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Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: Today at 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 61, 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."

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 16, 2019, 10:43:27 AM »
November 16, 2019 Saturday Report

  There is no formal Saturday Report today because it is the Babe's monthly appointment day to travel to Mount Dora.

  HOWEVER, there is a story.  It is one of courage and daring by an unlikely hero whom we have all gotten to know over the last few months.

                                                                                                       RUNAWAY ON THE OVALIX
                                                                                                   HOW SHORTSTACK GOT PROMOTED

  Sometimes railroad tracks get slick with ice.  The humidity and temperature have to be just right.  When they align just so, ice forms on the rails.  This is rare in Central Florida, but it is not unheard of. 
  Ice poses a danger to heavy trains, especially on a downgrade.  Unless the sander is operating and Mr. Westinghouse's invention is providing plenty of air, the drivers on steam locomotives tend to slide out of control.
  One chilly November morning, Shortstack arrived at the yard at Summit to begin his chores, sweeping up the floor of the yard office. 
  Meanwhile, engineer "Patti" Miller was at the ready track raising steam in ACL's Russian decapod, number 8000, for a run down to the Midlands with a load of 21 hoppers, all of which were full of coal.  The steamer would never have been loaded with so many hoppers if the trip was upgrade on the Ovalix, but 8000 was rated to make the downgrade without difficulty so long as a capable crew was handling the engine.


  Once the dispatcher gave the go-ahead, 8000 took up slack and started the trip to the Ovalix.
  Shortstack finished his chores in the yard office prior to 8000's departure and decided to hitch a ride to the Midlands in the caboose, along with the conductor and the hind shack.
  As the little decapod started downgrade, Miller noticed ice on the rails and a look of concern crossed his face.  Standard procedure handling an icy downgrade involved sanding the rails and cautiously applying the air to maintain a slow descent of 5 to 10 miles per hour.
  MIller turned on the sander as the engine began to increase speed and then applied the air, seeking about a 10% reduction.  NO RESPONSE!  MIller moved the airbrake handle back and forth, but no luck.  Now 8000 was sliding down the track on the slick rails and picking up speed.  Train would soon exceed the 25 mph speed limit on the Ovalix and be running out of control.
  Miller called for more steam and his fireman responded with several shovels full of coal into the firebox.  Miller tried to set the reverse lever into the back corner, hoping between the sand and the rotating drivers, the train would get under control.  That might have worked on an 1870 ten-wheeler, but not on a Russian decapod.  Since all else seemed to have failed, Miller decided to make some noise to warn of the impending danger of a runaway train.  So, Miller filled the Ovalix with short whistle blasts from 800's three chime whistle, signaling an emergency.
  Shortstack, who never missed an opportunity for a little shut-eye on company time, was napping in the caboose when Miller began to whistle.  He decided it would be better to face the danger head-on instead of waiting for it in the caboose, so he climbed over the coal hoppers heading for the engine.  The train picked up speed and was approaching "Greg Speed" as Shortstack made his way towards the engine. 
  When he reached the car coupled behind the tender, Shortstack, who had some limited experience railroading, noticed the angle cock connecting the air hose between the tender and the first hopper had been disconnected.  He climbed down the ladder from the top of the hopper to the coupler, which was no mean feat, because the cars were now lurching to and fro and threatening to derail.
  Shortstack reached down and recoupled the hoses.  Then he climbed over the coal pile in the tender and told Miller to try the air.  Miller waited a few seconds to give the air time to build up and then applied a standard reduction.  To the crew's delight, the air began to hold and the train slowed.  By the time it reached the Midlands, it was under control. 
  The Superintendent boarded the train at Sanlando and demanded an explanation of the incident.  He also wanted to know why the likes of Shortstack was in the cab.  Miller explained the situation and suggested the train had been sabotaged by angle cocking hobos who were refused a ride down the Ovalix. 
  "Well, Shortstack," said the Superintendent, "you've earned a heap of thanks from the Atlantic & Southern Railroad and in appreciation, I am promoting you to brakeman.  Report to the roundhouse and get your name on the extra board.
  Needless to say, Shortstack was thrilled with his newfound status.  Imagine, a shiftless skonk like Shortstack getting promoted from sweeper to brakeman.  He began making plans to move out of the Bottoms and maybe even getting a girlfriend.  Anticipating Travis Tritt by forty years, Shortstack composed a poem that later became the basis for a country and western hit, the first line of which went, "A woman warm and willin', that's what I'm lookin' for, cause the whiskey I've been drankin' ain't workin' anymore."
  But the story of Shortstack's girlfriend will have to wait for another day.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 11, 2019, 03:15:08 PM »
Curt, Dave, Greg, Jim, John, Karl, Tom, et al. 

Thank you for your kind words.

                                                                                                         Maggie Husssy Update

Maggie tried out for the cheerleader squad at Tahopee County High School in 1946 when she was in the 11th grade, but the local PTA told her mother to withdraw her name because of promiscuous behavior.  She dropped out at the end of the year and drifted towards The Bottoms where she found an abandoned boxcar for shelter.  One thing led to another and she decorated it with stuff she found around the river.  Soon the place was home.  One of her many "friends" cut a hole in the floor for her use and that worked out okay except for the flies.   A large cardboard box and an orange crate completed her furniture ensemble and a packing crate became a closet for her modest wardrobe.  She borrowed an Army surplus air mattress from a hobo who moved on without it and that served for a bed.

Maggie returned to her boxcar after her release from Lowell Correctional Facility for Women and dreamed of bigger things.  Hopefully, she will get a better boyfriend.   

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 09, 2019, 04:43:14 PM »
Sorry, Dave, I'll have to work in my military career some other time.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: November 08, 2019, 02:38:14 PM »
  Saturday Report - November 9, 2019.
  The A&S team management Board met precisely at 0830 hours to discuss matters of major importance.  First on the agenda was the correct name of the Atlantic & Southern Railroad, which has sometimes been referred to as the Atlantic & Southern System (ASS).  This has caused needless confusion.  While the A&S has some interest in other railroads, it has no current ownership interest in any other than the A&S.  Mergers and acquisitions are at least two decades in the future from 1950 and so the A&S cannot be called a "system," at least not at the present.  There is little chance the A&S will ever gobble up railroads like the ACL but, like an ant on an elephant's butt, we can dream.
  Curt Webb arrived on the scene around 10:00.  It is always good to have a visitor who actually contributes to the morning session and Curt "knows stuff" about the  Pennsy.  Since we are awash (Curt knows that's a Navy term) with Pennsy locomotives and rolling stock, his expertise was helpful.  Besides, he's an all 'round good guy.
  The new bridge over the Tahope River is complete and awaiting final touches.  It really makes the scene more interesting. 
  After the meeting, we inspected the new buildings Eric built and marveled at their artistic construction.  Then we took stock of our storage facility at the Bottoms and realized we could rearrange things to accomodate the 19 car Broadway Limited.  Several trains were moved to better use the space and we were satisfied with the new arrangements. 
  Next we ran a 20 car train of loaded coal hoppers, powered by ACL 8000, a Russian Decapod.  The little engine pulled the train without effort on level track and we ran it down the Ovalix to Ths Midlands.  Just before exiting the Ovalix, there was a slight detour that caused the train to have to retrace its path in reverse.  Out of curiosity, we decided to let it back up into the Ovalix to see how far it would go before the wheels slipped.  To our surprise, the engine backed up the Ovalix with ease.  Must be the extra weight installed when it was painted over 10 years ago. 
  We inspected some of the "bone yard" at Summit, which has a number of Pennsy steamers awaiting disposition and then we went to lunch at smokey Bones.
  After lunch we ran a Pennsy passenger train and a C of G freight.  Then we called it a day.

  The idea for this week's story came from an 1893 edition of Harper's Weekly Magazine.  It involves a conversation between a Pullman Porter and a nervous female passenger who has never ridden on a train before.  I have shortened the story considerably, but I have quoted some of the conversation that took place, including the Porter's dialect.  This is the way some people talked in 1050, or earlier, I know because I have heard them, and some people still do.  I think the Porter was from "Jaw-ja."  Probably Savannah.

                                                                                                                  The Big Trip 

  Traveling by rail in 1950 was not nearly as dangerous as before the turn of the century.  Wooden coaches were death traps if they caught fire or collided with another train due to a phenomenon known as telescoping.  It was not unusual for train wrecks to occur due to primitive hand brakes and link-and-pin couplers.  Steel coaches with modern appliances did a lot to make travel safer and train wrecks became a rare occurrence.
  One fine fall day in November 1950, the ACL Champion left on time from Tahope and carried one of Tahope's "high society" women in one of its 14 section Pullmans.  Rose Forrester was the wife of Tahope State Bank President, J. Pierpont Forrester, and she was on her way for a shopping spree in Manhatten.  This was Rose's first train trip and she was a little nervous about traveling overnight at speeds in excess of a mile a minute. 
  As evening approached, Rose spoke with the Porter and asked him to make up her lower berth so she could try to go to sleep. 
  The Porter, trying to be helpful, asked, "Beg yo', pardon ma'am, how does yo' like yo' head?" 
  "Mercy me," thought Rose, "what on earth could he possibly mean?" 
  "Do yo' want yo' feet to'd the enjyne?  Dat's de safes' way ebery time."
  "Oh dear, now I'm scared," said Rose.  Do I need to worry about a train wreck? I'll never get to sleep on this train.  I'll just sit up on this seat and wait until morning." 
  "Now don't feel that way Miz, " said the Porter.  "Havin yo' feet to'd the enjyne - well dar you is.  But if yo're sleepin' wid yo' head to'ds de enjyne, den when dis yer train smashes into some other train, yo' is flung right again yo' head an' yo' heck is broke just like it wuz straw." 
  "Mercy me," said Rose, "Are we going to smash into some other - - - "
  "No ma'am, I didn't say we's goin' to.  All I say is it's best to be prepared.  I've been running on the Champ fo' twenty-two year an' I've seen eleven kerlisions, and every time de folks what's killed is de folks which gets chucked agin their heads.  Only last week there was an accident in Osceola County, a stout lady like you, she - - "
  But the Porter didn't bother to finish his explanation because at that moment Rose Forrester fainted dead away.

                                                                                      The Porter and Rose Forrester

                                                                                                       THE REST OF THE STORY

  Please refer to the October 26 Saturday Report on Pg. 28 entitled A Tale of a Fallen Woman.  There has been some local enthusiasm to learn more about Magnnolia (Maggie) Hussy.  Careful research has revealed a short video of her fishing in the Tahope River just before she entered high school at age 14.  More current photographs have not been discovered, but you can tell she was raised in Tahope by her accent.  Her brother took the video and her cousin, Ray, watched the action.  Everyone in her family has a pick-up truck with Confederate license plates on the front.  Turn up the volume so you can hear the dialog.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic and Southern Build Thread Continued, Part 3
« on: November 05, 2019, 08:50:34 PM »
The two buildings will make great additions to downtown Tahope.  Eric is quite the artist.  Excellent work and workmanship.  I can't wait until Saturday to give them a closer inspection!

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: October 29, 2019, 09:59:37 PM »


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: October 26, 2019, 03:34:50 PM »
AAtlantic & Southern Saturday Report - October 26, 2019

The crew assembled promptly at 0830 hours to marvel at the A&S's newly delivered Southern E8A units by Proto 2000.  They are beauties and that is the good news.  The bad news is they come with LOC Sound - I don't know how you pronounce that, but I really don't care.  The decoders had problems right out of the box and they sound terrible at best.  Best advertisement for TCS WOW Sound your reporter has seen.


We had trouble early on with a mysterious "short" that bugged us on the Summit.  After much push and pull, including changing out a Digitrax booster, we found the culprit to be an errant Pennsy steam locomotive. Once removed from the track all went well.  In fact, changing out the booster solved other problems.

Greg DeMayo arrived in time for lunch at Smokey Bones.

After lunch we ran the Broadway Limited down from Summit to the Midlands with little difficulty except for an open switch.  The Cof G E7's delivered freight to the Sanlando yard and we called it a day. 

Today's story is a sad tale of a  fallen woman named Magnolia (Maggie) Hussy (Most of the "wimmin" in Tahope are named after flowers or plants.)  A pathetic soul who we will no doubt meet again another Saturday.

                                                                                                         The Tale of a Fallen Woman

After having served his sentence for theft of A&S Commissary meat products (See p. 19 - Tahope Code Talkers) Wormy returned to the Bottoms to resume his normal life, namely plotting another criminal enterprise.  This time it was to be an inside job. 

Wormy gathered several of his fellow vagabonds together around the fire heating the Mulligan Stew one evening and discussed his plan.  The men were joined with a new addition to the Bottoms, a lass of questionable habits and reputation, although not without physical charms, named Magnolia (Maggie) Hussy.  Maggie was expelled from Tahope County High School in 1946 for promiscuous activity.  Now she calls an abandoned boxcar sidetracked on the east side of the Bottoms her home and lives off of what she can catch in the river.  As Wormy later described her, "She looks pretty darn good after a bath in the river and the fish smell is an improvement." 

Wormy explained his plan, which required an accomplice to infiltrate into the A&S Accounting and Disbursement Office with the object of relieving the management of some cash revenue. 

"I need somebody who knows money and will work with me cheap," said Wormy.  Maggie replied, "I'm cheap."  And a partnership was born. 

Maggie made an application to the A&S Financial Office as a bookkeeper.  She told Wormy, "I will use my considerable charms, of which I have many, to wiggle my way into the highest level of financial management."  Or she said something like that.

The A&S Financial Officer, Alex Hamilton, was so impressed with Maggie's "enthusiasm" that he hired her as a trainee bookkeeper in spite of her lack of experience.  Normally, he did not cotton to attractive, inexpensive women, but Maggie was exceptional and he figured his male employees would keep their distance because of the odor. 

Not long after Maggie went to work, little amounts of case started missing because Wormy and Maggie were making "dry runs" to get their plan down to perfection.  Unbeknownst to our would-be white collar criminals, Hamilton got wind of the plan due to the missing petty cash. 

One day the pay car arrived at the yard at Summit with the payroll from the Tahope State Bank and the thieves put their plan into action.  Wormy, disguised as an engineer from Summit, came into the office with a requisition form to collect the payroll.  Maggie counted out $9,500.00 and put it into Wormy's pay satchel.  She did not know the serial numbers on the bills had been recorded. 

Wormy scampered to the Trackside Tavern with his share of the loot to celebrate his good fortune and paid for his beer with a $50.00 bill that he got from the heist.  The bartender, Clovis Butcher, thought it suspicious for Wormy to have so large a bill so he called the Tahope Police Department as a precaution.  Officer Poovey responded to the call and, after looking at the serial number on the bill, arrested Wormy for the theft.  Further investigation led to the discovery of Maggie, who was also arrested. 

Wormy hired Marvin Bello to represent him, paying his fee with another one of the $50.00 bills.  Bello, who never lost a case, convinced the prosecutor that the caper was all Maggie's fault and Wormy was only the bag man.  The story was credible because Maggie seemed to be the smarter of the two.  Wormy testified against Maggie at the trial and the jury convicted her of embezzlement.  Judge Elvin P. Thomas reviewed the evidence and, before imposing sentence, lectured Maggie for stealing money from the Atlantic & Southern Railroad that belonged to its employees.  He also pointed out that a successful thief never steals more than she can pay back.  He sentenced her to a year and a day in prison.  Wormy got off with 60 days in jail persuant to his plea bargin. 

Justice is meted out fairly in Tahope County, just like everywhere else.

                                                                                                           The Rest of the Story

The Florida Supreme Court considered Maggie's case and reversed her conviction some nine months after she entered prison.  She returned to the Bottoms and her normal life of living off of what she can catch from the Tahope Rvier.  Sweaty Betty cooks what she catches for a share of the turtles, fish and crabs.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:13:03 PM »
Thank all of you for your kind comments.  A description of Atlantic & Southern (at least of the Midlands) will follow one Saturday after the Tahope Branch Line is completed.

Meanwhile, there will be some rats in the home office.  Stay tuned.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: October 19, 2019, 04:48:14 PM »
ATLANTIC & SOUTHERN  Saturday Report October 19, 2019

    It was a rainy Saturday here in Central Florida due to a tropical storm plowing through the panhandle and dumping water in abundance on the Big Bend.  We got a steady rain for several hours this far south of the main storm and our temperature stayed at a comfortable but muggy 73 degrees most of the morning. 
    The Bored Directors of the A&S convened their Saturday meeting a little early this morning and spent some time inventorying new equipment and planning the day.  We decided to add a couple of cars to the Pennsy Broadway Limited to make it prototypical so the train stretched 15 cars behind 3 E7 diesel units.  That train is almost too long for the railroad but it is fun watching it.  There is a storage track on the East side of the Bottoms that is long enough for the train to be spotted when it is not needed.  We were in the Pennsy mood so we also ran a 21-car coal hopper freight with three Pennsy F2's providing the power. 
    After the Pennsy trains returned to the north, we ran the Central of Georgia SD9 with a freight train and switched power to C of G E7's.
    Lunch at Smokey Bones, as usual.
   After lunch, we moved the ACL Champion to the Bottoms to free up some space. 
    All-in-all, it was a really fun Saturday.

    This week's story is a description of the railroads represented on the A&S and an explanation of why some seemingly out-of-place railroads are represented. 
    First, the readers should know that the A&S was originally a "deep South" railroad limited to famous Florida flags like the ACL, Southern, SAL, and FEC.  However,  these railroads had an ownership interest in other "mostly southern" railroads like the L&N, N.C.& St. L, C&O, C of G, Clinchfield, and a few others.  These roads are represented due to their family relationship with the ACL and the Southern.
    The Pennsy and the roads that powered the California Zephyr are represented in a whimsical way because, as to the Zephyr, we liked it, and as to the Pennsy, we had a long relationship with a devoted Pennsy fan who owned Orlando's best RR hobby shop for many years.  When he passes away in 2006, we acquired a number of Pennsy steamers and rolling stock.  We decided the A&S is our railroad and if we want to run Pennsy trains now and then for fun well, it is our railroad.
                                                                                    THE RAILROADS ON THE ATLANTIC & SOUTHERN
    The Atlantic & Southern System (ASS) hosts the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL), Seaboard Air Line (SAL) and Southern Ry, all of which have trackage rights over the line.  The Louisville & Nashville, N. C. & St. L, Chesapeake & Ohio and Central of Georgia (C of G) have passenger and freight agreements with either the ACL or the Southern and provide relief during peak seasons as needed. 
    The Illinois Central's City of Miami passenger train occasionally passes through on its way from Chicago to Miami twice a week,  The "City" is operated by a number of railroads, including the ACL and the FEC and each road contributes to the consist.   The "City" usually runs from Jacksonville to Miami on FEC tracks but a section follows ACL trackage through Tahope County to Orlando and down to Miami.  Usually, a sleeper is set out at Sanlando for transfer to Tampa by way of Kissimmee, Holopaw, Hachnehaw, Yehaw Junction, and Thonotosassa by way of ACL's  East Coast Champion. 
    The A&S owns a few steam locomotives outright and leases or "borrows" others.  There are no plans to dieselize the A&S locomotive fleet. 
    The A&S contracts with the larger roads to provide maintenance on locomotives and has a modern roundhouse and two diesel repair facilities to provide that service. 
    The A&S provides local freight and passenger service in the rural Tahope County area.
    Recently, the Board of Directors saw the need for a westward connection, so it leased a section of the California Zephyr, including Burlington and Rio Grande F units.  This train provides weekly service out of Jacksonville to New Orleans and has been named the Gulf Breeze section of the Pensacola Zephyr.  This train is a major revenue producer for the railroad.
    The A&S and the environs of Tahope County have regular need for coal, both for fuel for steam locomotives and for electric power.  Also, coal is vital for heating during the three days each winter when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.  The Pennsylvania Railroad happily provides the motive power for a weekly coal train in exchange for free passes over the A&S for Pennsy brass hats.
    In addition to coal trains, the Pennsy's Broadway Limited swings south occasionally to service Florida bound travelers and it makes stops at Jacksonville and Sanlando when scheduled. 
    President Langford gave the Pennsy president several free passes to travel over the A&S and asked him to reciprocate with free passes over the Pennsy.  When he suggested this arrangement, the Pennsy president wondered how that would be fair, considering the Pennsy had over 10,000 miles of track and the A&S is a local line located in a Central Florida Swamp.  He was won over when President Langford said, "Your railroad may be a mite longer than mine, but mine is just as wide."
    The Pennsy has excess still serviceable steam locomotives and has agreed to loan a number of them to the A&S .  These locomotives were scheduled for the scrap heap due to the Pennsy dieselization program and the A&S needs additional motive power during the busy winter season.  Recently, the A&S made lease arrangements with the Pennsy and acquired several Pennsy diesel locomotives.  These units will be used to augment the busy winter traffic but will not replace steam locomotive power on the A&S.
                                               Recently acquired C of G E7's in freight duty awaiting assignment to the Atlanta-to-Savanna Nancy Hanks.

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