I grew up with the Seashore Lines, as my father was a station agent for them for 43 years. His father was a railroader(brakeman) as well, having started on the ACRR then working for the Seashore Lines,and was killed in a accident working the yard drill at Bulson Street. In the late 60's I hired on as "temporary summertime" help as a block operator,but when September came, I was asked if I wanted to go full time, which I did. While I remember the very last days of steam ,most of my memeories are of the diesel era,starting with the Baldwins when I was younger and then the EMD's and the remaining Baldwins when I hired on. Railroading from the inside is a much more serious business than the romantic rail enthusiast side. I happened to be able to experiance both sides, which is kinda neat in it's own way. There is a satisfaction of being entrusted and being capable of handling hunderds of tons of freight trains and being reponsible for the safety of the lives of the riders of your passenger trains. I't's a no bull s**t,safety first, dollars and efiicency counts world, where if you can't handle the load and gaff, you're outta there. Don't get me wrong here,I enjoyed all I did on the Seashore Lines and am proud to have been a 5 th generation railroader and am glad for all the experiances I had. Some of the memories I have is working Brown Tower on the busy second trick,handling just about all the railroads traffic except for what was left on the main line. Speaking of the main line, how about a hot August afternoon and the lines are on the way to thier repective shore points. The train dispatcher tells you that all AC lines need train orders for a speed restriction at Egg Harbor. You write them up as he dictates them, repeat them back spelling out all the engine numbers and names of places (i.e: Engine 2005 at Winslow would be Engine two-naught-naught-five at W-I-N-S-L-O-W-, you actually got quite good at it after a bit) then stringing them up on the bamboo hoop and walking outside to hang them on. The train order light is on, but you hear the line coming and youcan tell by the fast pace of the "clickety-clack" that he;s booking, Sure as the dickens, he comes around the curve making 60 mph. I'm thinking what am I going to do now. I have to hang these orders on at 60 mph!?!?!?!. Well, snap bang ,whoosh and a cloud of dust, the engineer somehow got his arm through the hopp and got the train orders, I'm still alive, shaking a bit, but DON"T want to do that again, but 35 minutes later, same thing!! Went home that night thinking I'd had really accomplished something by keeping the lines moving on the advertised. Or the time I get a phone call at home about noon from the train dispatcher asking if I could go open Tuckahoe for a Beesley's Pt. Extra before he gets there. I says "Sure, where's he at now?" the train disprupter says" He's just arriving at Winslow". I'm thinking "What, are you nuts?". So off I go go in my '64 Chevy II, hauling butt down Tuckahoe Rd. I lived ( and stiil do) in Franklinville, so Tuckahoe has to be about 30 miles to Tuckahoe. So I'm hot footing down 555 and get to Milmay and what do I hear? Yup, the BP Extra blowing for Milmay Rd(arriving in Winslow my butt, I'm thinking.) So pedal to the metal and off to Tuckahoe. I look in my rearview window and all I can see is 3 Geeps with 125 cars of coal making track speed with a dust trail following, so faster yet I go. Swing into town, turn on Reading Ave ,make a right to the tower, jump out,run up the steps, go inside and sign on the train line,setup the railroad and pull the signals and 'Ding", the extra pops up on the train board. Radio crackles"Tuckahoe, do we have the railroad?" and I reply, a bit out of breath at this point but like there's nothing to it, " You got it!!". Yea, I have a few memories of the Seashore Lines before it disappeared,both in summer and winter. I'll post more later if there's interest, maybe next will be expoilts and shannagins at Wildwood Jct. and Cape May Canal.
Steam professional since 1974
Former Block Operator- PRSL