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Railroaders' Nostalgia > RIP Mike Wikman

Date: 03/05/24 12:31
RIP Mike Wikman
Author: NormSchultze

Many of you knew Mike Wikman who retired years ago in San Antonio TX.  Mike began his 'real' railroad career on the Korean Penensula. That career followed across the US, eventually with Amtrak.    Mike passed away after a brief illness on 23 Feb 24. He was 89.  Mike and fellow railfans frequently gathered at what is locally known as the "Grassy Field, the site of former Tower 112.  His pouch, 'Honney' was always nearby.    Mike will be solely missed. 

Date: 03/06/24 15:29
Re: RIP Mike Wikman
Author: Englewood

Mike was a real Road Foreman.
He ran anything with wheels under it.  Steam, electric, diesel.
He worked for the Lackawanna, EL, Mopac, Amtrak, many short lines.
Highball Mike.

Date: 03/09/24 18:33
Re: RIP Mike Wikman
Author: rrcaboose

In case anyone is interested, there is a very good interview with Mike on 'the Tube'.  https://youtu.be/aE4eAHX-R58?si=HE-AbVMCQrdM1K4n  
Lackawanna Cut Off - Part 37: Mike Wikman's Full Interview July 2023
I worked with Mike on the EL in the late 1960's.
RIP Mike

rr caboose

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/24 18:35 by rrcaboose.

Date: 03/11/24 07:40
Re: RIP Mike Wikman
Author: Englewood

I forgot Mike also worked on the CNJ
He was on the Tom Snyder show with Tom interviewing him in the cab of the engine
Search youtube for:
Blue Comet Train Recreation on Tomorrow Show, 4 of 4 - Inside Engine https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/148's Cab, End, 12/25/1975

Date: 03/11/24 08:17
Re: RIP Mike Wikman
Author: Englewood

I first met Mike in the CUS xerox room in the mid-1980's.
He was in the training department.  This was before the off-corridor T&E takeover.
Mike would go around the country giving classes and OJT training to the freight railroad engine crews
on the ins and outs of amtrak engines.

While waiting my turn at the copy machine I asked Mike a question about a recent flashover on an F40 
while going over the diamond at LeMoyne.  I think we both left the room thinking we were each talking to the typical
amtrak no-nothing.

I believe the next time I saw him was at one of the railroad equipment shows that used to be in Chicago every 4 years.
The outdoor display was on the grounds of the old IC Central Station.  One of the displays was a CSXT GP35 turned into
the mother-slug configuration.  Mike was in the cab and gave me a detailed tour of the electrical cabinet including where
you would block certain relays to keep an original GP35 functioning on the road.  We had quite the conversation and went
away with new respect for each other.

During the T&E takeover period Mike wanted to leave the Training Dept. and get back into operations.
Some of his mentors warned him against the move.  Mike ended up working for a succession of people that really should
have been working for him.

Next time I saw him he was train master in New Orleans.
He was later transferred to San Antonio.  He got cross ways with the bosses for attempting to run it like a railroad.
One time during a crew shortage he ran either No. 1 or No. 2 as the engineer and faced unending criticism.  That and
other incidents led him to throw in the towel at amtrak.

Mike had many memorable stories.  While a TM on the EL he had crawled under the electric MU's many times to fix one thing
or the other. He recalled being soaked many times by the PCB's dripping on him.  Nobody new the health risks at the time.
That was a time when a TM dressed with suit, tie and hat.  After conferring with the crew, a hat on the platform was used as 
a reminder that the TM was under the train !

He went to Pueblo when the amtak SDP40F were on the test track after being blamed for various derailments.
Mike was the engineer on a late night, off the books test, where he took it up to triple digit speeds.  Mike's verdict was that
there was nothing wrong with those engines.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/24 08:21 by Englewood.

Date: 03/17/24 10:12
Re: RIP Mike Wikman
Author: ChiefNWP

RIP Mike, I was trained as an engineer by Mike  in 1993 and let me tell you what the guy was a genuis on all aspects of railroading. I have kept in contact with Mike over the years sharing RR stories and family life. I will miss Mike AKA (Droopy) as we called him on the Cal-Northern RR may he rest in peace!

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