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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Strangers on the platform!!!


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Date: 12/19/16 23:41
Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: aronco

Well, it appears to be time for a new story - we can't let the nostalgia column become not what it used to be!

 In Early October, 2014, we were on the rear of train 3, the Southwest Chief, aboard TIOGA PASS, a former CN business car returning to Los Angeles after the AAPRCO trip to Portland, Maine.  We also had Pacific Sands with us, a former UP 10/6 sleeper.  We left Kansas City about two hours late, and everybody turned in so I locked the end door and turned in also.
We rolled on West across Kansas,  thru Topeka, by Emporia, and past Newton.  About 500am, Doug Peterson, the waiter/porter, knocked on my door.  Groggily, I answered and opened the door.  "There's someone riding on the platform!" He exclaimed.  I looked out the window and the horizon was lighting up a bit, showing a view of wheat fields and wheat fields.  Quickly, I dressed and shuffled down the hall through the "living room" (lounge area) to the rear of the car , and yes, to my amazement, there was someone on the platform!  The train was moving about 50 MPH I suppose, and it was a bit chilly outside for sure.
The fellow on the platform was Caucasian, about middle aged, and seemed well dressed.  He had two pieces of luggage with him on the platform.  I wasn't about to unlock the end door until I knew a bit more.  "Open the door" the stranger commanded!.  Uh Uh - 
"What in the h--- are you doing out there" I inquired.
"I'm a deputy sheriff!" He shouted.  At that, he placed an ID card on the window so I could read it, and yup, he was a reserve deputy sheriff for Sedgewick County, Kansas.
My cell phone was still in my room and even if I had it, would there be coverage out here, and who would I call?  Imagine trying to explain to a 911 operator that you're riding on private railroad car on an Amtrak train somewhere in Kansas and there's an unknown person on the platform of the rear car.......I suppose I took a bit of a chance when I unlocked the door and let him in the car.  He calmed down quickly and told me that he had boarded the train at Newton going to Los Angeles, and was told to board the last car on the train.  He did as told, and that's when he realized this wasn't quite right.  The train left quickly.  He guessed that someone would come back to open the door and let him in, so he waited....and he waited....and after about 40 minutes, it was getting colder.  He tried a few phone calls but got no responses at 300am in the morning, so he called the Amtrak 800 number.  fortunately, he reached an alert employee, who, after listening to this strange tale, transferred him to the Amtrak Network Operations Center in Wilmington, Delaware.  Again he told his strange tale of being a castaway on a mystery train, and the folks there quickly called the conductor on train 3.  About the time we were savoring a cup of fresh hot coffee, the train slowed and then stopped in the middle of another wheat field.  The cattle in the pasture on the other side of the train didn't seen surprised as a passenger detrained from the private car and was escorted up to the coaches by the conductor.   I guess I really should have invited the fellow to stay for breakfast?
TIOGA PASS  


 

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/16 00:10 by aronco.




Date: 12/20/16 09:58
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: retcsxcfm

Only stories like this could happen on the railroad and
only stories like this can be true.
Norm,I am still rolling on the floor---funny!

Uncle Joe,Seffner,Fl.



Date: 12/20/16 12:07
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: tomstp

Isn't that picture in Glenwood Springs, Colo?



Date: 12/20/16 13:15
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: twropr

I have to applaud the 800# agent who forwarded the call to CNOC.  He would have been on the platform much longer if that hadn't happened.
Great story!
Andy
Jacksonville, FL



Date: 12/20/16 13:50
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: Jimbo

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Isn't that picture in Glenwood Springs, Colo?

Yes.



Date: 12/20/16 15:06
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: ExSPCondr

Not anywhere as adventuresome, and only funny if you weren't the Amtrak Supervisor involved.
At Santa Barbara a twelve year old boy got on #13 in the middle of a group of passengers, and wasn't found until the conductor asked him for a ticket somewhere West of Ellwood.  It turns out the kid was slightly autistic or something else equal, he looked okay, but didn't communicate well.  After a bunch of radio calls between me, the engineer, and the dispatcher, (no cell in those days) we found out that the kid had snuck away from a special school in Santa Barb, and they wanted him back. 
Number 12 was a little late and the meet was going to be West of SLO, so it was decided that the Supervisor would get off with the kid in SLO and take him back to Santa Barb. on #12.

An hour or so later he didn't communicate that he needed to use the bathroom, my ony saving grace was that when we got to SLO I could get off to get the Superintendent's auto and take it back to LA while he rode with the General Manager in a Business Car on the back of  #12.  The Atk Supv. had to stay with the kid at SLO and then watch him all the way back to SBA.
There was no way I could have taken a poopy kid in the Supt's auto, he would have transferred me to El Centro the next day!
G   



Date: 12/20/16 15:43
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: Pullman

We had a private car trip from Emeryville to Sparks and back, using an open platform car.

Leaving Emeryville on a brisk, sunny Saturday morning, we are all boarded and traps closed on the rear platform as the engineer of #6 whistles off and we start to roll.

Out of nowehere, comes a gentleman running down the platform, hell bent for leather. He throws a small suitcase over the platform railing and then proceeds to jump onto the railing and climbs onto the platform.

When I asked him why he would do something so stupid and potentially fatal, all he could say was that he did not want to miss the train.

We made him stand out on the platform, while we radioed the conductor and advised him we had a passenger for him at our brief stop in Richmond.



Date: 12/20/16 16:36
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: WAF

Had a gentleman of the road hitch a ride on the platform of the private car I chartered. Left his pack behind so someone must have seen him and he was removed in the middle of the night. Reason back doors on private carsd arde locked at night



Date: 12/21/16 05:20
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: mp51w

I was working at the Topeka station that night. 
The Newton agent and I always wondered how that all shook out.
Some people just don't see the difference in the type of passenger cars.
You would think he would have known that was a special rail car.



Date: 12/21/16 09:26
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: ntharalson

mp51w Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was working at the Topeka station that night. 
> The Newton agent and I always wondered how that
> all shook out.
> Some people just don't see the difference in the
> type of passenger cars.
> You would think he would have known that was a
> special rail car.

In my experience, not so.  The average person only knows about the
train that blocks him at a grade crossing.  

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



Date: 12/22/16 13:40
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: dbesade

Pullman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We made him stand out on the platform, while we
> radioed the conductor and advised him we had a
> passenger for him at our brief stop in Richmond.


Where is the compassion for people? At least Norman was polite.

-Dave



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/16 13:52 by dbesade.



Date: 12/22/16 14:58
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: jst3751

dbesade Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Pullman Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > We made him stand out on the platform, while we
> > radioed the conductor and advised him we had a
> > passenger for him at our brief stop in
> Richmond.
>
>
> Where is the compassion for people? At least
> Norman was polite.
>
> -Dave

Stranger comes a knocking on your front door at home asking to use the phone, are you going to open up and say come on in?



Date: 12/22/16 15:05
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: dbesade

jst3751 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> dbesade Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Pullman Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > We made him stand out on the platform, while
> we
> > > radioed the conductor and advised him we had
> a
> > > passenger for him at our brief stop in
> > Richmond.
> >
> >
> > Where is the compassion for people? At least
> > Norman was polite.
> >
> > -Dave
>
> Stranger comes a knocking on your front door at
> home asking to use the phone, are you going to
> open up and say come on in?

See, thats different, your house is located on private land which you own and its not shared. The PV is attached to a publicly owned train with paying passengers on a private railroad. Its obvious from his story the poor guy was trying to make his train.. some empathy could not have possibly killed Pullman (Whom I'm assuming is Roger).

-Dave



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/16 15:07 by dbesade.



Date: 12/22/16 15:20
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: OliveHeights

A lot of people pay good money to be able to ride outside on an open platform car.  These guys got that for free.



Date: 12/22/16 15:26
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: dbesade

OliveHeights Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A lot of people pay good money to be able to ride
> outside on an open platform car.  These guys got
> that for free.

You may be correct, that doesn't change my comment or opinion about showing other humans empathy. I guess some kinds of people forget that some people still use the train as a method of transportation and may not understand or know the difference between your pleasure toy and their normal car. Remember that having Amtrak pull that PV Car is not a right, it is a privledge (and one that can immediately be revoked). Perhaps it would be better for there to be a separate railroad, locomotive, and station just for PV Cars so these types of accidents don't happen. Ahhh but see that wouldn't work because then who would people gloat in front of when sitting on the "porch" or treat like a jerk when a simple mistake happens?

-Dave



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/16 15:37 by dbesade.



Date: 12/23/16 01:35
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: aronco

Believe me, when I looked thru the wondow of the end door at that man, I wondered what to do.  How was I to know he was on the level?  Even with the ID card, he could still have been a loose cannon.  After I let him in. and he was seated, the waiter came back down the hallway to see if I had been killed or assaulted.  Anyway, it worked out right for everyone.  I would love to see that guy again and get his impressions of the incident.

Norm

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 12/23/16 08:58
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: Pullman

On the incident in question, the gentleman stood out there, on the platform, for all of 10 minutes. A sunny day as I recall. The movement from Emeryville to Richmond was a quick one.

The matter was safety. He could have been killed or badly injured. His poor choice of action could have affected everyone on the train, not just aboard the platform car. 

And that was the message he got. From me and from passengers.

End of story.





 



Date: 12/23/16 09:24
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: whistlepig

I was running #35 Desert Wind one morning and upon leaving Las Vegas I got to just short of Wyoming St. when the conductor called and said "Amtrak 35 that'll do".  Seems some moron came running out from the Plaza Hotel and was hanging on to the back stirrup of the sleeper.  He was on the left side so I couldn't see what was happening.  I stopped the train and just a few seconds later the conductor called back and said highball.  When we got to Barstow I went back and the conductor told me the man told him he was going to try to get in the train through one of the panels on the side of the sleeper,  Good thing the conductor spotted hin because in a few more feet we'd be in 79 territory.  What a knucklehead.



Date: 12/26/16 16:05
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: jst3751

dbesade Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jst3751 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > dbesade Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Pullman Wrote:
> > >
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> >
> > > -----
> > > > We made him stand out on the platform,
> while
> > we
> > > > radioed the conductor and advised him we
> had
> > a
> > > > passenger for him at our brief stop in
> > > Richmond.
> > >
> > >
> > > Where is the compassion for people? At least
> > > Norman was polite.
> > >
> > > -Dave
> >
> > Stranger comes a knocking on your front door at
> > home asking to use the phone, are you going to
> > open up and say come on in?
>
> See, thats different, your house is located on
> private land which you own and its not shared. The
> PV is attached to a publicly owned train with
> paying passengers on a private railroad. Its
> obvious from his story the poor guy was trying to
> make his train.. some empathy could not have
> possibly killed Pullman (Whom I'm assuming is
> Roger).
>
> -Dave

Sorry but not different at all. It only became obvious that he belonged on the train AFTER the conductor let him on. Up until that time, it was just his word. And gee, some one trying to get into your car/house to do something bad would NEVER lie about it.



Date: 12/26/16 17:37
Re: Strangers on the platform!!!
Author: dbesade

We will simply agree to disagree here and I'll leave it there.

jst3751 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> dbesade Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > jst3751 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > dbesade Wrote:
> > >
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> >
> > > -----
> > > > Pullman Wrote:
> > > >
> > >
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> >
> > >
> > > > -----
> > > > > We made him stand out on the platform,
> > while
> > > we
> > > > > radioed the conductor and advised him we
> > had
> > > a
> > > > > passenger for him at our brief stop in
> > > > Richmond.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Where is the compassion for people? At
> least
> > > > Norman was polite.
> > > >
> > > > -Dave
> > >
> > > Stranger comes a knocking on your front door
> at
> > > home asking to use the phone, are you going
> to
> > > open up and say come on in?
> >
> > See, thats different, your house is located on
> > private land which you own and its not shared.
> The
> > PV is attached to a publicly owned train with
> > paying passengers on a private railroad. Its
> > obvious from his story the poor guy was trying
> to
> > make his train.. some empathy could not have
> > possibly killed Pullman (Whom I'm assuming is
> > Roger).
> >
> > -Dave
>
> Sorry but not different at all. It only became
> obvious that he belonged on the train AFTER the
> conductor let him on. Up until that time, it was
> just his word. And gee, some one trying to get
> into your car/house to do something bad would
> NEVER lie about it.



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