Railroader Stories

Engineers, firemen, conductors, tower operators, gandy dancers, and others recall the railroad life

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An IC man recalls that working on steam was not all milk and honey
By Joe A. Datri
Published: September 2, 2014
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A 1923 tragedy inspired a desperate dash on the Rio Grande
By David L. Webster
Published: May 6, 2014
J at speed
All about when an N&W 4-8-4 smacked an auto in Virginia
By Ed King
Published: March 4, 2014
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Riding a business car revealed how a railroad really functions
By Robert E. Shortal
Published: February 4, 2014
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Two mishaps in a month did not scare off a new SP fireman
By Barry Anderson
Published: July 15, 2013
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How Bangor & Aroostook men helped each other, and made frozen things move
By Marvin Dow
Published: July 1, 2013
MILW Skytop
Boys will be boys, as a Military Policeman found on a Milwaukee Road train
By John P. McMahan
Published: June 4, 2013

Things went BANG when two boys matched wits with a hopper car full of frozen sand

By Steward A. Sparks
Published: March 15, 2013
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A Santa Fe engineer ‘blows off’ some tormenting trackside kids

By Jack Elwood
Published: January 2, 2013
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The Milwaukee Road made a habit of ‘borrowing’ power from the Erie Lackawanna and other roads

By Art Danz
Published: December 17, 2012
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For a Santa Fe fireman and a 4-8-4, three weeks in 1943 tragically proved the truth of an old axiom

By Jack O. Elwood
Published: July 31, 2012
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A onetime Union Pacific fireman recalls two incidents that earned him his sooty nickname

By Les Clark
Published: June 29, 2012
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When things went bump on the B&O one night, it was providential that no passengers were aboard

By Bob Withers
Published: February 1, 2012
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A Santa Fe man’s timepiece, once an essential tool, is a keepsake from a long career

By Jack O. Elwood
Published: January 3, 2012
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Coal engines were more work, but oil-fired hogs had their own pitfalls
By Barry Anderson
Published: July 15, 2011
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Going to the dogs on the Rock Island

By W. L. Gwyer
Published: January 4, 2011
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An unnerving experience on an SP 2-10-2

By Barry Anderson
Published: November 30, 2010
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My dream job on the Erie at this busy Ohio tower couldn’t last, as things turned out, but I’d succumbed to the romance of the high iron

By W. L. Gwyer
Published: November 2, 2010
From stuffed shirt to mussed shirt
By George Rieves
Published: October 6, 2010
On-the-job training for an Alton roundhouse mechanic’s helper
By Gil Reid
Published: October 6, 2010
A Santa Fe passenger train dodges an errant Rock Island Mikado
By Doyle Jackson
Published: September 1, 2001
Incident on a Southern Pacific 2-10-2
By William E Cannonball McGee
Published: September 1, 2001
Erie Mining taconite trains, as seen from a Great Lakes ore boat
By Eric Hirsimaki
Published: September 1, 2001
Everyday was an adventure for the son of an operator during World War II
By Charles W. Lindenberg
Published: June 1, 2001

A C&O engineer's offer makes an impression on a 4-year-old boy

By Alexander J. Stoops Jr
Published: December 1, 2000
A black day for steam on the Chicago & North Western
By John A. Grams
Published: December 1, 2000
Thundering PRR 2-10-0's helped ore trains over the Eastern Continental Divide
By William Hoehn
Published: December 1, 2000
Summer jobs for a teenager on NYC's Lake Shore main line across Indiana
By Ken Allsen
Published: December 1, 2000
A creative solution to a problem in the Belt Railway of Chicago's diesel shop
By Vernon L. Smith
Published: December 1, 2000

In timetable-and train-order days, if an engineer was late, it meant a collision

By William E Cannonball McGee
Published: September 1, 2000
A Nickel Plate man recalls his first pay trip—with his dad as engineer
By Donald E. Daily
Published: September 1, 2000
A hogger finds home where he first knew heaven
By John A. Swearingen
Published: September 1, 2000
When NYC crews shuffled Pullmans, you needed to hang onto your berth
By Theodore Shrady
Published: September 1, 2000
A passenger engineer recalls some embarrassing incidents with an office car
By Doug Riddell
Published: September 1, 2000
A lonely siding in Colorado was no place for the faint of heart
By Michael J. McLaughlin
Published: June 1, 2000
Old heads and greenhorns alike loved SP's easy-steaming 4-10-2's
By T B Thompson
Published: June 1, 2000
On a Rock Island 2-8-2, the head brakie asked: "Is the s.o.b. gonna blow up?"
By Robert J Finnegan
Published: June 1, 2000
90 mph on a Norfolk & Western 4-8-4
By Ed King
Published: March 1, 2000
Legendary orchestra conductor Eugene Ormandy has a close shave on the PRR
By Robert Henderson as told to Charles H Geletzke Jr
Published: March 1, 2000
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