Railroad Stories: Railroad Turntables Were Fascinating

In the 1930s and 1940s, I was a child, and my father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. It was interesting for me, but hard work for the employees. I especially loved the railroad turntables. In the summers, I would ride my bike to the shop to take lunch to my father. If, by chance, they were moving a locomotive on the turntable, I got a ride. What fun that was! Those men really worked hard, especially during World War II.

Since my father worked for the railroad, we got free passes. I remember my mother and I taking trips. I’ll never forget my first dinner in the dining car – there were finger bowls, beautiful linen and the steward ringing his dinner gong. We knew most of the crew, and a conductor once took me to the baggage car to see dogs being shipped.

Our small town was a division point, and my mother was in charge of the Red Cross canteen next to the station. When troop trains came through, she served them cookies, sandwiches, coffee and milk.

The sounds of the old steam locomotives are a thing of the past, but, oh, how I miss them. Oh, for the good old days.

Betty Bouray
Chanute, 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.