crew.