From the Archives SRS 145 part 12
- This is gonna be another short one as I am tired. I think I am
chronologically out of order here and some of you may be familiar enough
with the geography to catch me. I think this happened on the way TO Niagara
Falls. Anyone familiar with the track arrangements chime in. My recollection
(if I ever knew) is that the Falls Road allowed a bypass around the
congested Buffalo Terminal so that you could go west out of New England and
north to the Canadian connection and of course Detroit.
The Falls Road itself had a wye that connected with the Buffalo Belt Line.
This line went north out of Buffalo to Niagara Falls. The head end of the
SRS 145 was facing toward Niagara Falls and we were stopped on the south or
east leg of the wye. There was a railroad telephone on a pole inside the wye
(amazing that I can remember that and not our tie up at Niagara Falls).
The railroad guy got on the phone and I dropped down out of my engineman's
seat to kick around some cinder ballast and have a cigarette. After some
lengthy period of time the railroad guy got off the phone and locked up the
box. What's up I asked? He showed me the M Form. We can go all the way to
CP0.4 (or something like that) He said. I saw the M Form. We had the track.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing....................
I climbed back up to my pearch. He climbed on board in the rear and took up
his normal position in the detector room.
Now here comes a topic that some of you have been waiting to jump on. The
railroad guy is SUPPOSED to be in the front with the operator who is
operating the Sperry Car. Want to know what is going on in the rear? Bring
Now here it comes..........The railroad pilot NEVER, EVER rode up front with
So we have this M Form..............In those days the M Form, used mainly by
MofW people permitted the exclusive use of the track either 1.) Between two
points or 2.) from point A to point B.
This was before widespread cab signal technology so you could pass a red
board and as long as you had the M Form there was no issue.
So we back up and begin testing around the wye. And I am doing maybe 11 mph
and I see the red dwarf but I know we have the M Form and so I just keep
right on going. I do not think we had gotten twenty or thirty feet passed
the signal when I get one to stop AND the phone rings. Junor ! What are you
doing! Did you pass a red signal ?!!!!!
BACK UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I did what I was told. I was relieved instantly and told to go back to the
detector room. I did.
Did you pass a red signal ! The chief was mad. He wasn't waiting for an
answer. The pilot said that he thought the dispatcher had not noticed
because he was busy and the dispatcher had not called to ask what we were
doing. The railroad guy called the dispatcher on the radio and asked for
permission by the red dwarf.
Okay by the dwarf SRS 145. Whew ! Nobody was going to get time on the
street, except maybe me.
So why did I pass the red signal. I already told you WE HAD THE M FORM !
I saw it. The railroad guy confirmed it. He did not tell me that the
dispatcher wanted to be called BEFORE we went through the signal. Total
track distance telephone call to backup and then through the signal was not
a quarter mile.
So although he was fuming the Chief wanted to know why I went through the
red signal. "Well we had the M Form, I saw it."
I am not sure if Ivan was relieved that I had purposly gone through the
signal because I thought I was right or if he wanted me to say I was not
paying attention. there was some dialog betwen the railroad guy and ivan
about it not being my fault or yes it was my fault (Ivan) but the
bnottomline went something like this, "Junor, it is not our job TO INTERPRET
I am sure this is going to elicit all kinds of comments but as I started
this off with where the pilot sat and a little information is dangerous, I
believe I have explained my position clearly.
The bottom line though is nobody got caught, nobody got hurt and the whole
incident was, well not forgotten but I van was not the kind of guy to dwell
on it. He made his rule clear. Junor you are not to interpret signals.
Clear enough for me.
This will be very important in the next part or maybe the one after
And so i draw to a close another episode of whay happened 27 years ago on a
big yellow car or Sperry Car rememberances..................till then..... I
am going to see if I can find the Sperry car jingle