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Railroaders' Nostalgia > More here than meets the eye!

Date: 01/23/24 14:44
More here than meets the eye!
Author: santafe199

According to my 1979 timebook I took a call on September 22 and went to work at 6:40 AM in Emporia, KS. My train was symbolled “6035 T-1”. Our on-duty point was the wire office in the west end of the Amtrak passenger depot. This is where road crews secure train orders and other pertinent instructions & info. As was the standard practice, a crew van took our senior conductor, R C “Richard” James to find his waycar. This 4-digit train symbol generated no excitement, let me tell you! It was a conglomeration of Kansas grain tonnage headed for Gulf Coast export. I got the impression the 6035 wasn’t so much a “unit” train as it was a hefty compilation of Gulf-bound hopper loads.

After our conductor was deposited in the westbound yard the van took my engineer, Mr M R “Monte” Zinn, my now-forgotten braking partner and me over to the roundhouse so we could get on our power and go find our train. Officially, I was the rear-end brakeman. But we had a message that we would most likely have to do some work enroute. So I was a willing tag-along with the head end crew. Again, there was NO excitement at seeing what the power bureau coughed up for this train: 2670, 2488, 2472, 2458, 2788L & 2763. ALL first generation or first generation rebuild power. Even as a camera totin’ railfan I simply couldn’t get interested in this motley outfit! With over a year of train service now under my belt, maybe I was getting a bit jaded with my job. As Forrest Gump once said: s**t happens.

After Monte checked over our 6 elderly units I helped my partner with the process of lining ourselves out of the roundhouse area and into the general direction of the west end of the westbound yard. I don’t remember what track number we were assigned to, but getting power onto our train was uneventful.

The time involved in getting the train pumped up, then air-tested was average. Meaning it took over an hour. I killed the time just sitting in the cab, no doubt making small talk with the other 2 guys. Engineer Zinn was OK with me shooting pictures while on duty. But I just had no urge to go burning Kodachrome on such an un-gainly consist. ***Looking back from 44+ years later do I have a different attitude? Does Hershey have any chocolate bars on hand? Does Carter have a trainload of little pills for sale?***

Air test completed we got permission from the Emporia YM to depart the westbound yard via 3 track, a sort of auxiliary main track running the length of the yard parallel to the Eastward & Westward mains. Once by Merrick we were now an official grain drag heading for Arkansas City, KS. We had real no priority to speak of, so I wasn’t expecting anything less than an all-day affair. I don’t recall any bad meets, or other untoward incidents on our pathway down through the Flint Hills. However, before reaching Augusta, KS were given a message from the chief DS: A late decision had been made, and we were being routed on down to Mulvane where we were to set out our entire train and run lite power on into Arkansas City. On the surface that might have been cause for celebration. Running with only a waycar into a busy and always clogged terminal like Ark City could be a decided advantage in getting tied-up. On the other hand the Ark City YM could stash us away to let 2 or 3 other trains make their moves before letting us take 6 geriatric units to the RH way down at the south (TT west) end of the yard. No such nastiness occurred, and we made our way right through one of the yard tracks. We cut away from & tied down that waycar and scooted right on into the RH.

Looking back, we actually had a pretty decent 131 mile trip. On duty @ 6:40 and off duty @ 12:20, for a 5’ 40” trip one-way. Not bad for the mileage we covered and work we performed! Peeking further into my timebook we took a 4-hour release and ran an ACE V-1 up the 3rd District to Sand Creek (Newton). At Newton we got our 8 hours rest and snagged train 403 U-1 back home to Emporia, tying up @ 9:05 PM on the 23rd. In other words, we made about 3½ days’ worth of pay in 36’-35”. Maybe I should have taken a few more pictures... ;^)

1. MP 2088 leads their Conway Springs-bound local on SFe trackage in the 3rd District siding at Mulvane, KS. We had just gotten done with the task of setting & securing our whole train in the yard back in town. The track going over the top is the 4th District main line which skirts around the east & south side of Mulvane.
Photo date: September 22, 1979.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/24 14:51 by santafe199.

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