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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza


Date: 05/20/20 06:48
Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: HardYellow

Rick Parsley, retired SP/UP Engineer  sent this to me. Many of you LA and SJ Division guys will remember John Rapoza and his railroad writings. 

....................................................
THIRTY FIVE GRAND...

I WAS BRAKING AT EL CENTRO    WITH A LANTERN IN MY HAND, WHEN I HEARD ABOUT THE NEWS,    THE PRIZE WAS THIRTY FIVE GRAND,  I COULDN'T QUITE BELIEVE IT    ALL MY LIFE I'VE BEEN A BOOMER, BUT THIS ONE WAS THE BIGGEST    THE MOST FAR-OUT WILD RUMOR, TOO GOOD TO BE THE TRUTH    AND IT SOUNDED SO DELICIOUS, PROBABLY STARTED BY MC GUFFIN    OR EVEN BY SID VICIOUS !  IT'S ENGINE SERVICE FOR ME    AND I'VE MADE MYSELF A VOW, I'LL DO ANYTHING I CAN    TO GET THAT THIRTY-FIVE THOU, THEY WOULD CHANGE ME TO A 'HOGHEAD'    TO WORK THE THROTTLE AND THE SAND, THEN TURN AROUND AND PAY ME    A TOTAL OF THIRTY-FIVE GRAND,  WHEN WE TIED UP IN THE MORNING,    I DROVE HOME AT NINETY PER, WENT RIGHT UP TO THE ROAD FOREMAN    AND EVEN CALLED HIM "SIR" ! I TOLD THE WIFE THAT EVENING    ABOUT MY NEW CAREER, THAT WE WOULD SOON BE WEALTHY    WHEN I BECAME AN ENGINEER, WITH THE SIMULATOR OVER    AND MY TRAINING NOW COMPLETEI WAS QUALIFIED TO OPERATE    ANY UNIT IN THE FLEET,  I COULD BE JUST LIKE "TOP THROTTLE"    OR "HANK" OR BILLY GILLAND "OLD HEAD" THESE YOUNG BRAKEMAN,    AS I RUN "HOT SHOOTERS" ON THE HILL AND WITH ALL THAT MONEY MINE NOW,    I'D BUY A "BEAMER" OR A BOAT, BUT THEN I FOUND OUT SADLY    I'D FOREVER WORK A "GOAT"  SO I READ THE CONTRACT OVER    THIS WAS A PIECE OF TRASH, THE COMPANY HAD THE OPTION    TO PAY IN OTHER THAN CASH, IT WAS RIGHT THERE IN THE "FINE PRINT"    AND IT CAME AS QUITE A SHOCK, WHEN ALL THAT THEY DID GIVE ME    WAS TEN SHARES OF ESPEE STOCK !!! (s) THE HELPFUL HELPER9 - 5 - 1993



Date: 05/20/20 08:55
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: bradleymckay

He was a friendly guy. Toward the end of his career he constantly worked the Beaumont Hill helpers. I recall he was into HO scale at one time too.

Allen

Posted from Android



Date: 05/20/20 10:49
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: cewherry

I'm tryin' to connect John Rapoza with the $35,000. Some kind of 'creative writing' that he perpetrated?

I do remember John. While I was a still a "wet behind the ears" fireman, he was pointed out to me as a source
of rule book expertise and had a reputation as being a "100%'er". Not a bad thing, but it had its limits. I even
worked a few times with him as his Outside Hostler Helper while we were both on the fireman's extra board.

His railroad writing must have come later than my experiences with him.
He is not shown on a December 2005 seniority roster so apparently was retired by then. 

Charlie



Date: 05/20/20 11:35
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: HardYellow

John retired in 1997...never collected a check with the UP Shield on it. I can't remember for sure the reason for the 35 grand. Seems as though there was a "rumor" going around that the SP was going to offer trainman 35k to transfer into engine service. Some people were well know for "starting rumors." I think his poem alludes to several of them



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/20 20:49 by HardYellow.



Date: 05/21/20 06:55
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: RRTom

Thanks for the poem!
My favorite is still "Beaumont and Call".



Date: 05/21/20 07:12
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: engineerinvirginia

You would rarely see it now, but railroads used to dangle big money to get people to do one thing and another....you may still see some cash for a temporary transfer, but it's often paid in tranches that taxes eat up quickly....big money is a thing of the past. 



Date: 05/21/20 07:22
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: UPNW2-1083

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the poem!
> My favorite is still "Beaumont and Call".

I posted this one and several others here on TO several years ago. I have copies of several of John's poem that were given to my by Mike Pollock several years ago.-BMT








Date: 05/21/20 07:22
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: UPNW2-1083

Here's the last 2 pages.-BMT






Date: 05/21/20 10:21
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: atsfer

Cool poem describing what railroading was like for him at the time, wish I could write like that.



Date: 05/21/20 12:42
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: atsfer

ANYTIME you deal with the RR you had better read the fine print very carefully.



Date: 05/21/20 21:23
Re: Thirty Five Grand....John Rapoza
Author: ble692

By the time 1994 rolled around the SP found itself short of engineers in quite a few locations. The trainmen at the time all had a lot of years in by this point, since the SP hadn't really done any hiring after 1980, so for the most part they were not interested in engine service, even with substantial cash offers apparently. In the end the SP ended up having to hire people right off the street into engine service. They ended up with 1995 engineer dates. A few years later after the UP took over and things went south, many of these engineers couldn't hold engineer spots anymore and went to the ground as trainmen with the same 1995 dates, even though they had never worked as trainmen.



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