Page 11 - Working on the S&L; Railroad Part One
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
eer got stopped. He thought he had run o- ver him, because the last he saw, the fel? low went out of sight. But the man wasn't hurt. He had been drinking, and he laid fair across the rail, face down. It was more by luck than anything else that we got him off. Russell Cunningham: As far as men killed, there was not so much at the last, but there were a lot of men killed on the S & L. I'd say the time I was on the road, I'd say there was about 15 killed. Some got killed banking coal--cars went off the road and they were on the cars, shoving out lifts. When you're shoving out on the coal banks, you had to be on the head-in car to signal the driver. Backing up, the driver's watching you on the end of the car--so you're riding out and all of a sud? den she jumps the road, the cars go this way and that way, and you're buried in the coal in the car. There were two fellows killed that way that I know of. Then there were fellows got legs amputated, and other fellows cut in two--I worked with fellows cut in two pieces. Sometimes they'd get caught between the cars, and sometimes they'd get caught getting on a car, coming towards them. Get off to turn a switch, give the driver a signal, back up, go to get on--perhaps get caught some way. Maybe icy rails and icy hand grabs. Some more fellows would fall off a car, hand braking. And there were drivers scalded by the steam. A steam engine could explode, you know, if she went dry. There was a fellow killed that way in the Glace Bay round? house when I was a kid. Charles Bagnell: Every year the Brother? hood had what we called a memorial service; that was for people on the railroad who were killed or died during the year. It was a service in memory of the departed brothers. It could be in Louisbourg one year, or Glace Bay or Sydney or Waterford-- that would be the four areas. We'd parade to the church. We'd go to one church one year, the other the next--Protestant or Catholic, alternate year to year. And the company would provide a train for this. When somebody died on the railroad--say we had a funeral on a Sunday--the railroad would furnish the equipment, and we'd run it free. We'd volunteer, get an engineer, and a fireman, a conductor, and a brakeman. They'd give us the train if we'd furnish the men to run it free. But I'll tell you how that ended. See where it's paved out there? That was the main track going into Louisbourg yard. The track is all taken up now. They never had a derail at the switchyard. Well, one night they brought a car in here and they didn't fly it, but they poked it off. They put one engine up on one track and the car was on the other track, and they put a long post against it and shove-started it and let it go. It's all downgrade, right into the town, right in to the piers. So this night they poked this car off and the fellow was on the brake--it could have hap? pened at any time--the brake chain jammed. He couldn't get the brake on. It would on? ly go so far and it would fetch up. The brakes weren't coming on the wheels at all. And the train driver knew something was wrong. He tried to hit the car again, tried to couple onto it again--but when the engineer brought the train up to coup? le with it the pin wouldn't drop, wouldn't lock the couplings. It wasn't coupling. And each time they'd hit it, of course, it was just going faster. It kept going fast? er all the time. And when the brakeman saw it was going to go through the roundhouse, he jumped off--and it went right in and out through the other end of the round? house and hit the concrete at the bottom of the pier. Plowed into that and stopped dead. Okay. So they put a derail there after that. And it was there for awhile. And we CampGil Lighthouse Cape Breton Shopping Plaza Sydney River, Nova Scotia The Shop with the Answer to all your Lighting Needs. em/fOER ffOlfSC located Rt 255, 5 miles from Glace Bay Pdrt Morien 737-2408 Enjoy your fawrite AREYOUR SHOCK ABSORBERS THIS OUI? .Then they could be causing excessive tire wear, rough riding, and endangering your safety. New shock absorbers will prevent the veering, bottoming, swaying, and rock? ing that makes your ride rough, steering difficult, and braking unsure. Replace your worn shock absorbers today. LET US INSPECT YOUR SHOCK ABSORBERS TODAY! THE MASTER MUFFLER 349 George St., Sydney 639-6691 muffler centre (11)
Cape Breton's Magazine