Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,850
    84
    36
    Ye
    Yes, There were a couple of places that had "regulars" The Laverne stop on the Aurora Race Track usually had several watchers and photographers. One guy did a lot of video taping and I usually saw him chatting with a youth about 12 or 13. One day I didn't see the kid so I asked him where his son was. He was puzzled by that and I repeated the question and found out the kid he talked to all the time was just another railfan. ANYWAY I would always ask this guy when he would let me see his videos. Finally he told me that he would show me his videos when I got my engineer's card. Well.....when I finally got my card, I couldn't hold an engineer's job so I went back to train service on the dinkies. The first time I saw this movie guy I waved my card at him and asked him to show me his videos. I'm still waiting LOL! The other location was a bit "busier" it was at the McClure Rd grade crossing at the west end of Eola yard. There was a private road leading to a lumber facility and there was sort of a "no man's land" area on the southeast side of that grade crossing. Normally there were several vehicles there train watching and sometimes taking photos. Every so often I would chat with the fans. They wouldn't bother us while we were making a move, but would ask questions when action was stopped or during a wait. With that group however, they were never there when the weather was crappy so they never got to see railroading when there was really something to see, like a T-storm when lighting was flying all over the place or during a blizzard when you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Sometimes I would see a fan or fans on the train with their cameras at the ready. I would give them tips on what to look for that they might find photo worthy. Mostly railfans were never bothersome. We had a couple who asked if we could do certain things but that is a whole 'nuther story.

    Charlie
     
    Kurt Moose, Hardcoaler and BNSF FAN like this.
  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    3,808
    5,394
    72
    Charlie, on another thread Boxcab mentioned MILW train order signals and it got me to thinking.

    In the era of written train orders, how did an engineman on a fast train know that he was to take orders just ahead? If his train was moving at a fast clip, he might not have time enough to slow or stop the train. Were there distant signals for train order signals?
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,850
    84
    36
     
  4. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,850
    84
    36
    Train orders are a bit before my time, but When I hired on there were still some stations that used train orders on a somewhat modified basis. They were more like track warrants than orders. At any rate crews knew which stations issued train orders and they could see the train order boards as they approached. if they were in a STOP indication that would mean that new orders would be issued, the engineer would whistle acknowledgement of the order board, the agent would then clear the board and hoop the orders up. If the operator didn't clear the board the train would have to stop and await orders. Train orders could be hooped up to a train at track speed. Trains also operated on a time table and by class of train and generally the highest class of trains had priority over all others and their orders were fairly simple ie "run from point A to Z and meet train ….. at point D instead of C.. There are signals known as "distant signals" but they have nothing to do with train order systems. "Distant Signals" only indicate a transition from dark territory to a signaled territory and on the BNSF they displayed only two indications, Approach or Stop.
     
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    3,808
    5,394
    72
    Thanks Charlie -- neat stuff you explained. I always thought that it would have been a hair-raising job for an op or agent to stand on a platform to hoop up orders while a train approached at track speed. I grew up in northern IL and Barrington Tower on the EJ&E had a fixed fork as seen here (I think the fork swung away when the orders were grabbed?) and a mighty fancy train order signal. I shot this in 1984. That's the C&NW's double track main.

    1984 Barrington Tower - for upload.jpg
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  6. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    17,787
    11,774
    222
    They were still hooping up orders at Tower 17 until the UP closed it in 2004. Here the Sunset Limited just grabbed a flimsy as it barreled by. The train order mast can be seen between the tower and the locomotive with its two wands sprung back to vertical positions.There were three different sockets to hang orders from at three different levels on the mast.
    [​IMG]

    When the mechanical "hoop" is loaded the two wands are heald together with a loop of string with the flimsy tied to it. When the train crew grabs the flimsy, the string comes with it and releases the wands to spring out of the way.
    IMG_4078.jpg
     
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    3,808
    5,394
    72
    Ah ha -- so that's how it works. I see a counterweight on the arm in my EJ&E photo and it all makes sense now. I see a different sort of circular mechanism at Tuscola, IL at the IC's tower that appears to drop the arm down after the orders are grabbed. I shot this 10/21/1990.

    1990-10-21 Tuscola IL.jpg
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  8. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    5,071
    2,461
    91
    Depending on how fast the train was going, wouldn't that string kinda' hurt at higher speeds?? Especially passenger trains going as high as 79mph, that would really whip your arm when you snagged it!:confused:

    Especially if you had short sleeves on!
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  9. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    17,787
    11,774
    222
    You had to be tough to work on the railroad.[​IMG]
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  10. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,850
    84
    36
    As I understand, it required nerves of steel to manually hoop up the orders plus you had to have unobscured vision in lousy weather because you had to wait for the caboose and hoop them their orders.

    Charlie
     
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.

Share This Page