No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Fred_M, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    One day back in June of 73 we were running the local on the White River division when we had to stop about 20 miles south of Branson Missouri. A line crew was having some problems on a wash that had appeared the night before due to a gully washer. So we eased our old GP7 to a stop before the first torpedo and settled in for a long wait on a hot sticky morning.

    About 30 minutes later Bill, our brakeman, said he had to go take a leak. We were back in the woods so out the door and up and over the bank he went. A few seconds later he came back over the bank with an excited look on his face a yelling something that we couldn’t make out over the rumble of our diesel. We thought at first maybe he had ran into one of the few bears said to still be inhabiting these woods. Up the steps he came and he ran at full speed down the long hood walk to the door which I already had open. I was ready to blast the horn if need be to scare the bear away, but one had yet to appear. Bill burst into the cab.

    “Hey guys”, he said, “come with me”. Well I’m lazy and didn’t really want to go so I asked, “Oh what now Bill”? He said, “dammit Fred, just come se what I found, you too Doug”. Doug was the conductor and was the only other person in the cab. So out the door and up the bank we went.

    When we got to the top of the bank I noticed through the growth and vines an old autorack on another track at the bottom of the cut. I knew right away this was the old spur that had went to the old Johnson Quarry. The quarry had went out of business back around ’56, and a couple years later the MoPac had abandoned it and pulled the point. What was an old autorack doing down there? “Did you go look in it Bill”, I asked him? “Yeah” he said, “it’s full of old Fords”. So down the hill we went in a hurry, I was now excited and interested. Yep. It was clear full of 1958 Fords. They were nasty looking too; time, weather, and always being damp in the woods for 16 years had taken its toll. The interiors were rotten and most were now homes for rats and squirrels. Maybe some snakes too. Most had a heavy coat of surface rust and some had holes rusted in them from the batteries above leaking on them years ago. But still, a rack full of 16 year old new Fords. Reckon we would get one each for finding them?

    Well we were down in a hollow and the radio didn’t work very well, so we decided to wait until we got to the station to tell the trainmaster about our find. About an hour later, it seemed like 2 days, the tracks were passable and we were allowed to proceed at 10 MPH across the patch. We hurriedly completed our switching that day and got back to the station an hour and a half early. That really wasn’t a smart move on our part, but we were excited and not thinking. Into Mr. Peters’ office we went and told him all about it.

    Well, Mr. Peters, the Trainmaster, had been working there since the beginning of time. He knew right away what we were talking about and just wanted to know where in the hell we found them. We told him on the Johnson Quarry spur and he commented that “ Ted Nelson swore he had looked there” and that he “had walked that whole spur” and he would fire that so and so Ted Nelson if he hadn’t of retired 5 years ago. That rack getting lost had cost the previous trainmaster and local crew their jobs, and the insurance company had paid for them cars years ago. We asked him if we could have them, he said no, well, “hell no” were his exact words.

    So the railroad contacted the insurance company who finally sold them and the rack for scrap. The cars were never titled and Ford declined to provide the paperwork to the insurance company to do so. So under the watchful eye of insurance adjusted the cars were smashed on the spot and no parts were allowed to be salvaged. I was sad we had said anything, we should of made a pact and salvaged them ourselves. We never even got an attaboy, and in fact were we made to start getting our switching done early and come back to the yard to do maintenance work as our early arrival that day hadn’t gone unnoticed by Mr. Peters.
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Man - now thats a story.. :) Wonder how much those parts would be today in e-bay dollars. :( :( :( that was a shame :( and you're right "Never" let you boss know how easy your job is!!!!! As soon as he found out you had an hour a day to "kill" -- you were caught :(
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Sorry, I left out I made that story up. In 1973 I was 15 and living in Indiana. :D Fred
  4. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    :D :D :D :D It's still A good Story :)
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Not a bad piece of fiction Dash! You had me going although I was wondering why SOMEONE didn't work a little harder to find something as big as an autorack! :) Hmmmm, how about using your imaginary scene as the inspiration for a diorama? Funny thing is a recently saw an HO Penn Central autorack in the second hand backroom at one of my local hobby shops. I didn't buy it because it wasn't in perfect condition...and also because the thing was about 12-15 inches long, a bit much for my layout's curves. It'd be fun to model a rack full of rusted out cars though sitting in the weeds........
  6. Topo

    Topo Member

    Wow! Real or fiction, this is a good story! :thumb:

    I remember to have heard some other weird -but real- stories about boxcar thefts in the 70's. They were involved the Penn Central -in the role of «victim»- and a company called Lasalle & Bureau County RR (or something like this).

    Aparently, the PC cars «disappeared» in a secluded area with lots of unused branchs (at South of Chicago, I think), and they came out after a while with new marks, until the scam was unfolded. :eek:

    Kadee made one of these LSBC cars, with paint patches and so:
  7. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    That's a cool story, espically since it was fake! ;)
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Good story, the sad thing is that if it were true and something like that were found, it would probably play out the same way as your story did. :cry: :mad: :cry:

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