Mar 31, 2007
Great story, Wayne.....regardless of the truth/fiction ratio. :tb-wink:
Another great story Wayne!!!!
Folks, I will be taking a bit of a sabbatical from this forum for a while. I should be back on or after Easter. If you need to contact me you can either PM or e-mail me. I will still be checking my e-mails.
Take care, I'll be thinkin' 'bout ya!
I warned you Charlie!
An old box car had been left on a very short spur for so long, weeds had grown up around the wheels and under the coupler.
Six and eight year old kids would sneak around behind this car's western most truck to smoke, because the teachers couldn't see them from the school ground, or so they thought.
One day a teacher asked me to walk around there and see what those kids were up to. She thought they were probably playing marbles, but they might be gambling, and she would have to tell the Principal.
So I wandered around ending up watching the kids smoking awhile, then I leaned up against the box car and asked which brands they liked best? They had different ones and one kid had a box that had cigaretts with black paper and gold filter tips. Other kids were playing hide and seek under the car and would brush against me as they ran.
I lit one of the new kind and squatted down to join the group. Time passed as we talked, and I stood up. When I leaned back against the car as I had before...
I got a surprise !!!
I found myself lying flat on my back in the weeds where the car had been !!!
I'm laying there looking at the aszure blue sky wondering what happened? The kids had all erupted into gales of laughter !!!
The teachers were taking the kids back into the school house when all this happened, and turned on the steps to see what it was.
It turns out that someone had released the air at sometime in the past, and put a block under a wheel. Over the years the wheel got up on the block and sat there until these kids climbing on the ladders and shaking the car was just enough vibration to crush the old wood and start the car rolling ever so slowly to where it stopped against some gravel rocks about six feet away.
I had a teacher giving me "HExL" about not "Paying Attention" to my surroundings !!!
The kids had great sport of me, saying things like, "See any birds lately?" and, " Pretty blue sky, isn't it?"
Some would pat my back as they went down the halls, saying, "Rub your back for you?"
I could have landed with my head cracked open on the other rail so I do watch it now !!!
Ouch! Now we know why we never trust the air to hold a car.Talk about a Lucky Strike! Sorry the cold meds are making me loopy today.
Hey Fireball, want some of my ChikNnoodle soup to fix that cold?
That reminds me of the old tale about the Tower Dispatcher that left the tower for a while and had a young trainee take charge of the switch levers in his absence, telling him it should be a "normal night", nothing special on the list. He told the trainee to put the book down and pay attention, he would be back shortly.
The Trainee finally got bored. While thinking of something to do, he looked on the wall chart and since this was goinfg to be a "normal" night, he set all the switches as shown for "normal operation", and to check the lights to be set to the correct color.
to the correct "normal" colors.
While he was out on the walkway, the wind blew the door shut and jarred the lock down!
He doesn't discover he is locked out for several minutes, and is beginning to get cold. Can't find the keys in a pocket!
Looking in the door window, he can see the keys are still hanging on the key caddy! Now what?
A slow freight comes through and passes out of sight with nothing out of the ordinary happening, so maybe this new automated system he has been reading about , is going to help after all.
So, reassured, he calmly leans on the hand railing and waves as the engines pass.
About an hour later the Dispatcher returns and is horrified to find his trainee locked out and a fast passenger train due any minute!
The trainee reassures the Dispatcher that everything has been working normallt with the new automated control running the show.
The Dispatcher sits down and buries his head in his hands shaking his head "no". He gets up, pulls one of the switch levers and watches the [assenger change to the proper track safely and roll out of sight. Then he turns to the trainee and says, "There is no automated system ever been put in here, and if there was, they wouldn't need you and me,IDIOT !!!
Somewhere I have a photo of one of these Towers with a row of the levers showing, taken back about the time this happened.
Thanks for the offer lol. I jsut had some spicy stuff and boom no more sinus problems!
Love it! See how quick things can go bad on a railroad?I set it for normal what more do you want !
Charlie might know this one. Had a Lacrosse conductor trainee told by his engineer and conductor that " them little defect detector shanties have a guy in there. He watches a computer readout and reports it to the train via radio" This kid fell hook line and sinker! He was going to call HR adn find out how to bid a detector job till a wise old head finally said" Kid they are messin with ya!"Kinda sad he didnt realize that the "guy in the box" sounded the same at every detector.
..........Us dumb kids get picked on at first !
Yeah, my Dad taught me to watch out for "Left-handed monkey wrenches", and "air powered hammers" when I got my first job in a roundhouse. He was right, they pulled all of them on me, but I kept my mouth shut and didn't complain, and was very soon a part of the "crew". (I did put a leather disk in one guy's sandwitch for pulling jokes that hurt.) I made sure I was looking the other way when he bit into it. He went to a couple of other guys, then came to me asking if I had put it in his lunch. I said something like, "No thanks I have my own lunch, want a bite of mine?" (I don't think he ever found out.)
The only other joke I pulled was to lug a very large parts box in the door, and start across the shop, staggering under the weight. It was hard to see where I was going, as I made my way (directly toward) the guy I wanted to trick. He got up and came to lend me a hand, so I stopped and let him almost get a hold of it. When I turned loose, he tossed the box almost to the ceiling !!!
The empty box got everyone to laughing, and I was already running for the door! He gave me a "Dutch-rub" and we were friends from then on. Things like this got me "in" where the guys all taught me little tricks of the trade, and I was a fast learner, so my time in a roundhouse may have been dirty, hard, sometimes dangerous work, but I enjoy'd every minute I was in and on those steam monsters !! After they taught me to hostle a steamer, my life was every young boy's dream come true !!
I don't think a conductor, brakeman or some firemen can realize the feeling I am trying to describe, unless they have actuyally pulled their hand on a throttle and felt the responce, It is almost like a love for it.
A diesel does not have this feeling to me.
When you pull the throttle, that feel of a "live" steamer is something you can never forget. You feel her tense up, like the first time you kissed your girl on her neck and felt her shudder!
Great! Next story please. :angel:
I hope you have had a good time.
Wow, who is this stranger....? :tb-tongue:
Your's Truly has had another "Letter to the Editor" published in "Classic Trains", the Summer 2010 issue. The header is relative to the GTW and the Chicago Lawn Station.
one of the positive things of being a "person of age" is the railfanning opportunities we have had especially for a big traction fan like myself.
Recently I have been reading a lot of railfan posting about the North Shore Line interurban here in Chicago. Fortunately for me, my family would use the North Shore Line to Waukegan IL where we would visit close family friends, the mothers of our two families were childhood friends and my dad and Willard had become close friends from the time they first met. The children of both families were of the same age range and gender make-up(2 girls,1boy)so there was no boredom for any of us kids while the adults visited. I got to ride on both the Shore Line and the Skokie Valley routes quite often. Our friends lived quite close to either line. Willard was a machinist with the C.& N.W. RR.
Chicago also had the largest street railway system in the world and when I was a small kid, the system was still largely streetcar operated. The municipally owned CTA which bought the CSL(surface lines) and the CRT(elevated/subway lines)and took them over in 1947 quickly brought and end to streetcar operations within a decade, the last line being abandoned in June 1958. I was on that last run. Many Chicagoans resented and regretted the decision of the wholesale slaughter of the trolley lines. Most of the cars WERE super-annuated, but they were warm,relatively comfortable and MUCH more reliable than the rubber tired deathtraps that replaced them. But I had no say in that!
At any rate, it seems like the big cities in this country are seeing the errors of their past ways and are reviving rail transit. Once again Chicago finds itself behind the times and still wondering why it may have lost a bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Perhaps the fact that our bankrupt,poorly managed and "behind the times" transit system(which is never certain of it's future!)had something to do with it. That is another story.
If anyone wants to hear tails about "the way it was", lemme know. It doesn't have to be about trolleys either. I have lots of memories of trains here in Chicago.
I always liked interurbans. I live in Oneonta, we had an interurban line north to Herkimer. Electric and most of the line were long gone before I was born. However a three mile remnant was still in existence until the early '70's.
A steep hill out took it out of the valley. An unusual crossing sign marked the state highway crossing.Power was a couple of little center cab diesels. One was one of GE's first internal combustion locomotives. A diesel (originally gas) engine under one hood charged a large battery under the other hood. The other was a more standard little center cab.
Customers were a concrete plant in the city, a large coal yard on the outskirts, and an Agway feed mill at the end of the line. The line was taken out for "Tah-Dah" an interstate highway project. Seriously, really shortlines were on their way out at the time, anyway. But it was neat to have seen it.
Sadly, I was too young to really appreciate it at the t
I've always liked your stories. Would appreciate more.
thanks Frank, glad to oblige.
Those little short lines have a charm and attraction all their own. Many of them were never much in the length department, but due to their particular traffic had long and useful lives.
If any of you read/subscribe to "First & Fastest" magazine, published by Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, the Summer issue has an article written by a C & NW engineer detailing what it is like to run a commuter train("Scoots" on the C & NW).
It will provide you with an excellent description of what my experience was when I was
a commuter train engineer.
Hi teacher I still enjoy your class.
Glad to help, thank you for your "studious" attention!
You get an A + !!!
As of very lately, I have made contact with a professional writer in another city. He and I a Army veterans of the same "corps". We were both in ASA. It seems that he was involved in researching a certain "attitude"(for want of a better word) and was head of a department devoted to that. I replied to a post of his on a Facebook group and he has since asked me to relate my stories relative to my service and how that "attitude" may have played a part. I cant say much more as most of it is private party info and I dont want to get into any area of "sensitivity" that may still exist. He and I were both in a service that was highly classified and secretive. Needless to say, I have a bunch of military experiences that interest him. I have also asked my buddy(and former roomate overseas)to relate some of his experiences as well.
In this regard, this is really one of those things that is "you hadda be there"!
Are there any questions from the class?
Umm... have any interesting adventures with rough, poorly maintained, or damaged track?