• L&H Memories: 24 Hours @ Andover (Part 2)

  • Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail
Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

Moderator: David

  by jmchitvt
After fighting heavy southbound commuter traffic on 206 eventually you got to turn left on the drive to the "station", over the connecting track, park, climb the stairs to track level, and in the winter dash into the front door, as the wind howled at this "outpost". And, on the weekends, it WAS an outpost as the only thing open except Warwick. These two open offices were kind of sandwiched by the equally boxy BK, and that regal G tower.

The night man was only to happy to do a hand off. The phone is ringing off the wall, the biggest (in $) customer is waking up and the famous eastbound parade is headed your way.

Sometimes EO-2 would be by then. Then as if you had nothing better to do the dispatcher would ask you to hand throw the Sussex switch to the connector. It paid an extra half hour on the time sheet but you really earned it in the winter.

So, you've always got orders for every train except maybe one during the week and those detailed consists to read to Warwick, Lime Crest compaining they wanted a 50 footer at Door 1, and not a 40, then the track bell goes off. EO-2 is coming at you with big cuts of reefers from the major packing houses, but you're thankful because if the O&W hadn't just shut down the Valley would have given them the revenue instead of coming further east to Richards and "pupping" them over the Delaware to Hudson Yard.

So, set up the interlocking, verify the searchlight shows red east and get outside and fork up the order to the head end. No matter that they had an approach coming at you - they HAMMER across the Sussex. Fork up the caboose and snag that weighted consist and hurry inside.

These consists were rolled into a cone with a little lead shot to weight them and thrown down towards you. They were white, smaller than a typewriter sheet, and listed each cars contents and destination. No # or initials. Then after you read each line item. Warwick could tell the NH what was coming at them and to where. This was extremely important and not all NH symbols went beyond Cedar Hill and the L&H competed with the Erie for space on the early Maybrook departures and the hot reefers always had to be head out or they got stuck behind for a later train.

Your day was interrupted weekdays by the DL&W Sussex Drill with maybe one or two to go up into Andover Yard so that meant more paperwork with a passing report. Weekends with the boring milk train west all green with a BLACK engine. When a Trainmaster came up or at the end those big grey box car-like milk cars ONLY then did we see any color.

Going back to the morning parade you'd have #32 coming up from Port Morris after EO-2 is by, then my all-time favorite HO-6. Everyone was so proud back in 1952 when TRAINS featured this train. Little Andover got a big pickure looking down off the RS-3 walkway. I'll have to get this out and sumarise it for the newer fans. Then about eleven #31 would curve off the main onto the Sussex with almost a solid consist of empty reefers. HB-9 is waiting at Port Morris for these cars!!

By now you've got to sense the urgrenty the Agent-Operator delt with (both other jobs were Operator-Clerk) on a railroad taking its job so very seriously and with GREAT PRIDE. The jobs did get over the road on time and I never heard of an unhappy customer.

After a mid-day break you've got the other Allentown job AO-4 coming at you with often 3 RS's, maybe a CNJ unit one end or the other of the lashup, the empty 1700 and 1800 series short zinc's coming back, Bethlehem Steel products, cement off the Valley, the Pennsy stuff, what's left of the once famous Alphabet Route through traffic, then maybe a LNE hack for the CNJ crews after the L&NE shut down. Different stories circulated that the L&H bought some, or the CNJ used them when they crewed this job. Then the other side of the Central States Dispatch came west with a couple/three of those new NH silver piggybacks with the new logo tucked right behind the power for priority.

Going back to train orders EVERY westbound to G got that rediculous double track order - except they gave Jack something to do at Great Meadows if he was still on duty when OA-1 went by him before he closed for the day. When the 1201PM departure was met another heavy freight rattled your windows before the end of a busy day at Anover.

It WAS a busy day for a one-man job and when Stan Pierce popped in to relieve you with his great smile you left for the day knowing ALL was well on that WONDERFUL little L&H!!
  by David
Wonderful!!--More!--Thank you---
  by Marty Feldner
Great reading- keep it up.

And- to add some visual interest and flesh out the narrative, go to your bookshelf and pull out Crist/Krause L&HR Vol. I, pages 24 to 30, while reading the memories.
  by jmchitvt
Thank you to both of you for your kind remarks.

Got to get this stuff down before my memory goes!!

Next up will be second trick on a typical weekend day at AD. And, I've got to get down the details on that rediculous "wrong main" order for OA-1, OA-3 and the "Grab" at Mansfield Street.

The younger generation looking at the "grave" that the L&H West End is HAS to know this stuff while they walk it.
  by walterconklin
What a fascinating read! I too would like to echo my thanks for sharing your memories with us. Moreover, I would be interested in hearing your memories about BK.

  by jmchitvt
BK was a New Haven "cabin" type train order office, as I remember it, not much different than Andover in size.

It was New Haven manned and open continuously, located on the very west end where the L&H split off towards Burnside. Served the L&H and Erie. I believe the L&NE being on Erie then NH above Pine Island, didn't get their orders there. I understood the O&W handled theirs at Campbell Hall coming and going off the so-called "New Haven Connecting Railroad" to/ from BK.

The one incident often repeated at Andover was to stand clear for a derailment, as BK was LEVELED by a errant box car or two off its rails!!
  by Paul Miller
thanks for sharing your stories, keeps the LHR alive. Thanks especially for the BK info, think I have a few pics of it. Do you attend the annual LHR vets dinners? I've been going the past 5 years-wonderful time and people.