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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Railfanning on company time!


Date: 03/05/23 07:30
Railfanning on company time!
Author: santafe199

As many older railroaders here on TO will affirm, the “daily toils” of a typical work train could get kinda slow and rambling at times. If an emergency existed, such as a big derailment, then a special work train could easily be the hottest train on the Division. But in normal times it usually took a backseat to everything else on the dispatcher’s train sheet. There was always a sort of regimented ‘pecking order’ in train service, even up here on a branch line.

Case in point seen here: Engine 6378 is the power for a work train I was assigned to for three days in October of 1981. Our Burro Crane equipped “scrap-material-picker-upper” train is sitting in the siding with a M.O.W. bunk car and company material cars occupying the ancient passenger tracks up next to the Abilene depot. At the moment in this scene we were confined to just hanging around the depot until this local train could come in from the road. Another conflict might have been the Abilene Roadswitcher crew, who would be handling miscellaneous switching duties around town. But as I recall they were already done for the day in this afternoon scene.

So what does a Kodachrome-toting, railfan-brakeman do while the rest of his crew kills time inside the depot? See below>>v

1. Looking due east, AT&SF waycar 999237 trails local train 1352 B-1 into Abilene, KS. This is the termination of a run that began in Osborne, KS earlier in the morning. We had to let them arrive before we could make our move. I vaguely remember we had to run over to Salina for some now forgotten reason. And the next day we would be running up onto the “Barnyard” for more scrap material pick-up chores. The Barnyard was our private nickname for Santa Fe’s Middle Division, Minneapolis District which ran west from Manchester on the Strong City District 43+ miles out to end-of-track at Barnard, KS. The entire district was heavily rural in nature, and agriculture was just about the only game around...
Photo date: October 2, 1981.

Thanks for hanging around with me!
Lance Garrels
santafe199




Date: 03/05/23 15:28
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: RetiredHogger

Neat shot. Looks like beautiful weather. I see that the trainman getting ready (it looks like) to dismount the caboose has his sleeves down.

I carried a camera just a bit in the early '80s, but never produced anything like you did.

We plan on being in Abilene in the near future, to visit the Eisenhower museum. Do you recall the name of the street in the foreground?

Thanks.



Date: 03/05/23 15:36
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: atsfer

It's Spruce street I think, the main drag and hiway was called Buckeye which ran north and south just east of the depot.



Date: 03/05/23 16:07
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: santafe199

RetiredHogger Wrote: > ... Do you recall the name of the street in the foreground?

Yessir, it's been burned into my memory since early childhood. This is Cedar St. To the right of the inbound waycar is parallel SW 3rd St. A block further south is SW 4th St. And my Grandma's house, ground zero for a gazillion family functions in the 60s & 70s, was on SW 4th between Cedar St & Buckeye Avenue, the main drag N-S through town. Her front forch had a 50 yard line view of the Santa Fe depot, so it's easily understood how I became a diehard Santa Fe fan... :^)

Lance/199



Date: 03/05/23 16:14
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: monaddave

santafe199 Wrote:
<<The entire district was heavily rural in nature, and agriculture was just about the only game around...  >>

And ringneck pheasant hunting too...

Dave in MT



Date: 03/05/23 16:42
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: RetiredHogger

Thank you Lance, and to atsfer as well.



Date: 03/05/23 18:44
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: OliveHeights

What's up with the third rail in the middle of the track you took the photo from? Doesn't look like the others have a extra rail.



Date: 03/05/23 19:53
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: santafe199

OliveHeights Wrote: > ... What's up with the third rail ...

I think it was just part of the crossing plank support...

Lance/199



Date: 03/06/23 04:33
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: atsfer

Tried to figure out who was on the waycar in the picture...but could not make an ID.



Date: 03/06/23 04:53
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: OldPorter

santafe199 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
 Her front forch had a 50 yard line
> view of the Santa Fe depot, so it's easily
> understood how I became a diehard Santa Fe fan...

Know what u mean about that Lance. My Mom's uncle John had a house that looked out onto a
Junction of the Wabash and GM&O, in Clark, MO. My early summers spent there ensured that I
got myself into a RR job. I enjoyed your Abilene pics and memories!

 



Date: 03/06/23 10:51
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: santafe199

OldPorter Wrote: > ... My Mom's uncle John had a house that looked out onto a Junction of the Wabash and GM&O, in Clark, MO ...

I'm glad you enjoyed the story! With your mentioning Clark, MO here's a link you need to click on: ( WAG Wednesday: Motoring Across Missouri (pt. 3) (trainorders.com) ). In fact, there's a multipart series Art Gibson & I posted a few years ago covering an NRHS excursion from KCUS to Mexico, MO and back over the GM&O. There are several shots from Clark... :^)

Lance/199



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/23 10:52 by santafe199.



Date: 03/06/23 18:51
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: sf1010

That Kodachrome color sure held up beautifully.



Date: 04/03/23 19:31
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: LocoPilot750

I got one those Burro crane work trains up there once, picking up scrap. From Abilene, went all the way to Osborne, then back to Abilene, then to Concordia, then on up to Superior and back to Abilene. Lots of fun. We knew where all the little podunk bars and restaurants were up the branch before we got done.

Posted from Android



Date: 04/04/23 20:24
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: RetiredHogger

My wife and I were in Abilene, KS a couple of weekends ago to visit the Eisenhower Museum. The crossing in Lance's picture above is about a block from the museum grounds. On the way there, we took a short detour and found it.

Taking a few pictures with my phone (I was one track off in positioning myself), I compared them to Lance's photo. Still visible today is much of the detail visible on the depot...the grain elevator in the center background...the church steeple on the right...and the brick building on the far right. Alas, the rubber crossing surface on the track in the center has been replaced with wooden planking. No rail in the center of the crossing either.

If you like history, and have never done any "then and now" photo comparison study, try it. It's really fun.

 



Date: 04/05/23 04:41
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: skinem

atsfer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's Spruce street I think, the main drag and
> hiway was called Buckeye which ran north and south
> just east of the depot.
 Pretty sure it's Cedar, John. Of course it's been a while since I've been up there as well.



Date: 04/08/23 16:50
Re: Railfanning on company time!
Author: kenN

OliveHeights Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What's up with the third rail in the middle of the
> track you took the photo from? Doesn't look like
> the others have a extra rail.

Wasn't that third rail the remnant of their full-sized Lionel layout?
Ken Nagel



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