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Author Topic: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report  (Read 79151 times)

nycjeff

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #990 on: March 29, 2021, 12:16:20 PM »
You Honor, so glad to hear that your recovery is going well. We need you to be able to get back into The A and S building so that you can see Tom's latest developments and incorporate them into your great stories.   Jeff
Jeff Firestone
Morristown, Arizona
modeling the New York Central in rural Ohio in the late 1940's

Judge

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #991 on: April 03, 2021, 06:10:55 AM »
   Saturday Report April 3, 2021

       Your reporter is undergoing rehab for the next several weeks and the A&S CEO is taking time off to liquidate items from the late Jim Miller's model railroad collection.  We are tentatively scheduling the next board of director's meeting for May 1, 2021.
 
       This week’s story is lifted from the pen of Lucius Beebe, who not only authored over thirty-five books, many of them on the subject of railroad locomotives, but who was also a gourmet, gastronome, oenophile, and who recoiled from the sight or thought of milk, golf, airplanes, Madison Avenue, and packaged breakfast foods.  He was born wealthy in Boston and flourished as a columnist with the New York Herald Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle.  For a time, he owned his own newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise.  He and his partner, Charles Clegg, owned two of the last private railroad cars, the Gold Coast and Virginia City.  Beebe, who liked to spend several weeks each year in London and Paris, was quoted saying, “All I want is the best of everything and there’s very little of that left.”
        Being exposed to Beebe’s humorous prose is worth the time and effort it takes to read it and enjoy one of the greatest writers since Mark Twain. Sometimes, Beebe invented his own words for his enjoyment.
   Beebe found himself in Chicago upon occasion and he frequented the Pump Room in the Ambassador Hotel while he was there.  The proprietor sometimes sent a gift to Beebe’s awaiting train, usually the Super Chief, bound for Los Angeles.

                                                                                                  LaSalle Street Station – Stylish Chaos

   On at least one occasion, the Pump Room’s effulgence, when translated to the train shed of LaSalle Street, engendered a contretemps of musical comedy dimensions. It was after the original proprietor had passed but the affairs of the restaurant and the extension of its personality to departing trains and planes were being maintained in the bravura tradition by James Hart.  The author of this mimeograph and his partner, Charles Clegg, were spotted on an adjacent track at the LaSalle Depot on their own private car, the Virginia City, scheduled to depart at the end of a less exalted consist than the Super Chief which, neither then, nor at any other time, accepted special equipment.  Hart had thoughtfully dispatched a jeroboam of Perrier-Jouuet to us in the care of more than usually ornate delegation which included a waiter captain in a morning coat, two Pump Room footmen in the usual knee-breeches and fourrageres, and, to lend additional tone to the pageantry, a colored chauffeur in bright lavender greatcoat and top hat with a cockade.
   None of the emissaries knew about our private car spotted adjacent to (and blocked from view) by the Super Chief.  They had been told to deliver the wine “to Mr. Clegg’s and Mr. Beebe’s car,” which suggested to them its delivery to their space on the Super Chief, a train with which they were familiar and where they had often completed similar missions.  Told at the train gate that no such passengers were listed or expected, the Ambassador’s bravos had said loudly that they knew better, they had their orders, and they were going on board.  Our first intimation of trouble was what appeared to be an uncommonly dressy mob scene on the platform being exchanged between railroad police, porters, brakemen, a large Negro in ornate attire, and the decorative flunkies.  In the middle of the turmoil, like a float in a Mardi gras riot, there rose and fell perilously a vast bottle of vintage wine in a silver ice bucket.  It was a scene of indescribably stylish chaos.  It also fulfilled the fondest illusions of the onlookers about the conduct of life among people who owned private railroad cars.  When order was finally restored and the misunderstanding explained to everyone’s satisfaction, the Super Chief pulled out on time, but with its staff visibly shaken.   

   
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 08:45:43 AM by Judge »

Zephyrus52246

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #992 on: April 03, 2021, 07:32:31 AM »
Wonderful story, Judge.  Keep workin' on the rehab, not the railroad.   :)


Jeff

GPdemayo

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #993 on: April 03, 2021, 09:59:56 AM »
Great story Bill.....I sure hope the flower bottle made it thru the chaos in one piece.  ;)

I remember reading and hearing stories about the Pump Room when I was a kid and finally got to eat there when Pegi and I were in Chicago in the late January in 1998. Chicago in January was really interesting for a couple of Florida kids.

We had a great time, the hostess took pity on freezing tourists and sat us at table #1, a wonderful meal and split the worlds smallest hot fudge Sunday for desert. The waitress, who asked "are you going to split it?", probably thought we were nuts.  ;D
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 09:19:41 AM by GPdemayo »
Gregory P. DeMayo
General Construction Superintendent Emeritus
St. Louis & Denver Railroad
Longwood, FL

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #994 on: April 10, 2021, 03:16:46 PM »



Saturday Report – April 10, 2021

    Lunch at Del Dio’s was fun today.  May 1 is the target date for me to resume attendance at the Atlantic & Southern’s Board of Director’s meetings. I am getting stronger day by day and I hope to be rid of my walker and relying only on a cane by then.
    I think I should take a few lines here to express my appreciation to the A&S president, Thomas E. Langford, for allowing my participation with his railroad for lo these many years – at least fifteen years if I am remembering right.  Tom is a true friend and I am convinced he is one of the finest artists in the hobby. I thoroughly enjoy our Saturday sessions running trains and running interference with the untold number of gremlins that invade a model railroad.   

     This week’s story is adapted from a tale told in Railroad Magazine from the late 1930s.   

                                                                                                          THE LEAKY THROTTLE
 
    All railroads require maintenance and the Atlantic & Southern is no exception.  In 1938, the bridge over Cross Creek was supported by wooden pilings.  These pilings had to be replaced about every ten years or so and the time had come to replace them.
    The Atlantic & Southern’s Director of Maintenance, Will Fixer, organized a crew of workers and a work train powered by an ancient ten-wheeler was assembled to deliver the pile driver and the pilings to Cross Creek.  The ten-wheeler pushed the pile driver, which was followed by four flat cars loaded with pilings into position and the driver began to work.  One of the pilings was lowered into place through a gap between the ties.  It stuck up about 20’ above the grade.  The pile driver’s powerful hammer slammed down on the top of the piling, driving it a few inches at a time into the river bed.
Meanwhile, the ten-wheeler’s engineer, Uncle Henry O’Leary, decided to take a little relaxation time, so he left the engine in the hands of his fireman, Richard Tanner, and climbed down the embankment to the creek to do a little fishing.
    By and by, the pile driver crew was in need of another load of pilings, so Uncle Henry told Tanner to take the train back to Sanlando, a distance of only two miles, and bring another four flat cars loaded with pilings to the bridge.  Tanner, who was nearlyt qualified to cross over to the right seat, complied, and soon another load of pilings was pushed into position by the ten-wheeler. 
    With Uncle Henry still fishing and Will Fixer’s crew all working, Tanner decided he could afford a little sack time so he closed his eyes and drifted off into slumberland. 
Unfortunately, Tanner did not know his engine had a leaky throttle and although he left the reverse lever on dead center, he failed to kick the cylinder cocks open.  The engine gently began to move towards the bridge, pushing the four flat cars towards the pile driver.
Uncle Henry saw the accident in the making and hollered up to Tanner, who awoke just in time to witness the lead flat car hit the piling and snap it in two right about at grade level. 
    Tanner managed to stop the engine from traveling further, but the damage was done.  The piling had been driven down about ten feet into the river bottom and the only way to remove it was to dig it out with the assistance of the pile driver crane.  This required removing the steam hammer, a time-consuming operation. 
Meanwhile, the A&S mainline was blocked and the southbound Floridan was due in 30 minutes.
Will Fixer had one of his men, who was a lineman, rig into the telegraph line and send a message to the Deland dispatcher to hold the Floridian until the main was cleared. 
     The broken pile was removed in record time and the work train was reassembled and moved back to the yard at Sanlando to await a continuation of the efforts to replace the pilings on the Cross Creek bridge the next day.
     The superintendent, who was Tanner’s father-in-law, investigated the incident and decided the cause of the incident was limited to the leaky throttle and issued a warning to Will Fixer to have it repaired. 
    And, by the way, in 1938, 147 railroads operated on the Morse telegraph system.  The largest user of the telegraph was the Southern, followed by the Rock Island and the Soo.  The ACL used telegraph communication up into the 1950s.  Your reporter’s uncle was a telegraph operator at Lakeland, Florida.  He had a shack perched up on a pole at the Lakeland yard throat.  His job was eliminated in the 50s and he became a bank executive for the rest of his working career.


                                                                             

ACL1504

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #995 on: April 10, 2021, 03:38:26 PM »
Bill,

Thank you my friend. I had a great time today at lunch as well. We may not always agree, but we always have lots of fun and discussions.

We've been railroad modeling off and on for the better part of 40 years. Our friend Warren would have loved to see what we've been doing on the Atlantic and Southern RR.

I think you and I have been doing the Saturday meeting on a regular basis for at least 20+ years.

And, as the A&S Ticket Agent, you sure tell a great story.

Tom  ;D
"If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed."
Thomas Jefferson

Tom Langford
telsr1@aol.com

nycjeff

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #996 on: April 10, 2021, 09:33:03 PM »
Your Honor, another great story. So glad you're getting better.   Jeff
Jeff Firestone
Morristown, Arizona
modeling the New York Central in rural Ohio in the late 1940's

GPdemayo

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #997 on: April 11, 2021, 08:27:30 AM »
Enjoyed the story Bill.....keep up the hard work with the therapy so we can all get together on May 1..... :)
Gregory P. DeMayo
General Construction Superintendent Emeritus
St. Louis & Denver Railroad
Longwood, FL

Judge

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #998 on: April 11, 2021, 03:16:45 PM »
Thank you Tom, Jeff, and Greg - I appreciate the kind words.  I plan on getting up that@#^* hill on May 1 and running some trains - even if I need help doing so.  I am told that I will be weening off of the walker next week and trying to get back to using my cane.

 

GPdemayo

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #999 on: April 11, 2021, 04:35:27 PM »
Help is at the ready.....see you soon.  ;)
Gregory P. DeMayo
General Construction Superintendent Emeritus
St. Louis & Denver Railroad
Longwood, FL

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #1000 on: April 17, 2021, 11:09:10 AM »
Saturday Report - April 17, 2021
Beautiful rainy day here in Central Florida.

I ran across a story about the career of a student fireman in the November, 1952, edition of Railroad Magazine.  It was a different time and we will never see the likes of the railroaders of those days again.  Anyway, I thought the story was interesting enough to convert it to an adventure involving the characters we know who live and work in the environs of Tahope County, Florida.  So here goes: 
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    MOVE TO THE RIGHT SEAT

   Stewart Walter grew up in Tampa during the 30s.  He decided he wanted to be an engineer on a steam locomotive when he was twelve.  By the time he was old enough to hold down a summer job, he became a conductor for the Tampa Transient Company, collecting fares on Tampa’s famous streetcars. He viewed this job as being a step towards his goal.
   The Walters moved to Tahope County in 1947 where Stewart’s father, “Bud” Walter, became the manager of the Tahope Citrus Processing Plant. 
   Stewart decided to walk over to the local roundhouse and see if he could get on with a railroad job.  He happened to meet the roundhouse foreman, ‘Tator Cartwright, and the two of them became friends. 
   One day, while Stewart and ‘Tator were having lunch at Sweaty Betty’s, ‘Tator asked Stewart what he wanted to do.  Stewart said he would like to get on as a fireman on the Atlantic & Southern.
   ‘Tator explained that the A&S only provided local service, including yard service, a couple of local regular trains, and a few extras.  The main railroad activity around Tahope was from the major carriers, including the Atlantic Coast Line.
   “Local service ain’t all that bad,” explained ‘Tater.  “A man can’t eat or rest as well away from home and road crews get called at unreasonable hours.  And hauling sixty or seventy freight cars while riding in the cab of a steam locomotive going eight or ten miles per hour in the hot summertime ain’t exactly pleasant.” 
   “No matter,” said Stewart.  I want to eventually move to the right-hand seat an be an engineer.”  “Hold it up,” said ‘Tator, “You ain’t got a fireman’s job yet.” 
   “Tell you what,” said ‘Tator, I got a buddy who is the Super for this district on the ACL.  I’ll take you over to meet him.”
   The two of them walked over to the ACL district office and ‘Tator introduced Stewart to the ACL Superintendent, and in his easy southern drawl said, “This here lad wants a job as a fireman.  He’s a friend of mine and I’ll vouch for him.  I’d take it as a favor if you could see your way to put him on with the ACL.”  The Super asked Stewart his age, which was 21.  He asked for his experience, which was “none, but I’m willing to learn.”  ‘Tator took the ball again and said, “He ain’t got no letter, but he’ll be a good fireman and he don’t drink liquor hardly at all.  I’d hire him myself, but he wants to go on the road.” 
   That afternoon, Stewart filled out his application and the next morning he presented himself as a student fireman to the engineer on engine 835, the largest steam locomotive he had ever seen.  Fortunately, the engine was stoker-fired.  After two weeks, the engineer, “Pappy” Walker, qualified him and his name went up on the extra board.
   It had not been long since firemen had seniority in name only – firemen were assigned according to the wishes of the engineer.  But those days were over and firemen were assigned by seniority.
   Stewart’s first assignment was to a freight bound to Tampa with sixty empties to be switched for a similar number of loads of citrus and strawberries and returned to Orlando. 
   Stewart went on the job at 6:00 a.m. for the 6:30 a.m. departure.  In those days, it was the fireman’s responsibility to make sure the engine had all of the necessary supplies and the engine’s steam pressure was up to operating level.  The hostlers had done their job overnight and the engine was ready to go by the time the engineer arrived. 
   The engineer, Uncle Henry O’Leary, was in a foul mood.  He grumbled about the fire and told Stewart he expected there were clinkers in the firebox already.  He continued grousing until Stewart had enough of his lip.
   “Look,” said Stewart, “I got here at 6:00 a.m. to make sure this engine was ready to go to Tampa and it is up to steam and ready to go.  I don’t see your name on the tender of this engine.  Instead, I see the company name, Atlantic Coast Line.  So, why don’t you tend to your job and I’ll tend to mine.”  With that, Uncle Henry sulked on his seat without saying another word until the train approached Thonotosassa for a water stop.  After Stewart filled the tank, Uncle Henry called him over and said, “Hell, boy, I can’t stay mad at you for long.  You did a decent job getting us over the line and I’m glad you came on the job.  Just ferget what I said earlier this morning.”  So, the rift between the old-timer and the newcomer was mended and they worked as a team thereafter.

TO BE CONTINUED.

BandOGuy

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #1001 on: April 17, 2021, 03:53:48 PM »
Great to see you back at partial throttle, Your Honor! Hope it's not long before you're all the way to the stops.
Working on my second million. I gave up on the first.

GPdemayo

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #1002 on: April 18, 2021, 08:19:03 AM »
Another cliff hanger Bill.....fun story.  8)
Gregory P. DeMayo
General Construction Superintendent Emeritus
St. Louis & Denver Railroad
Longwood, FL

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #1003 on: April 24, 2021, 10:01:49 AM »
          This week we will continue with the adventures of Stewart Walter, who recently signed on as a fireman for the ACL. Hopefully, next Saturday your reporter will be able to give a full report and update on the progress made on the A&S during my back surgery ordeal. 

                                                                                                MOVE TO THE RIGHT SEAT PART II


   Stewart was lucky to pull the Tampa run his first day on the job.  He was laid off for lack of call his second day.  He was called on the third day for a different engine, but the engineer was Russell “Ballast Scorcher” Taylor.  Taylor was one of the younger engineers, having been with the ACL for only ten years.
   The run that morning was from Tahope to Palatka to drop off thirty empties and pick up as many loaded cars full of potatoes from Hastings.  A hand-fired USRA Mike was assigned to the run.
   Stewart grabbed his lunch pail and high-tailed it to the yard.  As he crossed the yard tracks, he tripped on a railhead and landed on top of his lunch pail.  The fall nearly broke several of Stewart’s ribs and bruised his right side.  He limped in pain to the engine and began his duties preparing the engine for the trip. 
   Whoever wrote that song about April showers bringing May flowers must have lived in Central Florida.  Just as Stewart finished his chores it started to rain.  The rain was accompanied by the wind, which blew water into the cab.  Taylor directed Stewart to close the cab curtains to keep the rain out.  That meant Stewart had to partially open the curtains every time he needed a scoop of coal for the firebox and the movement caused him to wince with pain. 
   Stewart dared not tell Taylor of his injury for fear he would be shuffled off the job on the way to Palatka and replaced by another fireman.  So, he starved the fire more than a new man usually does, causing the coal to burn more completely, which gave the Mike plenty of steam.  Better still, the fire was thin and not clinkered and Taylor was greatly pleased the that the grate did not need to be cleaned at noon.  It was Stewart who was the most pleased because cleaning clinkers from the fire would have well-nigh killed him that day.
   Fortunately for Stewart, he was not called to fire for the next five days.  And then the call was not to fire an engine but to be an engine watchman.  That meant Stewart had night duty performing tasks usually performed by hostlers. (See p. 18, The Engine Watchman).  When dawn approached, the engine crew arrived and Stewart returned home, his injuries much improved.

TO BE  CONTINUED
« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 10:07:49 AM by Judge »

ReadingBob

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #1004 on: April 24, 2021, 10:53:19 AM »
“Ballast Scorcher”  I like that.  That's quite a fitting handle for someone we know until you get to the part where “Ballast Scorcher” was one of the younger engineers.   ;D

Love the continuing thread.  Hope to see you next Saturday.  I'll be a late arrival to the festivities that morning but I do plan on attending.
Bob Butts
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There's a fine line between Hobby and Mental Illness.

 

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