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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Welker loses the BLE pins


Date: 03/18/17 08:54
Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: hogheaded

The calendar below is primarily a stroll down memory lane for the several of you ex Caltrain and/or ex SP engineers that know retired engineer Greg Welker, my personal hero for enduring more than two decades in the thankless job of secretary/treasurer of Divisions 161 & 65.

Those of you that know Greg undoubtedly must recall the episode when he lost the BLE years-of-membership pins that he was supposed to hand out to us, which was doubly hilarious because he was/is so meticulous and intense about everything. (He's alive and well, BTW - I had lunch with him and assorted pensioners last December.) Some wag ( I'm thinking it was Pat West) hung this calendar on the San Francisco engineers lounge bulletin board soon after the Scandal was uncovered, and I apparently pinched it sometime subsequent thinking that it deserved preservation for posterity. I've just now discovered it in my "deep" files.

To me, it was things like this that made the particular Caltrain job so great. We were a tight-knit bunch on Caltrain in those years, no longer SP, but not quite Amtrak.

EO
I'm pretty sure that it also was Pat West who super-glued a penny to the floor in front of Greg's locker (Greg enjoyed the reputation of being a skinflint) one day, while we all waited for him in the adjoining lounge. Greg soon walked in and headed to his locker, followed by silence, and "F***!"





Date: 03/18/17 10:38
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: spnudge

Great stuff. I have a few from SLO that I copied over the years. I will go digging.


Nudge



Date: 03/18/17 11:04
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: hogheaded

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great stuff. I have a few from SLO that I copied
> over the years. I will go digging.
>
>
> Nudge

Please do, Seller! One does not necessarily have to know the guy to enjoy the merciless nature of "family" humor.

EO
When the local counties assumed ownership of Caltrain in 1992, a trucking company (Interstate, I think) won the operating contract. Welker, possibly the most astute about worldly things among us, predicted that the truckers would not be able to pull it off, and that Amtrak would wind up with the contract, which indeed happened. Somebody, I forget who, had buttons made up that proclaimed "Welker was Right!", which at least softened the blow of the later Pin Scandal on Greg's ego. The phrase eventually metamorphosed into another meaning. His nickname was Dr. Doom (& permutations thereof: Doomie, Doomster, Doomus Erectus & etc.), because of his sometimes less-than-rosy outlook on things, his observations being liberally interspersed with the F-word. His signature observation was, "We're all f***ed now!", and "Welker was right!' came to adopt this latter meaning. He's still right.



Date: 03/18/17 16:52
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: johnw

Now that the statue of limitations has expired and Greg can't send the old union goon squad (Bill Farmer and Adam Hwa) up to see me I can now confess that those are my words of wit (?) for calendar dates October 21-22-23 and 29-30. Thanks for posting Ed, that brings back some fond memories!

Photo is of the legendary Doomster also known as Greg Welker in the San Francisco Engineers change room in early 2002. You da' man Greg!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/17 16:58 by johnw.




Date: 03/19/17 07:38
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: hogheaded

In retrospect, I should have considered you when rounding up the usual suspects, John, er, "W". I should note that I forwarded a copy of your fine work to Welker, who commented that "The boys really got carried away with that one." I assess that he's still seething over the rough treatment that came at your hands (as it turns out), and I think that you may be a little overly complacent about immunity from retaliation. Yes, Farmer is no longer with us (I'm still convinced that his actual cause of death was a slip-up while reloading one of his 155 mm howitzer shells), but I should warn you that since you retired, Adam Hwa's ballroom dancing skills have improved to the point that he has developed one nasty high kick turn, something that you should consider, given that his "high" equates to your "low", if you get my gist.

EO
Post no Lennies



Date: 03/19/17 11:51
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: sphogger

N L Davies, Norman on the 20th?   I believe Albert "Kangaroo" Davies would be his dad.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,950743,950744#msg-950744

All in the SP Coast family!  Didn't know Albert, some say was also known as "Hi Divies", but always enjoyed working with Norm.

Sphogger



Date: 03/19/17 12:39
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: johnw

sphogger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> N L Davies, Norman on the 20th?   I believe
> Albert "Kangaroo" Davies would be his dad.
>
> http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,
> 950743,950744#msg-950744
>
> All in the SP Coast family!  Didn't know Albert,
> some say was also known as "Hi Divies", but always
> enjoyed working with Norm.
>
> Sphogger

Yup Sphogger that indeed is Norman L. Davies, son of Albert! I never met the old man but I heard he was a great guy as was (and as far as I know still is) Norman. He was a furgloughed fireman from the old days who got called back to SP in 1973, just behind me with his new seniority number. We called him Norman "I Work Anything" Davies because he was one of the rare "iron men" of the modern diesel age, always available for extra work 24/7, 7 days a week. Like the older era "iron men" he didn't spend much of that $$$ he made either! Norm had a great dry sense of humor and I was disappointed when he didn't come over to Caltrain/Amtrak in 1992. He stayed with SP, working mostly switch engines in San Jose until he retired in the mid 2000's. 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/17 17:14 by johnw.



Date: 03/19/17 16:21
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: spnudge

I heard it as "Ite Davies"  They called him the "Kangaroo" and he worked the Santa Cruz out of Wat. Jct. Maybe its not the same guy. I know he would come by the Resitar,  have coffee and BS before he went to work. He used to buy bums  meals once and awhile like Frank Viscount at the Harvest Room or the Miramar. 

"Dinty" Moore worked 126 & 141 until he took his pension.  I was hostling with Fred Edis at 7th St. when he came in on his last run. First and only time I saw a big banner on his engine AND big SP brass at the depot to welcome him.  It was a Sunday afternoon. 

Nudge



Date: 03/19/17 17:08
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: johnw

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I heard it as "Ite Davies"  They called him the
> "Kangaroo" and he worked the Santa Cruz out of
> Wat. Jct. Maybe its not the same guy.
> Nudge

Definitely the same guy Nudge! I used to hear the older Coast engineers referring to him as what sounded to me like "Eye" or "High" Davies and then one old head (I think it was Junior Nordgren) explained to me that because of Albert's Austrailian accent when he pronounced his own name "A (his first initial) Davies" it came out sounding like he was saying "Eye Die-vees"...and that nickname stuck. This same old head also told me that Albert was one of the truly good guys to work with for fireman back in the steam days when there were more than a few grumpy old hogheads with mucho disdain for young firemen out there. Come to think of it there were still a few (admittedly not many) of those guys around when I went firing in 1973. In any event Albert seems to have been regarded as a class act...and the same can be said for his son Norman! 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/17 21:30 by johnw.



Date: 03/19/17 17:58
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: spnudge

I remember H K Johnson out of the City working the SF-Wat.Jct pool. Was on the red tag veto and was called for 373 back to SF. He was pissed because he , "came down without a Fireman and should not have to go back with one.  Was it $4.00 a hundred back then?  Tight as a tick. Worked another trip with him and we died on the law pulling into Bayshore. (16 hours) He kept going and took the power to the house. Worked 40" over. He showed 15' 59" so he could double right back out on his rest.

Nudge



Date: 03/20/17 09:09
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: TAW

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He kept going and took the
> power to the house. Worked 40" over. He showed 15'
> 59" so he could double right back out on his
> rest.

Around Chicago, guys like that (there were a lot of them) were known as richest man in the graveyard.

TAW



Date: 03/20/17 17:10
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: CPCoyote

johnw Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> spnudge Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I heard it as "Ite Davies"  They called him
> the
> > "Kangaroo" and he worked the Santa Cruz out of
> > Wat. Jct. Maybe its not the same guy.
> > Nudge
>
> Definitely the same guy Nudge! I used to hear the
> older Coast engineers referring to him as what
> sounded to me like "Eye" or "High" Davies and then
> one old head (I think it was Junior Nordgren)
> explained to me that because of Albert's
> Austrailian accent when he pronounced his own name
> "A (his first initial) Davies" it came out
> sounding like he was saying "Eye Die-vees"...and
> that nickname stuck. This same old head also told
> me that Albert was one of the truly good guys to
> work with for fireman back in the steam days when
> there were more than a few grumpy old hogheads
> with mucho disdain for young firemen out there.
> Come to think of it there were still a few
> (admittedly not many) of those guys around when I
> went firing in 1973. In any event Albert seems to
> have been regarded as a class act...and the same
> can be said for his son Norman! 

Thanks for that information John.  I never knew that.  Didn't know Albert, but Norm and I were good friends.  This was always our time of year when March Madness got going.  Always enjoyed hashing out the brackets with him.  A class act for sure, but he kept track of every penny he ever made.



Date: 03/21/17 17:32
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: spnudge

Just came across a 1960 list.

A. Davies:   Firemans Date: 6-6-25      Engineers Date: 7-31-41

L E Proudfit:    Firemans Date: 11-8-23  Engineers Date: 7-10-41  He was the RFE in SLO in 69.  Best company man I ever worked for. 

Boy, looking over that list brings back a lot of memories.  It shows P T Parker (Perfect Paul) with a 8-8-28 F,  9-29-43 E. He finished up on 98-99, SF-SLO.  It seemed like every trip he would hit something at a grade crossing.

And old  H E Bullard 10-7-42 F  9-29-51 E. He was  the first engineer I worked with and made my date.  Daylight switch engine at the passenger depot and went to work across from 7th St.  He lived in an old hotel uptown around Market St. and walked to work everyday with just a lunch box for a grip.

Those were the days.

Nudge



Date: 03/23/17 12:03
Re: Welker loses the BLE pins
Author: WP-M2051

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> spnudge Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > He kept going and took the
> > power to the house. Worked 40" over. He showed
> 15'
> > 59" so he could double right back out on his
> > rest.
>
> Around Chicago, guys like that (there were a lot
> of them) were known as richest man in the
> graveyard.
>
> TAW

Santa Fe old heads too, Pittsburg roadswitchers did the 15'59" for years and squawked like crazy when it got cut back to 14 and then 12.  Twelve hours at Pittsburg, CA was more fun than a barrel of  monkeys with all of the chemicals from Dow, Dupont and Johns Manville and I don't miss any of it.



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