Page 14 - Working on the S&L; Railroad Part One
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
all go crossways on the road--snow and ice would build up and lift up and you'd go off the road. The Seaboard was pretty near out of coal. It was on a Sunday. That was the generating plant. And when they went down, the lights were going to go out. And we worked all day Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday--at last the only way we could get down, we had to get the city plow to plow the track, put a highway plow on the rail? way track--that would get us down to the top of the rail. Then put the picks to it. Sunday evening we got down to the Sea- board--and they had half a car of coal left when we got there. Tough, tough win? ters. I remember one February, in 1933, I think, it was 23 below--I've seen 14 below, digging ice, get their hands frozen. The winter of '38, when we built Number 18 col? liery, it was cold going--men with frozen noses every day. Some fellows up there step-dancing, trying to keep themselves warm. Cold winters, boy. And summer, I remember going down Water? ford branch when the rails got tight, when they expanded with the, and it buck- led--I used to cut the rail on the slant, on an angle--well, the two ends when I cut through went by each other 14 inches, lapped. Then you'd have to cut the 14 inches off and hook it up--expansion. We'd take one of those big engines with the wa? ter tank on and the engine. You'd move o- ver the track very slowly--the main engine on one side of the kink and the tender on the other side. Then you had weight hold? ing that track down. Then you put the man on the torch to cut the rail--nothing would move. A safe way to cut it. If you cut_a rail on the bottom and you straddle it--that rail might go up in the air 6 feet, buckle up. If you cut it on the top, that pressure will go down to the ground. If it comes up, you'll get an awful lift, it'll kill you. I saw in Waterford, they had a run-off wreck down there and the rails curled up underneath the derailment-- and the splice bars holding the rails to? gether were still on. And this man went to cut the rails clear, cut the splice bars off--and when he cut the last bolt they flew--hit him in the head and killed him right there. (Derailments were your job, too?) Oh yes. We had to re-rail everything and clean up everything that would happen. Sometimes it would be the track and sometimes it would be the fault of a wheel of an engine, some? times the fault of the wheel of a car, or a fellow who trailed through a switch--go? ing out, he ran off the switch and opened it--next fellow come in, he'd walk into it head first. The switch was open, same as the lever being up. But you'd never come a- long and make a statement saying what real? ly happened, you know--the press was all the time looking for a reason. (But they tell me there were a lot of trains de-- railed....) Oh yes. See, we had here the 85-pound rail and the 80-pound railo Then they went to the United States and bought large engines, which were too big for our railroad. Quite a few of them came in here. And some of them--one especially, the 101, Edith has always been Icnown for the stiff ones she pours. But the best hostess isn't the one who serves the biggest drinks. A good hostess knows that if her guests are driving what starts out as the "happy hour" could end up in grief. She realizes her responsibility to serve smaller and fewer drinks with more time between drinks. The best hostess is considerate. She remembers her guests have to travel home when the party's over; and too many "stiff ones" could make the party really over. Forever. Nova Scotia Department of Transportation Hon. Thomas J. Mclnnis Minister (14)
Cape Breton's Magazine