Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Cant wait to read 'em!!!!!!!!

    BTW you prolly didn't mean to do it, but your questions at the end of the article
    were deleted!

    CT
     
  2. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    ................QUESTIONS...?........

    Charlie, the questions are at the end of Chapter 10. I went back and set them down a space to separate them more from the story. Sence this is Super Bowl Sunday, I figured it would give me some time to fine tune my spelling, and clean up my notes and numbers.

    My whole idea was to see if I could make a reader feel so much like he was with us, that he would think about "what he would have done" at any point along in the story (Maybe different than I did it).

    That is why I speak directly to the reader at times. Keep him actuve with us and what is going on, see? i hope it works to generate more posts here for you. We'll see...
    .
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    To answer your questions, it was always a childhood fantasy of mine to be the engineer of an express passenger train. There wasn't a great deal of unused trackage here in Chicago that we could play on or near. What there was,was in yards or industry tracks and the RR or city police would chase us away. When I was very little we made makeshift locos out of boxes and wagons and played "trains" that way. There were always trains or streetcars traveling close by my house. In fact when the CTA took the trolleys off of Kedzie Ave(1/4 block from my house)and substituted them with busses, I couldn't sleep at night cuz it was too quiet. The streetcars stopping and starting at the corner were part of the "white" noise of the night!

    CT
     
  4. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    It is a shame you had to substitute a box for an engine. Did you ever have a Markx or Lionel type train, or an HO?
    I remember riding that street cars in Wichita, and the interurban out to ny aunt Minnie's on North Arkansas Street. That line went past the Zimmermann Sand Pit, which was just across the street, all the way to Hutchison, Ks. We could put three "tokens" in as we got on, and keep getting "Transfers" until we had ridden all day, even up to Hutchison and back. On Saturdays the man across the street from us had a PT-17 he was fixing up so he could fly it. Dad and I went to help him. The CAP required he put in a stainless steel firewall to replace the aluminum one. Ted taught me to fly it and I have logged over 400 hours. He took me to San Antonio and bought a Navy trainer, I flew on his wing while he flrw lead to get the new plane back to McAurthur Field near our houses. I'll tell you about it if I ever get your email address. I road those electric busses in Dallas when we moved here in 1945. They were strange looking with the twin gantry whips! Talk about white light, yeah I understand. When the BNSF put in the automatic train whistle blowers just a few blocks from my house here in Ft. Worth, I couldn't sleep either. My body clock would awaken me about the time the whistle should blow but didn't!
    Well, I'm hoping some of the guys will reply too, thanks Charlie. Watash
     
  5. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Well Charlie, looks like I may have fizzled out, no replies.
    Maybe you and I will just have to tell each other stories.
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Watash, I think too many guys may be digging themselves out of big snowfalls and just dont have the time to spend on the computer. I myself will be going out to shovel for the
    3rd time today when I am finished with my online session. We have mebbe 6 - 8 inches of snow so far, it is still snowing and that is expected to last until early AM.


    CT
     
  7. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    You better get one of those gassahol powered snow blowers before you get too old and feeble to lift a shovel!
    Blow the snow over on the neighbors's driveway, then charge him gas money to blow it off for him!
     
  8. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    I have been running my socks off! Havent had time to snowblow the drive (grandma always said " I dont see snow on it in July so all we have to do is wait!") but maybe on thursday!

    Thanks for typing these slow watash! I like a nice slow read to savor the contents! If my spelling is of or I sound goofy I was up all night and going to do it again tonight so I think its time for bed! Later all Keep em coming!
     
  9. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    been getting out on your rest a lot Magee?

    CT
     
  10. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    I wish! No we got stuck in Ottumwa for hours on end and then took a 12 hour trip due to too many trains. I was supposed to go out tonight but now its 6 am. Grrrr I hate when the lineup is that off lol.

    We are getting a lot of stuff moving but it just seems not in a good fluid manner. Like instead of running a train when nothing is coming they wait and run 3 north and 3 south on a single track line that has no good sidings. So we sit and wait for hours and of course that just backs up the system. But I DO love the OT I am getting along with the heldaway lol.
     
  11. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Charlie,

    Got any snow stories?
     
  12. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I thought I posted some earlier in the thread.

    We had a super bad snowstorm IIRC it was New Years Eve of 1998. I mean it was BAD!!!!
    The talking heads and weather wonks on TV were telling everyone to stay off the roads!
    Enehay I was working off the brakemans extra list at Eola. I kept calling the recording to see what I was lining up for. It looked like I would get a collectors job on #1288, the last commuter job of the day. It went on duty just before 5PM. I was ready to go to work no matter what job I was called for and I was well rested. Crew desk called me two hours before the job and asked me if I was qualified for a job in Cicero, I told them NO and he agreed that he thought I wasnt qualified either,but he hadda ask. I mentioned to him that I thought I was lining up for the collectors job on 1288 and he said that I was. I told him I was ready to go and that I would volunteer to take an early call cuz I figgered it would take me about 2 hours to get to Aurora. He said "go man!" and marked me up for the job.
    I jumped in my Jimmy, fired it up and headed into the storm. Mercy ! was it coming down!!!
    I got to work on time surprisingly. There was very little traffic on the roads anyway considering it was New Years Eve. We had a pretty slow night, but there was deep snow everywhere! Since we tied up about 2AM the next morning I wouldn't stand for any day jobs on New Years Day and a number of jobs were annulled for the holiday. I had the day off! However, the bottom fell off the thermometer and we had double digit below zero temps on the morning of the 2nd of Jan.of the new year and I caught a collectors job on
    a day commuter train. One of our EB trips was normally an express run but the DS told us to run local. Seems there were mechanical failures and switch malfunctions all along the line. We ran local and picked up all the people who were on the platforms just to get them out of the weather. The Chicago/Aurora line is equipped with a P.A. system so that METRA
    can advise passengers of delays or irregularities. We had a full trip on that run and we were told not to collect fares. Just get the people on the train and take them to Chicago.
    I should mention that I had to do the airbrake test that morning in double digit below zero weather while trudging thru snowdrifts 2 to 4 feet deep. The inter track walkways hadn't been shoveled yet. I was thoroughly frozen!!

    CT
     
  13. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Good story!

    I should have said, "got any MORE snow stories..."

    It's nice to know that when the weather gets that bad, management has the good sense to do the right thing (i.e. getting people out of the cold and onto the trains, nevermind the fares).
     
  14. Mr. Train

    Mr. Train TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all the stories

    I don't always have time to reply with thanks, but I try hard to take the time to read so carry on as if I am always here:tb-wink:
     
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I always enjoy and look forward to your stories. Keep them coming.

    Thanks!
     
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    You are welcome gentlemen and I also appreciate that Watash is adding a whole new dimension to "Storytime".
    In the overall picture, railroading is about as mundane a job as any occupation can be.
    In the case of operating department railroaders as well as "way and structures" or whatever you choose to call it, it can be one of the more dirty,backbreaking and dangerous jobs around. What I try to highlight is some of the unusual circumstances or "out of the ordinary" scenarios I have encountered. They are very likely no more,no less unusual than any other railroader has faced. I certainly don't envy my predecessor brakemen and conductors who actually "decorated"the tops of the cars,while in motion,to perform their tasks, nor the engineer or fireman who risked daily the possibility of a boiler explosion or a rod breaking loose, men who had to physically feed the appetite of steam locomotives and who had to climb into their very bowels to perform routine maintanance tasks.
    Thanks once again!

    Charlie
     
  17. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Ready for some excitement?..

    It was a dark and stormy night....not that one, this one:

    "Answering the guy drinking coffee at the counter next to me, I said, "Boy you sure jogged my memory on going to Arkansas!"
    That was a Hoot !!! I lived there 2 years during WWII. Mom and Dad felt it was safer from bombs than Wichita. Hum-m-m...?

    Where were we? (I slip out of gear sometimes )

    Oh yeah Arkansas. That reminds me of when I went to boarding school, down there and then went back and stayed during the war (WW II) on a student work pemit for the DK&S RR at Searcy, Ark. while finishing school.

    Because I had roundhouse experience and could fire up and hostle steam engines, I got the "position", which was to turn a grown man loose to become a much needed soldier , (over some "Objectors".)
    Besides, the DK&S wasn't a big enough RR to pull 'able-bodied' enginmen out of (war) service to run thier little engines.(they had an
    0-4-0 Plymouth switcher that needed an engine over-haul on a bad order ticket, and an old OLD 2-6-0 steamer that was still running. It had a major over-haul by the DK&S in August of 1940, so with newly turned drivers, cleaned and tightened boiler, piston rings, and some other things, the old girl was in pretty nice shape. She rode smoothly, didn't hunt the track, and had a tight responce to the throttle. The Johnsen bar had newly re-cut teeth and John was trying to find a "Company Notch" for her. That was fun, for him and Collit the fireman, but not for me, I was the fireman "trainee" most of the time. If you can shovel two tons of #9 coal, on a trip, you can make a decient fireman. Don't ask, but I did my best. There were some big chunks in there!

    I had the time of my life cleaning up that old tea pot, and oiling all around!!! I even made some new brass bearings on a lathe back in the shop. The crew didn't think much of me at first, but they soon found out I was willing to learn, would take orders, work steady, and was pretty handy at a lot of jobs they didn't want to take time for.

    It was every boy's dream! (Back in steam days that is! )
    A little bit of black and red paint and some brass polish, and the old girl looked right smart when we chugged into town!! Yeah I was proud of my jobs on her! The guys knew I was not a "show off" so they taught me lots, and let me run it around to get coal and water in the station area..


    ..........Pg.1...Continued...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010
  18. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    .............Continued..Pg.2

    ............Pg.2...................
    One day our fireman, Collit was sick in bed with bad flue when "the" flimsey came down, so the Dispacher said, "We do what we have to in time of war, (I had been "playing" fireman for Collit.) The Dispatcher said, "Burnis"!! (Our conductor), "Tell John (engineer), that I said the "kid" (me) can't shovel coal fast enough to keep up a full head of steam this time, so you keep an eye out and let him run'er while you play fireman to Judsonia, and back. You are cleared between two scheduled RockIsland's south bound right now, so GO,BOTH OF YOU!"
    (not exactly the words, but you get the gist of it.) We got coal, water, and sand, then sat on a siding waiting for the first south bound to come by. John said that first one would be non-stop through here at 80 or more , and we must start rolling before he passes more than a minute or so to give us all the time we can to clear for the second section.


    (They had eventually let me sit in the "right hand seat" of 'our' little 2-6-0, for training and to help out, but now I'm getting excited.) I can't believe I will pull the stick on a "get ready" run from Searcy, east to Kensett, where we would wait. It kept running through my head, "You are about to make a balls-out run "wide open" on a Main Line against on coming traffic under red & white lights with emergency flags flying!! We must switch off clear before he gets there, or else!!!
    We would be flagged through every crossing by local or State police all the way! WOW! John told me we got to ride it out, keep the throttle wide open, he'lll adjust it and for me to tell him the second I see a light in front. It kept running through my head what we had to do, and that "I AM REALLY GOING TO DRIVE THIS THING!!!"
    ("Dear Mom and Dad, My lessons are OK, and for fun, guess what? Well, for once in my life time, I'm going to make a "wide open balls-out" run north up to Judsonia, against rolling traffic (between scheduled trains on the Rock Island Main Line!!!!) Then we'll turn off the Main at Judsonia and head north west out to the DK&S Mill on their own private spur. (Momma, and even Dad too, would simply freak out if they knew!)

    I was fasinated by all the military loads, and John had to poke me to start rolling toward the switch, "our show" was beginning! We were still rolling with about 40 feet to go when his caboose flew by! John had gone to snatch any flimsey that conductor might have for us, and was running back to the switch as I opened the throttle. When he was climbing onboard, He yelled,
    .............Pg.2..Continued...
     
  19. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    ................Pg..3....

    ..............Pg.3...........
    "Hit it! We got to git offen this track !!! (The yardmaster would reset the switch if we didn't return!) I dropped a little sand and pulled more notches than usual, but the old girl didn't spin a driver, we picked up speed surprisingly fast!!
    We took empty log flats to the Mill, and brought loaded Bulkhead Flats to the yards at Kensett for pick up. On our way back we had to watch behind us for that train was out running us! I finally saw his tiny head light and hollar'd at John! He looked and turned white as a sheet! Make sure the throttle is wide open then grab a scoop and help, we need speed! Now it began to sink in my old iron skull... we are in deep doo doo! We got to where he would throw, then I would throw!!! We kept it up and he would grab a look out behind ever so often. Since I am right handed and he is left, we had already figured we would take this position if it came to me helping to stoke the boiler. This also gave John a position to warn me if we had to jump, and a chance to watch for our turn off switch at Kensett. We were really high-ballin' all the way south and as we pulled off the main line at Kensett, we could see the tiny head light of the south bound catching up with us had grown to the size of a barrell!! He was right on our tail and gaining on us!!

    We would have to slow down, or the engine would roll over trying to take that switch at this speed. John estimated we must have been up somewhere around 55 or 60 !!! If we don't make it there will be Creasote all over Kensett! John yelled for me to grab hold of something we are going to slow up quickly, then he dropped the air. Those creasoted pilings were heavy and it was like trying to drag an anchor chain when the brakes clamped down.

    We leaned over going through that switch! I was praying it would be quick, I didn't want to suffer, and I think John did too. He told me to take it far enough to clear the cars off the main, that he would wave when clear, then he dropped off to help the yardmaster close that switchfor the south bound coming on at full speed!! Mean while I backed the loaded cars into the Pickup spurs, then backed on down to where the boys were. As John and the old Yardmaster walked over to our engine, he told us it was a good show, we still had 12 minutes left, it was the second section that was ahead of his schedule! John and I both shuddered as we watched 4500 tons flash past us at nearly 90 behind a big
    high steppin' 4-8-4 Lady Dancing her way to New Orleans!

    The following third section would pick up the bulkhead flats we had set out on the Rock Island yard spurs.
    .............Pg.3..Continued....

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010
  20. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    ................Pg..4....

    ..............Pg.4.............
    All three trains made their scheduled runs with no delays, no accidents, and we had sneaked in between them both ways! It would be a feather in our Dispacher's cap!
    We had some coffee with the yardmaster, gathered our wits, then we took three loaded box cars back to Searcy.

    I will NEVER EVER FORGET THAT RUN!!! I was never so scared either! John treated me like one of the crew after that, which made me proud.
    What a thrill for a 16 year old !!!

    (You can breathe again now Momma)


    Well it is probably mostly fiction, but I told it in first person in hopes it would be more thrilling !!!
    Thanks for writing, Watash
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010

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