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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.


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Date: 04/03/17 07:48
The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: KeyRouteKen

Well folks, that Cattle Train story was priceless.  Thank you, Carol..   Here's another, that needs to be repeated.
Hi Everybody-- How many of you remember this famous LA-based rail story ?
---------------------------------

The following story comes from an old SP Switchman working in the Los Angeles area on or near Alameda Street. This story is true-- it REALLY took place !! Hope you enjoy it!
I call it: "The Cadillac vs. The Fusee' " ......

Author: Starship_Conductor

I was working the afternoon "J" yard job that switched the 50th street team, the 55th street mill and a few other industry's around Firestone park on the San Pedro Branch in 1990. One day, while preparing to switch the 55th street mill, I noticed that the auto traffic was a little heavier than normal. Our first switch that afternoon was the 55th street mill with about 8 spot cars.

The switch for the Mill Lead was just south of 55th street by about 100 feet or so and the lead cut across at an angle through the intersection of Alameda and 55th street. The Mill was on the west side of Alameda and just north of 55th street. So to get from the San Pedro Branch outbound main to the Mill the engine had to shove the cars across Alameda street, first cutting across at a Northwest angle through the Northbound lanes of Alameda Street, then through the Intersection of 55th street, then cutting across the Southbound Lanes of Alameda Street and finally arriving at the mill spotting track which ran North/South along the west sidewalk of Alameda Street. Whew!

After I made the cut on our train just north of 55th street, we pulled down with our 8 spot cars over the Mill Lead Switch. I then lined the switch for movement across Alameda and into the Mill. Since auto traffic was heavy and the only protection for this industry lead was a cross-buck, I knew a whole box of Fusee's was in order. So one at a time I lit the fusee's throwing them out into the Street with the expertise of a pitcher on the mound. One by one those fusee's were lighting up the crossing and giving the protection needed to shove across the street.
When I got to the last fusee I was going to light, I was having a problem with the striker. I was looking down striking the heck out of this fusee right next to the Northbound Lane on the curb. When I finally got that sucker lit, I let it go with a twist and a whirl, RIGHT INTO THE BACK SEAT OF A SPEEDING CADILLAC!!!! Holy Moley, I couldn't believe it. The Cadillac kept going North on Alameda Street with a massive amount of white fusee smoke trailing out the back windows.
At that point I new we were in a little trouble. The Cadillac went about 2 blocks before stopping. I figured then the driver was getting ready to make the U-Turn back to us. We could see the fusee thrown from the car, but to our amazement, the Cadillac continued North and was never seen again.

My Engineer, Mike Jarel, and I laughed for hours. With no less than 25 fusee's burning up the street, you'd think that Cadillac would have stopped before proceeding. To see that cloud of smoke pouring out the back window of that Cadillac rolling North on Alameda Street was priceless!!! Oh the memories of working on Alameda Street!
(finis)
---------------------------------
Cheers.
KRK



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/17 07:49 by KeyRouteKen.




Date: 04/03/17 09:55
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: JimBaker

We are at Alameda and Ord Streets right at Phillipe"s - Original French Dip Sandwich- restaurant/deli.
A great place for chowing down when in downtown Los Angeles.

James R.(Jim) Baker
Whittier, CA



Date: 04/03/17 10:54
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: TAW

One night I called a signal maintainer for a broken gate at Lincoln Ave.in Dolton IL. In those days, gates were made of lumber. Replacing a two lane gate arm was a big deal. The maintainer showed up and couldn't get traffic stopped. They ignored his flagging. They ignored his fusee. The cops (cop shop right by the crossing) wouldn't help. They spent their time complaining about trains (IHB, B&OCT, C&EI, PRR). There were a lot of them (way more than today, for you folks who hang out at Dolton), mostly slow. and the cops were not interested in the railroad's need to stop cars. Motorists were even making Kamakazi passes at him as he tried to get them to stop. He had a plan. He went back to the shanty and brought back a case of fusees. He set the case of fusees in the road on the line between the two lanes he was trying to work in. He used another fusee to light the case of fusees. There were three effects of that action:
  • Traffic stopped,
  • He didn't need a lantern to see what he was doing,
  • There was a big crater melted into the road surface.
TAW



Date: 04/03/17 10:57
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: KeyRouteKen

JimBaker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We are at Alameda and Ord Streets right at
> Phillipe"s - Original French Dip Sandwich-
> restaurant/deli.
> A great place for chowing down when in downtown
> Los Angeles.

OK Mr. Baker--
Let's try this next photo.

KRK




Date: 04/03/17 11:44
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: Railrev

That picture comes pretty close to trumping the  Cadillac story. 
 



Date: 04/03/17 11:58
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: Narniaman

That's why you should never, ever tailgate a train. . . .



Date: 04/03/17 13:55
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: roustabout

Narniaman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That's why you should never, ever tailgate a
> train. . . .

The driver obviously was not operating at restricted speed!



Date: 04/03/17 15:07
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: wa4umr

Where's the "Like button" when you need one.  A bunch of great stories.

BTW, thanks to all you guys and gals that post these stories, some humorous and others a bit more serious.  I was looking at the hits on most of the entries on on "Railroader's Nostalgia" and they are consistently among the highest hits on Trainorders.  Apparently I'm not the only one on here that enjoys what you have to share.

John



Date: 04/03/17 15:23
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: whistlepig

Looks like he didn't see those lanterns.  Did they come on bright with a minimum set?



Date: 04/03/17 16:44
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: TAW

KeyRouteKen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------


> Let's try this next photo.
>

Really, officer. I was just driving along carefully when this train darted in front of me, cut me off. then brake checked me..

TAW



Date: 04/03/17 21:16
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: dbinterlock

Cadillacs, Fusees and a Crater! These are the best bedtime stories!
    Year 1991 and I am a fresh UP Railroad employee Switchman. Called off the extra board at midnight to work the infamous "Stock Job," the very yard job taking carloads of live pigs off the inbound North Platte "Z" Trains and delivering them direct to Farmer John's slaughterhouse unloading track next to the Los Angeles River. My foreman, Antoine H. Well we get the cars out of the yard, pass Hobart Tower down San Pedro Branch about half a mile. Then we have to shove across a very busy Downey Road and up "The Flood," the long lead track alongside the LA River up to the slaughterhouse. By now, it is 7 AM and the rush hour is rolling full blast. Antoine and I stop at the switch and he says, "These drivers here in Vernon are crazy, we ain't gonna get hit shoving across Downey Road." Then he proceeds to empty his bibs of every fusee he had and festoon the end car with a porcupine array of fusees all stripped and ready to light. He had probably 20 of them on the coupler, the end platform, wedged in the cut lever, he even had a few jammed in the trucks' coil springs! Then he walks toward the street along the track we were going to shove and lays about 5 torpedoes on the rail. "Okay, light 'em up and start shoving." This I gotta see so I speedily ignite them and between coughing and avoiding molten meteor slag, it is clear the pigs are getting animated. I give the hoghead a shove ahead and this Fourth of July pincushion wreathed in curling smoke advances on the crossing. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, every brake light in the dawn morning within a clear city block  - both sides of the crossing - lights right up! We made it across. No problems. Every time.  



Date: 04/03/17 22:06
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

I heard a story of a Santa Fe conductor / switchman doing the same thing to a motorist, but on purpose!  



Date: 04/04/17 12:56
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: Chico43

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I heard a story of a Santa Fe conductor /
> switchman doing the same thing to a motorist, but
> on purpose!  

Yes, that was on the Harbor District on the Slauson Ave. xing of the Goodyear Lead at Wingfoot. He threw one into the back seat of a convertible that almost ran over him.



Date: 04/04/17 13:44
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Chico43 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, that was on the Harbor District on the Slauson Ave. xing of the Goodyear Lead at Wingfoot. He threw one into the back seat of a convertible that almost ran over him.


JG? 



Date: 04/04/17 17:44
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: 1019X

When I was in New Orleans we had a switchman approached in the middle of the night by a local thug with a knife. He had a fusee ready to go so he lit it off and and stuck it in the guy's ear. The police later picked the thug up at a hospital emergency room, he had told the Docs that he had accidently burnt himself with a cigarette lighter.



Date: 04/06/17 06:41
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: SD45X

When I worked Richmond CA we were going to Oakland intermodal and the connection track to the SP main was a rickety piece with crossbucks only. We left late at night..... and had every knot head around running the only crossing as we approached. Throwing fusees on the ground didn't help. Getting a couple stuck under passing wiper blades got the rest to stop:)



Date: 04/06/17 12:08
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: mcfflyer

This almost sounds like the same story.
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?18,2733750



Date: 04/07/17 18:51
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: 567Chant

Mebbe the Caddy was stolen.
...Lorenzo



Date: 04/11/17 16:39
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: edsaalig

The photo was taken on November 7, 1951, at 14th street and Alamenda.



Date: 04/12/17 11:29
Re: The Cadillac and the Fusee'-- A Famous Story from Alameda St.
Author: ShastaDaylight

Great story Ken, and thanks for sharing it! As for the auto into the rail car, perhaps SP was short of power and the train needed a pusher???

Seriously, these post are wonderful and thanks again for sharing them with us!

ShastaDaylight



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