Thursday, January 11, 2018


Dudley Has Been A Railfan Since He Was A Kid ...

Dudley was born in Wichita Falls, TX which had two mainline railroads, the Fort Worth & Denver and the Missouri Kansas Texas  both came through town. May have been a shortline or two. Dudley moved to Fort Worth in the late 60's and Fort Worth had the previously mentioned mainline railroads plus the Southern Pacific, Cotton Belt, AT&SF, Rock Island, Frisco, Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific. May have been one or two others. The Railroads played such a big part in making this Country what it is today.  Dudley is a member of a several closed groups on Facebook that are railroad related. Some of the members are rail fans like Dudley, some are current railroad workers and a few are old retired railroad workers. They are the ones that provide the most interesting history of the way railroads used to be. Following is a story that is really interesting and tells the story of a time gone by ...

I worked as a telegrapher for the M-K-T one day at Dallas and two days and two midnights at Ney Yard Fort Worth.  Given that I didn't have a car at the time, I made the effort to become good friends with and familiar to the crews of ATSF 11 and 12 as well as already having established friendships with the crews of FW&D 1 and 2.

The point of relevance here is that on Thursday and Friday nights, when I worked third trick at Fort Worth, I'd ride the engs of No. 11 from Dallas to Fort Worth and about the time we were passing BOP on the T&P at Arlington, the engr would ask the ATSF yardmaster at Fort Worth if he had any transfer moves going to Ney Yard and he usually responded in the affirmative, telling us about 1015PM.  

Well, that worked out just slick for me because No. 11 would usually wallow into the ATSF depot at 930PM to 940PM and it was a simple matter for me to unload there, walk to the yard office and ask the yardmaster where the Ney Transfer job was working and most commonly, he'd tell me to wait at the yard office and have the job come by there to pick me up and go to Ney Yard.  

And with that arrangement, I'd arrive at Ney Yard about 1045PM, just in time to take a turn-over from the yardmaster and telegrapher/crew caller.  On third trick there was only one yard eng working (and no yardmaster as well as no yard clerk) and they usually spent most of their time over at Bunge and other grain elevators, adjoining the site of John Peter Smith Hospital.

During the next eight hours, I'd deal with No's 3 and 4 and maybe an odd extra job from Ray to Ney.  Keep in mind that the trackage between Tower 55 and Whitesboro was T&P main track and northward M-K-T trains would get their orders at Tower 55.

Come 6AM, the daylight yardmaster would show up along with the daylight telegrapher/crew caller and yard clerk and I'd give turnovers to them and blast outta there in time to catch the 615AM Allen Avenue city bus that conveniently dropped me off on some street I can no longer remember but within close walking distance of the east end of the T&P depot.

About 650AM, FW&D No. 2 (or maybe it was No. 1; I can't remember that far back anymore) and watch as it rounded the curve onto T&P eastward main track and then shove back in to the T&P depot.  Typically, the engr was Artey Spivey every other day and the other engr's name for the other day is also forgotten but if he wasn't friendly, I knew the condr would let me deadhead with him.  

Regardless, Mr. Spivey would let me ride with him on the head end with the ancient E-5's.  After about four weeks of  this, Mr. Spivey asked me if I'd like to run with him giving instructions and I said "of course".  Riding the Zephyr back to Dallas would put me into DUT about 810AM, in time to walk three blocks up to Main Street and catch the Belmont bus which would take me home.  

So, my deadhead to Fort Worth and ride with the yard crew to Ney Yard was technically on Hours of Service time but no one was paying any attention to that formality.  And when I worked daylights, on Saturday and Sunday, my father would let me drive his car to Ney Yard and back home.  I did all of that for four months and, in Feb., 1966, my friendly draft board found me and so I spent the next three years in the Army doing all sorts of spiffy, fun-filled things.  At least I had a decent introduction to what my railroad career was gonna be like.

Now that is dedication!

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