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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The superintendent was not amused


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Date: 07/11/18 11:13
The superintendent was not amused
Author: cewherry

Over on the Western Railroad board 'ButteStBrakeman' posted news of the recent passing of retired Southern Pacific Los Angeles Div. superintendent Robert G. Thruston.
See: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4591875

Although I never knew Bob except through knowing he was my superintendent, a memory occurred to me regarding an incident that might be just another one of those 
urban legends. I don't know, but it makes for an interesting story.

One morning, just about daylight in Los Angeles one of SP's multitude of locals and haulers was making its way north along the former Pacific Electric's old 4 track main line leading 
toward what was then called the "J Yard", in the vicinity of 25th Street or Butte Street as in "ButteStBrakeman's" moniker. Suddenly the train, which was quite long, came to a stop and
remained stopped. Whatever caused the delay has been lost to memory; but the train didn't move. Unfortunately, there was one major street crossing blocked by the sitting train and
as time passed, there was no movement of the train and likewise no movement of the increasingly irritated motorists. The conductor, not being foolhardy enough to start walking up
to the crossing in the increasing daylight and knowing what peril he faced if he were to do so, remained firmly planted in the caboose where he at least had some protection as well as access to the radio.

Soon, a Los Angeles police department officer boarded the caboose and in a few words demanded to know just who was in charge of the railroad. Thinking quickly, the conductor
produced his employee timetable and showed the police the name of R.G. Thruston, Superintendent, on the cover. 'Just where is this R.G Thruston?' demanded the officer.
'You can find him at 610 S. Main St, in the Pacific Electric building', replied the conductor. Apparently satisfied with that answer, the officer departed the scene. Soon afterward the
caboose began to move and the conductor assumed his defensive position, well out of sight of both irate motorists or early morning rock throwers.

Shortly afterward, at the Pacific Electric building Bob Thruston had just settled into his office when representatives of the LAPD entered the outer office and demanded to speak 
to the superintendent. Apparently their shiny badges and holstered weapons were all that was needed by the individual guarding the fort that morning and the officers
were quickly ushered into Bob's office.

The superintendent was not amused.

Charlie
  




 



Date: 07/12/18 17:40
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: trainjunkie

Outstanding!



Date: 07/12/18 18:00
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: ButteStBrakeman

Not urban ledgend, Charlie. They had pulled up over Sant Fe Ave towards Redondo Tower, heading to LA Taylor, and he results were as you stated..



Date: 07/12/18 21:57
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

The conductor was Lorenzo LaPierre. He told the story many times.. It was always hilarious each and every time!

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/18 20:04 by SanJoaquinEngr.



Date: 07/13/18 08:24
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: Lark

Where was "Chic" Donaldson?



Date: 07/13/18 08:27
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: ButteStBrakeman

Lark Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Where was "Chic" Donaldson?


Who was he?



Date: 07/13/18 09:54
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: Lark

"J Yard" -- Yardmaster...  late 1970's



Date: 07/13/18 10:06
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: cewherry

ButteStBrakeman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lark Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Where was "Chic" Donaldson?
>
>
> Who was he?

Old head J-yard yardmaster who was probably not on duty when the train was stopped at his back door. 

Charlie



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/18 10:35 by cewherry.



Date: 07/13/18 21:01
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: spnudge

I had heard that one but there was supposed to be another one, just before we started running thru from Santa Barb.  This was a west train that had left Top End of "A" yard, headed towards Burbank Jct.  

Well they got a yellow and then a red at the Allen Ave. X-overs. Well, the conductor called Burbank and told them that they had 2 major xings blocked and he needed to clear them. The operator told him not to get in a hurry and just watch the signal.

It had been over 45" and here comes LAs finest up on the caboose. They tried the door but it was locked. They banged with their night sticks, still nothing and kept yelling that they had to give the Conductor a ticket.  About that time the head end got a green. The conductor opened his window and yelled to the cops and told them that the Conductor was on the head end up at Allen Ave.  He then closed the window & called the hoghead and told him the cops were on the way to him and he better get going. 

With a jerk, the cab started to move. Well, one cop had got off but the other still wanted in the cab.  Before long, the train was gaining speed, about 10 mph and they were lined for the Valley. The cop finally realized he better de-train before the speed got too fast. Well, the story had it that he went down the steps and he tried to get off "like a railroad man does it"  He wound up in a heap and tore his uniform to pieces.  A PO unit had just showed up and the Conductor got the rest of the story. He explained to the cops the laws they had broken, both Federal & State, etc.  The PO later told the conductor he never heard another word from the boys in blue.


There were a lot of stories about the cops in the basin. One was about Leroy Brown at the  "links" I think. I'm sure the LA guys know a lot more.


Nudge



Date: 07/14/18 09:38
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: Exespee

Wasn't Thruston the super that resigned and went to Matson?



Date: 07/14/18 11:03
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: WAF

Exespee Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wasn't Thruston the super that resigned and went
> to Matson?

Don't think so
 



Date: 07/14/18 12:05
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: ExSPCondr

No, Bob Thruston was NOT the Super you heard about.
And it wasn't Matson, it was APL.
Not just the super, at least two others.
G



Date: 07/14/18 12:11
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: tehachcond

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I had heard that one but there was supposed to be
> another one, just before we started running thru
> from Santa Barb.  This was a west train that had
> left Top End of "A" yard, headed towards Burbank
> Jct.  
>
> Well they got a yellow and then a red at the Allen
> Ave. X-overs. Well, the conductor called Burbank
> and told them that they had 2 major xings blocked
> and he needed to clear them. The operator told him
> not to get in a hurry and just watch the signal.
>
> It had been over 45" and here comes LAs finest up
> on the caboose. They tried the door but it was
> locked. They banged with their night sticks, still
> nothing and kept yelling that they had to give the
> Conductor a ticket.  About that time the head end
> got a green. The conductor opened his window and
> yelled to the cops and told them that the
> Conductor was on the head end up at Allen Ave. 
> He then closed the window & called the hoghead and
> told him the cops were on the way to him and he
> better get going. 
>
> With a jerk, the cab started to move. Well, one
> cop had got off but the other still wanted in the
> cab.  Before long, the train was gaining speed,
> about 10 mph and they were lined for the Valley.
> The cop finally realized he better de-train before
> the speed got too fast. Well, the story had it
> that he went down the steps and he tried to get
> off "like a railroad man does it"  He wound up in
> a heap and tore his uniform to pieces.  A PO unit
> had just showed up and the Conductor got the rest
> of the story. He explained to the cops the laws
> they had broken, both Federal & State, etc.  The
> PO later told the conductor he never heard another
> word from the boys in blue.
>
>
> There were a lot of stories about the cops in the
> basin. One was about Leroy Brown at the  "links"
> I think. I'm sure the LA guys know a lot more.
>
>
> Nudge   

   That wasn't Leroy Brown, it was Eli Brown.  He was a Los Angeles Division ATM, and one night, he was bird-dogging a crew down around Vernon.  He was hiding in his vehicle between two buildings, and set off a silent alarm.  When the Vernon PD rousted him, Eli tried to give them a big song and dance about how he was a big important Southern Pacific official, and as such, he didn't have to show any ID.
   About that time, someone called him on the radio, and he made a quick move towards his car to answer it.  Wrong thing to do!  The Vernon PD at that time had a well-deserved reputation for being a roughhouse lot.  Eli found this out when the cops worked him over with their batons!

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO



Date: 07/14/18 21:29
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: spnudge

Brian,

Boy, that was a real screw up, Leroy & Eli.  Thanks for the correction.


Nudge



Date: 07/15/18 20:20
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: ExSPCondr

And if we want to get REAL picky, it was spelled ELIE!
G



Date: 07/15/18 21:19
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: rob_l

How about someone tell the story of the Rathole Job trapping themselves in the alley behind the LA Times one very rainy night. Not sure if it was a trainmaster, asst. supt. or supt. who got a phone call in the wee hours asking for help.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 07/17/18 20:48
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: RollinB

ExSPCondr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No, Bob Thruston was NOT the Super you heard
> about.
> And it wasn't Matson, it was APL.
> Not just the super, at least two others.
> G

Mike Burke and Pete Baumhefner went to APL.   Later, Mike returned to railroading ultimately retiring from BNSF as its AVP of intermodal operations.  Mike started his career in 1961 as a Los Angeles switchman.   



Date: 07/22/18 19:56
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: spladiv

What happened to Mike Irvine?



Date: 07/22/18 21:02
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

I remember when the 4449 was somewhere in the L.A. area as part of the Freedom Train and had to make a reverse move as a light engine. There was Elie Brown, riding atop the tender, looking important and appearing in lots of photos taken by railfans!



Date: 07/23/18 16:19
Re: The superintendent was not amused
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

Mike.. Retired soon after the merger with the yellow peril. Knowing Mike bet he is doing consulting work.

Posted from Android



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