rwisham wrote:I realize this is a old topic. But how delighted I was to read about George Ambrose. It gave me many fond memories. George was my step grandfather. But always treated me like a grand daughter. George died some time ago. I too rode in the engine with him traveling from Salisbury, NC to Greenville, SC. Against regulations if course and he would gave me duck down if meeting another train. He was a character and was always wonderful to me. His father and his brother were also engineers. Thank you for the memories.
I am proud to have known George personally, and to have worked with him "on the ground" as a clerk, operator, and friend. George was also a "runner" and not afraid to "let 'er rip"! Hee Hee! He got a few speeding tickets from the Trainmasters, too, and scared hell out of me one night when I deadheaded back south one night on the Crescent. I mean he was letting those "oversized Chevrolets" (GM E8's)
ROLL. I think I counted 90-something between mileposts as my coach rocked and rolled. ("DAMN! He must be in a hurry to get home!!!"!!! ) Mr. Derreberry was the conductor that night, and he just shook his head.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr Ambrose used to "claim out" on the steam trains as they came thru the Piedmont Division, North End since he was, I believe, the senior engineer on his Roster at the time and had first choice of assignments. He was also qualified on steam, and I watched him work his engines expertly as they departed south out of Charlotte (NC) Yard. There was a difficult hill past the Purina plant that really challenged the engineers AND their steam engines, and George seemed to know that his engine was about to slip down.(After all, He'd done it many times back in the late 40's and early 50's! He'd "catch" it just before the slip by backing off the throttle right before it happened so that as the wheels began to lose traction, he was already on top of it, reducing power and adding sand at just the right time. I suppose the fans weren't as fond of George as they were of some of the others who wouldn't sense the impending slip. Some of the other guys let the engine almost get away from them before catching it giving the fans a thrill that George didn't like to give. It was always quite a show with 45 naught one down in the corner, exhaust rapping and echoing against the tall buildings nearby. A thunderous racket, it was!
I rode with George one night and he had me doing the whistle work (E8's). Standing behind George, I held on with one hand and kept the other on the lanyard.
When we approached Gastonia, and we eased thru town (prior to them digging that horrible train ditch), I let loose with a "TANT-TANT-A TANT-TANT........TANT TANT!"
George grinned back at me and in that "drawl" of his, "Ya tryin' to copy me, eh"!
Proud to know him, and proud of my service (and memories) of the Southern Railway!!!!