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From The Archives Part 14 !

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  • joseph Klapkowski
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2006
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      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..................
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