Joseph (Joe) Henry Witten: Conducting Family Legacies…On The Rails!

Legacies…On The Rails Volume 17-011

Welcome back to another 2017 Blog Edition Of Legacies…On The Rails! Today, I have another awesome family story to share and want to thank my new friend Lee Witten that I just connected with via You Tube this week, for graciously allowing us to share in his Father’s Legacies…On The Rails and for his expedient response to my inquiry as I send out nearly daily invites via Facebook, Linked-In, You-Tube, Twitter and more and sadly only a few respond here and there, but I figure those that the Lord wants to have the stories shared of, he will prompt the right folks to respond, so I’m ok with that.

So, I won’t waste any more time but let me introduce you to Joseph (Joe) Henry Witten:

Witten

Joseph (Joe) Henry Witten, was a Union Pacific Railroad Employee for 30 years. He was born in Ogden, Utah, June 5, 1914 and became a Union Pacific Brakeman on the Wyoming Division, 8th subdivision on August 14, 1936. He made Conductor on November 10, 1943. He was 19th in seniority at the time of his death October 15, 1974.

I had inherited his final Freight Conductors Train Book covering the 6 month period of April 17 to October 14, 1974.

P1230736

Seeing that it contained specific data for each trip, I decided to do an interpretation of these last 6 months by transcribing the information into a computer data base and augmenting with what supplemental material that related to this time period as a snapshot of his career on the railroad. I have endeavored to find as many photographs of the cabooses he worked on as well as the head end power on each trip.

The locomotive and caboose numbers were critical in identifying the type of locomotives and cabooses on each trip. By researching books, railroad museum archives and the internet, I was able to find many of them though not all. However, there is enough representatives to give a good idea of their physical appearance.

A copy of this material has been donated to the Utah State Railroad Museum archives so that future generations can have a record of the work of a railroad trainman during the era just prior to the end of the use of cabooses on major railroads.

In 1945 a Union Pacific photo journalist did a story about a day in the life of an engineer named E. H. Cook. Dad happened to be part of the story as Cooks Conductor. Two photos included dad as seen here giving engineer Cook his orders in front of Big Boy #4020 and with his brakeman on the caboose leaving the Riverdale Yard for Green River, Wyoming.

BigBoy

After my fathers death, my mother passed on to me his final Conductors log book, one of the few pieces of memorabilia that she had. I was given his last railroad pocket watch as well.

I didnt understand some of the data such as the codes for the train types, but other railroaders at the museum including a fellow who actually worked with dad, filled me in. One thing led to another and I began to create a computer database of the information in his log book.

From the caboose and locomotive numbers I searched through our library and the internet trying to find photos to include in my computer transcriptions. Then I found ARCHES, an organization devoted just to cabooses! I quickly joined up and received the Captive Cabeese publication. What a great resource to help me locate any still existing cabeesethat dad had worked on during those last 6 months of his life. Then Don Strack came out with his book on The Union Pacific Caboose and I gleaned more information including a few photos.

In the summer of 2003 I was able to visit 3 of dads former cabooses. I visited two places in the Midwest that were identified as having a caboose with my dads numbers. The first was in Falls City Nebraska. Ive never been there before so I stopped at the town hall and found a local Policeman in the hallway who told me he thought the caboose I was looking for was down by the old UP Depot on the edge of town.

I followed his directions and there it was, UP #25241 sitting on a section of display track coupled to an old flat car and box car next to the depot. The windows were boarded up, paint was peeling, rust was building up but it was still intact. Dad worked on this caboose June 18, 1974 on an east bound trip to Greenriver, 61 car Los Angeles Extra (LAX) train pulled by two UP Centennials, 6927 and 6909 with an EMD DD35B unit.

The disappointment of that experience was soon changed to elation when I reached Abilene, Kansas and found UP #25466 still in operation on the Abilene And Smokey Valley Railroad, a little tourist line that runs out of Abiliene about 10 miles.

Untitled-7

I arrived at 10 minutes to 3 and went into their little ticket/gift office in a converted box car and introduced myself. What makes this caboose extra special is that it was the last one that dad rode, October 14, 1974 and he died October 15. The train was a 63 car Los Angeles Forwarded (LAF) westbound Greenriver to Salt Lake. Head end power were two SD40s, a DD35B unit and a GP30. At Curvo they had an air hose break between cars #31 and 32 at 3:45 a.m.and were back up running at 4:10 a.m.

I showed the crew the binder with all the information Ive been compiling and the last entry with UP #25466. They seemed very pleased about this bit of history of their caboose and I was given a ride on it for their 3 p.m. run.

Untitled-5

The emotion of being in that caboose overwhelmed me for awhile. I had a few private moments inside to collect myself then enjoyed the ride sitting up in the cupola with the conductor and trading stories. He was a retired school teacher so we had even more in common to chat about. On the way back they let me ride in the cab of their Alco S1 locomotive.

Untitled-6

Finally on June 28, 2004 my mother and I drove the 200 plus miles from Ogden to the West Central Utah town of Lynndyl where I believed we would find UP #25280. Lynndyl is a little railroad town on Union Pacifics Los Angeles Line. We had no trouble finding the town park where UP #25280 sat next to a children’s playground.

Untitled-8

Dad rode UP #25280 on June 5, 1974, Salt Lake City to Greenriver. The train was an ore drag with 102 cars. There were 5 SD40s on the head end.

We took some photos and found that the door had been broken open so went inside and looked around. There was some grafitti here and there but it was in pretty good shape. im worried that its not being well taken care of and just eroding away.

Here is a narrative that can be derived from the information on the log sheet to the left.

June 1, 1974, Eastbound

lad

Joe reported for work at 3:50 a.m at the Salt Lake City Office. Picked up train LAD 31, Los Angeles to Denver. Left the station at 6:20 a.m.. Engineer was F. Hicks, Head Brakeman Regnier and Rear Brakeman, Stamey. There was no Fireman. Lead locomotive was a DDA40X #6930 Centennial. There was one second unit, Centennial #6938.

The train had 21 loaded and 35 empty cars for a total tonnage of 2830. In North Salt Lake they picked up 17 cattle cars at 952 tons at 6:25 a.m. In Ogden they picked up 18 loaded, 20 empty cars for 2247 tons between 7:20 and 9:35 a.m. At Mile Post 888 there was an air hose problem on the 49th head car RBCS 2666 X box car for Golden, Colorado. Time to repair air hose from 12:45 to 1:15 P.M. Arrived Green River at 2:35 p.m. with 55 loaded and 53 empties with total
Untitled-10
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this trip back in time with Lee Witten‘s Dad Union Pacific Conductor Joseph (Joe) Henry Witten as much as I enjoyed being honored with the humble privilege of receiving it from Lee and sharing it with you!
Got a story of your own, or one of a loved one like this that you would like shared here on Legacies…On The Rails? Email me at legaciesontherails@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to share it with all the rest of your railroad family around the world!
Today’s Railroad Equipment Profile goes to this New York Central Railroad Swift Stream car that I recently caught at the Kansas City Union Station. As you know, the New York Central Railroad is one of the most recognized and iconic railroads in history, usually in direct competition with the Pennsylvania Railroad. This post World War II model is one of an 11 car order that he NYC got from The Budd Company in 1949. But instead of indulging in too much info myself, I am going to invite you to visit this fellow WordPress Rail Blogger‘s page which at this time appears to be the most definitive source of information out there on these fabulous cars. http://nycswiftstream.com/ .
16299784_10154307760747749_8807042833422587282_o
For today’s Railroad Old Time Radio Feature, instead of just a solo episode, I am choosing to invite you to visit the page the features all 26 Episodes of 1930’s broadcasts of The Green Valley Line. https://archive.org/details/GreenValleyLine . I’m having trouble getting You Tube Videos to post correctly, so going to forego our ending theme song and a You Tube Video the Green Valley Line I wanted to share.
But want to remind you that the most important pursuit in your life each day should be staying faithful to a walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. I finished the book of John yesterday for 2017 (reading New Testament books in reverse order) and started Luke today so I’m right in the thick of the story of John The Baptist‘s ministry, Christ‘s birth and the start of His ministry. I try to read through scripture cover to cover or find devotionals to go through for half the year, then start reading as many scripture books as the rest of the year allows and it never gets old. There will always be something new for you to learn and grow from no matter how many times in your life you read it on your own, or in church, group Bible studies, etc.
I have a weekend all to myself this week and plan to do lots of rail-fanning in it and look forward to sharing what happens in our next visit!
Well, this Sunday is the 1st of the three yearly times that the Mid America Train & Toy Show comes to the KCI Expo Center here in Kansas City, and I’ll be there, looking for good buys, covering it for the blog, recording some podcast material, and hopefully seeing some of you. Here is the link: http://www.midamericatrainandtoyshow.com/
As always, this is John Losh, “The Losh-Man“, “Mr Legacies…On The Rails” saying may God bless and keep you and those you love until next time, and if I don’t see you here, if I don’t see you there, I hope one day I’ll see you In The Air!
rs_railwaycrossing

The Railroad Hour Takes Us Back In Time

Welcome One, Welcome All! My goodness, 10 Legacies…On The Rails postings already here in 2017 compared to only 4 for the whole year of 2016? Getcha’ Some O’ That! I am planning, likely next week to start updating some of my other blog sites here on WordPress.com including Sports…Live With The Losh-Man and Cool Cars USA! Since I now have an hour to kill between the time I get off on weekday afternoons and the time I walk the half a block to the garage my wife and I park her car in as we work directly across the street from each other, it should be easy to rotate blogs on a daily or every few days basis! I even have some other blog ideas in mind, but I won’t spoil the surprise, oh no, you will simply have to wait and see!

So, in my last posting, I started featuring episodes of Railroad Related Old Time Radio. Well, what we are going to discuss today was not as much radio related except for its name and who its sponsor was, but I still think even with those two things alone, and the fact that it is still Old Time Radio, one of my favorite forms of entertainment (especially if I need something soothing on those nights I may have trouble falling or getting back to sleep, or something soothing to work by.)

RRHR.jpg

It’s The Railroad Hour. You can still find the 104 Episodes by checking out the link

The Railroad Hour was sponsored by the Association of American Railroads. See it at:
https://www.aar.org/. The association was founded October 10th, 1934 (another great connection for me as my only sibling, my Sister was born in October.) and is still in existence today, headquartered in Washington, DC, which is also where my firstborn, my Son John works: not for the AAR, but in Washington DC.

The Railroad Hour first ran on CBS starting (you guessed it, October 4th,1948) with Marvin Miller as the Announcer, Warren Barker as Chief Engineer and Gordon Macrae starring in what was billed as the World’s Greatest Musical Comedies along with a host of many other well known stars of the period. It was later reduced to 30 minutes on 04/25/1949 and it continued until 09/26/1949. It was later moved to NBC on 10/3/1949 where it ran until 6/21/1954. On both CBS and NBC it had been a Monday evening headliner, from 8pm Eastern/7pm Central time.

The Railroad Hour’s theme song was :”I’ve Been Working On The Railroad“, the ever popular American folk song first published as “The Levee Song” in Calmina Princetonia an 1894 book of Princeton University songs. The song’s earliest recording was by Sandhills Sixteen by Victor Records in 1927.

Railroad.net has a chat forum on The Railroad Hour. Martin Grams has written a book on it that can be found at his official website http://martingrams.biz/books-2/the-railroad-hour/ .The Modesto Radio Museum in Modesto,California‘s site has an article about it:
http://www.modestoradiomuseum.org/railroad%20hour.html . The O Gauge Railroading Online Forum has some postings about it. http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/old-time-radio-the-railroad-hour-1 .Ebay offers all the episodes on an MP3 DVD. 104 or more of the episodes can be found on You Tube. Many, if not all the episodes are available from Amazon.

Altogether, what you have here between all these is enough to keep any Railfan, Old Time Radio Fan (or maybe you are both) entertained for many, many hours!

And, don’t forget to check out my many Railroad related Facebook Communities:

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route)

Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video

Fans Of The Kansas City Terminal Railway

Rail Box Freight Car Fans

Union Pacific Flag Units

Railroad Auto Racks

The Wabash Cannonball

Caterpillar Train Collectors

I continue to invite my many railfan buddies on Facebook to post their pics and videos on these pages, so I am issuing the same invitation to you. I also search You Tube on a regular basis, copying and pasting links to those videos that qualify on these pages. I always of course, let those who took the videos know that I am sharing their work on the pages as well. Stay tuned for more pages to be created in the future!

Oh, this weekend I am actually getting an 8X8 HO Scale layout. I am buying it from my longtime friend, brother in Christ and up the street neighbor Will James. He has had it a few years but never did anything with it, so I get to take a shot at it. I admit I have zero clue what I am doing, but have some folks I can likely call for help. I will post pics next time and keep you posted. But in the interim, here is a video of it that I took when he first got it:

This Edition’s Railroad Equipment Profile is

14089207_10153884775577749_2665249458153750993_n.jpg

The Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad Transfer Caboose #5  M930 that runs on the Midland Railway in Baldwin City, Kansas https://www.midlandrailway.org/ that my girls and I rode last Fall. I just now found am HO Scale version of it with Bluford Shops that I eventually HAVE to have. I don’t find equipment I have either  photographed, had in my videos or even been on, at such a reasonable price. Check out the following link at: http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Bluford-Shops-HO-Transfer-Caboose-MKT-p/blu-35050.htm
But I hope that the most important thing in your life remains pursuing a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He has been and will always be the only way to have a secure eternity. John 14:6 says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” If you have not accepted Him as your personal Lord & Savior, don’t let this train leave the station without you! He is the only way to truly stay “on track”!

Until next time, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails! And if I don’t see you out railfanning, if I don’t see you here, I hope I will see you….In The Air!

Revisiting History: Trains Of The Civil War

Welcome back to Legacies…On The Rails! This is my 9th installment for 2017 as we keep rolling down the tracks toward Spring! Today, we will be discussing trains and railroads of the American Civil War. First let me say that these days, I know some find it offensive to discuss any part of our nation’s history that they find suddenly uncomfortable. Well, I find that fact offensive because those who deny, try to blot out or do not understand or learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I will not apologize for visiting this topic and as a matter of a fact, the phrase I personally coined some time ago is: If you don’t understand where you’ve been, you do not truly understand where you are, or where you are going, or why.

I will never dishonor the memory of my ancestors (or yours) that put themselves in harm’s way or even lost their lives generally serving in our armed forces or fighting in any of the battles that have made our nation what it is, by avoiding study of, or discussion of these periods.Denial cannot erase historical facts. I actually make it a daily point to go out of my way to approach and thank any of our active duty military or those wearing their Veteran caps, jackets, etc. Have you thanked a Veteran today? The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are not free. I love the saying these days that only two have offered, or died for you, Jesus Christ, and our American Military! May God continue to bless and keep our Heroes! And though it may be your “right”, those who are choosing not to stand for the presentation of our Nation’s Flag and the National Anthem……you are dishonoring those who have or are currently fighting for your protection, and spitting on the graves of those that have died fighting for you. You disgust me!

Some do not realize just how vital the railroads were in the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Not only in the transportation of men and goods, but in the eventual defeat of the South. The Confederacy simply did not have the financial or material means to adequately maintain the railroads in their area. They only controlled 9,000 miles of trackage, while the North controlled 20,000 miles.

It also did not help that Northern troops were in the regular habit of burning or otherwise destroying rail bridges, (which, though I certainly do not condone slavery then or now, and understand the necessity, as the creator of the Facebook page Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video is kind of sad for me to think about). They were also in the habit of pulling up tracks, heating them until they would bend and tying them around trees, creating what was known as “Sherman’s Neckties“. The Union blockades of sea routes also kept the South from being able to obtain vital supplies to maintain the railroads. This all combined to keep Confederates from being able to ship their cotton crop, so they could not woo the help of European nations.

Unemployment rose in southern states as they had to let go of so many railroad workers. Confederates also usually destroyed as much of a town’s rail equipment as possible before retreats were done. I was actually shocked to see that in the beginning of the Civil War, the Confederacy actually controlled 135 railroads. But also in the beginning, in both southern and northern areas, most railroads were short lines that did not connect with continuing tracks, which made truly long distance rail transport difficult.

The Civil War was also the first time that a train mounted gun was ever created and employed, and the first time that train cars were used as makeshift hospitals. Both would continue into the two World Wars.

But fortunately for both sides, though the Confederacy still eventually fell, with the decline of their railroads playing such a huge role, in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Pacific Railway Act, authorizing construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Union Pacific built west from Omaha, Nebraska and the Central Pacific Railroad built East from Sacramento, California. The finalization of the Transcontinental Railroad was culminated with a ceremony on May 10th, 1869 as the two lines met in the
city of Promontory, Utah. When President Lincoln drove the Golden Spike to complete the line, it was attached to a telegraph wire that sent the news from coast to coast. It was the spike that was heard around the world. Four more transcontinental roads and 174 million acres for them eventually came to be authorized as well.

Here are a couple of my current reads on this subject at the moment. Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad on Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Like-World-Transcontinental-1863-1869/dp/0743203178 and The Union Pacific: Birth Of A Railroad check it out at the link:
https://www.amazon.com/Union-Pacific-Railroad-1862-93-Hardcover/dp/B00IGYPKXO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488725961&sr=1-1&keywords=Union+Pacific+Birth+Of+A+Railroad .

Probably the most famous American Civil War related railroad story is that of the theft by Union Soldiers and Civilian Scout James J Andrews in Northern Georgia April 12, 1862 of the steam 4-4-0 locomotive known as The General. It was built by Rogers, Ketchum & Grovesner in New Jersey. Part of my personal railroads collection are items related to The General. I have also been to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri https://www.waltdisneymuseum.org/ (Disney was a huge railfan) and even have friends that are from Marceline. and other friends that have worked the railroads that pass through it. There is a room in the museum almost entirely dedicated the Disney movie The Great Locomotive Chase. I also just purchased the movie on my Google Play Movies collection.

Here is a song about the chase by Robert W Smith that I also found on You Tube:

While the Disney film that starred Fess Parker (Davey Crockett) and Jeffrey Hunter who was the Captain Christopher Pike in the very first Star Trek Pilot: The Cage, was released June 8th, 1956 (cool for me as both my Mother Maureen Losh and my Son John W Losh III were both born in June), there was an earlier version called The General that starred Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, that was released February 5th, 1927 (again cool for me, I was born in February).

I thought of posting the entire lists, but instead I am going to encourage you to do searches on Railroads Of The Civil War as well as books on the same.

I may do a later blog expanding further on this topic but I think we are off to a good start here. Hope you have enjoyed these beginning tidbits of info, and the videos I found and shared about Trains Of The Civil War.

I am going to start a couple new features that will continue from here on in the Legacies…On The Rails Blog and maybe even the Podcast.

The first is a Railroad Equipment Profile. In this feature, I will share pics I have taken of locomotives, freight cars, grain cars, tankers, cabooses, etc and their origins.

14317381_10153927125867749_7998085926530521894_n

This first installment Of my new Railroad Equipment Profile features the Dome Car Prairie View (Great Northern Railroad Empire Builder #1394 that I recently caught at the Kansas City Union Station. The following information on it’s credit goes to Trainweb.org.

Prairie View” – to BN 3/70 (same number), to Amtrak 9364. Was eventually used as an Amtrak parts car and was sold 5/93 as a shell (less trucks) to the BN. Stored Springfield MO (ex Frisco shops) until sold 1994 to Holland America Westours. After putting over $1m into it, car is now in service in Alaska. It carries the name “Deshka” and entered service in 1997. In 2003 Westours put all but 3 of their Budd domes up for sale as `”excess”. They kept 1394 because it required no coupler pocket modifications for the new Colorado Railcar domes and it has Budd braked trucks (from under one of the two 1956 Budd built Santa Fe business cars that were retrucked with 4 wheel trucks in 1989). Car transferred late 2004 to a new division called Alaska Rail Tours (defunct) with the other retained cars to begin service in 2005 in a non “cruise ship” travel/tour operation in Alaska. Sold 10/09 to Iowa Pacific/San Luis & Rio Grande. Renamed back to original “Prairie View”.

The Second is Railroad Old Time Radio. Anyone that knows me knows that I love old movies, old TV shows, and the radio versions of many of them. We will begin with Episode 17 of Gunsmoke. Set in Dodge City, Kansas, it was billed as the first adult western, and its radio show that starred William Conrad as Marshall Matt Dillon first aired on CBS on April 26th, 1952. (Again, cool for me as both the first date Anniversary and Wedding Anniversary for my wife Denise and I are both in late April (25th/28th respectively). This episode aired September 27th, 1952. My daughter Cara Losh was also born on a much later September 27th. I am loving these connections as I am not a believer in coincidence! Hope you enjoy it. We may start sharing Railroad Movies as well (which I kind of already did by sharing The General with Buster Keaton above.)

Thanks again for joining me! until next time, I want to again encourage you to accept the free gift of Salvation and forgiveness that the Lord Jesus Christ offers you and to follow Him each day of your life. My reading this morning with breakfast was in Romans 9-12 and the verses that stood out to me were Romans 10: 14,15 (NKJV from Bible Gateway)

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Well, if I don’t see you down the rail line, if I don’t see you here, I pray I’ll see you In The Air!

Railfan Focus: Jim Matuska: Capturing The Railroad Passion on Canvas

Welcome back! This is my 8th Edition of Legacies…On The Rails for 2017 and my 35th overall which I am very happy about as I was disappointed in only having done 8 last year!

I have another treat for you today as I have been given the privilege of sharing the story of my good friend, Facebook Friend, Brother in Christ and fellow passionate railfan, Jim Matuska! There is not a day that I don’t scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook looking to enjoy the latest railfan pics, or latest railroad artwork from Jim! We also share common ground in our health situation, and enjoying tracking our steps as part of staying healthy.

So, I will let Jim take it from here. I know you will enjoy his story as much as I have, especially since it starts out with the railroad my Grandpa John Losh and his brother Leonard Losh worked for, so it is my first favorite out of all those I have family connections to!

My passion for trains started back in the early 1960’s when my Dad held me up to the window as the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Town Job would rumble by our house on the south side of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The train usually had one SW1 Switcher and as many as twenty cars for the industries along this spur line. It ran from the CB&Q’s north La Crosse yard to CTC Herrington, which was located in the southeastern part of town. As time passed, I became friends with all the crew members on this switch job, so much so, they stopped the train and let me board the wooden CB&Q way car. I rode along as they performed their duties at the local industries. More time passed and soon I was assisting in the switch moves themselves, under the watchful eye of the Town Job’s conductor.  These experiences meant more to me than anyone could know, a young kid that liked trains, running an SW1, blowing that Blat single chime horn and ringing the bell, I was hooked for a lifetime.

This particular crew enjoyed the fruits of my Mother’s labor as I traded homemade strawberry jam for fusees and railroad chalk.  Imagine my Dad’s dismay, when he wanted fresh jelly on warm toast and all he found was a bunch of chalk and fusees! Soon enough school took me away from the Town Job and the crews retired or took different jobs, so I peddled my bike to the Northside to sit and watch the trains in and around Grand Crossing.  I hung around the now Burlington Northern roundhouse and took many photos at the time. I wish I knew now what I didn’t know then about all that first generation power, the pool power, and the different paint schemes, and so on. More time passed and I now traded my bicycle for a car and set my sights on the Grand Crossing interlocking tower; where the Milwaukee Road’s double track crossed the BN’s single track at grade with all the operations being controlled by the man in the tower.  Soon enough I was throwing the levers and bending the iron and the tower man was handling the radio work, talking to the trains and dispatchers. I was hanging orders for the Milwaukee Road trains and hooping up orders to the Chicago & North Western trains that ran between Winona and Tunnel City on the Milwaukee Road. If there were issues with the interlocking, I would walk the intended route and flag the train through, two short whistle blasts told me they saw me and they were moving. What a life for a kid that loved trains, the working man and the railroads.

I took a Watercolor class and as the teacher painted flowers, I was painting diesels.

During High School, I was in the Boy Scouts and completed my Eagle Scout where you have the opportunity the spend a day with an employer of your choice, I chose the Burlington-Northern Railroad. The Boy Scouts set me up with the Road Master of Engineers and Firemen based in La Crosse. He had arranged for me to take a train from La Crosse to Prairie Du Chein and back. After introducing me to the crew, I was sat down at the controls of two SD40-2s and 120 cars and proceeded to run it to Prairie Du Chein. What a thrill! The train I was supposed to bring back was late so I had to ride in the Road Foreman’s car back to La Crosse, I really didn’t care I was in heaven! After High School I worked various odd jobs and then I received the call of a lifetime, the BN called and offered me a job as a Brakeman and the same day Dairyland Power Cooperative called and offered me a position within the utility. Talk about a difficult choice. Soon I was working in the Transmission Engineering area of Dairyland Power, enjoying the trains in the Grand Crossing Tower on the weeknights and weekends, I had the best of both worlds!

All good things slowly come to a close, the Towerman I shared my time with retired and the now Soo Line closed the Tower. It was moved to Copeland Park next the CB&Q Steam Locomotive #4000, the Aeolus, Keeper of the Winds, and a wooden Milwaukee Road caboose. While at the power utility, I used my free time to draw trains in both pencil and ink. It was then I tried my first watercolor, but decided to stick with black and white artwork for a while. I drew up a set of seven pen & ink scenes and these were so well received, I did another set of three and started the model train show scene. Soon I tried watercolors again, it wasn’t pretty. I took a watercolor class and as the teacher painted flowers, I was painting diesels. There have been so many changes in the railroad scene in the last 40 years. This explains why I paint what I do: the history, what once was common, the railroads before the mega-mergers, the depots before they were torn down, steam before diesel, and diesels that were unique all to their own.

I accept all commission work if someone has a particular scene or railroad they are fond of and would like to see as a piece of quality art that makes any railroaders or railfan’s day. I have done many retirement paintings featuring the railroad where the retiree started with, and their name on a station sign somewhere in the painting itself. Almost all of my artwork can be seen on Facebook under Matuska RailArt page, feel free to stop by and take a look, I’ve also painted trucks, cars and vintage WWII Aircraft as well.

About the Author Jim Matuska

I’ve lived in La Crosse,Wisconsin all my life and recently retired after 39 years in the Civil Engineering field, which gave me my eye for details that cover many steam and diesel locomotives. My wife, Dorothy works at a local Bank and my son, Andrew, is a Locomotive Engineer for the BNSF Railway based out of La Crosse. I’ve always thought that Andrew is living out my dreams, but I have the memories. My artwork is all original, and I don’t make prints of my work because I want the person who purchases an original to have “the original”, not a copy. I paint what I feel unless it’s a commission where then I’ll do what I am asked. I like to paint the diesels and steam locomotives of the older Fallen Flag Railroads the best as they seem to bring back the best memories. I paint on 300# Paper which stands up quite well to watercolors and depending if I use hot or cold pressed paper, the desired effect of the colors being put down.

Here is some of Jim Matuska‘s artwork for you to enjoy. God has truly gifted him as an artist, and I’m sure I speak for all railfans in saying we are thrilled that he uses that gift to capture the history, the spirit and the passion that is railroading!  I also want to express my deepest gratitude to my dear friend, for allowing me to share his story here on Legacies…On The Rails! I’m honored and humbled! Please go check out the Matuska Railart page on Facebook, send Jim a Friend Request, and maybe have him commission some artwork for you. And as I’m famous for saying (because I truly believe it), You’ll be glad ya’ did!

 

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you that today is the day of Salvation! Jesus Christ gave His life for you on the cross of Calvary so that all of us can be forgiven of our sins and spend a wonderful eternity with Him in Heaven. But you aren’t born with it. We are all born in sin, in need of a Savior and though the gift is free, we must ask for it. We must ask Christ to come into our hearts and let Him be the Lord of our lives.

Revelation 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock (He won’t force His way in, but He loves you and wants to be in your life). If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will (it’s a promise) come into him and dine with him and he with Me.”

So, accept His gift if you haven’t already, follow Him each day of your life through His word, prayer and a solid, uncompromisingly Bible believing, Bible preaching, Christ exalting church, and when it comes to trains and everything that is railroading, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails! God Bless, and if I don’t see you at the railyard, if I don’t see you here…I hope Jim Matuska and I will see you In The Air!

 

 

Great Rail Sites Volume 1: Nick Ozorak: Master Of The Roundhouse

Welcome To the 7th installment of Legacies…On The Rails for 2017,and my 34th overall edition.  Glad you have again joined me and I have a real treat for you today! I had said I wanted to be more eclectic with what I shared here on the blog, and one of the directions I am going is to review other cool sites that I know you will enjoy.

I could not start this any other way but to share about my Facebook Friend Nick Ozorak, a lifelong railfan from (and who resides in) Meadville, Pennsylvania and is a 2013 graduate of Allegheny College with a degree in Film Study.  For over 10 years, Nick has been igniting the passion of railroaders and railfans alike with his websites  like his first one, At The Railyard http://attherailyard.com/ and his You Tube videos by the same name. The At The Railyard site and most of his videos are dedicated to profiling railroad simulators.

My favorite so far of those is the Monon (Hoosier Line) because, though this may seem insignificant to some, I have a small personal connection to it. Though I mainly concentrate on collecting items related to the railroads I have family connections to, I also pick up random pieces here and there to not only have a more diverse collection, but also for the history lesson, and I happen to own a Hoosier Line box car. I thought I had a pic handy to share but guess not. But I can certainly share Nick‘s video.

And while Nick has been doing At The Railyard the longest, before I knew about that site, I had been for quite some time, listening to and thoroughly enjoying his railroad podcast known as The Roundhouse Podcast http://theroundhousepodcast.com/ . Nick started The Roundhouse Podcast in 2015 with (as he shares in his very first episode) three specific goals in mind.

  1. Create episodes with meaningful content
  2. Explore new topics in the hobby
  3. Connect with all of us as railroaders and railfans and connect all of us as  a community

Well, for now 54 episodes since the inception of The Roundhouse Podcast, Nick has done a superb job of doing all that and more. He has covered freight roads, passenger railroads, excursion railroads. Logging railroads, and rail related special events. Railroad hotels, restoration and preservation of historic railroad equipment, and railroad films.

As you see above, episodes of The Roundhouse Podcast can also be found in video form on You Tube.

Starting with Norfolk Southern, he has gone on to cover such topics (always with very interesting and engaged guests who interact with him very well, as he is great at scripting the interviews so it makes things flow very smoothly). Nickel Plate 765, (which, again, I have a personal connection to. Since my opening theme here on the blog and the LOTR Podcast is The Wabash Cannonball, if you search images of the Wabash Cannonball, the NPR 765 is the one that appears the most, and I use it as wallpaper on my phone).

The Norfolk & Western 611. Chris Eden-Green‘s (another mutual Facebook Friend) Steam Locos in Profile. I recently posted a pic of a t-shirt my wife got me,on Chris’ Facebook page, thinking the steam loco looked European, asking if Chris could identify it. Brian Mcdonnell responded that it is the N&W 4-8-0 #382 on the Abingdon Branch in Virgina: affectionately known as The Virginia Creeper.

16797533_10154372846772749_1655243387438647822_o.jpg

He has covered the Strasburg, Pennsylvania Railroad, President Lincoln’s Funeral Train, The American Freedom Train. I also happen to own a collector plate from said train and have also photographed one of the steam locos that led it. Nick has covered the restoration of a Royal Husdon steam locomotive. The model train manufacturer Rapido Trains, and so much more. He has done all this from his studio, as well as from inside passenger train cars, the cabs of steam locos, diesel locomotives, and track-side.

Nick’s iconic Roundhouse theme is “In days past, the roundhouse was where the railroad worker united with the steam locomotive, both to prepare for the journey ahead. Today, it’s where we examine the history, the industry, the machines, the hobby, and the passion behind railroading. News, interviews, stories and more. So climb aboard! This is…..The Roundhouse!”

Nick always includes a “Question Of The Day” on The Roundhouse Podcast, and asks us as listeners to interact with him, and that he will (and faithfully does) share the best answers on the following show. His very first Question on Episode 1 was “What railfan activities are you most looking forward to in 2015?

In Episode 9: You Career With Norfolk Southern Part 1 was sharing answers from Episode 8’s Question: What news are you most interested in sharing? In Episode 20: Restoring A Royal Hudson, asked the Question: What aspect of Canadian railroad history fascinates you the most? I think you kind of get the idea of the interesting interaction Nick creates for us as the listeners with this method.

In closing, though he did not state this goal in his opening episode, I believe Nick Ozorak has a 4th goal for The Roundhouse Podcast, At The Railyard and everything he does, that he not only strives for, but succeeds in doing. So I have to say that Goal #4 is to strive for a level of quality that always makes you want to keep coming back for more. He is one person that makes me want to do better with the Legacies On The Rails Blog, the Podcast, and my videos, and I will continue to keep coming back! I hope you catch The Roundhouse Podcast soon. You’ll be glad ya’ did!

Nick sums up how he brings us all together as a railroad community in this, “Remember, The Roundhouse…Is Our House!” I am giving Nick Ozorak , At The Railyard and The Roundhouse Podcast my Seal Of Approval with 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks!
rs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossing

Well, in addition to the Facebook pages I have mentioned previously:

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route)

Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video

Rail Box Freight Car Fans

Union Pacific Flag Units

Railroad Auto Racks

The Wabash Cannonball

You can now also check out:

Caterpillar Train Collectors

If you would like to send me a story, or suggest a topic, or be featured on the Legacies…On The Rails Blog or Podcast, or even if you live here in Kansas City and want to get together for some railfanning, email me at legaciesontherails@gmail.com .

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you that if you haven’t already, seek a relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ, and follow Him each day through time in his word, prayer, and involvement in an uncompromisingly Bible believing and preaching local church.  It’s the ONLY WAY to truly stay On Track!

As I read in I Corinthians this morning, Chapter 9, Verse 16 stood out. “If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast in, for necessity has fallen on me. Yes, and woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” And when it comes to trains and everything that is railroading, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails! I’ll see you next time!

Wichita Railfanning Nearly Goes Bust

Welcome back to another 2017 edition of Legacies…On The Rails! I truly appreciate you continuing to follow the blog and hope you are checking out the soon to be updated podcast on Podomatic.com as well!

As you know, this past weekend was destination Wichita, Kansas. The drive down on Saturday 2/18/18 after attending a birthday party was smooth and uneventful and as my wife drove first, I was able to make notes of some potential railfan sites, either for those of you who may not have been there, or for myself in the future, as I guarantee there will be return trips to Wichita. Those sites include:

I can’t recall the exact exit but it is shortly after SB I-35/Lamar Ave

I-35/119th Olathe, Kansas as the bridge goes over the tracks

SB I-35 just before Exit #148 (Hwy 131 to Lebo, Ks) tracks run under the highway

SB I-35/Burlingame Rd (Exit #131 to Emporia, Ks)

City of Cassaday, Ks

On the drive down, we ate at Braum’s Ice Cream & Burgers in Emporia, Ks. Check them out at http://www.braums.com/stores/emporia-ks-store-265/ . The food was good, their prices are reasonable, the facility was clean and the staff was friendly and quick with service. The only issue I had was the fact that instead of paper towels in the restroom, there was a hand dryer. Now for some, that may be acceptable but let me tell you why it is not for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that deals with this. 1. I’m a Diabetic and often go into restaurant restrooms to test my sugar before eating. I would like a clean, dry place to lay my supplies on the counter. Most people don’t clean up after themselves and leave the counter and the floor all wet. If there are paper towels, I can rectify this for myself and 2. I would also clean up after myself and leave the restroom better than I found it as is my normal practice. This is why I am giving Braum’s 4 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
rs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_RailwayCrossing.gif

Once in Wichita, we stayed at the Quality Inn Airport. Check out their site by visiting  https://www.choicehotels.com/kansas/wichita/quality-inn-hotels/ks041 . Our room was clean, modern, very spacious and nicely decorated, though the restroom was in need of some serious updating. The staff was very friendly, there was a full breakfast served each morning in their dining area whose ornate ironwork and trees reminded us of something you would likely see in the French Quarter of New Orleans. So, again, I am giving 4 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
rs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_railwaycrossingrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gif

On Sunday 2/19/17, we attended  the service at The Foundry Christian Church
http://www.thewichitafoundry.com/ where the congregation and staff including my buddy Craig Coffey were all very friendly and welcoming, and we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and worship (giving 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks)

rs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gif

Then went on to  have lunch at Spangles http://www.spanglesinc.com/ . It was another clean, friendly place that in this case had that classic diner feel with lots of classic TV, Movie and Rock & Roll items on display. We were there to have lunch with with Craig & Cynthia Coffey, and we all took  advantage of their Classic All American Meal package that came with a burger, fries, a soda and either a a sundae, shake or mud-slide. I had my burger with bbq sauce and Denise had the strawberry mud-slide while I had the Reese’s Peanut Butter mud-slide. I never had to use their restroom so I can’t comment on it but I am giving them 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks
rs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_RailwayCrossing.gif

We then headed to Downtown Wichita expecting to check out the Great Plains Transportation Museum. see their website by checking out the following link: http://www.kansastravel.org/wichita/greatplainstransportationmuseum.htm only to find out that I missed seeing on their site that they are only open Sundays from April to October. I took these pics from outside the facility.

At first, I thought they were the best I was going to get of the locomotives and rolling stock in their collection. But, thanks to a later visit to Hewitt’s Antiques  Check them out at:
http://www.hewittsantiques.com/www.hewittsantiques.com/Welcome.html where I picked up three HO Scale Spirit Of 76 Bicentennial train cars, and met some older railfans that also come to Kansas City on a regular basis in addition to having a regular first Friday of the month gathering at Hog Wild Barbecue http://www.hogwildpitbbq.com/ there in Wichita, they clued me in to a nearby ramp that would allow me to walk up and get pics of all the Transportation Museum’s equipment. Between the unique layout of the store, friendly guy running the place and the great info I picked up  that led to these pics:

I am giving Hewitt’s Antiques 5 out 0f 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks!
rs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossing

Also tried stopping by the Wichita Toy Train Club & Museum: you guessed it: Closed.

I gave them my contact info, and hope to meet up with them when they come to Kansas City and even hope to get back down to Wichita for a weekend for one of their gatherings in the near future. After taking pics of all the awesome equipment, I was able to catch this BNSF led auto rack train that has also been shared on my Railroad Auto Racks Facebook page. It was appropriate to catch some Kansas City Southern 125th Anniversary cars on my 250th LOTR Fan Video. The reason the bottom of the the train is obscured is similar to the reason I only caught the trailing DPU’s of the coal train in St Joseph, Missouri.

16832212_10154383881997749_3042780534801363762_n

Later, we walked the trails at Chisholm Creek Park http://www.gpnc.org/chisholm.htm and got some great exercise as we enjoyed their paved and wooden trails, streams, prairie land, and enjoyed watch a deer as another couple that were there were taking pics and video of it. Nothing better than a walk in a gorgeous park on an equally gorgeous day, and I am giving the park 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
rs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_RailwayCrossing.gifrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossing

Dinner that night was at the Monterrey Mexican Grill. You can check them out on their Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/monterreymexicangrillwichita/  . They offered a clean enjoyable atmosphere with decor that made you feel like you are walking the sidewalk of a classic Mexican town, taking in all the business storefronts.  The staff was friendly, and were quick with service. The food was excellent. The fajita meals Denise and I ordered were each big enough that we could have just shared one. I did have to go find our server when we were ready to go and needed our guest check, but she was again quick to respond and even got us refills on our sodas to go. And hey, there were real paper towels in the restroom (even if the paper towel dispenser was motion activated). I’m going to rant a bit here and say, have we grown so lazy, or so germophobic, (or both) as a society that we need motion-activated lighting, motion-activated sinks, motion-activated flushing urinals or toilets, or motion-activated paper towel dispensers? What happens when those fancy gadgets break down? I’m a firm believer in the following phrase (and say it frequently in many places that are part of my life) as Mr Scott said in Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock: “The more ya’ overtake tha’ plumbin’……tha easier it is ta’ stop up tha’ drain!” And when people rave about how much easier some things will make life, I again refer to Scotty “Aye, and if me grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon!” But anyway, I’m giving the Monterrey Mexican Grill of Wichita 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks

rs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_railwaycrossingrs_RailwayCrossing.gif

On Monday 2/20/17, after breakfast at our hotel, we stopped at the Wichita Kmart that like most these days is going out of business where among many other things we bought, I purchased a Caterpillar Train Set that was originally $17.99 but with the discount was just $9.00. I have a Caterpillar Train Set in I believe O Scale and I’m not big into Caterpillar items, but I figured I am always adding to the other various areas of my train collection, so why not Caterpillar? I may even start a Facebook page for Caterpillar Train Collectors as I have done a search as I do before I start other pages to make sure my idea would not be boringly redundant, and there doesn’t seem to be one currently. I’ll update you in my next posting if I do. Not going to rate Kmart as the fact that they are going out of business, and you already know whet most stores in that process look like, it would be pointless.

On our way to have lunch at the home of Craig & Cynthia Coffey, I saw the Kansas & Oklahoma https://www.watcocompanies.com/services/rail/kansas-and-oklahoma-railroad-ko/ train and though I wasn’t sure if it was coming our way or going away from us as it was on switching operations, it was something unique that I had never seen  and that is always a thrill, so here you go:

Well, there you have it. The trip wasn’t a total bust, as I got a weekend away with my wife, got to fellowship with some great friends, get lots of exercise and still came away with several great rail pics, a couple videos and something else to report about here on the blog.

Again, hope you will check out the Legacies On The Rails Podcast on Podomatic.com and I will be updating it most likely on March 2nd, and that you will also check out all the LOTR Fan Videos on my You Tube Channel, as well as the following Facebook pages:

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route)

Fans Of The Kansas City Terminal Railway

Rail Box Freight Car Fans

Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video

Railroad Auto Racks

Union Pacific Flag Units

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man“, encouraging you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior if you have not already, and follow him through His word and prayer each day, stay in an uncompromisingly Bible believing, Bible preaching church, as these are the only way to truly stay on track. And, when it comes to trains, and everything that is railroading, continue leaving “Legacies…On The Rails!” I’ll see you next time!

 

Wichita, Kansas Railfan Info

Later today, we will be doing some railfanning here in Wichita, Kansas: Home of Wichita State University see their website and Facebook pages :http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/ ,  https://www.facebook.com/WichitaStateInternationalAdmissions/ and the Kansas Aviation Museum. You can visit them online by checking out their website/Facebooks:
http://kansasaviationmuseum.org/ https://www.facebook.com/kansasaviationmuseum/
and the Mcconnell Air Force Base. Visit both their websirte and Facebook pages here at:
http://www.mcconnell.af.mil/ https://www.facebook.com/22ARW/

After attending the service at The Foundry Christian Church (see their website, Facebook:
http://www.thewichitafoundry.com/ https://www.facebook.com/The-Foundry-Christian-Church-124031667616581/ Pastored by my good friend, fellow CB&Q Railroad family member and brother in Christ Rev Craig Coffey, we will be starting with a visit to the Great Plains Transportation Museum. You can vist their website and Facebook pages:
http://www.gptm.us/ https://www.facebook.com/GreatPlainsTransportationMuseum/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf . More than anything, I am looking forward to checking out their collection of locomotives and rolling stock, as I know they have equipment from four of the seven railroads that I have family connections to: Santa Fe, Burlington Northern, Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific and hope they are ok with folks climbing onto them for pics. I also hope that Craig and I can record an episode of Legacies On The Rails Radio, as we are due for Episode 14.

If time allows this weekend (we lost most of our travel day on Saturday by attending a friend’s birthday party that had been rescheduled due to an ice storm (Happy 50th, Nelson Heinke!), I hope to check out the Amtrak Station in nearby Newton, Kansas see them at:
https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServerpagename=am/am2Station/Station_Page&code=NEW https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newton-station/135677416466835 or at least find somewhere to do some live action railfanning in Wichita.

Here are some other links to railroad history in Wichita, Kansas:
https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burRail/rail/railroads/history.asp
http://www.wichitacountymuseum.org/wichita_rr_history.htm
http://kmuw.org/post/wichitas-union-station-celebrates-centennial-new-ownership-new-future http://wtarr.com/ http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article101465837.html    https://sfrhms.org/conventions/the-2016-wichita-express/

And, we may..to visit the Wichita Toy Train Museum that is also located here and you can visit them at http://www.wichitatoytrainmuseum.org/ as well as on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WichitaToyTrainClub/ .

I hope you also get to visit Wichita, Kansas sometime if you have not already, or are not a resident of Wichita as it has so much to offer no matter what your interests are!

Hope you will check out my growing list of railroad related Facebook pages:

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route)
Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video
Rail Box Freight Car Fans
Fans Of The Kansas City Terminal Railway
Union Pacific Flag Units
Railroad Auto Racks

Give them a Like, and  please, please share all your great related pics and video on them!

Check out my You Tube: John Losh that as of Friday 2/17/17 has 249 Legacies…On The Rails Fan Videos and 16 so far for 2017!

Again, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you that the only true way to stay on track is to accept and follow the Lord Jesus Christ every day and encouraging you, when it comes to trains and everything that is railroading, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails!

St Joseph Missouri Rail History Hunting

16507921_10154351853077749_754852176706925203_n

Welcome back to another edition of Legacies…On The Rails! I appreciate you joining me again as we close out another week here in early 2017.  So, what’s a Railfan to do on his birthday when he’s turning 29 for the 18th time and has the day off with his wife? Why a Railfan road-trip, of course!

Just as I indicated in my last posting as we planned on Wednesday 2/8/17, we headed about an hour north of Kansas City to St Joseph. By the time we hit town, it was time for lunch and our Google Maps search for food found us a cozy little place called The Diner On Francis Street https://www.facebook.com/TheDinerOnFrancis/ . It is owned and operated by Chef Karlon Ray Ables, aka: “Scrappy“.  He said he started the establishment last June but didn’t really “get going” until about August. Not only did a very appetizing aroma greet us when we walked in but “Scrappy” was a very gracious host, and was quick with the service and did a great job with my wife Denise’s Hot Beef Sandwich and my Cheeseburger that came with perfectly seasoned steak fries. It also turned out that he comes from four generations of railroad workers!

He shared that his Grandfather Roy Lease was an engineer for the Burlington and when the CB&Q 5614 Steam Locomotive (pictured above) was brought to St Joseph to be donated and displayed in its current home in St Joe’s Patee Park, his grandfather drove it from Omaha to St Joseph and “Scrappy” got to ride it from Forest City to St Joseph! We also met another friendly gentleman there whose neighbor and others he knows are big into model railroading and he knows several folks that have worked on the railroads in the area. I look forward to hearing from them so I can bring you their stories as well!

The Diner On Francis Street already had decor on all the tables that showed that Chef Karlon Ray Ables was ready for the Valentine’s Day crowd and we hope he sees lots of folks that day, ready for a romantic and delicious dinner!

With our stomachs full and content from Scrappy’s great home cooking, we headed to the Patee House Museum http://www.ponyexpressjessejames.com/patee/index.php that opened in 1860 as a luxury hotel that now houses pretty much everything for the St Joe history lover, including a replica old town street complete with businesses you could walk right into including Photography Studio, Newspaper Office, General Store, Dentist, Optician, Physician, Blacksmith, Undertaker, Barber, Bank, and Dressmaker.

Of Course, the most important to me was the Railroad Station complete with signals, schedules, and pictures, and many artifacts on display.

16473144_10154351866082749_142702125805972955_n

But the “icing on the cake” as far as the museum goes for me was the  CB&Q/Hannibal & Missouri steam locomotive #35The Missouri“(the very first mail train).

16508716_10154351866237749_2403918437304766419_n16507900_10154351866232749_3146290778292895132_n

16473648_10154351865872749_3548573574542899877_n

I picked up some postcards and even a key-chain, all with the #35 on them as souvenirs from their gift shop. I later realized that when my daughter Cara and I visited our cousin George Hess and his family for a day in March, 2015, I had my picture taken with a mural there in Downtown Chillicothe, Missouri (another town that the CB&Q was a prevalent railroad in) that you have seen in a previous blog entry, and it turns out that in a way of speaking, this is not the 1st time the #35 and I have crossed paths.

mural

There were also model train pieces and even a working layout in the facility as well.

16473098_10154351875982749_8954207176010570572_n

Our next stop was the Jesse James Home & Museum, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g44880-d290950-Reviews-Jesse_James_Home_Museum-Saint_Joseph_Missouri.html on a different part of the property. It is where Jesse was living when he was gunned down by Bob Ford, and though he and his brother Charlie Ford were acting as hitmen hired by the Governor to assassinate James, they were not supposed to shoot him in the back, and were the arrested and convicted of murder, but later pardoned, and each was only given $750 each of the overall $10,000 they were promised, and were told to get out of town. Charlie later committed suicide, while Bob was eventually gunned gown in a saloon brawl.  This is of particular interest to us as it is believed that Henry Lafayette Barr, who married Jesse James’ daughter Mary Susan James is a relative of my wife’s on her Paternal Grandmother Daisy Mae Barr-Mapes‘ (wife of a KC Southern man, Denise’s Grandfather William R Mapes Sr, and mother of some KCS workers in the Mulberry-Pittsburg, Ks area) side, we just need to establish the official connection and I am in the processs of Geneaology research hoping to eventually do just that.

16603017_10154351875997749_7754448407920271192_n

Of course, of further interest to me is the fact that James and his various gangs wre known for not only bank and stage, but train robberies, as indicated in the Wanted Poster above.
Some of their train heists included their very first, and believed to be the very first Old West train robbery of the Rock Island & Pacific near Adair, Iowa July 21st 1873. They broke a piece of the rail and caused the train to derail into a ditch. When they didn’t find what they were looking for, they robbed passengers of their wares.

There is a historical marker at the spot of the robbery now, as there also are at the sites of all of James’ rumored 8 total train robberies. They also include the Gads Hill Train Robbery of the train from St Louis, Missouri to Little Rock that was currently in the stage of its journey that took it from Malvern Park to Hot Springs, Arkansas that took place just after they robbed the General Store in Gads Hill on January 15th, 1874 and the Blue Cut Train Robbery in Glendale, Missouri because they believed the Chicago & Alton train was carrying $1,000 to $3,000 in gold, but they found and got away with considerably less. Credit to westerntrips.blogspot.com , sundowntrailblog.com , and biography.com for much of this information.

Our final stop of mention on the day was the Remington Nature Center https://www.visitmo.com/remington-nature-center-of-st-joseph.aspx . On the way there, as it sits next to railroad tracks that sit along the river, I saw a BNSF coal train headed in our direction and as it was my only opportunity for actual live rail-fanning that day, I hoped to catch it in both pics and video, but #1 as coal trains are often known as “Coal Drags” because of their low speed, this one was anything but…..it had to be the fastest coal train I have yet seen as it was flat haulin’! #2, we had to turn around in Remington’s parking lot and let’s just say (as we were in her new car with her driving, my wife just does not have my lead train-chasing foot as I would behind the wheel of the Legacies On The Rails Cruiser, so these shots of Citirail (CREX) 1341 (ES44AC) and BNSF 5714 (AC4400CW) were the best I could get.

But the Remington Nature Center did also have displays related to railroads in St Jospeh, both past and present and a replica of the front of the CB&Q/Hannibal & Missouri “Missouri”, and information about it.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this bit of rail and other history from St Joseph, Missouri. I started this posting in Kansas City, Missouri but am finishing it from the Quality Inn in Wichita, Kansas where tomorrow, we’ll be on to our next railfan adventure!

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you to always follow the Lord Jesus Christ each day of your life which is the ONLY way to truly stay on track, and when it comes to trains, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails! I’ll see you next time!

CB&Q In Focus Volume 1

16178839_10154302395787749_3146937837457740941_o

Welcome back to Legacies…On The Rails!

With my Paternal Grandfather John Losh whose namesake I am and his brother Leonard Losh both having been career men with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, in honor of that fact, one of the railroad related Facebook pages I  created is Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route).

This year, I began inviting participants in that page to share their own Q stories, or the stories of friends or family members  that worked for the CB&Q, and giving me permission to also share them here on the blog.

Here are some recent stories that have been graciously shared and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to these fine folks for their willingness to share on the Facebook page and allow me to also share them here as well. I plan to make CB&Q In Focus a regular feature here on Legacies…On The Rails  first in 2017 and beyond, as part of my strategy to get more consistent and creative with the blog after only doing 4 postings total in 2016.  I plan to join the Burlington Route Historical Society this year so hopefully, that will lead to many, many more stories to share both here and on  Legacies…On The Rails Radio (Podcast) in the future!

From Joel Stirek:

I grew up on the C B & Q. I lived a mile or so south just off Cass and 63rd. I went to Maercker Grade School btw. I used to ride my bike into Westmont, get some penny candy at the Ben Franklin, and sit in the shelter on the North side of the track watching trains. I loved exploring on my bike and always knew where I was by watching where the tracks were going. I loved watching the freight cars go by with all the railroad adverts, especially from far off destinations. Many more memories and thank you!

From Earl Mc:

I too grew up with the Q. Lived in North Berwyn and would ride the bicycle down to the Q to watch trains. One time in the afternoon I was going to go shopping for my mom at the National Food Store on Oak Park Avenue across from MacNeal Hospital. When I got to the intersection of Oak Park and Stanley Ave which ran parrellel to the tracks on the north side, the gates came down. I could hear the Zephyr coming from the east. I wanted to get a better look so I started to ride my bike across Stanley. I was between a car and the curb. Well the car turned right and I flew over the hood of the car into the middle of the intersection. I was dazed but saw the observation car go by! I got to the side of the street as the gates went up. Had to straighten the baskets on the bike before I could load up the groceries. Mom and dad never did find out about that adventure.

I am always looking for great sites with CB&Q material and as my wife and I took tomorrow off for my 48th Birthday (really, I’m just 29 for the 18th time) and were thinking of a Day Trip for some rail-fanning and thought about St Joseph, Mo and I started researching its railroad connections, found this site:
http://www.stjosephmemorylane.com/railroads/railroads.html . It has tons of CB&Q pics and information, from equipment to Depots, Administrative Offices and more! The very first pic you see is of the CB&Q Silver Charger. It has a list of St Joe related railroad lines including:

CB&Q
Burlington Northern
BNSF
Chicago & Great Western
Chicago & Northwestern
Chicag0, Rock Island & Pacific
Hannibal & St Joseph
Kansas City, Clay County & St Joseph
Missouri Pacific
Northeast Kansas & Missouri
Rock Island
St Joseph Belt (owned by Mo-Pac)
St Joseph & Denver City
St Joseph & Grand Island
St Joseph & Savannah Electric
St Joseph Short Line
St Joseph Terminal
St Joseph & Western
Santa Fe
Union Pacific
Union Terminal

It has lots of great pics and other items related to many of the other railroads in that list.

I encourage you to go check out the site. I plan to email the site owner and see if I can get him to share about the site’s origins.

If you have not checked out my page Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route), won’t yo do so and send me a Member Request soon?

And until next time, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man“, encouraging you to continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ every day of your life, and when it comes to trains, Continue Leaving Legacies…On The Rails!

 

Revisiting Amtrak’s Worst

300px-amtrak_sunset_east

Welcome back to Legacies…On The Rails and thanks for continuing to follow! I decided that here in 2017 I wanted to get more creative with more varied topics and guests not only here on the Blog, but also on the Podcast on Podomatic.com, as well as being more consistent as I stated in my last posting. This being my 2nd Blog in 2017 has me already halfway to my total number of postings in 2016 and it will only get better from here!

This edition of Legacies…On The Rails the blog, and the next upcoming podcast brought to you by The Cupcakin’ Bakery 2311 E 12th St Kansas City, Mo 64127 (816)-813-4880! A great place to satisfy that sweet-tooth after a long day of railfanning! Go see Erica Harris soon and tell her “The Losh-Man” sent ya! You’ll be glad ya’ did!

First let me say that the posting you are about to read is in now way, shape or form, meant to shed a negative light on Amtrak or passenger rail travel as a whole, as I am a seriously wholehearted supporter of both and always will be. And I never actually went looking for this topic, it just kind of found me recently.

As a You Tube user, I not only have my own channel as you are aware, but I also subscribe to many, many other channels. This ranges from Faith-Centered Channels to Classic Sci-Fi (Star Trek, Star Wars, Classic Battlestar Galactica), to World War II Battleships, Aircraft Carriers and Aircraft and Submarines, to Classic TV and movies in general, Old Time Radio, but especially as a railfan and rail blogger, photographer, videographer and podcaster,  I definitely subscribe, as I do on Facebook and other social media to a ton…..of real and model train related channels both classic and present day.

So, one day last week when I opened You Tube, in my various channel subscriptions were some videos on the 1993 wreck of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited. Also known as the Big Bayou Canot Train Wreck,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Big_Bayou_Canot_train_wreck
it took place September 22nd, 1993 when several cars of the sleeper train headed toward
the city of Savannah, Georgia went careening off a bridge into the gator infested Big Canot Bayou in Alabama,taking 47 lives with it. Below is the “Seconds From Disaster” story from You Tube.

Once I saw the videos, I was reminded of the man whose comforting voice kept me company on my drives home from work after I worked 3pm-11pm shifts for the past 8 years until just this week,  as he preached the word of God on my local Bott Radio Station.

That man is Dr R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries http://www.ligonier.org/ and I recalled that some time ago, I had heard Dr Sproul share how he and his wife were survivors of Amtrak‘s worst train disaster to date, the wreck of the Sunset Limited. So I decided I wanted it to be the subject of my first new blog strategy for 2017 and I sent a Facebook message t0 Ligonier Ministries and asked for a link to that message, explaining how I wanted to utilize it. Their staff were extremely gracious and got back to me very quickly, which I would like to express my sincere gratitude for.

So , here is the link to Dr Sproul‘s message that you can find by clicking below:
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/providence_god_in_control/providence-and-accidents/ . I hope that it is a blessing to you as well as a reminder that life is indeed very short, that no one is guaranteed tomorrow and either has you rejoicing that you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, or has you realizing your need for Him in your life before it’s too late, just as life ended so quickly for the 47 people lost in the
wreck of the Sunset Limited.

And just as I always encourage everyone at the end of my blogs and videos to continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ every day and when it comes to trains, Continue Leaving Legacies…On The Rails, I thought that there would be others that might benefit from hearing Dr Spoul‘s story. First, as a testament of God’s grace and provision, but also for the railfan aspect.

Here is the story of Brian Logan, another survivor of the Sunset Limited disaster.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/17/survive-deadliest-amtrak-train-crash

Although the wreck of the Sunset Limited is still the worst loss of life to date in a specifically Amtrak crash, like any rail line, it was far from the first ever Amtrak crash, and the 12th since 2010. This includes:

5/13/10-Amtrak Piedmont Mebane, NC-11 injured
6/3/11-BN Commuter Train, Amtrak heading to Carbondale, Ill collide at Chicago Union Station-5 injured
6/24/11-Amtrak California Zephyr
10/12/11-Amtrak San Joaquin collides w/ Coast Starlight Train in Oakland, Calif-17 injured
02/01/12-Amtrak Wolverine from Pontiac, MI to Chicago-6 injured
10/01/12-Amtrak Oakland California to Bakersfield-50 injured
11/29/12-Amtrak Silver Star in Orlando, Fla-10 injured
10/28/14-Amtrak/Semi collision-24 injured
03/09/15-Amtrak vs Tractor/Trailer in Hallifax, NC
10/05/15-Amtrak crash near Northfield, VT
03/04/16-Amtrak Southwest Chief crash 20 miles west of Dodge City, KS-32 injured
04/03/16-Amtrak crash in Chester, PA-31 injured.

And these are all actually minor in comparison to much larger rail accidents just in the continental United States throughout history.  And, again, while I will always encourage travel by rail, always enjoy a rail excursion with my family when I can and hope to include Amtrak among those sometime soon, just a reminder that anything in life has its risks.

As always,this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you as I mentioned earlier to continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ each day, and yes, when it comes to trains, Continue Leaving Legacies…On The Rails! I’ll see you next time!