Of coal and blackberries.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by brakie, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    This happen while I worked on the C&O under the Chessie Banner.The year was around June of 1980.

    I was called for a mine turn as a rear brakeman at 11:00pm.When I signed in I noticed it was a turn to a rail/truck load out about 40 miles from Russell on the Big Sandy S.D. A gravy run which should put us back in Russell in about 8 hours if all goes well..I place my grip with the others and got a cup of coffee and proceeded to look over the daily bulletins till our ETD(estimated time of departure) neared..The units that night would be 2 of the 2300s(GE U23Bs) and a old C&O caboose wearing a very faded Chessie C.We had around 44 empty hopper cars and would pick up 39 loads at the load out...A easy day.

    We made the run to the branch and proceed to make a reverse move up the short branch(2 miles) and we arrived around 1:30am at the load-out.We proceeded to switch cars out and made the usual inspection of the train making sure that the air hose was connected,air line angle cocks open,hand brakes release etc by 3:00am we was ready to go except for pumping up the train air which would take about 30-35 minutes.It was decided we would eat our lunch first before pumping up the air.Highly unusual as that could be done while we ate our lunch.But that was the conductors wish.
    By 4:30 we had the air pumped up and was ready to roll and that we did at a very slow 12-15mph. We stopped again around 5:00am.It was beginning to get light outside.We sit there for 45 minutes.Then I noticed the conductor got a 5 quart plastic bucket out of his grip and headed out the door.I noticed the engineer walking along side of the train also carrying a plastic bucket..Both started to pick blackberries from the blackberry brushes along the track.So 39 loads of eastern Kentucky finest had to wait on blackberry picking..:D I was told later that they had spotted the Berries on the last trip to the load out and decided to pick some for Blackberry cobbler on the next trip.We arrived back at Russell around 8:45 am..No questions was ever ask what took us so long on a simple turn.Today that load-out and branch is long gone but I bet those Blackberry brushes are still there.
  2. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Neat story.
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

  4. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Brakie, i heard a story with a similar ring to it when i was a youngun living in proctor(home of the DM&IR) Seems there was a section of track where the deer always crossed at a certain time of the day. opening day of deer hunting there happened to be a train stopped about 100 yards down from this crossing and several deer didnt make it across the tracks that day.The gist of the conversation went something like-What did they expect would happen when ya make a guy work on opening day of deer hunting.Railroaders get to hunt all the really good spots :D
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :thumb: :thumb: :D
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Thanks again Brakie for more tales from the rails! Keep 'em coming! Fun to think of folks taking time to pick berries when they have a string of cars to move!
  7. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Thanks Brakie for telling us a story about the human side of railroading. After all, railroads are not only technology and engineering, there are railroaders, too! And there are lots of real characters among them!

    Keep your stories coming! I'm sure you have more to tell. :thumb:

  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Great story Brakie! Howcome I've never read anything about this in Trackplanning For Realistic Operations? :D :D :D :D :D :D

  9. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Luvvit! Keep 'em coming pleeze!
  10. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Here's two engineers in their orange hunting jackets with their trains parked while they hunt for moose. look carefully, Mr. Moose is hiding behind a bush; he's going to get them b4 they get him!

    Attached Files:

  11. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Glen, great scene! ;) :) :cool: :thumb:

    The GN main line dispatcher will be hopping mad this morning! :D :D :D

  12. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Great story Brakie! Great picture Zeeglen!

    As long as they didn't block a crossing; like some fella's did
    according another Board. Apparently some crew stopped for
    lunch in deep snow. Where they stopped blocked a housing
    development. Somebody couldn't get the Meds.... Crew arrested.
  13. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Thanks, this is a Z scale scene done a while back; seemed to fit nicely with Brakie's/Tileguy's stories. Mr Moose is really a N scale deer with a new paint job.
  14. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Little tid bit from the C&IM. Overlooking the trackage on a steep grade near Oakford Illinois is the gravesite of pioneer settler William F. Henning who died in 1874. During his term in office C&IM President Fred Schrader had track crews maintain the gravesite.

    Don't think a "board of directors" would'uv done that.

  15. castlerock

    castlerock New Member

    Brakie from 69 to 78 I ran into a lot of old timers that pulled all types of stuff I worked out of the C&O burnham Ill yard one winter and the conductor road the Eng. at night to shoot rabbits off the front of the old GP9 A hour run used to take about 3 1/2 hrs I sat in the crummy not knowing why we where always stopping and that startup again. Tell one day he asked if i ate rabbit. after that we took turns working the head end.
  16. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Brakie, great story. Reminds me of the summer I was rear brakeman on the Tidewater Southern out of Modesto. We ran through peach orchards, corn fields and tomato fields. We would switch Procter and Gamble in the afternoon. To get to the plant we had to wind our way through a peach orchard with some especially tasty peaches. We serviced a melon shed in Turlock. If we waited for the last car to get loaded and secured before we gave them a switch, the crew usually ended up with 3 or 4 honey dew melons each. Those were the days, and the caboose ice box usually had a fair selection of local goods. Today the local still works there, but it is an RCL operation and the orchards, melon sheds are sadly gone due to urban growth. The caboose is no longer needed either. :(


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