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Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: January 18, 2020, 04:01:54 PM »
Saturday Report January 18, 2020.  Central Florida Temperature - High 70's and clear.

This week's Saturday Report will not contain a weekly "story" because the Forum is under renovation and photographs cannot be guaranteed for posting.  Unfortunately, this week's story had several photographs.  So, this week's Report will only memorialize today's activities on the A&S Railroad.  Next week's report will be with story, hopefully, but without Report, because it is the Babe's Saturday for travel to Mount Dora to have her hair done.

The weekly meeting of the Board of Directors convened promptly at 0830 hours.  The Board was given an opportunity to view the completed Cresent Limited passenger train, composed of Walthers Mainline cars with lighting installed.  The train consists of two back-to-back Southern E8 A units decked out in green, white and gold, followed by the only brand new, freshly painted REA freight car ever seen on any railroad, a baggage/RPO car, a baggage/lounge car, four coaches, a dinner, two sleepers, and a sleeper/lounge observation car.  The train performed reasonably well on it maiden voyage, except the dinner car had a tendency to derail.  (It seems like therer is one problem car in every passenger train.)  Fortunately, the A&S car maintenance team got right on it and successfully corrected the problem with the defective truck.  All cars are lighted, but, wouldn't you know it, the dinner light doesn't work.  Due to installation difficulties with the car, it will have to be scrapped and replaced wtih one of its identical twins.  Too bad, after all that work (fun) fixing the derail problem.

The Cresent traveled around  Summit and drifted down the Ovalix to the Midlands and back with ease.  It is an impressive train.  However, all readers who are interested in purchasing these Mainline cars should beware!  The installation of the lighting system is more trouble than it is worth.  The instructions are poor and the parts do not always fit.  Besides, the kits will not work reliably unless some soldering is done to make a good electrical connection.  Our car maintenance department recommends spending the extra bucks and buying the regular Walthers cars.  Additionally, some of the cars need paint touch-up and one would expect a better product from Waltthers.

We spent much of the morning admiring the progress on the South end of the railroad.  Beehives have been delivered to the Apiary and it should be a going business soon.  The bees are expected to produce hundreds of pints of Orange Blossom Honey regularly, thereby increasing A&S revenue shipments "up Nawth" during the spring and summer.

                                                                                                         WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT!

  Officer and Mrs. Eldridge Poovey recently announced the marriage of their daughter, Daffodil, to George (Crack-a-Diamond) Musselwhite.  Daffy is a recent graduate of Tahope County High School, where she excelled in shop and auto mechanics.  George is a fireman for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.  The wedding took place at the City of Tahope Police Station under armed guard.  The bride wore her new Levi skirt, jacket and tennis shoes.  The groom, who was handcuffed, wore his "Sunday-go-to-meeting suit, with his fireman's hat and bandana.  The couple will honeymoon at Delwin's Fish Camp.  Their first child is expected in March of this year.   

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: January 13, 2020, 05:26:38 PM »
Karl - While I thank you for the compliment, I cannot take credit for Sokol's.  That was the artistic work of Reading Bob Butts.  Forty lights!  I almost can't count that high.  Wouldn't have a reason to except for my age, which is 41.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: January 11, 2020, 04:01:28 PM »
Atllatic & Sourhern Saturday Report - January 10, 2020 Temperature in Central Florida, Partly cloudy, 81 degrees

The Board of Directors met promptly at 0830 hours and spent considerable time deciding how to "thin out" our passenger car inventory.  Sooo, if any of you are chomping at the bit for Walthers passenger cars of the Pennsy or Southern RR persuasion, we've got 'em and they are going on Ebay unless you speak up. 

Our guests today were the usual suspects , including Curt Webb, Greg DeMayo, and (late arrival) Bob Butts.  Bob was given an all 'round attaboy for his lighting efforts on Sokols Furniture Factory.  Bob, who must have infinate patience, installed forty lights inside and on the exterior of the building.  The A&S electric bill will undoubtedly go up accordingly.   Here is a pic of the finished product.  Much better photo coverage next week after detailing and landscaping has been done.


Our TCS Wow Sound intaller has come out of retirement and he installed new decoders in our new Southern E8's.  We wonder why Walthers thinks LOC Sound is a good system for locomotives.  We are very disappointed in the product and both of the decoders that came with our new E8's were defective.    These units are no longer available and, while it stretched the A&S budget, we were glad to get them.  See page 28 for a photo.  Probably more pics next week. The air tanks on the roof make these models interesting. 

Regular readers of this report will recall the mild complaining about installing lights in Walthers Mainline passenger cars.  Well, we now have six cars on the track and only three to go.

We adjourned to Smokey Bones for lunch and engaged in BS, as usual.

Upon return to "The Shed" we calibrated the new E8's and ran a Southern passenger train.  The lead truck on one car had a wheel out of gage and some other gremlin, causing derailments.  The gage problem was an easy fix and turning the truck the other way around fixed the gremlin. 

This week's story involves a by-gone occupation, the RPO mail clerk. 

                                                                                                         The Origin of "Sack Time"

Almost from the beginning of railroading,until the 1960's, when the airlines stole the business, every passenger train had a Railway Post Office (RPO) car.  The last mail run was in 1977.  The U. S. Mail is the business of the Federal Post Office and the governmnet contracted with the railroads to carry mail to the cities along their ruoutes. 

The mail clerks had to pass a rigoruous examination and they were very skilled and dedicated to the joby of sorting and delivering the mail.  Sometimes the RPO cars also served as baggage cars and sometimes they doubled as crew dormitories, but there was always a crew of clerks who sorted the mail into mail sacks.  Pick-up of mail bags was accomplished by "catching on the fly" through the use of a snagging device called a trackside crane, which was attached to the door of the RPO.  Deliveries were made by simply tossing out the sack of mail from the moving train with enough force to clear the car.  This manual sorting, collecting and delivering was all very low tech, but the government claimed a 99% accuracy rate for delivery. 

THe mail clerks developed a language all their own in order to get the mail sorted, sometimes under great pressure, especially during short trips between stations.  But it was not all work and no play, particularly when the mail stops were many miles apart.

The Atlantic & Southern RR was a government-designated United States Mail Carrier and employed and furnished clerks for all of the railroads that had trackage rights over the A&S.  New employees were called apprentices and were subjected to good-natured hazing until they achieved clerk status. 

Henry Herder was an apprentice on the A&S with a run on ACL's Champion from Tahope to Jacksonville.  He recalled that during the early '50's the mail would be sorted before the train reached Palatka and the clerks could get a little "sack time" from Palatka to Jacksonville.  "Sack time" was literally that.  The RPO had hundreds of mail sacks and those not in immediate use were piled up at the end of the car.  Clerks used to stretch out on the sacks and catch a quick nap. 

Naturally, the clerks who were old-timers liked to have fun with the new apprentices.  One apprentice was told to distribute the mail "nice and evenly" among the sacks without regard to destination.  Another apprentice boasted of the fairest distribution ever made.  Following instructions, he dumped all of the mail on a big table and, when the engineer whistled for a station, he looked to see how big the town was and filled the sack for delivery proportionately before he threw the sack out the door.


                                                                                               RPO Heavyweight at the turn of the Century


                                                                                                            Interrior of RPO in the '20's

The videos below are instructional on how the RPO"s operated during their hay-day.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: January 04, 2020, 04:32:17 PM »
Saturday, January 4, 2020.   70 degrees and overcast.

The Board of Directors met this morning promptly at 0830 hours and discussed the pressing question of the day - installation of lighting in the Walthers Mainline passenger cars.  We decided to install lights in two coaches.  Your reporter was given the opportunity to have fun installing the little metal pieces that have to be threaded on the plastic tips that stick out of the forward bulkhead.  Smaller fingers would have helped but after much muttering, the deed was done.  Completed installation on each coach was disappointing.  We got to disassemble the whole thing more than once and determined it was the use of the wrong screws that caused the problem.  Switching the screws around gave us additional confidence in the process of assembly and now we have two more coaches to list on our Southern Roster.  We decided that lights in the RPO/baggage car would be counterproductive so we added it to the fleet sans illumination.

Lunch was at Smokey Bones and back to the layout.  Construction crew has been working on the south end of the A&S (see Tom's thread) and the decision was made to add trees and other scenery in that area instead of more structures, at least on the south side of the Tahope River.  Good decision.  That area is very rural and already has a furniture plant and a pest control business in place.

Happiness and Joy!  Our decoder installer has decided to come out of retirement and two Southrn E8 diesels were delivered to him this afternoon.  This takes much pressure off of the A&S President so he can continue progress on the railroad.

The idea for this week's story came from one of my favorite Mark Twain tales.  I wonder how he would go over on late-night television today.

                                                                                                               THE REA ICEMAN

You may remember Newt Fisher, Luke and Tallula's boy.  Newt lived with his parents in one of the shacks on Eaton's Curve until he moved to the Bottoms at age 32. 

Well, Newt finally managed to get a job with the Railway Express Agency (REA) as a baggage watchman.  His job involved riding in the REA baggage car and protecting the cargo entrusted to his employer.  The job was perfect for Newt because he didn't have to do anything in particular and, while the train was between stations, he could catch some shut-eye.

Some of the REA baggage cars had standard vestibules that allowed access to the rest of the passenger cars.  The car assigned to the Seaboard's Silver Meteor had such a car in January 1950, and Newt was in charge of security for its contents.

Naturally, Newt found it convenient to roam through the train between stations on the trip from Tahope to Jacksonville.

Now, there was a party of salesmen who boarded the Meteor in Tampa who were headed for Washington and they were having a good time playing poker in the club car.  Since none of them were temperance men, they decided to order a drink.  The porter apologized and said, "I'll be happy to git y'all a drink, but there ain't no ice."   

Newt happened to be observing the card game and he offered a solution.  "I've got cargo that has to be iced down and a little won't be missed if I bring it for your convenience."  So Newt disappeared for a few minutes while he retrieved a bucket of ice and the drummers all had a drink.  Newt got free drinks as compensation.
There were refills as the night went on and Newt made several trips to get more ice.

Around midnight, Newt was asked to make another ice run, but he declined.  One of the salesmen offered to pay some cash for more ice but Newt had to politely decline, saying "I sure could use some cash and I could get more ice, but I'm afraid if I take any more off of the corpse it will spoil."

It's good to have a dedicated employee like Newt.

Tom - Not to be a nit-picker or anything, but you misspelled "tires."  In Tahope it is spelled (and pronounced) "tars."  The Roadwork looks good.

Kit Building / Re: 2020 Build Challenge: FSM The Rock Bunker
« on: January 02, 2020, 10:34:09 AM »
John - This kit should be a true test of artistic modeling.  A daunting challenge.  But you are up to it.  I will follow along with the others.  You should finish the kit quickly since you are enjoying the winter season and can't do much else.  It's a summy 70 degrees where I sit.  Sorry about that.

BTW, Happy New Year to you!

The Judge

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: December 30, 2019, 03:21:17 PM »
James - When I was just a tot (age 9) my mother and I traveled from Millen, Georgia, where her brother and sister lived, to Orlando by train.  The train was powered by one of C O G's beautiful 4700 series 4-8-2's. The C of G took us from Millen to Savannah and we rode in a 1920's ventage 14 section Pullman.  The Pullman was switched to the ACL passenger train (diesel-powered) at night and we woke up in Orlando the next morning.  It was the only time I got to sleep in a Pullman section.  I do remember the toilet flushing directly onto the roadbed and that was the way things were well into the 60's when I took the train from Chattanooga to Orlando.  I know the environmentalists must have been at work to change that sewage disposal system but for the life of me, I cannot remember anyone getting sick from licking ballast or the aquafer being polluted due to the waste.   

What happened?  Maybe I will Google it.

The Judge

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: December 28, 2019, 04:08:49 PM »
Saturday Report - December 27, 2019.  Temp. 75 degrees, partly cloudy.  Drizzle intermittently. 

The Bored Directors convened promptly at 0830 hours.  The main topic was inventory reduction.  We decided to liquidate some locomotives that are duplicates and have been stored in their boxes for over 10 years.  Management will probably use Ebay, but if any of the readers of this report are in the market for ACL or SAL diesels, give Tom a jingle.

The morning was taken up with running a POL train (that's petroleum, oil, and lubricants to you non-military types) powered by two ACL purple and silver Geep 7's from the Bottoms to Summit where the tankers were dropped and a 21-car mixed freight was made up.  This train made its rounds at Summit and returned to Sanlando yard just prior to lunch.  Oh, yes, the session was interrupted by the arrival of Bob Butts and Greg DeMayo.  We all went to lunch at Smokey Bones.

After lunch, a lash-up of two Central of Georgia E7's with a C of G SD9 sandwiched in between made the rounds on the Tahope level. 

Then we called it a day.

This week's story will be familiar to those who remember their first day on a new job.  There are invariably screw-ups that embarrass the new employee, but ususally they are survivable. 

                                                                                                            FIRST DAY ON THE JOB

Those who follow this weekly Report will recall that "shiftless skonk," Shortstack achieved promotion from roundhouse sweeper to brakeman due to his heroic, although self-preserving, efforts to save a runaway coal drag which was speeding down the Ovalix.  You will also recall that Shortstack was instructed to report to the roundhouse and get his name on the Extra Board. 

It was shortly afterward when Shortstack received a "call" to brake train #44, the ACL daily local that originates at Sanlando and meanders through Tahope, switching cars, and then proceeds up the Ovalix to Summit.  Oddly enough, Shortstack was assigned as the head-end brakeman (head shack), which meant he would ride in the cab of the engine during the trip. 

Shortstack arrived at the Sanlando diesel service facility first thing on Monday morning, ready to show his stuff on his first day at work as a paid railroader.  He walked over to the two GP&'s, numbered 313 and 311 that were assigned as power for#44.

Shortstack was the only member of the crew assigned to #44 that day who was not a veteran railroader.  The engineer assigned to #44 that day was a crusty old hogger named "Uncle Henry" O'Leary, who looked at Shortstack with disdain and didn't even bother to say "good morning" to him.  The conductor, Melvin Hatter, greeted Shortstack with a grin and warned him to "stay clear of Uncle Henry."  The fireman, whose name was Jim, busied himself with the engine and took his seat just as Uncle Henry eased the consist out of the service facility into the yard and coupled up to the 20-car train.

It was not necessary for two GP7's to be assigned to the 20-car train, but it was ACL practice to put at least two units to any consist that would travel up the Ovalix, due to recovery difficulties if there were mechanical problems with one of the engines.

Uncle Henry pulled his train out of the yard and onto the mainline, heading across the Great Divide, over the bridge at Mosquito Lagoon, through Piney Woods, and around the Bedford Forrest reverse loop to the spur leading to Tahope. 

A boxcar full of furniture was picked up at Skokill's and an empty one was left in its place.  Other boxcars were switched at industries along the way and two hopper cars were spotted under the coal tipple at the roundhouse. 

Uncle Henry must have forgotten he was running diesels because he jerked a knuckle when he dropped the coal hoppers.  That meant Shortstack, the hind shack, and the conductor got to replace the knuckle, causing much consternation and delay. 

Local ordinance prohibits the sounding of whistles or horns in downtown Tahope, so the engine crew rang the engine's bell while watching the 12-mph speed restriction.  Uncle Henry noticed the bell was not ringing normally.  The clapper would get stuck every so often.

The climb up the Ovalix was without incident and the through cars were dropped at Summit Yard, awaiting transfer to Jacksonville.  It was time for lunch, but Uncle Henry ordered Shortstack to stay with the engine while the rest of the crew walked over to a beanery for eats. 

Uncle Henry thought he could repair the problem with the bell, so he decided to move the diesels to the RIP track where it was spotted over the outdoor repair pit.  He growled at Shortstack, saying "I'm going down to see if I can repair the bell.  Don't move from your seat and don't touch anything." 

Now Shortstack wanted to make a good impression on his first day of the job, but he had been working the train for several hours an, after eight cups of black coffee, the call of nature was beckoning to him. 

The Coast Line ran their Geeps short hood first, with the bell located under the short hood.  The crew's toilet was located down a couple of steps in the short hood and Shortstack decided it would be better to use the toilet instead of the great outdoors.  After all, Shortstack had his dignity.

After Shortstack was completely relieved, he pushed the flush handle, discharging the toilet's contents to the ground below.  That is when he heard Uncle Henry angrily hollering a stream of cuss words.  As Uncle Henry climbed up to the cab, Shortstack could see he was soaking wet.  I mean, how was Shortstack to know the toilet discharge pipe was located next to the bell?  Maybe that is why the sign that said "DO NOT FLUCH WHILE TRAIN IS IN STATION" was posted above the toilet. 

Shortstack made a split-second decision to dismount on the fireman's side just in time to avoid meeting up with Uncle Henry.  He ran as fast as he could to the yardmaster's office.  The yardmaster noticed Shortstack was seriously troubled and, after questioning, learned what had happened.  "Couldn't have happened to a more deserving hogger," said the yardmaster, who offered to hide Shortstack in his tool shed.

Train #444 made it back to Sanlando without Shortstack.  When he was called for another trip the next day, he was relieved (no pun intended) to learn that "Fatso" Johnson would be the engineeer. 



Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: December 21, 2019, 04:02:06 PM »
Saturday Report - December 20, 2019  - 72 degrees and partly cloudy

This is the monthly Saturday when the Babe and Tom venture to Mt. Dora for the beauty treatment.  So, there is no formal Saturday Report.

However, there needs to be some follow-up on my last missive complaining about the Walthers lighting kit for Mainline passenger cars.  My opinion of the kit has not changed.  But my attitude has changed for the better.  Tom never gives up on a project until it is in the state of perfection and he figured out how to install the lighting kits with only a minimum of adjustment to the kit.  He is working his own thread on the subject and there is no need to try to make my comments redundant.  However, once the Langford solution is applied to these cars they work perfectly and the lights are actually constant intensity.  It just takes a little extra effort (on top of the plenty of extra effort already needed to install a simple light bar.)  We should ultimately have a nine-car Southern RR passenger train pulled by green, white, and gold E7's.  At that point we will have to decide if the grab iron kits are worth it.

The basis of this week's story comes from tales my father told me when I was growing up.  Dad lived in Lakeland, Florida, and that city had a large (ACL) roundhouse and repair facility.  in the years before WWI until the end of steam, some of the lucky high school boys got to get up early each morning and wake up (call) the engine crews who were bunked in a hotel near the railroad.  After waking up the crew, they got to hang out in the roundhouse until school time and watch the goings-on.  Naturally, these young lads were called "Call boys." 

Now some of the readers of this Report are familiar with the term "call girls."  Call girls were (and still are) in the business of recreation and not furthering the schedule of the railroad.  Call boys had little in common with call girls unless, during the wake-up process, an out-of-town railroader happened to acquire one for recreational purposes.  In that event, call boys were sworn to secrecy and sometimes given a 50 cent piece for their silence. 

The Lakeland roundhouse could perform all but the most major repairs and I remember tales of changing a tire on a Copperhead ten-wheeler and, while my dad watched, two mechanics loosened a fixture on a locomotive while one of them held a 5' chisel to the fixture and the other one slammed it with a sledgehammer.   It was dirty work and, after school, some of the call boys would return to the roundhouse for more introduction into the world of steam maintenance.  I'm sure their mothers, like my grandmother, had a few things to say when their children came home covered with grease and coal dust. 

Anyway, this week's story has to do with the life and lot of call boys on the Atlantic & Southern RR.

                                                                                                                   CALL BOYS

During the steam era, mostly before WWII, the crews would "tie up" for the evening at the Tahope Roundhouse and spend the night in the Hotel Imperial in downtown Tahope.  Now the A&S was always cost-conscious and the rooms at the Imperial met the standards of the day but were not fancy.  The hotel was a 19th-century structure that had only recently had electricity installed, along with indoor plumbing.  it had no elevators but each floor had a bath and shower at the end of the hall.

In those days, the A&S hired high school boys as call boys.  Their job was to awaken the crews before dawn so they could arrive at the roundhouse on time to make their regular runs. 

These boys usually made 25 cents a day for their efforts, which was a good stipend in the days before the Great War. 

Railroaders are an ornery bunch and call boys learned to be on the alert for angry men who were awakened after a night of drinking at the Trackside Tavern and only a few hours of sleep.  They also learned to be discrete in the event they discovered a railroader from out of town who had managed to find some feminine company for the night.  In such cases, their discretion was handsomely rewarded with a generous contribution for their silence. 

The City of Tahope is a division point on the A&S RR and a number of boys from Tahope County High School were chosen to be call boys.  The school principal made recommendations from the best-behaved students and the railroad picked from the list.  Kids like "Bennie" Cartwright, who was captain of the school football team, and Willie Hunter, whose father was president of the Tahope State Bank, were chosen, while Duffy Doofer and Charlie "Catfish" Baker, both of whom had juvenile records, were not.

"Bennie" would awaken at 4:00 a.m. and report to the yardmaster's office.  By that time the hostlers were well on their way to building up steam in the boilers of the engines scheduled to make a morning run.  The yardmaster gave Bennie his list of crew members to wake up and he began his wake-up calls.  Today's list included a young brakeman from Jacksonville named Jack O'Malley and when Bennie opened the hotel room door to awaken him, he discovered a young lass keeping him warm.  Yes, it was Maggie Hussey, supplementing her income from the Trackside Tavern.  Maggie knew Bennie from 4-H Club activities before she was expelled from school so that cost O'Malley an additional 50 cents to keep Bennie silent about the encounter.

The job of being a call boy was perfect for these boys because they could hang out in the roundhouse after the crews were awakened and snoop around to see what was going on.  They could listen to the tales told by the crews and learn a thing or two about railroading. 

But all good things come to an end, and soon they had to be off to school to learn about things that had nothing to do with being a railroad engineer, which is what they all wanted to do.


                                                                                                             The Hotel Impeerial


                                                                                            Inside the Roundhouse Early in the Morning

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: December 14, 2019, 05:30:57 PM »
Saturday Report - December 14, 2019.

The Board convened at 0830, as usual.  The main topic was the installation of lighting in a Walthers Mainline Southern coach.  The A&S purchased several (11) of these cars of various configurations with the contemplation that a lighting "kit" was available.  So, the finance officer ordered two of the kits with that in mind.  Let me tell you about the installation. 

First, it is necessary to remove the roof from the passenger car.  That is usually a project in itself with a Walthers car, but the Mainline series has a different manufacturing approach.  The "windows" are all one clear plastic strip that is attached to the roof.  The instructions say simply to grab the car on either end and twist and the roof will "pop off."  NOT SO.  The photograph on the instruction sheet pictures a woman's hands doing this job and we can testify that ain't gonna happen.  We wrestled with the car and finally inserted toothpicks between the roof line and the car body to spread the body apart enough to remove the roof.

Once the roof was removed, we disassembled the car completely, but not by following the instructions.  The instructions said to first remove the "force-fitted" vestibule wall.  Ours was glued to the car deck.  No problem.  we unscrewed the floor and removed it.  This allowed the metal contact strips on the floor to fall out.   Then we tried to follow the directions using the photographs provided to install the contact devices against the front bulkhead of the car.  They are designed to be left and right contacts but the instructions leave that out.  in addition, the contacts have a small hole in them that is supposed to fit over a plastic stud in the bulkhead.  Unfortunately, the hole was too small to fit and had to be reemed out.  It was at this point when we determined that you can not test the lighting system unless you fully reassemble the car.  So, we proceeded to do just that.  Naturally, the lights didn't work and we got to practice removing the roof again.  A second assembly/disassembly provided the same results.  So, frustrated at the failure of this supposedly straight forward project, we gave up for the day.  Oh well, only an hour and a half was wasted.  Further adjustments may make the project a success, but that will have to be later in the week. 

Recommendation - Buy the Walthers passenger cars with lighting included.  Walthers has figured out how to make you wish you did.  Let some little Chinese girl install the lighting and don't complain about the extra cost. 

                                                                                             The car - Just twist and the roof will "pop off." 

                                                                                                     It takes tooth picks to remove the roof


                                                                                                     Walthers' version of Fifty-two Pick-up

                                                                                                    THE GREAT PAY CAR ROBBERY

On the 15th of each month, the Atlantic & Southern finance department issues cash payments for employees working "out on the line."  This monthly activity has not gone unnoticed by certain unsavory characters who are temporary residents in The Bottoms.

Two of these vagabonds, Wormey and Michael "Thumbs" Morgan, decided to take advantage of the pay schedule and withdraw a little pay for themselves.   They nailed a drag coming up the ovalix from The Bottoms and snuck into the Sanlando yard.  The pay car was spotted in front of the Depot awaiting the all-clear to move to the main and distribute pay in Piney Woods and then up the Ovalix to Summit. 

Wormey had his "piece" concealed in his ragged coat.  The plan was to advance to the pay car and demand the paymaster "stand and deliver" like days of old.  No one ever gave either of these two would-be robbers credit for having a lot of sense. 

Naturally, the would-be robbers did not contemplate that the railroad knew the pay car made its regular schedule and provided armed guards for security.  When the robbers demanded the paymaster to "stand and deliver, " they were met with the barrels of three double-barreled shotguns and were taken into custody by Officer Poovey of the Tahope Police Department.   

The trial commenced two weeks later with the defendants representing themselves.  The jury was out for less than ten minutes and found them guilty.  Since nobody was hurt and the charge was only attempted robbery, Judge Elvin P. Thomas sentenced them both to five years in Florida's prison, saying "Yer lucky you didn't git any monetary remuneration from this caper.  it could have been life."  A just result for two bad men who only tried to commit a crime and didn't have sense enough to complete it.


                                                                                                                  The Pay Car

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Re: Sunday, December 8, 2019
« on: December 08, 2019, 01:10:49 PM »
Today couldn't be better.  Not a cloud in the sky and temperature at 80 degrees.  My wife, Cindy, and I went to breakfast this morning, like we usually do, at a dinner named "Four B's."  She is going to her Sunday afternoon movie in a few minutes, but meanwhile, she is finishing up the Christmas decorations.  Our 45th wedding anniversary was yesterday.  It's hard to forget your anniversary when it is on Pearl Harbor Day. 

I was very impressed with Bob's latest build.  I hope he left it at the A&S on purpose.  I know just where it ought to go.  it's great to have talented friends.

Good afternoon, everybody.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: December 07, 2019, 04:40:58 PM »
Saturday Report - December 7, 2019 (78the Anniversary of Pearl Harbour.  1550 hours, 74 degrees and sunny.  Sorry about that.

    The Board of Directors met promptly at 0830 hours.  We marveled at the new computer installed in the president's office while your reporter enjoyed a cold Coca-Cola. 
    Today was Seaboard Day and we powered up our SAL E8A units to pull a freight through the Midlands, up to Summit and back down to the Midlands with some set-outs in Tahope.
    Greg Demayo and Bob Butts arrived around 10:00 a.m. and we made a close inspection of Bob's newest construction effort.  Then we adjourned for lunch at Smokey Bones. 
    After lunch, we traveled by automobile to Lucerne Towers in Orlando to visit Jim Miller, who is recovering from open-heart surgery and in rehab there.  Jim appears to be recovering nicely and is expected to go home in about a week.  You can tell he's feeling much better than last week when we visited him because of the level of complaining.  Anyway, since Claire brought him his laptop, he is now back on the forum and can receive well wishes from his friends, if any. 


                                                                                           SAL E8's in freight service near the work train spur


                                                                                             SAL E8's spotted near Whalen's Apiary

This week's story is one that covers events that nearly resulted in the economic ruin of the A&S Railroad.  Over its lifetime, the A&S has survived both fire and flood, but a hostile takeover nearly did it in.  Here is the story.

                                                                                                         THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER

In 1948, the Atlantic Coast LIne Railroad, the successor to Henry B. Plant's West Florida railroad empire, decided it would be in its best interest to acquire the Atlantic & Southern Railroad.  ACL began to quietly buy up A&S stock.  When it became obvious that a hostile takeover bid was looming, A&S's President dedicated himself to resist it.

It was a David and Goliath struggle, with the little A&S coming up against the enormous resources of the ACL.  A&S'a lawyer, Marvin Bello, was up against the big-name railroad lawyers from Washington, D.C.

A stockholder's action was filed in the federal court in Orlando and the parties got set for trial.  It was decided that the ACL would settle for trackage rights over the A&S if the A&S could extend its line to Summit and construct a major freight yard there within 90 days.  Failure to extend the line as agreed would forfeit the title of the A&S to the ACL. 

A&S's Superintendent of Maintenance, Will Fixer, was enlisted to supervise construction and he laid into the task.  He marshaled  Patrick O'Clannahan's track gang and hired Joe Steeler, a former Army Supply Sergeant, to scrounge material.  Steeler searched the swampy areas adjacent to the mainline for previously purloined rails and, when added to some second-hand rails acquired by abandoning some seldom-used spurs, there were enough rails to do the job.  Ties were easy to get from Piney Woods.  Spikes and related iron pieces were purchased from the proceeds of a bake sale sponsored by Sweaty Betty and Paula Deen Perkins.

A&S's Number 71, an 0-8-0, was enlisted to push the flat cars up the Ovalix to Summit and on the first day the gang went to work with both speed and daring.  It was late November and they suffered from cold in the 60-degree weather.  (They were Florida boys from Tahope County.)  The construction went on schedule until it was discovered through miscalculation, there lacked about mile of track.

With only a day left to complete the contract, Will Fixer directed O'Clannahan to tear up the rails in Tahope and use them to complete the yard at Summit. 

The ACL lawyers discovered the missing rails when they exited Trackside Tavern that evening.  They promptly filed motions with the court for forfeiture of the A&S to the ACL on the basis of the implied condition that construction of the yard at Summit would not interfere with mainline operations on the A&S.  But Marvin Bello, who never lost a case, argued the agreement was complete as written and parole evidence of some implied condition was inadmissible.

"Judgment in favor of the A&S," said his Honor.

After leaving court, lead counsel for the ACL approached Marvin Bello and said, "You know, Marvin, you don't know squat about running a railroad, but you're one hell of a lawyer."  Then they all retired to Trackside Tavern, along with the Mayor and the City Council to enjoy a cold beer, sausage, and a performance by "Toots" Hussey, Maggie's older sister. (See Story of a Fallen Woman, page 28.)

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 30, 2019, 03:52:26 PM »
Saturday Report - November 30, 2019.  Sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, temperature was 69 early this morning and now it is 83.  Sorry about that.

    The Board of Directors met on time this morning at 0830 hours.  The main topic was a discussion about thinning out or locomotive roster and rolling stock roster - both of which are way out of date - Surly none of my readers would have out of date rosters. . . We are going to spend a Saturday or two (after the first of the year) updating the rosters and, meanwhile, the CEO is going to focus on moving some equipment on Ebay. 
    We decided to run some Southern equipment this morning and pulled two green, white and gold E7's out of the storage drawer.  These beauties were assigned to a 25 car plus caboose mixed freight leaving Sanlando for Summit.  The E7's pulled the train without difficulty and after a thorough tour of the Midlands, we proceeded up the Ovalix to Summit.  No problem there and your reporter got an opportunity to use the manual setting to notch up the prime movers during the climb.  Loads of fun.
    About 10:00 a.m. we adjourned for a trip to the hospital to see our friend Jim Miller, who is recovering from open heart by-pass surgery.  He is recovering as expected and should be shipped to a rehab facility next Tuesday.  Better him than me so they say.
    After our visit, we headed for Smokey Bones for lunch.  The place was deserted except for us but others arrived after 12:00.
    Upon return from lunch, we broke the 25 car freight in two and ran two trains around Summit.  The 4-8-2, ACL 1401, was fired up and proptly blew a decoder.  These things happen with the older run of TCS WOW Sound decoders.  TCS replaces blown decoders with new, updated versions at no charge so 1401 will be in the ruondhouse for repairs for awhile.


                                                                             Southern RR E7's entering Piney Woods with a short freight train

    This week's story is one involving the A&S track gang.  Working on the railroad in the '50's was back breaking work and, like today, it seemed to attract immigrants who were willing to do it.  A lot of these men were Irish and came to Central Florida from places like Boston, New York, and Chicago.  A number of these men found their way to the A&S railroad.

                                                                                                          THE SECTION FOREMAN

    The Atlantic & Southern has a section foreman named O'Clannahan.  He is one of those old-time section foremen who knew how to get a day's work out of his men  without being a bully or a loundmouth.  Everybody on the road knew and respected him. 
    On day in late November, with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, O'Clannahan was walking along a section where track was being replaced and noticed a member of his gang relaxing under an oak tree fast asleep.  Eyeing the man with a smile, he said, " Slape on, ye idle wage skimmer, slape on.  So long as ye slape ye've got a job, but when ye wake up, ye're out of wurrk."
    Later that day, the roadmaster ordered O'Clannahan to build a tool house exactly halfway between the two mileposts located just past the Sanlando passenger dept. 
    To locate the desired spot, O'Clannahan said to one of his gandy dancers, "I'll walk south from the north milepost and you walk north from the south milepost and we'll meet in the middle.
    This plan was carried out and the tool-house was built at the point where the two men met.  The job had hardly been finished when the surveyor, Princeton Penman, said, "O'Clannahan, I've heard how you located the midway point and i want to tell you you're off on your reckoning.  You are a tall man with a long stride and that gandy dancer is a little squirt who barely steps two feet if that.  Now I've measured the distance and find your tool house to be 90 feet nearer the south post than the north post.  You better fix the problem before the roadmaster catches the blunder and calls you down."
    A week later the roadmaster turned up and said, "Well, O'Clannahan, is that tool house exactly halfway between the mileposts?"
    "Yes, sir. precisely," said O'Clannahan. 
    "Buy I hear you first built the tool-house in the wrong spot.  Did you have any bother moving it to the right place?"
     "No bother sir," said O'Clannahan, "I didn't move the house.  I moved the post."


                                                                                                               O"Clannahan's Track gang - He's on the left in the vest.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Re: 11/28/19 Happy Thanksgiving
« on: November 28, 2019, 08:39:25 AM »
Happy Thanksgiving to all my model RR friends!  We are fortunate to have been invited to Thanksgiving Dinner at the house of one of my very best friends, a retired judge who lives in Cocoa Beach.  Cocoa is only an hour's drive through pine forests and the St. Johns River Valley.  The trip is like touring Tahope County. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 23, 2019, 03:44:35 PM »
Atlantic & Southern Railroad Saturday Report - November 23, 2019  Temperature in Central Florida - Sunny and mid-80's.  Sorry about that.

The Directors of the A&S met promptly at 0830 hours.  Items of discussion included the purchase and installation of the CEO's new computer and disposition of Pennsy equipment that has been deposited on A&S property for sale or other disposition.  Surplus Pennsy coal hoppers were the focus of the discussion.  A number of them will be made available for other roads in the near future.

The Pennsy Sharks powered a coal train from the Bottoms up the Ovalix to the Midlands and then to Summit.  The A-B-A lash-up had no trouble traveling from the Bottoms to the Midlands and then to Summit with 29 coal hoppers and a caboose.  The Baldwin prime movers really sound realistic with WOW sound, although the "B" unit is an unpowered non-functional, but pleasing, consist enhancer.

Greg Demayo arrived around 10:30 and he ran his Pennsy H10 Consolidation until we departed for Smokey Bones for lunch. The H10 was coupled to the 29 car coal train and it pulled it with ease on the Summit level track.  Many have objections to the "rubber tire" on these engines but we are here as witnesses to say they really do the job. 

After lunch, your reporter ran a Pennsy passenger train, powered by three F2's and Greg ran his H10 as fast as it would run.  True GREG SPEED.  He claimed he was breaking the engine in.  We will see if he runs the engine at a slower speed next time.  The H10's were luggers and not speedsters but that did not matter to Greg.

This week's story is of a discontented Pullman passenger who was probably a regular on the City of Miami.  No one can blame him for being upset.  But to whom do you complain?  Pullman?  Illinois Central?  ACL? Florida East Coast?  NC&StL? C&EI?  All of them have a piece of "The City."

                                                                                                        PUT ME OFF AT SANLANDO

The City of Maimi is the Chicago to Miami streamliner that comes through Tahope County three days a week. 

One day in November, the northbound City departed Miami on time, fully loaded with passengers.  One of the passengers decided to take a nap in his comfortable coach and asked the porter to awaken him when the train reached Sanlando.  The porter agreed and assured him he would be awakened in time to get off the train.

h next thing the passenger knew, the train was backing into the station in Jacksonville.  The passenger became visibly upset and began cursing and hollering, demanding he get his hands on the porter, who had gotten wind of the ruckus and had wisely hidden behind a post in the train station. 

While the passenger was demanding to see a railroad representative so he could file a formal complaint, a brakeman walked over to the porter and asked, "What's the matter with that passenger?  He's running around and hollering to beat all!"  The Porter peered around the post and replied, "Yeh, but that ain't nuthin' compared to the man I put off in Sanlando."

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