Railroad Stories: We Were a Railroad Family

Like many, I was part of a railroad family, and trains were a large part of my life.

| Good Old Days

We were a railroad family, and trains played a large part in my life. My father was a section foreman for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and my two brothers were wreck derrick operators.

When I was quite young, my father would take me with him on Saturday mornings to run the rails. We would get the old push car out, and Dad would call ahead to get clearance on which way to go first. By doing this, he knew where the trains were and which way they were going.

We watched the rails as we rode, and if we found a broken one, it was marked with a yellow marker. Dad would climb the pole and hook the wire to the telephone he carried with him. Then he would report the findings, and the gang would come out and change the rail.

Several times we went one way, removed the push car from the track and waited until the train went by. I always enjoyed waving to the engineer.

One time, Dad called ahead and was told to stay put until 11 a.m. We waited and waited, and finally, a train whistle blew. Then two more whistles blew.

Dad said, "There's a bad wreck on the west end."

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