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Railroaders' Nostalgia > A Bill White conversation...


Date: 09/25/19 17:54
A Bill White conversation...
Author: santafe199

was unforgettable

Bill White was a character. He could dominate a conversation, but leave you wanting to hear more. He was one of the most incredible & entertaining RR storytellers I ever knew. You could walk into Paul & Jack’s Tavern in North Kansas City, and before you walked into the back room where we held our Roundtable Dinners you could hear his energetic voice holding court in some conversation. I remember one such night. I entered the room, and walked right up to his table. He was full track speed into some story, but I bent over and purposely interrupted him. I said to the side of his face: “I suppose I’m way too young to be in this room, eh?” He turned to me in the powerful voice and said: “You go to hell”, and picked right back up with his story. Truth be known, he never missed a beat…

Bill White was special. His wealthy store of RR knowledge & lore ran deep. He never told the same story twice, at least that I ever knew. And he could put you right into the situation he was describing. Like all railfans his age Bill loved steam. He mostly despised diesel locomotion. At best, he could tolerate diesels. Probably because he had to. Bill was a railroader’s grandson. And he was a railroader’s son. So he couldn’t miss becoming a railroader himself. First with the Frisco, later with the Chicago & Northwestern merging into the UP. Through his father’s employment with the Rock Island in Armourdale he had a special love for the Mighty Fine Line. It was because of that love of the Rock he paid me a surprise compliment one night. At one of our Roundtable Dinners a while back I gave a Rock Island presentation. Even though I had a short and very precious 3½ years before the Rock folded, I did manage to shoot some decent ‘stuff’. I gathered all the best CRIP photography I could find. Afterward diesel despiser Bill came up and shook my hand saying “I didn’t realize how much I missed Rock diesels, even those Blue & White ones you just showed… “

1. Bill White on the left is taking to Jim Asplund at one of our dinners. That would be Art Gibson seated facing, talking to the late Tony Fey.
(Photo date: September 7, 2017)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/19 18:25 by santafe199.




Date: 09/25/19 17:55
Re: A Bill White conversation...
Author: santafe199

Two of Bill White’s friends, Jim Hollis & Dave Lindquist decided they would honor him by riding a coach in the Midland Ry’s 1:30 PM dinner train down at Baldwin City, KS. I decided I would sorta tag along. But I wanted to shoot some pictures so I might be able to use one in this tribute. Here it is:

2. Midland 4079 is returning “home” with its dinner train. Nothing in this picture has anything to do with any of Bill’s prior RR employers. But to quote a friend of his: “It didn’t matter to Bill, as long as it had flanged wheels and steel rails.” He was all aboard, enjoying this great hobby of ours…
(Photo date: September 22, 2019)




Date: 09/25/19 17:56
Re: A Bill White conversation...
Author: santafe199

My friend Bill has departed one final time for home. He will have high green signals all the way. (If he doesn’t, he will surely have one more story to tell… :^)
Bill White was a character.

3. Highball, my friend! No more slow orders…

Lance Garrels
santafe199




Date: 09/25/19 20:08
Re: A Bill White conversation...
Author: displacedneb

While there are all sorts of Bill White stories I could tell this one is a printable one.

One night Bill and the late Fred Jesberg were out at Lenexa, KS watching for Frisco and Katy trains. Back the Frisco signals were constantly lit. There were intermediate signals not far north of the Lenexa depot that we used to see if a train might be coming. On the night in question Fred related that both northbound intermediate signals were yellow which indicated nothing coming. After a bit the guys noticed the signal on the north track had turned red and they thought here comes a train. Eventually the headlights showed up with the top light a gyrating Mars light. Pretty quick the train was upon and then passed them. Both told me they had just seen MKT's Texas Special pass them. They jumped in the car and headed south for a few miles and then gave up. This incident happened in 1972 and Katy passenger trains had been gone since 1965 (?).

Now while Bill and Fred were both drinkers and sometimes to excess. But they told the same story independently to me. Even after quizzing them for a bit, the story never changed. I concluded they saw something that night that no one could explain.



Date: 09/26/19 07:45
Re: A Bill White conversation...
Author: tomstp

Sounds like it could have been a great "pull your leg" story  and  vow to never admit it. 



Date: 10/05/19 13:12
Re: A Bill White conversation...
Author: wpjones

Bill was a great guy and never needed a microphone. If he was in the same room as me(or the one next door) I knew it. Think I only saw him once after he left CB and went back to KC.
Another great Guy gone.
Steve Jones



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