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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Thanksgiving away from home

Date: 11/25/16 12:46
Thanksgiving away from home
Author: NCA1022

Being a 24x7x365 business, I'm sure all af you rails missed more than one Thanksgiving dinner by being out on the road, drilling cars in the yard, staffing operating postiions or awaiting your next call at an away from home terminal.

Did you have any memorable Thanskgiving experiences while stuck away from home?  Try to go anyplace different from your usual food joints to get an above-average meal?  Did you or co-workers bring a little something along to help make the day a bit brighter?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

- Norm

Date: 11/25/16 13:22
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: PCCRNSEngr

One Thanksgiving dinner was a burger from a vending machine in the yard office. In 2008 my yard crew was the only crew working along with the Yardmaster. With a hot pot and a microwave we had a pretty good feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, veggies, bread bowl dip, and of course pumpkin pie. Yes we did invite the Yardmaster to join in. Another Thangsgiving the phone ran about two hours before dinner was being served. Did get leftovers when I got back home.
In my 41 years worked every holiday including Christmas. One Christmas PC held off calling until 2pm for a 4pm call. that was nice of them!

Date: 11/25/16 13:26
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: aronco

Well Norm, I had a memorable Thanksgiving just a few years ago.  I had chartered my private railcar to accompany some very high value shipments across Canada.
We arrived in Montreal a few days before Thanksgiving and waited for the arrival of the new equipment from Europe by ship.  I decided to go out for an early dinner alone on Thursday, but ended up in a pizza restaraunt.  The place made damn poor pizza, and as I ate a bit of it, I realized what day it was.  That was not a great holiday especially since Canadians celebrate their like holiday a month sooner than we do.  What I would have paid for some turkey and dressing.



Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar

Date: 11/26/16 11:48
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: BN4364

My first year on the road (Novemeber, 1991), I was in Portland, OR after working a junk freight from Seattle. I was about to walk to to a nearby Dennys when I heard  a some loud arguing outside our hotel. I hesitated and soon heard gun shots. I decided my life wasn't worth a little turkey and gravy.

Date: 11/26/16 12:23
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: santafe199

My dubious away-from-home holiday dinner memory was actually Christmas, not Thanksgiving. But it was a self-caused tribulation I'd just as soon forget. On Christmas day 1979 I was called unexpectedly early off the Emporia extra board. I caught a 'noon-25' empty coal train from Emporia to Newton, KS missing our planned family dinner/supper at 3 PM. So I had to get my Christmas dinner (microwave pizza) from a conveniance store in Newton. Microwave technology was totally new to me at the time, and I mis-read the instructions. I took my pre-cooked meal back to my room with hopes of fine-dining as best I could. It wasn't the most attractive looking meal I ever consumed but I thought it was edible. Technically it was. Sorta... I opened the box and commenced to gnawing on a nasty-looking nuked pepperoni brick. I was HUNGRY! It was only later that I learned I had over-nuked my pizza. You can bet your reverser that I always paid close attention to microwave instructions after that... ;^)


Date: 11/27/16 01:59
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: wpamtk

Carl's Jr. in Bakersfield at nearly midnight, and grateful it was even open...

Date: 11/27/16 18:36
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: ExSPCondr

Since it has been 33 years, I will tell this one.

I was working the Sunset,  Amtk trains 1&2 between LA and El Paso as a Trainmaster-Amtrak, or in other words, a traveling electrician.  This turn left LA at 1055pm Wednesday night, and got off at Deming NM early Thursday afternoon.  About a 2 1/2 hour wait, and got on #1 for the trip back to LA, arriving about 7am Friday morning.

The regular train crew between El Paso and Tucson, the Amtrak on-board crew, and I all made arrangements for Thursday afternoon weeks ahead.
Personal food is prohibited on the train, and the Atk crew was subject to a bag search when they went on duty in New Orleans, so they couldn't bring anything on with them.

The dining car steward lived in Houston, so he had his wife meet the train at the Houston Depot with his portion of the meal.  The Train crew brought their portions when they came on duty in El Paso.  

My portion was the turkey, and nobody paid any attention to me getting on in LA with a duffle bag in addition to my usual suitcase and toolbox.  The bird was frozen, so I put it in a jacket in the duffle bag overnight to keep it from sweating and thawing too soon, then took it out of the jacket and partly opened the bag the next morning.

I should have taken it out a little sooner, as the inside was still frozen when we started to work on it in the kitchen of #1.
Fortunately there was a microwave available, so we nuked it and then stuffed it and put it in the convecion oven.  We only had about 20 passengers, which made it easier to pull off.  The other good thing was that we had a former Santa Fe lounge car, so we could set up the tables down stairs and eat out of sight of the passengers.  That way the crew didn't get turned in either.

It sure tasted good, I don't want to take anything away from the Chef, but pulling off something forbidden was good sauce!

Date: 11/28/16 11:29
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: spnudge

Well, I was called to work the peddler from SLO to Wat. Jct, about 9:00 AM on duty on Thanksgiving. I stopped at Safeway in SLO and got a frozen turkey as a gift for some folks in Wat. Jct,. I wrapped it newspapers and it sat on the cab floor on the fireman's side behind his seat.  I figured we would get into Wat Jct about 5 or 6 PM and they would have the turkey for the next day.

Well, going thru Chualar, it was dark and we go into emergency.  The conductor Jess Treanor was on the head end along with the head brakeman because of the pickups and set outs along the way. Well, as we came to a stop, he got on the radio and told Will Cambier, the rear man, to start up with an air hose and a wrench.  There was a long pause and Will came on the radio and said with a very shaky voice, , " I I I DDDDDDont THHHHink TTTHAT IS TTTHE PPPPROBLEM. TTTERE IS AAAA TTTTANK CCAR IN TTHE FFFREEWAY. "

Sure enough, I looked back and could see all the southbound brake lights coming on, on Highway 101.  It turned out to be a broken wheel right in front of a car that had a huge piece of equipment on it, very high dollar value. Well that load was toast along with a few tank cars that broke open in the mess that were loaded with liquid asphalt that was hot.  Poor old Will. He sat there watching all this happen ahead of him, as he got closer and closer  to the mess. The caboose finally stopped with one car ahead of it still on the rail. An "E" ticket ride for sure.

Well, that's where we died on the law.  We walked back to watch the CDF and the cops show up. The west switch and a lot of track was torn out leaving this big, dark smoking pool of liquid asphalt.  that surrounded a lot of the freight cars. Well here comes a CDF fireman dragging a hose with one of those fancy chrome nozzles on the end. He was headed for the "smoke", there was no fire, and we yelled a warning to him to stop.  He ignored us and after about 10 steps into it, he figured it was hot oil and dropped the hose and started running. They pulled the hose out and it was a big blob of oil & goo.

Well,  when we died, they took us to Salinas. Because of the derailment, they deadheaded us back to SLO on the dog. Here I was with a turkey so I gave it to the carryall driver and told him to give it to someone  before it thawed all the way.  It was an interesting thanksgiving.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/16 11:30 by spnudge.

Date: 11/28/16 14:47
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: NSDTK

Thanksgiving 2016. I stepped up to run a freight. Lay over and come back. Work Thanksgiving eve and thanksgiving make double pay for each day. Get to the AFHT and only thing open by the motel is Waffle House. WH for breakfast lunch and I had burgers from there for the train ride home. Train ended up over 7 hours late on arrival. Some times your the windshield other times your the bug

Posted from Android

Date: 11/28/16 15:50
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: Copy19

Going back more than a few years now Union Pacific had suffered some major derailments in the San Antonio, Tex. area repeatedly sending me south with the Go Team on the company jet to respond to the news media on site.  Thanksgiving rolled around and we were still smarting.   My supervisor let me have Thanksgiving dinner at home but ordered me south to San Antonio for the rest of the holiday weekend "in case we had more derailments."

As it turned out there were two mishaps that weekend but they were yard derailments that attracted no news media attention.  I was worried about one very smashed up but  photogenic auto rack that was left in front of the yard office at South Yard, but I lucked out with no calls.  I ended up spending a pleasant, warm and sunny holiday weekend exploring the River Walk and the Alamo before I was told to come home.

JB - Omaha

Date: 11/29/16 06:10
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: goneon66

nothing like being forced to yermo during thanksgiving........


Date: 12/01/16 16:31
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: rabidcats

Wherever I've been on T-day or Christmas -- Needles, Barstow, Kingman -- there was always a Chinese cafe open.

Date: 12/04/16 12:09
Re: Thanksgiving away from home
Author: LocoPilot750

The one I always think about might actually have been on a Christmas, I'd have to go back and find it in one of my old timebooks. So the story could be for either holiday. I got called late the night before for a 165 train. They always kicked it out of Kansas City about 9-11pm. I got out with EL Marsh, (Lance & Monadave will remember him). Everette was real "sleepy" on the trip to Ark City, like he always was, day or night. We got to Ark City about day break, and met a bunch of deadheads at the depot, going back home for the holiday one the 583. It was all the crews ahead of us, meaning we were 1st out. (1st out for nothing as it turned out). We got right on the phone and talked to the Cheif DS, and asked if we could just DH back with the rest of the guys to salvage some of the holiday. "Nope" he says, "You guys might be needed there, or over at Wellington on your rest, so I have to leave you there to cover anything that might come up". We argued that there was absolutely NOTHING on the eastbound line up for over 24 hours, and even that would fall down before it got there, but off to bed we went.  About 3pm I woke up hungry. I hopped in my old round house car, and ventured into town in search of food. There was absolutely nothing open in Ark City that sold food of any kind. I called Everett, and he was ready for some food too, so we got in the car and drove over to Winfield, where we found a grocery store open, but that was it. We loaded up on groceries, and went back to the hotel. There was still nothing on the line up, and looking at the boards indicated they had enough rested crews in Wellington that they didn't need us. So, I went back to my room, ate whatever I bought, watched a little TV, and went back to bed. Finally, the phone rang and we got called back to KC on a day light trip. My conductor was still real "sleepy". Turns out when we got back from Winfield, he decided to go look up an old drinking buddy that used to work out of Emporia too, and they stayed up most of the night reliving old times. He was totaled out the next morning for the trip home,  after our 24+ hour holiday layover. I still remember that one as one of the longest, most boring holiday layover's I ever had, I'm sure Everett would remember bits & pieces of it too, but he's in a better place right now. Regarding my last thanksgiving, the phone rang about 10am, and they were calling me for noon. I wasnt' supposed to have to work until later in the afternoon or early evening, which would have been perfect. But, with others laying off sick, or marking down, It jumped me up a few turns. We had about 40 people over for dinner, so when I looked at the caller ID, I simply refused to answer the phone. I would have gone to work later in the day, but I only had two trips to work before retirement, so I simply deliberately missed the call, for the first time ever in my career. Made one more trip, took a few vacation days, and retired Dec 2nd 2010.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/16 12:15 by LocoPilot750.

Date: 12/06/16 07:59
Thanksgiving off the home railroad
Author: Bob3985

It was November 3, 1992. We at the UP Steam progam had been requested to pull the CSX/Clinchfield Santa train from Shelby to Kingsport. We had Santa and Joe Garagiola on the rear end tossing off goodies to all the families along the way. Then we began our trek back home to the UP. We had a layover in Huntington WV at their shops and it was Thanksgiving Day. Well Steve, the boss, made sure we had a business car along on the trip for dignataries. But this day it would be our Thanksgiving dinner restaurant. A friend of ours who sells lapel pins from Portland Oregon was along and turns out that he was a mighty fine chef. Our friend who traveled with us from North Platte was the Steward. and while they prepared a great dinner Steve, Lynn and I switched out the train and got it all lined up for our departure. The shop crews were off that day and we were told we couldn't get on the property but with a reference to our road truck with the magic key (Cutting torch) we said we either got a pass key to the gate or there would be a gate laying on the ground when they returned.
Needless to say we got the pass key. So when we were done switching the train we took the company suburban to town and bought Christmas decorations and came back and turned the business car into a Christmas palace. It was a mighty fine Thanksgiving Day gathering of our crew.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY

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