Bulletin Board

 August 2003 Issue

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[By Allen Brougham]

I must preface this item with a disclaimer.. Even in my fondest dreams, I can never claim to have been a member of Martinsburg Tower's distinguished family of operators. I never worked there...

But in the most technical sense, I really did.

It happened during the great blizzard of 1993. At the time, they referred to it as the Blizzard of the Century. It came on March 13, 1993 (a Saturday), exactly 105 years from the date of the blizzard of the previous century. (Centuries in this case being the 19th and 20th respectively.) And never mind that a later blizzard in 1996 surely challenged the one in 1993 for intensity - not to mention the one that hammered us in 2003 - the great blizzard of 1993 will never be forgotten. Anyway, it happened like this, and I quote verbatim from the notes I published in the Bull Sheet the month that followed:

My own experience through the so-called Blizzard of the Century was scarcely what could be called a hardship. Conveniently quartered only a couple of miles from downtown, I was able to protect my assignment with little difficulty. In fact, much of the time during the storm and its aftermath I spent enjoying the comfort of my motel room, from which I could watch the snow, or TV, and ponder things to write about. Cabin fever was my biggest complaint.

But not all were so fortunate. One of the operators had to spend most of two days and one night in his tower after his car's clutch failed in the snow. Others were called upon to work unassigned hours to cover vacancies, and some couldn't get to work at all.

It's all history now, and something for all to remember in our own particular way. But one word to the wise whenever snow is imminent: Always carry a snow shovel!

Thus concludes the notes I wrote in 1993. There were a couple of times later on that I did get to go back to NA Tower on assignment. In 1996, following the blizzard of that year and the flood that resulted, and then on another occasion later that same year, the Potomac River rose from its bank to such an extent that remaining at Miller Tower was not practical. (Trains couldn't run through there anyway.) But since the Miller Tower operators also had the duties of assigning vacancies for other locations in the area, we had to transfer ourselves to another location. On both occasions we moved to NA Tower, which was on much higher ground. This arrangement remained until the flood waters back at Miller receded.


Switch, Signal & Control Point Changes Resulting From the Martinsburg Upgrade Project

History of Martinsburg Tower