Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. karnydoc

    karnydoc TrainBoard Member

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    Our leader was an ex-CR widebody that had an awful odor coming from the toilet (it didn't help this was on a summer day, with the AC on in the cab).

    Not seeing a vent in the toilet compartment, I fell back on a trick: light a match to neutralize the odor from a fart. While my engineer smoked, he used a lighter, and I didn't smoke, so I retrieved a fusee from the nose and lit it in the toilet compartment.

    After I was done, I held it over the toilet, wondering how I was to get rid of it. Just as I looked up to see the smoke escaping the compartment, my engineer asked me in a voice I will always remember, "What the hell are doing?"

    Then there's the time I derailed a car while doubling a train, and got promoted to conductor the next day...

    Dieter
     
  2. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Did it get rid of the odor?
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    ============================================================================

    I'm basically a trolley jolly and trains are my life. Dunno why I like traction so much, I only know that I have liked traction things my whole life. I loved to ride streetcars, L trains and interurbans as well as steam RR trains. My family didn't own a car although my father kept his drivers license current until his death. We rode public transit wherever we went. When I was just a little kid I would ride the streetcar to my grandmother's house,by myself,both ways. I would walk the couple of blocks to and from the car line. My childhood home was close to 3 streetcar lines, the closest being about 150' from our front door. We used to take the North Shore Line to Waukegan IL quite often. We had family friends who lived there. Our friends lived quite close to the NSL main line. At one time they lived less than a block from the end of the Shore Line Route. Their son, who was my age,was also interested in trains. His dad was employed by the C.&N.W. Billy & I would train watch a lot, both on the NSL and the Northwestern. When I was small and before my oldest sister married, we took family vacations to Wisconsin Dells and we rode the Milwaukee Road. My dad(who had been a locomotive fireman as a young man)and I would go to the depot in the evening to train watch. This was before Wisconsin Dells became the honky-tonk amusement park it is today. As a teenager, I would sometimes take a day trip on the NSL to Waukegan just to railfan and ride. The NSL was a class operation and genuinely a hoot to ride! I hope that helps to answer your question.

    Charlie
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Life's little (mis)adventures. Most railroaders I have known could write a book...
     
  5. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Obviously you have a few years on me . I came to become a traction fan in a slightly different manner. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin . My family on my fathers side were farmers and had a great location. The farm was adjacent to the last interurban left in SE Wisconsin. On my mothers side, my grandfather had a tavern near Mukwonago Wis again adjacent to said interurban line. Growing up in this little farm town on the last interurban line was very unique, the trains that ran past the house were pulled by a green and yellow homemade express car, M-15 was its number. In the early 70s an electric railway museum moved to the area and then I was introduced to North Shore line interurbans. Of course the colorful cars made quite the impression on a young boy so I closely followed the progress of the operations. Over the years I made friends with many former employees of both the Milwaukee Electric and the North Shore. I also made some friends with people that were in time about to play an important part in my future as a career railroader.

    Beginning in 1983, the friends I made way back then on the last interurban in Wisconsin started me on an adventure of a lifetime working for the railroad, beginning in the Menomenee river valley in Milwaukee.

    Randy
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Randy,

    Your profile sez you're "down east" in Maine. Lovely state! Have had the distinct privilege of visting there several times. Last time in 2001 just before all that unfortunate nastiness in New York and other places. My wife was with me on the last two occasions. One of our stops was the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Fantastic operation! They have some good specimens of Chicagoland traction there, one of them being a "Big Pullman" streetcar(#144 IIRC). I actually remember riding that car a couple of times on fantrips in Chicago. Back in 1975 we camped at a County campsite right on the ocean. Absolutely breathtaking scenery!
    So you are still a railroader? Quite a change from southern Wisconsin to central Maine!


    Charlie
     
  7. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, Im still railroading, your right , quite a change from the midwest farmlands to the mountains of Western Maine and Quebec .. speaking of that horrible day in NY , I was working the day shift as an electrician at North Fond Du Lac Wis, we all watched events unfold in the company lunchroom.

    I've been to Seashore a couple times, we've actually done some wheel and axle work in our machine shop for them. I think the 144 is at IRM but Seashore does have a big Pullman. I did have the opportunity to run the 861 Milwaukee streetcar a few years back which meant that I have operated ALL of the remaining Milwaukee streetcars left (except for the 966)

    972
    978
    846
    861

    Still working on the remaining North Shore cars but the list of NSL interurbans that I've operated is pretty good so far.

    756
    757
    763
    411
    714
    160
    172
    715
    251
    229
    354

    I also operated the very first PCC streetcar even to run in Wisconsin (SF Muni 1164).

    Randy
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Randy-

    Did you happen to know Don Leistikow? Haven't read or heard anything of him in a while now. Wondering if he's still around?
     
  9. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes , I knew Don very well , He can be found on the Yahoo groups TWERHS, IRM, North Shore etc...

    Randy
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Does he still use that webtv address? It was such a pain to send him an email, as the tiny capacity they gave users made it almost certain a message would bounce. I gave up trying to carry on any conversations. I tried and tried to convince him to set up something with Google Mail or whatever.
     
  11. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, he's still got the WebTV. He's keeping it come hell or high water.

    Randy
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bummer. Oh well.
     
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    @Randy.... Correct CSL 144 is at IRM... Seashore has 225. Anyway I've been on both.
    When I was a teenager, several of us teenage railfans from CERA took the motorman's course offered by TMER&T. We had a supervisor train us. There was a training loop outside the Shops for training runs. It had double wire since the rails were poorly bonded. The car was equipped with two poles to accomodate that. I cant remember the car number at this time but I have it on film.
    So I can say I was actually a trained motorman for Milwaukee streetcars.
    I have a CSL coin changer which I got when I was a kid. I sold papers on a transfer corner(63rd & Kedzie) in Chicago. My boss got the changer from a guy who worked for the CTA(at that time)and gave it to me to use. I held that job thru my 4 years in high school. I quit that job when I was hired by the airline. I paid my boss for the changer and kept it. When I finally went railroading, I used it when I was a commuter trainman since we collected a lot of cash fares. I set it down once in the lavatory of the Aurora Transportations Center. When I realized I didn't have it, I radioed the ticket agent to rescue it for me. By the time he got there, it was gone!! I was broken-hearted but the ticket office put the word out to look for it. A cop told me to check the garbage cans. He said whoever took it doesn't want the changer, they want the money. No luck on the garbage cans. After about a week I ran into one of the maintenance men from the ATC and mentioned to him that if anyone found a changer in the shrubbery or trash that it might be mine. The guy told me that he DID find a changer about a week ago, he said he gave it to the ticket agent. I went to the ticket agent, and it happened to be the guy who I originally had radioed about my forgetting it. Well he said to me, "I didn't know this was yours" and he handed me my changer, sans money of course! Well my changer is no longer in use but it still sits here in my railroadiana collection, safe from harm!

    Charlie
     
  14. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yup, you got a few years on me no doubt !!! The only Milwaukee streetcars I've ever seen were in museums. The course you took must have been at the Fond Du Lac Ave car station , I have heard stories about that . you may have known MCERA Bill Nedden ? The car you used may have the 802 or 803 ?

    Randy
     
  15. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Just keeping the thread current!
    Any questions?
    Something about prototype operation you've always had a question about?

    Charlie
     
  16. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Why does everythiing break or go wrong when the weather gets bad and why does each winter seem a little tougher as I get older ?

    Randy
     
  17. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Steel expands and contracts with the temperature. Very hot summer weather produces sun kinks and very cold weather produces breaks and cracks. Snow and ice get packed in turnouts and can cause derailments. Spring and summer storms can cause flooding of the rails and short out track circuitry.
    I cant answer why winter gets tougher as you age Randy,except to say that it's the same for me! :cool:


    Charlie
     
  18. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Just before dawn on a ~20F degree January morning we heard a very loud report outside. It sounded more like a loud snap than an explosion or gunshot. Turned out a section of CWR had snapped due to the cold. The snap had opened more than a 1" gap between the rails. The fractured faces appeared to have a crystal structure rather than what would be expected if the steel alloy had been blended properly. I'm glad the break occurred due to the cold rather than when a heavy freight was on that section, especially since it was right behind our house.
     
  19. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    That IS scary!!! Did the break occur at the weld or within the body of the rail? Fortunately a break like that probably broke the track circuit and dropped the boards to "Stop". Those will show up on the dispatchers console although they probably can't tell if its a break or a short, at any rate it will get a call out to the track and signal maintainers and to all the trains enroute to that break. The train crews will be alerted to a possible problem and the crews know how to respond and operate the trains. I have a story about a shorted out switch that reversed itself due to high water. We were alerted to it well before we arrived on the scene and we also had the boards against us but we had authority to that switch to see if it was indeed reversed.

    Charlie
     
  20. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Wishing all of you the most Prosperous,Healthy and Happy New Year!


    Charlie
    Locomotive Engineer(ret.)
    BNSF Rwy(Aurora,Eola and Chicago IL)
     

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