A bad day

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by brakie, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    This happen when I was working on the old PRR.

    I was called to protect the job of head brakeman on a intercity industrial switch job.I got sign in with the other members of the crew and was told by the conductor to go with Fred and Charlie(engineer and fireman-yes diesels at that time still had fireman).So,we walk over to the engine out bound ready track to pick up the unit assign for todays train.We was told the unit will be 96XX A F7A- not the best unit for a local..A start of a very bad day as it would turn out..So we picked up the unit and proceeded to our short train-9 cars coupled up and begin pumping up the air.It would be 45 minutes before we got clearance to proceed out of the yard and head for the industrial branch..Rain began to fall for the third day in a row..

    We made it as far as Scioto Tower and was greeted by a red block..We had to wait on a C&O man to cross the diamonds.We finally got the green to proceed after the C&O man cleared the diamonds.We proceed up the branch and did our assigned work at this point all is going fairly well considering the F7.

    So after we stopped at a Mom & Pop grocery store located by the tracks to get some sandwiches and pop for lunch.We ate lunch and continue the days work.Trouble was brewing.

    We finish our work and it was decided not to run around our train because of the F7 would be facing the wrong way we would simply back to the Cleveland Ave yard with the rear brakeman protecting our reverse move from the platform of the cabin car.This we have done many times..Fate was about to play her hand.

    We proceeded to return to the junction where we would enter the main when I looked back over the train from the cab and shouted FRED!!!! Emergency!!! You see I saw a 40' boxcar leaning over-to late.Before Fred could stop the train 4 of the 7 cars left the rails..

    After the normal investigation it was found that the rail had simply roll over from years of little maintenance,no drainage,earth covered rotten ties and no ballast..You see the rain had soften the ground and the weight of the cars shove the rail over some on the way up the branch and finished the job on the way back causing the derailment..Of course it never came to light that the rear brakeman was protecting the reverse move from inside of the cabin and by looking out the door window.He would step out and sound the caboose whistle when we neared a street crossing or flag the crossing if he had to according to the time table rule book..Needless to say there was 3 happy faces in the cab of that old F7.You see had we had a EMD switcher(the normal type unit assigned to this run) or a road switcher such as a SD7 or 9 the unit would have left the rails instead of the cars.
  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Quite a story, when did it happen Larry?
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Robin,That was in April or May of 1967.
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I was still in 3 cornered pants!:wave: :wave: :wave:

    Nice story! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  5. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    You were most fortunate. I was working as a TV tech at that time.
  6. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I plead the fifth (I did not say drink a fifth :D ) as to what I was up to in 1967. :p :rolleyes: :D
  7. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    April/May of 1967? Hmm, I was spitting up milk then.

    (I was born Feb. of that year.)

    I knew there was something special about those F units!

    No matter how hard you try, you just can't flip one!


    (F7, the Timex of engines....)
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Real rail stories are COOL! :thumb: Thanks Brakie, I wouldn't mind hearing more of these.... By the way, I recall reading on another forum that the cab design of F units was a pain because you couldn't reach the throttle on the control stand while leaning to look backward out the window. Did you observe this too?
  9. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Way Cool Story Brakie. Ya have any more???

    :) :) :)
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ralph, The F unit was very hard to switch with..The engineer could not see the signals of the brakemen or conductor..When he lean out of the window to see the signals he could not reach the controls.So in most cases the firemen would stand in the engineer's door and relay the signals to the engineer..However you had some that would not do this has it was not their job and violated safety rules to boot..So,one of the brakeman or the conductor would have to stand where the engineer could see him and he would relay the signals to the engineer..Now when radios started being use by the switchmen on the ground this eliminated that problem...Still any type of cab unit was not very good for switching..That is why the GP7/9 became so popular with the railroads you have far better Vision to the rear and to the front..The Alco,FM and Baldwin road switchers was just as good as far as having good vision in both directions but was high maintenance and low reliability...Now all of these units had blind spots on the fireman's side..The engineer could not see the signals if the switch stand was on the left side of the unit.The firemen would relay the signals and of course radios eliminated that problem as well.

    BTW the vision problem also doom the BL-2.The engineer could not see the switchmen riding on the steps nor did he have a very good view if there was cars coupled to the engine..That is way EMD only made 57 of these units the railroads did not like them nor did the EMD designers or salesmen like them.
    I have several more stories,some funny,some about problems with locomotives and around railroadin'..I will do more of these stories maybe on a weekly or monthly bases if you would like to hear them..
  11. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Real RR Stories

    Yes, yes. Please keep the stories coming. I wonder, though, if we should "petition" for a new section of The Gauge, just for such items, so they don't get lost in the shuffle. What say ye, all?
  12. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    That story was before my time... but very cool... I'd love to hear more of them...
  13. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Great story Brakie - especially the happy ending. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say - more!!!!!

    By my math you must have been a pretty young fella then!

  14. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Val,That I was.I started my railroad career at the age of 18 in 1966.I was 19 years old when that happen..I was just carrying on the old family tradition of working on the railroad.:D
  15. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    1967? My parents weren't even married then! So, I guess I wasn't even a twinkle in their eyes. ;)

    Cool story!
  16. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Pleeze dew sew!

    Some of us (like me) are fascinated with railroading but really have no idea of the actual prototype issues involved. Just from reading your first post I now know why the F7 was not generally used for switching. Very practical reason, but unless one has actually been there and experienced the reasons first hand the whys of locomotive preference are a mystery.

    Looking forward to your next educational essay...
  17. cpr_paul

    cpr_paul Member

    That was a great story to hear, definitely post more for us!
  18. ukon30fan

    ukon30fan 0n30 Rail Baron of Leeds

    Great stories

    Loved the subject of this thread - now I have a favour to ask......
    A Model Shop over here in the UK liases with a firm called Falcon Figures, this firm produces 1/48 scale figures for the UK On30 brigade.
    So far we've had Engineers and Firemen, Passengers, critturs and Loggers. Next up is what they described to me as Linemen.
    My thoughts are that they mean the Switchers etc who helped with switching or around the yards.
    The company would appreciate any sites with pictures of such folk or copies of personal pictures.
    From the models I've got they would seem to want the early 20th century timescale, see:
    and look at Falcon figures under the O scale link

    If you can help out, you can contact them via:


    Thanking you all in advance
    David Butler
  19. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Brakie, I'd like to add my voice to those asking for more. I often am guilty of sitting back and enjoying without responding. I would reallly like to hear all you have to tell.

  20. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Brakie, You can add me to the list of modelers who would like to see some more of your stories. Like you said, about once a week sounds just fine.

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