From the Archives Sperry Car part 9
- This started out as a whim last week and now I am up to part 9. Although I
had only been on the Sperry Car for a few weeks the crew had changed. Two of
the opertaors had gone to other cars and we got a new operator whose dad was
Chief on another car. We also got a new Assiistant Operator from long
island. He was a nice enough fellow but we would not have been close friends
outside of the Sperry Car. He was kind of a biker-wanna-be. He and Ivan did
not see eye to eye. And Ivan's old school method of teaching was like mixing
oil and water when it came to Roger.
We were traveling great distances during the day on the Waterlevel main.
Here I stop once again to try and remember how something worked. On the
Hojack there was ony one track and we were out of the way. Out here on the
mainthere could be tacks on both sides of you. The operator up front in the
engineman's position was responsible to alert the crew of a passing train on
the adjacent track. This is where I began to appreciate the idea that this
could be a dangerous job. problem is I can not remember if we used the phone
or the buzzer. The buzzer was used to indicate to the operator in the rear
that you were going to lift the testing carraige. o if you buzzed you then
lifted the toggle and the carraige came up. It also activated a red light so
that the guy in the rear could see what carriage to lift. I am kinda
thinking that we used the buzzer and if the light did not go on, the
operator in the rear knew that there was a train coming from behind him. Or
maybe we didn't do it that way but I do remember when we got out on the main
the Chief made a big deal about it. Junior pay attention (he still wasn't
sure about me but that was about to change). If you don't pay attention I
could get killed.
I am not going to say much about this but I had gotten a certain idea that
something had happened soemwhere along the line inviolving a Sperry car and
it involved my Chief. Apparently a Sperry car had gotten rear ended by a
freight and my Chief was the guy who got pretty badkly injured.
So whatever the method was that we used you wanted to let the guys in the
rear know about the oncoming traffic. We tested west from Syracuse and tie
ups were pretty good. I would get my check on thursday and we always had a
chance to go cash it. I had an account at Marine Midland and what i would do
is send the check home and my folks would deposit it into my account. Then
with my Marine Midland money mania card I could get cash at any branch. It
was a system that worked fine for me because there was a Marine Midland
everywhere in Western New York. Once in a while if I knew there was a branch
I would actually go and cash the check.
One nigth, and for no particlaurly good reason I am going to say we were out
near Port Byron, we got a tie up that was in the middle of no where. I mean
there was a switch, that took us off the main and into a field where there
was another switch and then there was NOTHIN except a cow. No town, nothing.
Across the main there was a bar on a little one lane country road. We worked
a pretty long day and got in the hole around 3 pm. The detector room was
already swept and mopped which was characterized by the stool being turned
upside down on the detector table.
I followed the others accross the main and into the bar after a bit and the
place was rigth out of the 1920s. No kidding a big glass mirror and a
wounderful wooden bar. Then afetr a couple of brews we went over to the car.
I got a couple of brake shoes out and the charcoal and lit a fire.
Ivan's private auto followed us everywhere and somebody went to the store
and got a couple steaks and we feasted ! The deal was, I think, we kicked in
40 or 50 bucks a week and had community food. Things like milk, eggs, cereal
steaks. There was no particular accounting for it but it always seemed to
work out just fine.
I have to break here to finish up the Pinewood Derby car. Somehow we wound
up with Yellow and Black. Looks kinda like a Susquehanna unit.
We will get onto Rochester next and then take a ride out the Falls Road
Branch. Topics will finally include the carraige problem, the baseball game,
Niagara Falls yard office and a lttle information can be dangerous: reading
the M Form.