Railroad Stories: Railroad Family Grateful For Jobs

Mother, aunt, uncle and grandfather were part of railroad family.

| Good Old Days

I come from a railroad family. My mother, aunt, uncle and grandfather all worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. My grandfather was a section foreman who helped lay track from Wichita to Winfield, Kan., at least a hundred years ago. My uncle was a fireman who was bumped during the Depression. He got a temporary job in Cleveland in the Grand Lodge offices of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, because he could type and take shorthand. He eventually retired from that temporary job.

My mother and aunt worked in the junction during World War I. They had a row of big switches that were operated by hand to keep trains on the proper set of tracks. The Santa Fe Magazine ran a picture of them on duty, which I am lucky enough to have.

I have traveled by train many times. It seems unreal that passenger trains have all but disappeared. We now live in what used to be a very busy rail center on a main line from Chicago to California, with trains going both ways day and night. Now there is one train a day going east and one going west. Both come in the early morning hours. Freight trains go through town all day long, blocking Main Street and frustrating drivers, but if you want to ride on a train, get someone to take you at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning and go through a station that has been converted to house many businesses. Railroading "ain't what it used to be!"

Christine A. Scott
Newton, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 


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