That is AWESOME! Since, I too, have so many memories of the Southern, and despite the militaristic atmosphere that sometimes prevailed (Charlotte Yard was one of those places!), I still had fun, met soooo many interesting people with stories of their own! Example: Mike Misenheimer, blacksmith at Spencer Shops who transferred to Charlotte Roadway. He WORKED on and maintained #1401 at Spencer since that engine was assigned to the Charlotte District/Piedmont Division. MIke told me about putting a thermite weld on the frame of 1401 between the drivers. "Ham" Grimes, Groundman/ crane loader who regaled me with stories of the old 4800's straining on that same hill out of Charlotte, southbound, with more 4800 helpers on the rear shoving with all their steam might! And, of course, George Ambrose, whom I was privileged to know AND ride with, both steam and diesel. He was on one trip where Trainmaster Grabarek took me forward and we crossed thru the E8s from nose to nose and up into the cab. THAT is an experience! Another night I was on the head end of the Crescent and up just north of Harrisburg, a girl in a Pinto station wagon was trying to beat us to the unprotected crossing! The fireman was fiddling with the steam jenny that was malfunctioning. I was sitting in the right seat. I watched as the girl came, faster and faster, trying to beat us to the X-ing. This feeling of dread came over me as George first blew the crossing signal, then TANT-TANT-TANT-TANT-TANT-TANT- the dreaded "collision signal"! I gripped the seat as I thought a strike was imminent. She came UP, UP and ONTO the crossing.............and disappeared under the nose of our engine as George reduced the throttle, but no brakes (yet). George whipped right to look in the rear view, then with that drawl we knew so well, "Waaaal, if she'd had another coat of paint, we'd a-got her!" He held his hands apart to indicate the distance!
WHEW! CLOSE! And the sad thing was, she had a baby in the back car seat!
So if you message me here, yeah.....we'll talk. Do you remember Richard Carpenter, engineer on Piedmont Division? Used to run the Kings Mountain/Blacksburg Turn. He and I work part-time delivering cars for a dealer. George, seems the last time I talked to him, Amtrak had taken over and he was on NS freight for a short time. He was in Charlotte one day. I had bid back to Roadway Shops as an Inventory Clerk/Storehouse. George was on a freight, and he climbed down, and we stood out on the ballast at Liddell Street and talked for a spell...................
Yep, I got a lot of memories of my life on the railroad. Got some "trinkets", too. A pristine Southern Railway hat that says "Piedmont Division" on it. My "Greenlighter" jackets (2) (You must remember, too "Safe Worker, Safety First") I'd take nothing for that!!!!! My operating
1910 Hamilton 992 Railway Special watch w/ watch card (remember those?
), my lantern(s) with which I booked a many of a car out in those yards. A set of those SR whiskey tumblers with the gold rims and SR logo, packed away for my daughter who will get most of the stuff I collected from Southern and NS.
One last memory I think is neat. When Wick Moorman was track supervisor at Greensboro, I used to ship him lots and lots of track material AND machines. I used to sign the pick lists "JWO". I saw Wick a few years back when he had just become CEO of Norfolk Southern, and I asked him if he remembered getting all those "picks' signed by me. He brightened and, stuck out his hand, "HEY J****, Of course I remember, how'ya doin'! It was just it was like back when! LOL! KInda miss those days.