GN Another silent key

BoxcabE50 Sep 10, 2012

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    My long time friend and GN old timer Douglas N. Schnackenberg, who passed away at his home yesterday afternoon.

    Doug learned his telegraphy as a teenager on the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, at Annandale, Minnesota. Where he copied orders, including some for a favorite steam engine, their 1003. After WWII when his family moved west, he went with them and shortly thereafter started a lengthy career with the GN, working as a telegrapher (operator) and later Agent, on the Kalispell Division. He worked many, many offices in Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington and even Salmo, British Columbia. His career wound down with the BN and then retirement which was well earned and much deserved.

    Known as "Snack" to his closest friends, Doug was a great resource for knowing where things had been, what they were and how they'd been used. A phone conversation was never a short chat. Rarely less than an hour, and in person could range from a few hours to all day. More than once, my vocal chords gave out...!

    Doug was always a faithful Soo fan, naturally GN and was fascinated by the Milwaukee Road. He was the one who also started my interest in the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway. He was a long, long time member of the Morse Telegraph Club.

    While there are still a few somewhat younger folks around, who worked on the GN in our region, I can only think of one other remaining true oldtimer from this Division.

    I hope he's sitting in a favorite depot now, acknowledging via telegraph, an order from the dispatcher. Enjoying what he loved the most in life. Working the railroad depot.

    19 west, copy three my friend.

  2. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

    Sorry to hear that news, Ken. His name sounds familiar. Did he publish any books or was he active on some other websites?
  3. paperkite

    paperkite TrainBoard Member

    QRX NXT ....
  4. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Sorry to hear it Ken. :(

  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    No. He was well known, but not much on the 'Net. Just traded a few emails with non-locals. Otherwise, it was phone, letter, or in person. No publications, but he did contribute information now and then to such as the GNRHS. As I am not a member, no idea if his submiitted data was used there. He also contributed an article or two to Railroadinana Collectors Association, plus Key, Lock and Lantern. He was a long, long time major collector of switch keys and locks, very well known in that circle. Extremely knowledgable about RR keys. You name it, he knew when it was used, how, real, fake, manufacturers, etc, etc.

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