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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Signal Sunday: Holliday, aka '14-4'

Date: 03/24/24 06:53
Signal Sunday: Holliday, aka '14-4'
Author: santafe199

During most of the summer of 1974 I worked on Santa Fe M.O.W. extra gang #57. We were based at Morris, KS and were assigned to a bunk car for living quarters, which was parked right behind the depot on S 74th St ( Morris, KS: a train-nut goes to work for the RR! (trainorders.com) ). Unless overtime was necessary our quitting time was always 3:30 in the afternoon. That left me with a solid 5 hours of free time every day. I look back and wonder why I wasn’t alert enough to pick up a 35mm camera and start shooting. Mercy, the stuff I could have captured on Kodachrome in Kansas City during ’74 & ’75.

Instead of getting into regular photography I spent a lot of my free time chasing all over Metro KC, learning the major thoroughfares on both sides of the state line. I observed plenty of railroading, but it just never occurred to me that I could be recording it all. Sometimes when I was worn out from a heavy work day I would just hang around the Morris depot and listen in on the agent/operator’s TCS phone. Of course, by being at the depot I was treated to a passing train every 30-40 minutes or so. But there was also a fascinating world of sounds coming out of that earpiece! There was a barely audible hum interspersed with the random clicking sounds associated with the current comm-code line technology. And once in a while I would hear a human voice, maybe some track inspector calling the train DS for track authority somewhere. And when all was quiet I would study the operator’s copy of the ‘Form 598 Standard’, among other items. This was a booklet that listed every single ETT station on the Santa Fe system. Every District of every Division in all 3 Lines were in that booklet. And during the day I was learning all the local lingo & historical legend that went with Santa Fe history around Kansas City. At 19 I was getting quite an all-around education that would come in handy when I finally discovered I could be a full-fledged railfan...

One afternoon I had that operator’s earpiece on and heard a man calling the DS. I was pleased to recognize the voice of one of the guys I worked with. And I even knew the location he was calling from, although it wasn’t in the 598 Standard. Holliday, KS was though. Holliday is a heavily used junction connecting both main lines between Kansas City & Emporia. The passenger main cut out toward Topeka at the east end of the Holliday area while the remaining 3 main tracks continued SW, quickly dwindling down to the 2 mains at a spot called MP 14.4. Today I believe that spot is called “West Holliday”. This main trunk carried the bulk of Santa Fe’s freight traffic straight to Emporia. Back in 1974 Santa Fe called the future West Holliday “MP 14.4”, or just “Fourteen-four”.

Sixteen years later my future friend Dan Munson would find some elevation and burn the train below onto Kodachrome. 30-some years after that he & I would negotiate the trading of slides between the 2 of us. When I saw this slide I recognized it right away as Fourteen-four! I had to snap it up. Dan had several totes (different RRs) full of trading slides to offer, so I ended up owing him quite a few extra dimes & nickels. But I didn’t mind at all. I was getting 1st class, original slides of the Santa Fe I grew up with, as well as other area RRs I had I became interested in so long ago...

1. AT&SF 4019 is westbound with an intermodal at former location MP 14.4 (now called West Holliday, KS) on the main line out of Argentine. Three main tracks here drop to two for the rest of the way down to Emporia...
Original Kodachrome slide taken May 13, 1990 by Mr Dan Munson.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/24 06:58 by santafe199.

Date: 03/24/24 10:09
Re: Signal Sunday: Holliday, aka '14-4'
Author: MoPac1

very cool, did own a camera in those days, but did not accomplish what your friend did!
Charlie Rice

Charles Rice
Saint Louis, MO

Date: 03/25/24 16:13
Re: Signal Sunday: Holliday, aka '14-4'
Author: texchief1

Fantastic image, Lance!  Too bad you weren't shooting back in those MofW days,


Date: 05/25/24 17:41
Re: Signal Sunday: Holliday, aka '14-4'
Author: Ashcat

Hey Lance, I grew up near Morris and Holliday at Lake Quivira Country Club. I spent nearly every weekend in Morris or Holliday chasing trains and taking pictures. My Dad took me to Morris in 1964 (and many years afterward) when I was about 7 years old. That was all I needed to kick-start my railroad career. I'm still railroading as a hogger on the Canadian National out of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. I've never grown tired of railroading!

Chris Gardner

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