From The Archives - The SRS 145 Part 18
- Many things happened during the summer that I spent on the SRS 145. But
there are two experiences that are rather sobering. I will relate one now
and another in Part 19.
We were testing on the Harrisburgh Main. We were about to pass through the
Cinnamahoning Valley ( I hope I spelled that right)and Ivan took a moment
one evening to caution us about moving around on the ground in the
Cinnamahoning Valley. Why I asked?
"Rattlesnakes" Ivan replied
"Okay" I assured hm I would watch out.
"Junor ths area is full of rattlesnakes" Ivan reassured me. I began to take
we passed through Driftwood where Ivan hoped we would not go west. "There's
nothing out there " Ivan said.
Once again I will take time out to explain how something worked on the
Sperry Car. I understand that it is diferent now. If you were the Assisatant
Operator sitting at the inspection table upon discovering a track defect
that required a closer inspection you would give the engineman a signal to
stop, lift carriages and back up. As the engineman you would get the signal
and look into the side view mirror and follow the hand signals of the
Assistant Operator. I do not care what the propoer hand signals are on
Conrail VTR CSX or the D&H. Here is how we did it on the SRS 145. The
opertaor would use a circular hand motion to back you up. the slower his
motion, the slower you went. When he clenched his fist and pulled it across
his chest (out of view of the engineman) that was your indication to stop.
Typically the man on the ground was stopping you at three miles an hour or
This was August. One day after another it was unbelievably hot. Those dog
days of August that just drain the water out of you when you walk three
feet. I was the engineman this particular afternoon and jimmy langdon was
the Operator. The ncat was running it was HOT and HUMID we had not stopped
in a half hour and I was about ready to fall over. It must have been four
o'clock and I was just beat. Those big black rain filled clouds were on the
horizon moving towards us. We stopped maybe once in the last half hour. Then
the rain started slowly then exponentially faster. It poured for three
minutes. Then the rain stopped and it was just as hot but a little more
I received the stop signal and looked into the rear view and saw Jimmy on
the steps wavinng me backward. Jim's hand slowed and then still on the
bottom step he began to slow down. he dropped off the bottom step onto the
right of way. The ballast fell away to his left as he took a couple of
steps. He then Clutched his left fist and drew it to his chest signaling me
What happened next I can see in my mind's eye just as clearly as though it
Jimmy took a step behind the car as I threw on the air. The car slid on the
very wet rails and I watched in horror as the Sperry Car caught him full in
the chest and bounced him out of sight. The car came to a stop. I dumped the
air and jumped up stumbling over the folding chair we used as the
engineman's seat. I was down the ladder in one step and running to the back
of the car. I thought I had killed Jimmy. I turned the corner and there in
the gauge was Jimmy Langdon,Jr.
He was a bit shook up and a little sore but none the worse for wear really.
That night the chief made a new rule, "No one was to step behind the Sperry
car before it came to a complete stop."
And that is it, From the Archives
what is in your archives..........................
- There is a rule on the railroad now called the three step protection.Any
time an employee must get between cars he must ask the engineer for the
three step, 1-General field must be down 2-Reverser must be centered
3-Air brakes must be applied. And thats after all equippment has been
stopped. I dont know if all railroads have established it. Mark