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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.


Date: 04/22/20 04:08
Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: atsfer

When I first started my RR career in engine service, I was a fireman of course learning on the job like most of us.  To say the RR was rife with unique personalities is an understatement.   Some of them(not me of course) made you reluctant to admit where you worked with statements like "I'm in the transportation business" or "I'm a piano player in a whorehouse".   
     One engineer I worked with occasionally had a personality all his own and had been married over 10 times, yes at least 10 times maybe more.   His philosophy towards the RR was all his own also.   One trip I worked with him was on the ATSF flag ship the 199, the hottest train going at the time.   We approached a control point and the advance signal was yellow, he immediately set a lot of air and we were down to 10 mph in short order.   It was still around 8,000 feet to the red signal, and at the time, the only way you could get permission to flag pass a red signal was to talk to the DS on the CTC phone by the red signal.   So, here is the hottest train now crawling and racking up lots of delay, and the dispatcher starts pleading with us on the radio "come to the phone, come to the phone".  The engineer calmly replied to the DS "we are not there yet,we will call you then".   The DS becomes more frantic, and I at first did not get what was going on, but then I saw he was letting the DS know that giving him anything other than green signals was not a good idea, although in this case it was probably due to a malfunction. 



Date: 04/22/20 06:14
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: engineerinvirginia

atsfer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I first started my RR career in engine
> service, I was a fireman of course learning on the
> job like most of us.  To say the RR was rife with
> unique personalities is an understatement.   Some
> of them(not me of course) made you reluctant to
> admit where you worked with statements like "I'm
> in the transportation business" or "I'm a piano
> player in a whorehouse".   
>      One engineer I worked with occasionally
> had a personality all his own and had been married
> over 10 times, yes at least 10 times maybe more.
>   His philosophy towards the RR was all his own
> also.   One trip I worked with him was on the
> ATSF flag ship the 199, the hottest train going at
> the time.   We approached a control point and the
> advance signal was yellow, he immediately set a
> lot of air and we were down to 10 mph in short
> order.   It was still around 8,000 feet to the
> red signal, and at the time, the only way you
> could get permission to flag pass a red signal was
> to talk to the DS on the CTC phone by the red
> signal.   So, here is the hottest train now
> crawling and racking up lots of delay, and the
> dispatcher starts pleading with us on the radio
> "come to the phone, come to the phone".  The
> engineer calmly replied to the DS "we are not
> there yet,we will call you then".   The DS
> becomes more frantic, and I at first did not get
> what was going on, but then I saw he was letting
> the DS know that giving him anything other than
> green signals was not a good idea, although in
> this case it was probably due to a malfunction. 

I'm pretty sure all feel that way even today........pleeeeeeeez keep me going!



Date: 04/22/20 13:45
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: PHall

I wonder if you could get away with that little move today? With event recorders and such they can tell exactly what you did and and when you did it.
Not to mention all the love out there between management and the workers.

[edit - spelling errors]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/22/20 17:49 by PHall.



Date: 04/22/20 14:47
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: cewherry

The Burlington Northern, and later BNSF, had a dispatcher that would "line" you to a control point and, apparently,
use your radio 'call-in' tone as his alarm clock to wake up and get back to work. This behavior became such a problem
that I decided to take further action to see if I could 'help' him stay engaged in his duties. 

When I started to get "Approach" indications in advance of control points especially when I knew we were not 
closely following any preceding movement, and most especially when the view of the next signal was obstructed by
curvature or terrain, I would get my speed down to the prescribed 30 mph, and below, as quickly as good train handling
would allow and wait until I had come to a stop before 'toning-up' my sleepy headed friend.

The first couple of times I did this, when the signal at the control point became visible, it was showing "Red" and as soon
as I "toned-up" the DS; presto-change-o "Clear" went the signal, without a word being uttered on the radio. 

Gradually, the DS began to learn that if he gave me an excuse to slow down, it was not going to be a rest-full night for him and
I'd like to be able to say that he was "cured" but such was not the case. I "Job Selected" to greener pastures and went to a night
local at South Seattle, yes that was better than putting up with such shenanigans and far away from "sleepy's" domain.

Charlie



Date: 04/22/20 15:19
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: LocoPilot750

Here he is getting ready to go west, and I always heard he was married 13 times, got cleaned out a few times, cleaned out a few too. He finally retired when he was 78. He always wore expensive cowboy boots. One night when he was staying at the Osage Hotel in Ark City, he took his boots off and laid them by the bed, and drapped his socks over them so they could air out over night. When he woke up in the morning, one of his socks was over by the door. Colorful guy John, colorful. I think Lance took this photo.




Date: 04/22/20 19:03
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: OliveHeights

We used to have a dispatcher that didn't like to lineup trains very far in CTC territory.  We teased him about have air activated signals.  He would get pissed off and ask why we were calling the signals air activated.  It was because he would only line the next signal after the engineer had set some air.



Date: 04/22/20 19:13
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: santafe199

LocoPilot750 Wrote: > ... I think Lance took this photo ...

Before the end of the 1st sentence in your 2nd paragraph I KNEW who you where talking about. :^) "RD" was a one & only, for sure! My favorite tall tale about him was how he could manipulate a diesel airhorn just right, so he could "hypnotize" trespassing coyotes and run over them with his rain. I never saw anything out of the ordinary the few times I worked as a head brakeman with RD. But I sure did hear a train load of stories...

Hey Dennis, I don't remember shooting the scene you posted here. Possibly Dave Franz took it? I did shoot him posing behind the throttle a couple of times (with pipe clenched firmly in teeth). I also took a shot of RD in the cab standing over his engr son Mike, as if teaching him how to run. It was a posed shot, but the flash malfunctioned and the slide was badly washed out. I ended up tossing it out while thinning out the ol' collection in my "Great Purge of 1982". Little did I know that future home photo-editing would have been able to rescue it. After I got retired I found a box of nearly 400 slides I had intended to sell or trade (cheap). And when that didn't fly I was just going to make a donation to the trash dumpster. But out of laziness that never happened. Imagine my surprise 38+ years later when I was able to scan & rescue a large chunk of them back into my general collection. But I hate to think how many slides I did successfully toss...

Lance



Date: 04/23/20 04:01
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: atsfer

Do you think the sock moved on it's own power or had help?   BTW FJ Smith died last month at Newton, Ks., he was 90 years old.



Date: 04/23/20 08:55
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: jtwlunch

I was working in the Winslow Yard Tower as a relief ATM one Saturday night when I heard the Train Dispatcher call a train up around Flagstaff, X_____West where are you and what track are you on?  Engineer replied as soon as I stop my train and get off the engine, I will call you.  That's when you know the DS has lost it.  Lots of radio cat calls over that one.  The Chief had a serious conversation with the DS.



Date: 04/23/20 09:18
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: LocoPilot750

atsfer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do you think the sock moved on it's own power or
> had help?   BTW FJ Smith died last month at
> Newton, Ks., he was 90 years old.
RD could tell the most outrageous storys, but if you ever found a way to fact check him, it turns out most of them were true. Before he went firing in the 30's, he drove a Greyhound bus. They put his on the very toughest routes they had, because they knew he could collect the fares, at gunpoint if necessary, and could get over the road on time, he was a rodeo star, has a pair of boots in the Cowboy Hall of fame. He met one of his wives when he was in the arena, and being the crowd pleaser he was, he threw his cowboy hat out into the crowd. Later one of his future wives came running to him with that hat she had caught, and the rest is history.  He had about 40 pairs of boots on a special rack in his closet, kept records of when each was polished or worn last, only drove Cadillacs, and when he ordered them, he specified the day of the week they were to come off the assembly line. (wednesday, for a long list of reasons) He had three when I first met him. One was a limo that no woman ever set foot in, except when he rented it out to Dolly Parton, and his wife of course. His purple Martins always showed up at his home in Emporia two weeks before any others, and it was reported several time in the Gazette. He was on a first name basis with several high ranking members of the Hells Angles, and never feared driving through California. He took a leave of absense from the railroad to go on the campaign trail for JFK when he was running for president, writing several of his speeches. The Kennedys always sent him christmas cards, and he never could tell Jack and Bobby apart when they called him on the phone, because they sounded so much alike. He was also real good friends of Roy Clark the singer. And he was firing a steam engine on the old Santa Fe line from Abilene to Salina, when it fell through a bridge, and hurt his back, It was abandonned after that.  I think that was part of the reason we always ran across there on the UP... I think he told me all that the first time I got out with him.



Date: 04/23/20 09:46
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: engineerinvirginia

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder if you could get away with that little
> move today? With event recorders and such they can
> tell exactly what you did and and when you did
> it.
> Not to mention all the love out there between
> management and the workers.
>
>

to a degree, we have engineers of all types and an equal variety of dispatchers...no two trips are ever the same



Date: 04/23/20 14:50
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: atsfer

or how he ran whiskey during prohibition disguised as a preacher hauling blueberries.



Date: 04/23/20 16:28
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: LocoPilot750

How about when his bird dog wouldn't get away from the creek, turns out it was pointed to a catfish that had somehow swallowed a quail.

Posted from Android



Date: 04/23/20 20:08
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: PHall

LocoPilot750 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about when his bird dog wouldn't get away from
> the creek, turns out it was pointed to a catfish
> that had somehow swallowed a quail.
>
> Posted from Android

The catfish must have thought it was a shark!



Date: 04/24/20 03:35
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: RodneyZona

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> LocoPilot750 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > How about when his bird dog wouldn't get away
> from
> > the creek, turns out it was pointed to a
> catfish
> > that had somehow swallowed a quail.
> >
> > Posted from Android
>
> The catfish must have thought it was a shark!  In that shot above. Was that picture take at Newton, KS?
 



Date: 04/24/20 06:02
Re: Don't ever give me a yellow signal...or else.
Author: LocoPilot750

RodneyZona Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PHall Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > LocoPilot750 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > How about when his bird dog wouldn't get away
> > from
> > > the creek, turns out it was pointed to a
> > catfish
> > > that had somehow swallowed a quail.
> > >
> > > Posted from Android
> >
> > The catfish must have thought it was a shark! 
> In that shot above. Was that picture take at
> Newton, KS?
>  Emporia, westbound, train probably headed for Wellington.



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