Home Open Account Help 200 users online

Railroaders' Nostalgia > Disorderly passengers on trains


Date: 01/25/19 00:19
Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: aronco

A recent port on the passenger board reminded me of an incident almost 50 years ago ( wow!).  I was only 21 years old, recently promoted to conductor on the SP's Los Angeles Division.  Somehow I ended up as the conductor of the Sunset Limited Eastbound from LA.  The train left at 800pm.  In the 60's there was still a healthy passenger trade on the few remaining trains.  The Sunset that night was about 20 cars long:

5 or 6 f-7 units
3 cars storage mail,  (San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans
RPO car
working baggage mail car
Baggage dormitory
5 New Orleans Coaches
Auto mat car or Hamberger Grill car
5 or 6 El Paso coaches
Diner 
Lounge
3 Sleepers - 2 New Orleans, 1 El Paso

The first stop out of LA was Alhambra, 20 minutes out.  We usually made two stops there, the first to load the head coaches and baggage and mail, and the second to load the second block of coaches and sleepers passengers if any.   Two spots at Alhambra were tricky because the station is located on a left hand curve and a fairly steep grade.
I was in the middle of the train loading the El Paso coaches.  A man approached the vestibule steps and loudly told the car attendant he wanted 6 seats together for his family.  The attendant politely told the man we would do what we could but the train was well loaded out of LA.  After getting everyone aboard, we departed Alhambra headed East to the next stop about 25 miles out at Pomona.  I entered the first El Paso coach to begin taking tickets and encountered that same fellow loudly complaining the lack of six seats together.  There no reserved seats given out by the reservation bureau.  I asked for the tickets involved and he continued his tirade while handing over his tickets.  "Do you have a reservation slip sir" I asked. 
"You know I don't need a reservation!  I work for the railroad!" he bellowed.
"Yes, sir you do need a reservation, even if using a pass".
"Dammit!  I know the railroad!  I work for them.  I have my rights, and I want six seats together."
"Sir, We will be in Pomona about 20 minutes from now.  I want you to get off the train and go into the depot and get a reservation slip for your family."
By now, his wife is adding her opinion of me and the railroad loudly, while the 4 or 5 kids are starting to cry.  Great!
I told them to find a seat wherever they could in that car until Pomona, and excused my self, walking out to the vestibule with the car attendant.  I quickly wrote out a note requesting the police to meet us a Pomona as I knew this one would not work out well without help.  As we passed the station at City of Industry, the operator was dutifully on the platform watching us pass, and he saw the note I threw off.
A few minutes later, we pulled to a stop at Pomona, and there were two policemen close to where I might need them.  I told the man to follow me off the car and to go to the depot, but he seemed more interested in telling me what an incompetent conductor I was.  The police had the first police dog I had ever seen with them.  I was trying to tell the policemen how this matter could be settled.  I was standing perhaps five feet from the side of train by the vestibule, the police facing me, when I was hit from behind with a large weight that knocked my down.  The fellows wife had leaped from the top step of the vestibule onto me.  The police dog went wild, not having been trained for anything like this.  The cops pulled her off me, and arrested her for assault.  They strongly suggested that the man get his luggage and kids off the train since Pomona had just become their destination.  After a short while, I had dusted off my uniform ( darn, I was proud of it!) , the screaming kids were on the platform with a pile of luggage, the wife was in the back seat of the police car, the police dog was calm, and we hiballed from Pomona!  Just another night on the Sunset!

Norm





;:

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 01/25/19 04:21
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: Korigaoka1811

Good story and the mother did earn some time in the clink for that, I hope.  But I do feel sorry for the kids.  I wonder what they are like as "grown ups" these days . . .

And looking at tht consist, I wonder if that was a combined Sunset/Golden State with the GS cars off at El Paso for Chicago?  Or was the GS off by then?

John



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/19 05:19 by Korigaoka1811.



Date: 01/25/19 13:12
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: spnudge

Norm,

I am sure you have run across Conductor Broadway Brown around LA. If you asked he was fine. If you told him, he never forgot. He was hell on wheels.


Nudge



Date: 01/25/19 13:14
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: santafe199

Wow, what a tough spot to be in! I'm afraid I would lost my temper and gotten into some hot water...

Lance/199



Date: 01/25/19 16:15
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: agentatascadero

Quick thinking for a 21 year old rookie Skipper.

AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 01/25/19 16:40
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: wa4umr

Some people just think the rules are for everyone else, not them.  That was 50 years ago.  I'm afraid it's probably worse today.

Great story.

John



Date: 01/25/19 20:37
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

wa4umr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm afraid it's probably worse today.


It is.  Ask any seasoned Amtrak conductor or assistant conductor on the Western trains about "The Russian."  Vesselin Panajotov.

This is a guy who (1.) basically lives on Amtrak trains, especially the western long-hauls; (2.) never has a ticket; (3.) engages in petty thefts on the trains but always steals stuff with a low dollar amount value that makes it a misdemeanor instead of a felony; (4.) has been handed off to the cops numerous times but then, generally, re-boards the same train twenty-four hours later (or the opposing train) or, in the case of tri-weekly trains, whichever one comes into the staiton next  ---  he knows how to read a timetable. (5.) on those rare occasions when he's given a "Notice to Appear" -- he never does. 

This information may be a little bit "stale."  Anyone have any recent reports about this guy?

 



Date: 01/26/19 16:21
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: mwarfel

Wow, if the "lady" was able to deck a stout fellow like you, Norm, she must have had some significant mass herself!



Date: 01/26/19 20:04
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: cabsignaldrop

Sometimes the worst passengers are pass riders.  Not sure why, but many think they are above the rules.  And woe to you if you ask them to give up their seats for revenue, fare paying passengers.    The stories I've had in my short 10 years range from hilarious to scary, maddening and everything in between.



Date: 01/27/19 00:59
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: aronco

The Golden State ( SP-RI trains 3 & 4) ran separately until April 20, 1964, when the two trains were consolidated into one one the old Sunset schedule.  I believe this incident was summer of 1963.  At that time, the Sunset still had a respectable passenger load in the summer.  The bock of coaches for El Paso were removed from the Sunset and forwarded back to LA on the Westbound Sunset the next day/  It was not uncommon to have over 500 passengers on the Sunset on a summer night.  I was in my highest time working the Sunset on the mid 60's!  Great fun but hard work - seldom sat down all the way to Yuma.
And yes, SP Nudge, I worked with Broadway Brown...Remind me to describe the day he evened things out for me with George Townsend.

Norm 

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 01/27/19 07:18
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: Southern-Pacific-fan

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> wa4umr Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I'm afraid it's probably worse today.
>
> It is.  Ask any seasoned Amtrak conductor or
> assistant conductor on the Western trains about
> "The Russian."  Vesselin Panajotov.
>
> This is a guy who (1.) basically lives on Amtrak
> trains, especially the western long-hauls; (2.)
> never has a ticket; (3.) engages in petty thefts
> on the trains but always steals stuff with a low
> dollar amount value that makes it a misdemeanor
> instead of a felony; (4.) has been handed off to
> the cops numerous times but then, generally,
> re-boards the same train twenty-four hours later
> (or the opposing train) or, in the case of
> tri-weekly trains, whichever one comes into the
> staiton next  ---  he knows how to read a
> timetable. (5.) on those rare occasions when he's
> given a "Notice to Appear" -- he never does. 
>
> This information may be a little bit "stale." 
> Anyone have any recent reports about this guy?
>
>  Googled the name, there is a Vesselin Angelov Panajotov.with extensive records. looks like all over
this has his picture  VESSELIN ANGELOV PANAJOTOV
is this him?



Date: 01/27/19 10:12
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: tehachcond

   In my career as a SP/UP trainman, I worked just enough passenger for both the SP and Amtrak to realize I didn't want a steady diet of it.  When Amtrak took over the staffing of the operating positions, I was offered a job as an assistant conductor on the San Diegans with home terminal out of San Diego,  Thanks, but no thanks!

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO



Date: 01/27/19 15:11
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Southern-Pacific-fan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>  Googled the name, there is a Vesselin Angelov Panajotov.with extensive records. looks like all over this has his picture  VESSELIN ANGELOV PANAJOTOV  is this him?


Could be.  It looks like he's lost some weight.  If there's one feature of American society that he has familiarized himself with as part of "assimilation," it is "revolving door justice."  He understands how that works.  
  



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/19 15:13 by CA_Sou_MA_Agent.




Date: 01/27/19 18:05
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: DRGW5502

Feels like they stayed in Pomona forever after that.



Date: 03/08/19 19:17
Re: Disorderly passengers on trains
Author: ProAmtrak

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> wa4umr Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I'm afraid it's probably worse today.
>
> It is.  Ask any seasoned Amtrak conductor or
> assistant conductor on the Western trains about
> "The Russian."  Vesselin Panajotov.
>
> This is a guy who (1.) basically lives on Amtrak
> trains, especially the western long-hauls; (2.)
> never has a ticket; (3.) engages in petty thefts
> on the trains but always steals stuff with a low
> dollar amount value that makes it a misdemeanor
> instead of a felony; (4.) has been handed off to
> the cops numerous times but then, generally,
> re-boards the same train twenty-four hours later
> (or the opposing train) or, in the case of
> tri-weekly trains, whichever one comes into the
> staiton next  ---  he knows how to read a
> timetable. (5.) on those rare occasions when he's
> given a "Notice to Appear" -- he never does. 
>
> This information may be a little bit "stale." 
> Anyone have any recent reports about this guy?
>
>  

I heard about him and the ABQ crew base that runs from Kingman-ABQ don't mess around with him, he tried getting on no. 4 a few years ago when I met my aunt and cousin and sure enough I didn't see the head conductor because that same jerk tried tog et on and they made sure he was stayed put, bad part is the authorities can't help so Amtrak decided to do things on their own and being a few years ago, haven't heard about him since!



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0813 seconds