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my grandfather's engineers cap

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1 my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/3/2018, 3:08 pm

I have all these memories of my grandfather in overalls and wearing his railroad cap. He was a barrel chested tough guy from Western Alabama who after I stepped on a nail through a 2 x 4 which came through my foot as a five year old he commented to my mother why was I crying so loud as my shoe was full of blood and they were getting me in the car to the doctor. He always had that railroad cap on and I treasure the day he took me to the Birmingham yards and let me get on a steamer and pull the whistle. I think I am going to buy this cap which is the cap I was talking about.

https://www.apparelnbags.com/rothco/hickory-stripe-engineer-cap.htm?colorid=180313&utm_source=google&utm_medium=google_shopping&utm_campaign=google_products&gclid=CjwKCAiArOnUBRBJEiwAX0rG_Rt5NgGZnPCRwYaSyCRQnQbtwbFNV_nGaMhscZePWT6PBCryeqtC2BoCRywQAvD_BwE

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2 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/3/2018, 6:16 pm

I like it.

Many Ebay sellers are offering with FREE SHIPPING and, depending on where they are, may not charge sales tax whereas your guy does because he's in FL:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=Rothco+5448+Hickory+Stripe+Engineer+Cap&_sop=15

Inexpensive enough in any case. I say buy it! May've related this before but I recall watching some documentary about long-lived individuals and one old man said the key to longer life is to always have something coming UPS. Laughing

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3 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/3/2018, 11:39 pm

Love it. My grandfather was yard master for L&N.

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4 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/4/2018, 11:41 pm

This thread made me smile as well as take me back many years to my early days in my own railroad career. In 1963 and at 18 I was an extra board clerk working on the Henderson Sub Division with a main line between Evansville and Nashville. While I was required to be qualified (in theory) to work every single clerical position on this 165 mile mainline I spent most of my time working in the coal fields of western Kentucky. The principal terminal was in Madisonville and was known as Atkinson Yard. A huge part of this job was to work with the inbound and/or outbound crews to give instructions and handle paperwork for their train(s). I had the good fortune to know all these men and enjoyed their stories dating back to the last of the steam era . . . . I found it fascinating to be totally honest. The engineer hat was a symbol at that time of status and the ultimate responsibility of transporting these massive shipments across our nation and they did so proudly and without fanfare. Most engineers at that time did wear a hat but not all. One man named Tommy Ogg is in my memory as the one who always wore a multitude of styles, some multi colored, some polka dot, some with stripes while some were a simple solid color. His hats were always starched and stood high off his head . . . . clean as a pin! Whether he had been on duty 16 hours and just coming in off a grueling trip he stood tall with a great demeanor. So thanks to Mr. Oats for posting his thread about "engineer hats" as it gave me an opportunity to contribute to the conversation for a change.

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5 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 12:30 am

I would sit by the kitchen table as he and his fellow engineers would trade stories from back in the thirties where all these small streams would flood over the track and either the fireman or engineer had to walk the tracks in front of the train to make sure the RR bridge had not washed out. They also would tell stories about accidents at crossings. My Grandfather got quiet after an accident and I could hear my aunt and mother talking about how daddy hit another car and somebody died. There were an incredible number of crossings which had nothing more than the RR crossing signs. I only saw my grandfather not wearing his hat unless he was going to church, or walking me to Acipco retail area.

He was a gardener. He had a greenhouse, multiple mature fruit trees, and flowers everywhere. They raised chickens during the depression as they had a double lot on the corner where a huge garden always had them with fresh vegetables and canned fruits and preserves. What I remember most was the steel grid fence which was like a impenetrable heavy gauge steel which after I got older I wondered how they had the strength to get it upright and attached to the massive wood framework. All good memories.

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6 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 1:35 am

Love all these railroad (and grandfather) memories.   Gotta say, knothead, have always enjoyed hearing any references to your railroad career -- to many of us, it's all very romantic.  Wink   Tell us more!

Some of my favorite summer memories as a little girl (which I may've related before) were of riding the train (believe it was the old C&O -  Chesapeake & Ohio RR) from Broad Street Station in Richmond to Hampton Roads, VA, where we would hop off and catch the ferry across to Norfolk/VA Beach for our summer vacation.   Still to this day remember returning by the same route late one evening and waving to a pair of silhouetted children kneeling on the bed beside their big window, waving away to the passing train in the night.  Whoever/wherever they are now, they have no idea this rider still keeps them in mind and loves the precious image....

Sorry, I know this is not about an engineer's cap.   But it's all part of the mystique.  Trains. Gotta love 'em, and the men who ran them.

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7 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 1:44 pm

I remember the sleeper car and going through rural America and you were literally in folk's backyards. What struck me in the fifties traveling by rail was how deep the poverty was in rural areas. People would have their laundry hanging on lines, and you know ten years earlier when steamers ran regularly that those clothes got cinder and smoke on the clean clothes.

I also remember the connecting stations in cities where these enormous beautiful buildings, but as the automobile and plane become more common in travel and these large stations became white elephants. As a child, I never slept better than traveling through TN and KY at night.

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8 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 2:15 pm

2seaoat wrote:As a child, I never slept better than traveling through TN and KY at night.

Beautiful, beautiful railroad memories.  We were so young then!    

{{{{sigh}}}}

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9 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 3:10 pm

Nobody can take those memories away, and you begin to realize children aged five to ten will forever have memories of what they did as a child. I hope to spend the next few months bringing some fond memories to children. My oldest granddaughter just got her birthday present which is an ipad where her parents will let her email. I got my first email from her and answered "who dat".......to which she responded......what does who dat mean? Priceless memories.

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10 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 4:01 pm

Still to this day remember returning by the same route late one evening and waving to a pair of silhouetted children kneeling on the bed beside their big window, waving away to the passing train in the night.

What a sweet memory! Mr. Oats alluded to a view into America's backyard and truer words have never been spoken.  It is quite an illuminating experience. . . one that almost borders on invasion of privacy, lol. It is a view of poverty as well as excess but no matter how one chooses to interpret it we can only conclude that it is Americana personified. I felt an obligation to wave at those on the wayside but most especially children.  Many times while we were preparing for departure I would see Moms and Dads with their kids sitting in a car staring at us while we went about our business. If the opportunity availed itself (not causing any delay in departure) I loved waving them over to the locomotive where I would go down the ladder and spend some time chatting with them and, in some cases, would invite them up on the engine to let the kids sit in the seat, ring the bell, toot the horn, etc. which tickled everyone including myself! It was sheer joy to these kids.  During my time in Pensacola I would occasionally work a shift within the terminal and this sometimes afforded an opportunity to put Dad and kids up on the engine and we could actually move the engine back and forth on the track.
During my time working on trains in and out of Chicago there was one particular location where train buffs would spend the day with cameras mounted on tripods awaiting the next train to cross this interlocking crossing. I was told it was the busiest interlocking in the nation, it was called Dolton Junction and the Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Chicago Belt Railway, Indiana Harbor and the CSX crisscrossed. Those rail fans could see every type of equipment and train from their vantage point: military trains, auto trains, hot metal trains, coal trains, ore trains, mixed freight, you name it all crossed here on their journey.  Because it was so congested (busy) it served as one of most treacherous places to approach for the vaguely familiar (that would be me) and the stories abounded of crews getting in hot water for misreading the approach signals and proceeding thru the interlocking without authority.  Most people do not understand the discipline applied to train crews but the misreading of signals at a place like Dolton Junction would be severe disciplinary action with no exceptions. I lived by the adage that if you don't know don't go but every member of the crew would suffer the same fate for such actions . . . . it was extremely stressful.

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11 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 7:00 pm

My worst railroad memories were playing along a branch line which stopped at factories along the river. By the sixties folks were getting truck deliveries and these lines would have one train a week slowly creep down the line. Because the lines were used so infrequently, they would put weed sprayers on the front of the train and spray twenty feet on either side of the tracks. We would play in that shrubbery and put pennies on the track when they passed, but I will never forget getting soaked with the weed killer which probably did not help my getting cancer at 55, but at the time we were like huck playing along the river, exploring Devil's cave, and fishing until dark.

We would seine the river for crawdads, and Hoke's bait shop would pay us a penny per crawdad and give us the nets, and we would go to a little shop along the river where you could get real buttered popcorn in this little stand for a nickle. I look at what popcorn costs at the movie theater and I think of those innocent times. Of course people would yell at us to get out of the river because we were going to get sick as raw sewage after a storm would overflow the plants because the storm water and sewer systems were combined, but for kids we had names for all the islands, row boats and canoes, and we would sell the carp we would catch to pay for our boy scout camp.

I would never had let my kids play unsupervised all day by the river and in the woods, but it was a different time, and we could all run like deer if confronted with a drunk or bum. Our biggest scare with that weekly train was when we had a starter gun and put all the blank charges on the railroad track......oh chit, you would have thought we were butch cassidy and the sundance kid blowing up the mail car because it sounded like a stick of dynamite and the entire crew chased our silly aszes down and chewed on us for about ten minutes, but never called the police......we had one part time policeman who knew each and every one of us and our parents, so being charged with a crime was unheard of as parents did a pretty good job of getting our attention.

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12 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/5/2018, 11:20 pm

Great stories guys.

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13 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 2:36 am

Joanimaroni wrote:Great stories guys.

I'll second that emotion! Thanks to both for sharing these amazing memories. I'm going to re-read them tomorrow and enjoy all over again. Sweet!

I'll just add, on the subject of trains in people's backyards, that, when I was being treated for breast cancer here, my (somewhat younger) oncologist mentioned being from Philadelphia. I told him I went to college on the Philly 'Mainline' and used to ride the rails between Richmond and Philadelphia for vacations, holidays and such. He replied he was raised in a poor neighborhood with his backyard abutting the tracks and probably watched my train going past his house, day or night. Lives touching and yet not, same as the nighttime kids on the Virginia Beach run, except this time I met my young train watcher in person.

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14 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 8:48 am





Casey Jones says always take the train. It's safer than the three hour tour.

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15 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 11:40 am

RealLindaL wrote:
Joanimaroni wrote:Great stories guys.

I'll second that emotion!  Thanks to both for sharing these amazing memories.  I'm going to re-read them tomorrow and enjoy all over again.  Sweet!

I'll just add, on the subject of trains in people's backyards, that, when I was being treated for breast cancer here, my (somewhat younger) oncologist mentioned being from Philadelphia.  I told him I went to college on the Philly 'Mainline' and used to ride the rails between Richmond and Philadelphia for vacations, holidays and such.  He replied he was raised in a poor neighborhood with his backyard abutting the tracks and probably watched my train going past his house, day or night.  Lives touching and yet not, same as the nighttime kids on the Virginia Beach run, except this time I met my young train watcher in person.

Awesome!

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16 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 4:12 pm

Over the years I learned just how many folks were enchanted with railroading in general and I, no doubt, took it for granted for it had became my life but looking back it was a special experience and I could tell so many stories about the good times as well as the bad ones but it was special, thanks to everyone!!
Very Happy

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17 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 6:47 pm

I want to take a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.

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18 Re: my grandfather's engineers cap on 3/6/2018, 8:39 pm

Joanimaroni wrote:I want to take a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.

I agree, that would be a beautiful trip!

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