From The Archives Part 14 !
- This has gotten much longer than I ever imagined. Kind of a fun story though
don't you think ?
Where were we? Lets see we talked about the encounter in the Niagagra Falls
Yard Office. By the way That story brought a comment from someone who may
have kown a related Timmons in Westchester.
And since I am cross listing these things I raised the question on the D&H
list does the Sperry car ever visit the VTR. Apparently the answer is yes
although it is in the form of the 800 series trucks. I wonder if Sperry
would consider hiring me to work weekends for them.
On to part 14........
Buffalo is an interesting place. Lots of tracks going every which way. In
the heyday I think you would have needed a pretty detailed map to know
what/who was where.......
So we tested north to Niagara Falls and south around the Belt Line. I am not
sure but I think we deadheaded back towards Rochester and then tested west
on track one.. We did tie up at Buffalo Union Station (is that the correct
name? TH&B went there along with NYC and CP I thought). Anyway the station
was enormous. Inside and out. Toledo from trackside looked similar. There
were tracks everywhere and switches to get from one track to every other
track. Our tie up was on a track that wrapped around the outside of the
building. I think it was an old REA track that went around the ground floor.
Anyway this track went around the base of the building on the south side.
Although there was a wall you could see inside through some windows that
there was a driveway that went around inside (This is Buffalo. an interior
drive makes travel in the snow easier). I want to say there were also
driveways ging down below grade from the interior driveway but I may be
confusing this with Le Gare Centrale in Montreal. The driveway was dimly lit
and a bit spooky. More about that later.
I also had the chance to go up into the main concourse. It is huge. And
empty. Great high vaulted ceilings marble floors but almost completely
empty. I did find the dispatchers office up in the tower and walked in and
introduced myself. There were old CTC machines set up around desks. I was
accorded the respect of a visiting digniitary what being a Sperry man and
all. I did not stay long though not wanting to overstay my welcome.
i am pretty sure there was an old NYC steam heat car (unless I am confusing
this with my later visit to Toledo (not on a Sperry car)).
I think Buffalo Union Station was our tie up for better than a week. One
night we all went out for dinner. My recollection is that his was a pretty
Polish and Italian niegborhood. We went a few blocks and found a nice family
style place and sat down. It was much nicer than the normal railroad bar
joints we were used to. The people who owned the place seemed pleased to
have us there. Let me say I do not remember anything specific happening but
we had a good time because 27 years later I remember having dinner there.
We got back to the car stuffed and I decided that it might be better to take
water now than get up in the morning and be pressed for time to take water.
I climbed up the ladder and opened the top of the tank, stuck one end of the
garden hose in and threw the other end around the airconditioner and onto
the ground. then I climbed down, threw the hose through the driveway window,
crawled through mysellf, ran the hose across the driveway, opened the B&B
deprtment window, threw the hose through, turned on the flashlight, crawled
in found the faucet and hooked up the hose, then turned on the water and
returned to the car. Kinda a tough watering spot.
Did I mention how you know the water tank, (which is in the roof) is
actually full? You sit around either in the car or on the steps until you
here the water overflowing down the side of the car.
(This is going to move faster I promise. In fact real fast)
So I am sitting there and the water begins to run down the side of the
Sperry Car. I get up and flashlight in hand, around ten pm, I crawl through
the window and then accross the driveway and into the B&B department window
and in the dark except for my flashlight, follow the hose along the ground
to the sink. I turn off the water and then have a heck of a time getting the
darn thing off the faucet. But I am sucessful and I have the hose in one
hand and the flashlight in the other. I return to the window and I lift one
leg over the sill and am straddling the sill on my way out when I hear the
one word that no one ever wants to hear.
"Uh Oh", I thought......I look up and there is a Conrail police car in the
driveway which is no longer semi dark but bright from the headlights. Next
to the car is Conrail Police Officer with his weapon drawn.
So I FREEZE!
Now I am not going to say I was not scared. But I was a little more like
perplexed. "What are you doing?" the officer demanded.
I looked up at the flashlight and the hose in my hands (If the set up did
not take so long it might have made a great Saturday Night Live sketch).
What could I possibly say to this guy.
"Well officer I am getting water," was my reply. Now I do not want to
undermine the seriousness of this situation. But I had not done anything
wrong and he caught me so by surprise I was just kind of dumbfounded. I mean
after all it seemed that the answer was pretty obvious anyway. There I am
still stradling the window sill with a garden hose in one and a flashilight
in the other. Probably was not stealing the clock in the grand concourse.
Still I was at the business and of a 38 and that fact became more apparent
to me as the milliseconds passed.
"What do you mean you are getting water? " The cop demanded.
Well if you follow that hose through the window, you'll see a big yellow car
and we need water for testing the railroad tomorrow. So the B&B department
was kind enough to let us use thier water and leave the window open so we
could get water."
I am not sure when the gun went back int he holster but the buffudled cop
did look through the window and behold there he saw a big yellow car.
I am not sure there was any more dialog than that but I do remember thinking
that maybe the cop looked more relieved than me.................
I think that was our last night at the Buffalo Union Station..........
And you guys though the Sperry Car was a boring job..................