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Railroaders' Nostalgia > When the railfan gods are so nice...

Date: 05/01/19 03:40
When the railfan gods are so nice...
Author: santafe199

you sometimes have to remember to engage the shutter release

There were many times in my train service career when I literally had to pinch myself. Could this really be happening? Am I really getting PAID to experience this??? Yes indeed it could, and yes indeed you are! It was in June of 1980, 10 days past my 25th birthday. I was riding in the air conditioned cab of a fairly new Santa Fe GP39-2. My veteran engineer Jerry Summers, my braking partner (name unfortunately not recorded) & I were saddled up to a nifty 463 train that originated in Moore, OK. We boarded the train in Arkansas City, KS, going on duty @ 1240. We were on the way home, doubling right back out of Ark City…

In 1979 Santa Fe established new daily trains 364/463 which were dedicated to handling auto parts traffic from Argentine down to & finished products (new automobiles & such) up from the new General Motors plant in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. Although empty cars restricted us to 55 MPH, our light train pretty much got good DS handling. Almost as if it was a 70 MPH burner. The 22 loads & 41 empties we had were easily handled by the pair of 3600s we had for power. We ran up the 3rd District to Mulvane and did our station work. Then we rolled right on up the 4th District through the beautiful green Flint Hills. And at Ellinor we crossed over to the middle main for the final 15 mile sprint into Emporia. A call into the Emporia Yardmaster for instructions was answered with: “Santa Fe 463, bring ‘er right up the Eastbound Main. On ‘n off at the depot.”

So there I was in the front seat of the 3697. On the trip down to Arkansas City I had ridden the waycar behind loaded coal train 4354 M-1. With 5 big C-30s =8045, 8034, 8040, 8067 & 8038= we made decent time and tied up in Ark City @ 1240. We went right back on duty for this train 463 M-1. With station work en route, I opted to ride the head end and give my (forgotten) braking partner a hand with the work. For the entire trip home I was in the front seat and was ready for any possible photo-ops that would appear in front of our 463. But I wasn’t ready for this surprise double bonus here at Merrick, and dang near forgot to raise my camera and push the shutter button. We rolled on through Merrick, recording our official “arrival” time of 1825. I went off duty at the wire office in the Emporia depot. Since I was actually the ‘rear’ brakeman I used my conductor B. M. ‘Boyd’ Betty’s tie-up time of 1845. That’s 11’ 25” total on duty time! Down & back! For two days’ pay… Life was good for this 25 year old railfan!

1. On the right AT&SF 3635 is leading a 365(?) train out of Emporia yard and onto to the South Main, probably still at the 10 MPH yard track speed. On the left is the waycar of some California hotshot, maybe train 178, at a NO-BRAINER 70-per!. I’m riding train 463, which is strutting right up the middle @ 55 MPH. We’re about to buzz straight through the Merrick crossover plant on our way to a rip-snort, center stage landing at the Emporia (KS) depot. The Eastern Division brothers will handle the train on into Argentine…
Photo date: June 13, 1980.

A prayer of thanks for that smile!
Lance Garrels

PS: My ride down to Ark City on this round trip was also note-worthy. Check this out:
( https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,4390304,4390304#msg-4390304 ).
Life was indeed good

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/19 03:51 by santafe199.

Date: 05/01/19 20:35
Re: When the railfan gods are so nice...
Author: ATSFSuperChief

Cool, a three way meet with one true hotshot and two other money makers. Glad you remembered to raise, setup, focus and click.

Don Allender

Date: 05/03/19 05:36
Re: When the railfan gods are so nice...
Author: lne655

Great shot, thanks for snapping and sharing.

Date: 05/13/19 03:40
Re: When the railfan gods are so nice...
Author: Contax645

Super shot Lance!


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