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Railroaders' Nostalgia > First Class But No Passenger Train


Date: 08/06/18 20:51
First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: Cabhop

In the fall of 65’ I was working on the Brakeman’s Extra Board out of SP’s Taylor Yard when one evening the phone rang and it was Jim Brown a crew dispatcher.  Jim was a rare breed in that he was universally liked.  Normally crew dispatcher’s responsibilities makes them kin, make that close kin to Satan himself.  But Jim was well liked at least from the trainmen’s side of the equation.  He laid a lot of us off when the company was short of men and management had told crew dispatchers absolutely no layoffs.  Jim probably paid for his kindness to us in ass chewings from the Assistant Term Sups, but we thought him a great guy. 
 
Jim had kind of a gruff voice:  “Bray you’re called for the Star Pacer on duty at . . . with conductor Peterman”.  I had never heard of the Star Pacer.  Keep in mind, I was pretty new and Rails never called the passenger trains by their names.  Of course I knew we ran trains named The Daylight, Lark, Owl, Sunset Limited etc., but we just called them by their numbers: 98, 76, 58, 1-2, etc.  So when Jim said Star Pacer, I thought it was a passenger train.  I responded that I didn’t have a uniform [yet] and wasn’t passenger qualified.  Without a change in his voice, “don’t worry kid, you will be working the head Brakeman and don’t have to have a uniform, just wear some nice clothes”.  I ask where I should show up for the train thinking maybe LAUPT where the passenger crews went on duty.  Jim said, “oh right here at the yard office we’ll carryall you to the train”.  So I put on some nicer pants, a collared shirt and some polished shoes, vs my normal bibs, T-shirt and work boots.  My work jacket was pretty dirty so I grabbed a light weight “windbreaker” type coat. [I’d pay for that mistake on the trip home, but that’s another story].  Having never worked a passenger train before I was pretty excited. 
 
When I show up at the yard office, I don’t see anyone in uniform and assumed they went right to the Passenger Terminal, so talking though the hole in the glass window at the crew dispatchers’ desk, I tell Jim that I’m here and ready for a ride to the station.  He says my Conductor should be around here somewhere and I can probably find him in the OD office.  So I go to the Conductor’s register room and again see no one in uniform, so I ask the Train Order Operator if she has seen Peterman, the Conductor for the Star Pacer.  I get this funny look back and behind me a grizzled old head says “I’m Peterman”.  I’m confused as he is in bibs with old worn heavy coat, but I introduce himself.  He looks me over in my fancy togs and asks “how long have you been hear kid”  [On the railroad you are a “kid” well into your 30’s].  I replied, “oh maybe about 15 minutes.”  Now this really sets him off.  What he wanted was when did I hire out.  When I replied about 4 months he looked at the ground and shook his head.  He asks if I had a watch and a watch card, which I replied yes and showed him my still shiny new Waltham.  He said “make sure that it is correct, we run on timetable schedule and I want to make sure you and that Hoghead have your head’s out of your asses”.  [Peterman was old school Conductor for sure, but later when I had worked with him a few times I found him to be a nice guy].
 
When I said something about what do I do on a passenger train, he looks at me as says what passenger train?  I respond that I was told I was working The Star Pacer, he laughs and says we are on 375 and it is a freight train and is just called the Star Pacer. 
 
375, along with The Advance Star Pacer, train 365 were hot freights that ran from Los Angeles to Portland and carried mostly piggy-back and autos from the big GM assembly plants in Southern Calif.  We ran on timetable authority from Burbank Jct to Mojave and 365 and 375 were listed in the first class column in the timetable.  Conductor Peterman concern about my watch as we could and did frequently run right on the money and he didn’t want us leaving any stations ahead of schedule.
 
Well, I never again was confused about the Star Pacer being a passenger train, unless you figured in the rare bo’ who hitched a ride as a passenger.  I know we had names for some of the other hot shots we ran: the Zipper, Gold and Blue Streaks, etc. but I don’t think they were actually listed in the timetable as such. 
 
One P.S. to this for another time.  At this time we did protect a passenger train off the Freight Brakeman’s board.  Trains 39-40, at one time The Imperial, would use a freight brakeman on the head end and a two man passenger crew in the rider coach.  The head man would be exchanged out at Indio, while the rear end went on to Yuma the normal Passenger terminal.  I worked this a few times before it was pulled off in 68’[?]
 
Pat
 




Date: 08/06/18 22:31
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: px320

JP, I had never heard that one. Good story. Did Rags ever work that train?



Date: 08/07/18 08:44
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: Zephyr

Great story!  When the SDP-45s showed up near 1968, many of the passenger F's worked 365, 375 and in the eastbound direction, 340, so you could almost say First Class with Passenger Power, but No Passenger Train!  Working Dayton Ave. Tower in 1968 I loved watching 365 go by late second shift with 4-6 passenger Fs on the point!

Pete Baumhefner



Date: 08/07/18 10:24
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: TAW

Zephyr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great story!  When the SDP-45s showed up near
> 1968, many of the passenger F's worked 365, 375
> and in the eastbound direction, 340, so you could
> almost say First Class with Passenger Power, but
> No Passenger Train!  Working Dayton Ave. Tower in
> 1968 I loved watching 365 go by late second shift
> with 4-6 passenger Fs on the point!
>

In 1972, the requirement was the first 10 working units to arrive in LA after 375 left were assigned to that night's 365 and 375 no change (unless one went bad), no failure. Both trains went via West Valley (bypassing Roseville), so the house in LA had all day to make sure that they would still be runing when they got to Portland. One night 375 birdsnested a traction motor at Fleta and set it out, which involved sliding the locked wheelset, making a very big flat spot. That made the headlines in The City and I heard about it and heard about it and heard about it. Apparently, I was supposed to deny them the setout and tell them to isolate the traction motor and keep on going (I ain' that dumb even if the bosses were).

TAW



Date: 08/07/18 14:37
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: sphogger

Good story Pat.  Anyone remember the Column 1 speed order issued to certain high priority SP freight trains?  My memory is kind of vague but I do remember receiving that order on the LABRF.  Enabled us to make 79mph across the Butte Valley towards Klamath Falls.  However there was the issue of the maximum speed the locomotives were allowed to run at.   There were a few SP engines allowed the higher speeds because of the traction motor gear ratios usually associated with passenger service.  The 3200’s had been replaced on the commutes and were good for the higher speed at that time.

sphogger



Date: 08/07/18 15:06
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: OldPorter

A great story, Pat (and everyone else.) The "Star Pacer;" what a name; sounds like a space shuttle.

Referring to the SP "Imperial" passenger train- that was a very interesting operation. I think it originally
actually went down (off the  SP Main at Niland) into El Centro, picked up a through car from SAN and the SDAE, then dipped
into Mexico, before going on to Yuma and points East.  Would have certainly made an interesting ride today.

I also remember working with an SP Conductor named "Rags;" he held the Houston-New Orleans run on 1 and 2 for many years.
His last name was Guidry; he was a legend for many years, down there in the TX and Louisiana divisions.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/18 15:09 by OldPorter.



Date: 08/07/18 16:09
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: WAF

OldPorter Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A great story, Pat (and everyone else.) The "Star
> Pacer;" what a name; sounds like a space shuttle.
>
> Referring to the SP "Imperial" passenger train-
> that was a very interesting operation. I think it
> originally
> actually went down (off the  SP Main at Niland)
> into El Centro, picked up a through car from SAN
> and the SDAE, then dipped
> into Mexico, before going on to Yuma and points
> East.  Would have certainly made an interesting
> ride today.
>
> I also remember working with an SP Conductor named
> "Rags;" he held the Houston-New Orleans run on 1
> and 2 for many years.
> His last name was Guidry; he was a legend for many
> years, down there in the TX and Louisiana
> divisions.

His son was the famous pitcher Ron Guidry



Date: 08/08/18 11:23
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: tehachcond

Cabhop Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the fall of 65’ I was working on the
> Brakeman’s Extra Board out of SP’s Taylor Yard
> when one evening the phone rang and it was Jim
> Brown a crew dispatcher.  Jim was a rare breed in
> that he was universally liked.  Normally crew
> dispatcher’s responsibilities makes them kin,
> make that close kin to Satan himself.  But Jim
> was well liked at least from the trainmen’s side
> of the equation.  He laid a lot of us off when
> the company was short of men and management had
> told crew dispatchers absolutely no layoffs.  Jim
> probably paid for his kindness to us in ass
> chewings from the Assistant Term Sups, but we
> thought him a great guy. 
>  
> Jim had kind of a gruff voice:  “Bray you’re
> called for the Star Pacer on duty at . . . with
> conductor Peterman”.  I had never heard of the
> Star Pacer.  Keep in mind, I was pretty new and
> Rails never called the passenger trains by their
> names.  Of course I knew we ran trains named The
> Daylight, Lark, Owl, Sunset Limited etc., but we
> just called them by their numbers: 98, 76, 58,
> 1-2, etc.  So when Jim said Star Pacer, I thought
> it was a passenger train.  I responded that I
> didn’t have a uniform and wasn’t passenger
> qualified.  Without a change in his voice,
> “don’t worry kid, you will be working the head
> Brakeman and don’t have to have a uniform, just
> wear some nice clothes”.  I ask where I should
> show up for the train thinking maybe LAUPT where
> the passenger crews went on duty.  Jim said,
> “oh right here at the yard office we’ll
> carryall you to the train”.  So I put on some
> nicer pants, a collared shirt and some polished
> shoes, vs my normal bibs, T-shirt and work
> boots.  My work jacket was pretty dirty so I
> grabbed a light weight “windbreaker” type
> coat. .  Having never worked a passenger train
> before I was pretty excited. 
>  
> When I show up at the yard office, I don’t see
> anyone in uniform and assumed they went right to
> the Passenger Terminal, so talking though the hole
> in the glass window at the crew dispatchers’
> desk, I tell Jim that I’m here and ready for a
> ride to the station.  He says my Conductor should
> be around here somewhere and I can probably find
> him in the OD office.  So I go to the
> Conductor’s register room and again see no one
> in uniform, so I ask the Train Order Operator if
> she has seen Peterman, the Conductor for the Star
> Pacer.  I get this funny look back and behind me
> a grizzled old head says “I’m Peterman”. 
> I’m confused as he is in bibs with old worn
> heavy coat, but I introduce himself.  He looks me
> over in my fancy togs and asks “how long have
> you been hear kid”  .  I replied, “oh maybe
> about 15 minutes.”  Now this really sets him
> off.  What he wanted was when did I hire out. 
> When I replied about 4 months he looked at the
> ground and shook his head.  He asks if I had a
> watch and a watch card, which I replied yes and
> showed him my still shiny new Waltham.  He said
> “make sure that it is correct, we run on
> timetable schedule and I want to make sure you and
> that Hoghead have your head’s out of your
> asses”.  .
>  
> When I said something about what do I do on a
> passenger train, he looks at me as says what
> passenger train?  I respond that I was told I was
> working The Star Pacer, he laughs and says we are
> on 375 and it is a freight train and is just
> called the Star Pacer. 
>  
> 375, along with The Advance Star Pacer, train 365
> were hot freights that ran from Los Angeles to
> Portland and carried mostly piggy-back and autos
> from the big GM assembly plants in Southern
> Calif.  We ran on timetable authority from
> Burbank Jct to Mojave and 365 and 375 were listed
> in the first class column in the timetable. 
> Conductor Peterman concern about my watch as we
> could and did frequently run right on the money
> and he didn’t want us leaving any stations ahead
> of schedule.
>  
> Well, I never again was confused about the Star
> Pacer being a passenger train, unless you figured
> in the rare bo’ who hitched a ride as a
> passenger.  I know we had names for some of the
> other hot shots we ran: the Zipper, Gold and Blue
> Streaks, etc. but I don’t think they were
> actually listed in the timetable as such. 
>  
> One P.S. to this for another time.  At this time
> we did protect a passenger train off the Freight
> Brakeman’s board.  Trains 39-40, at one time
> The Imperial, would use a freight brakeman on the
> head end and a two man passenger crew in the rider
> coach.  The head man would be exchanged out at
> Indio, while the rear end went on to Yuma the
> normal Passenger terminal.  I worked this a few
> times before it was pulled off in 68’[?]
>  
> Pat

   Here's another Jim Brown story.  When he was working as a crew dispatcher in LA, he was a young brakeman's best friend if he liked you.  You had to be not so bright if you tried to screw or timeslip him.
   One time way back when, I had just returned from a seven day stand augmenting the brakeman's extra board in Indio.  The board in Indio also protected all the jobs in the Imperial Valley.  When the local boys saw augmenters coming, theyd lay off, so an augmenter could be assured he was going to the Valley for a week.  At the time, if you stood for a deadhead to an outside point and you layed off within four hours of the call time of the deadhead, you still had to protect the deadhead, but you didn't get paid for it.
   Anyway, I was getting my rest after deadheading from that Indio augment and the phone rang.  It was Jim B. "Brian," he said in that growly voice of his, "gonna call another augment to Indio in about six hours. Wanna lay off?"  After that, he could do no wrong in my book.
   I worked with John Peterman many times on the Los Angeles-Bakersfield territory.  As Pat said, he was definitely old school, but once you learned his ways and what he wanted...no problem.  I was working as a brakeman on an LA-Mojave local, and we caught John P. off the conductors extra board several times.  He was content to stay in the caboose and let Steve Allen and I take care of the work.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO


>  



Date: 08/08/18 11:45
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: WAF

TAW Wrote:

No, 376 went via the East Valley because it had a Roseville pickup
-------------------------------------------------------
> Zephyr Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Great story!  When the SDP-45s showed up near
> > 1968, many of the passenger F's worked 365, 375
> > and in the eastbound direction, 340, so you
> could
> > almost say First Class with Passenger Power,
> but
> > No Passenger Train!  Working Dayton Ave. Tower
> in
> > 1968 I loved watching 365 go by late second
> shift
> > with 4-6 passenger Fs on the point!
> >
>
> In 1972, the requirement was the first 10 working
> units to arrive in LA after 375 left were assigned
> to that night's 365 and 375 no change (unless one
> went bad), no failure. Both trains went via West
> Valley (bypassing Roseville), so the house in LA
> had all day to make sure that they would still be
> runing when they got to Portland. One night 375
> birdsnested a traction motor at Fleta and set it
> out, which involved sliding the locked wheelset,
> making a very big flat spot. That made the
> headlines in The City and I heard about it and
> heard about it and heard about it. Apparently, I
> was supposed to deny them the setout and tell them
> to isolate the traction motor and keep on going (I
> ain' that dumb even if the bosses were).
>
> TAW



Date: 08/08/18 12:45
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: TAW

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TAW Wrote:
>
> No, 376 went via the East Valley because it had a
> Roseville pickup


Interesting - When working the West Chief in Bakersfield, I regularly had discussions about 375's power with my colleague in Sacramento because of running via West Valley.

TAW



Date: 08/08/18 15:55
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: WAF

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > TAW Wrote:
> >
> > No, 376 went via the East Valley because it had
> a
> > Roseville pickup
>
>
> Interesting - When working the West Chief in
> Bakersfield, I regularly had discussions about
> 375's power with my colleague in Sacramento
> because of running via West Valley.
>
> TAW

Been doing that since 1972. When 365-66 don't run, both sections of 375-376 go via Roseville



Date: 08/08/18 16:58
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: TAW

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Been doing that since 1972. When 365-66 don't run,
> both sections of 375-376 go via Roseville

I left in 73.Maybe it was not an every day thing in 72-73. During that time both trains ran every night...at least on days I worked.

TAW



Date: 08/08/18 19:25
Re: First Class But No Passenger Train
Author: WAF

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > Been doing that since 1972. When 365-66 don't
> run,
> > both sections of 375-376 go via Roseville
>
> I left in 73.Maybe it was not an every day thing
> in 72-73. During that time both trains ran every
> night...at least on days I worked.
>
> TAW

Train was setup for the PNW freight forwarders so Sun-Tues were their hot nights to the PNW



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