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Hi Allen.

Well, I am so far behind in so many ways it isn't even funny, but last night I opened the Bull Sheet online for the first time. I was blown away with all the info you have amased. Thankyou!

Might have been my first time, but it won't be the last.

BOB MARKLE
Keedysville, Maryland
2016

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Dear Mr. Brougham,

I am writing an historical narrative about my family, which settled in the area where Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware all come together.

Two generations ago my family was very much engaged in railroading. My grandfather and three of his four brothers were all employed by the railroad in one capacity or another, from station master to signalman, and my dad shared the thrill through his dad and uncles through model railroading.

Stemmers Run, Maryland, is important because one of our family members, a Joseph C. Miller, was kidnapped off the train platform in Baltimore in late December 1851, murdered, and his body found suspended from a tree along the tracks near the Stemmers Run station. He and several friends and family members had traveled via the railroad from Port Deposit to Baltimore to try to locate and rescue a Rachel Parker, a free-born black teenager, who had been kidnapped by a slave trader and was to be sold into slavery. The Pennsylvania party located her in Baltimore, had gotten her into safekeeping, and was returning home.

Joseph Miller stepped out onto the train platform to smoke a cigar, was wrestled off the platform and carried away by a group of men that included the slave trader's associates.

The event triggered a big dispute between the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania because the sheriff of Baltimore declared the death a suicide and refused to give up the body. The governors of the two states intervened, and it took three weeks to obtain the body for return to Pennsylvania for burial.

There are photos of the Stemmers Run station on the Bull Sheet website. When was this station built, and might it date back to the 1850's?

I have one other question. Are you familiar with the old railroad station at Blue Ball in northeastern Cecil County? I cannot remember right now which railroad it was that operated through there, but the line ran across from Wilmington and Newark, Delaware, through Blue Ball, on to Rising Sun, etc. One of my ancestors was station master there many years ago.

L. HARVEY KIRK, III
Chester, Virginia
2014

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Dear Mr. Brougham:

I wanted to state that I miss your newsletter. However, I do realize that this endeavor took a lot of your time to accomplish. You kept the writing very informative and we railfans were able to keep up with the B&O, the Western Maryland and related lines of CSX. However, what saddens me now is that while you keep us informed of news which is really helpful, your Calendar of Events has too many things unrelated to railroading. I don't care about bike rides on former rights of way. The shame is that if our government had any common sense, it would try reviving some of these corridors back to rail lines. The Northern Central line is a prime example. I was visiting the area around Shrewsbury, Pa., recently, and drove back to the town of Railroad and noticed that the tracks are still there. What a shame that this line is not rebuilt for commuter train service between York and Baltimore. How much traffic could be removed from I-83 with quality rail service? A bike trail is a complete waste of money. This really does not save our environment either. Railfans do not care about bike rides on former rail lines. Just keep us informed of actual train events like fan trips and such. Thank you very much.

JAMES DOE *
Maryland

* This correspondent omitted his mailing address, so I could not verify authorship of his letter.

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Dear Allen,

I would like to know more about rail trails, such as where is the closest railhead or Amtrak or commuter station to the trail. Some rail trails are so far away from the mainlines it's hard to figure out what was the original railroad that ran over it. Also need an update on the freight railroad that runs over the light-rail in Baltimore.

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Allen,

I have been reading over your listings of Maryland train stations and I can help you out with a few that you are missing or have listed incorrectly.

All of these are on the Eastern Shore.

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Hey Allen,

It's Don Smith from the JD days in the late 80's. I hope you are doing well. I am writing to let you know that I am building a website devoted to those great years in the late 80's and early 90's at JD Tower. The site will primarily pay tribute to JD Tower and will also highlight the people and memories that made it such a great place. Of course there will be a large section devoted to photography and I plan to have a forum as well so hopefully we all can hang out at the "virtual tower" online once again.

I am writing to see if you would be interested in playing a part with putting the site together? I know some of the articles from the Bullsheet (History of JD, Stories about JD) could be posted. If you were interested we could even post a monthly news section. I know you recently stopped production of the Bullsheet and may not feel like an ongoing role but it is up to you. I think the site would not be complete without your presence in some way but again, that is up to you.

Of course the site is not for profit and I will be covering all of the associated expenses.

The web address is www.jdtower.org. I plan to build a majority of the site in Sept 2006 (actually it would be nice to complete the site entirely) but that will be dictated in by my schedule. It shouldn't be a problem if I can get some material together.

I recently discovered the Bullsheet online and was able to read quite a bit about your career after JD. I wish I could have been there for the closing ceremony.

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Dear Allen,

Please know how much Aimee and I have appreciated the Bull Sheet over the years, and we thank you for all your effort.

Our only criticism is the omission of the many negative factors surrounding the fortunes of CSXT, all of which are so readily accessible to the railfan community as a whole. At times, the sugar-coating became almost unbearable. However, we do understand your need to protect your access to your many company sources in order to provide the invaluable information you published.

That said (with a sigh of relief), we are most grateful to you. Although we do not own a computer and rely on hard copy for most of our information, Aimee will be checking your wb site at the local library on occasion.

We wish you all the best, and thanks again.

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Dear Allen,

It is with regret that I learn about the demise of the Bull Sheet. I looked forward each month to receiving it.

Everything has a beginning and an ending. Thanks for the information that you passed along.

I'm glad to have had the opportunity to visit you at your 'second home,' Miller Tower.

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Hi Allen,

I am going to really miss the Bull Sheet; looked forward to reading it every month. You did a great job. I'm sure it was a labor of love.

I may run into you on one of your Amtrak trips; I travel quite a bit on Amtrak. I go out west about once a year.

Take care of yourself.

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Allen,

Thank you very much for producing the Bull Sheet all these years. I am going to miss it.

I wish you all the best fortune in your retirement years. I just retired in January and am building a model railroad.

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Allen,

I've enjoyed the Bull Sheet over the years, and as a person who also loves bike riding I enjoyed your 'biking' articles. Plus your wonderful Amtrak journeys. It all made for interesting reading and kept me up to date on the Chessie System-CSX roster. A great publication!

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Dear Allen,

I'm sorry to see that you're quitting the Bull Sheet but I want to thank you for doing it. I've certainly enjoyed it and looked forward to each issue. You've earned a well deserved rest. I learned quite a bit from it and refer to back issues from time to time.

I see you are continuing on computer. As I am computer illiterate, I may be able to get my daughter in Roanoke, who is, to forward me relevant printouts from time to time if she's willing. Will you have the semi-annual CSX loco roster with paint schemes on the computer? This is the one main thing I really enjoyed.

I see you're having fun with your retirement. A friend and I saw you pull out of the Sheetz station near Brunswick recently in your PTI Astrovan while we were up there, but you got away too quick to say "Hi."

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Allen,

I would like to thank you for my ten-plus years of the Bull Sheet, and for printing the article I sent you on the Spring Hill Tower closing [now preserved, click here for website].

If some day you decide to send a one-time update on something, keep me on the list.

I hope you enjoy your 'retirement.'

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Hello Allen,

"All good things come to an end."

Certainly the retirement of the Bull Sheet is the perfect example of something good not being there anymore.

I met you in person in 1990 when you spoke to the Penn Central Retired Employees Association. I felt I got to know you through your thoughts in print by way of the Bull Sheet. Thank you for your part in keeping this vital industry alive.

There are so many in high places that are either unaware of do not recognize the importance of reliable ground, railroad transportation. In our present day society, could the railroad industry step forward and meet a national demand in the same way the industry did in the 1940's, World War II time? Let's pray we will never have to be put to the test.

Take care of yourself and the Lord be with you in your retirement.

I am also getting ready to make the move to a retirement community.

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Hi Allen,

Best wishes. I have enjoyed the Bull Sheet for the last 11 years, ever since a friend with CSX connections introduced me to it while I was living in North Georgia - and he died a year later.

Eventually, it reaches a point where we all should move on to other things. It was all deeply appreciated!

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Allen,

Your monthly news letter has always been eagerly placed on the top of the day's mail for immediate attention! I shall miss it!

I moved from Maine to Maryland in the mid 1990's. One day I discovered Dorsey MARC station and thus began a transition from a lazy two-train-a-day sleepy Maine Central main line to something quite different and exciting. The Bull Sheet was a guide to this new world.

Thanks for your time and attention to an interest so many of us hold in such esteem!

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Hi Allen,

The Bull Sheet must have been a labor of love and people like me must have appreciated it - I certainly did!

Best wishes in your retirement.

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Dear Allen,

I can truly say that I was always informed and educated by the Bull Sheet's contents and will absolutely miss getting it. In my opinion the paper was always misnamed, because there was never any 'bull' in its contents.

About that bovine name, something rang a bell, so I looked in a book I have to see about Parcifal, and it says the Old English Parcifal (Parsiphal) was the origin of the modern name of Percival... which means lover of horses! I won't touch the list of female bovine monikers.

By the way, one of my boys, being a railfan, took a job with PTI (the crew shuttling firm here), and has been all over, from Huntington to Philly and down to Hamlet in the several months he's had the job. You should hear some of the stuff he comes up with from the crews.

I do hope you enjoy your retirement and also that you be blessed with good health in doing so.

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Dear Allen,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the many years of publishing the Bull Sheet. As a former C&O/B&O employee it kept me informed on what was going on with the railroad. Best of wishes for the future!

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Allen,

I regret your decision to terminate the Bull Sheet, but I fully understand. I'm sure it took a lot of time.

I understand because I'm a retired railroader, too - from Conrail. But I'm still raising a family with a son who is a railfan in college in the only city that hosted four CSX predecessor railroads.

I can't find the time to even finish two railfan trip reports to Folkston and Duncannon.

I always wanted to have you publish, in the Bull Sheet, my train notes from two trips I made to Miller just before I shipped off to Vietnam in spring 1967. I took detailed train notes and the photos are so-so.

One day at Miller was unusual in that the WM was detouring a few trains over the B&O, but later was heard to have them on their own line. Over time I've ridden both those lines. Well, those notes will have to now be published in another format.

Thanks for the Bull Sheet. Enjoy your retirement and your new home. I hope to meet you someday.

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Dear Allen,

Very sad to hear of your decision to end the Bull Sheet. However, I can certainly understand your choice. I've enjoyed every issue I've received and the schedules and rosters have been invaluable! Thank you!

My only regret was not getting to Miller Tower sooner.

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Dear Allen,

This is responding to the sad news that you are discontinuing production of the Bull Sheet. I enjoyed each issue, and especially enjoyed your reports of your trips across the country on Amtrak. It is interesting how we all have similar experiences aboard the trains, and can relate to every occurrence.

I regret that I remained a silent contributor through the years, without telling you how important the Bull Sheet was in providing information that was not available anywhere else. You did a fine job of bridging the time when information about how the railroad really does its business was confined to the actual employees, with our current information overload, and hundreds of mailing lists about rail operations, sightings, Amtrak advocacy, and you name it. I always was amazed how the Bull Sheet was vastly better written than most NRHS chapter newsletters.

Although we never actually met, to date, I have fond memories of holding up the Bull Sheet in the window of the lounge on 29, hoping you would see us, as you stood on the steps of Miller Tower, saluting our passage in 1999. This was after the train went Superliner, and you had published the 'Twenty-Nine' song.

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Dear Allen,

I am saddened but not surprised by your decision to discontinue publishing the printed version of the Bull Sheet. This has been truly a labor of love on your part, and I am grateful to have been a part of it. Since you actually worked for the railroad, I felt that the information you published was always accurate and reliable. Thank you for taking the time to share your interests with your fellow railfan.

I am proud to have been part of several of your 'Precious Moments on the Railroad.' I was with the B&ORR Historical Society when we visited HO Tower in 2000. I'm sure that I was one of those who commented about being a Bull Sheet reader.

Also, I was there in spirit when you closed Miller Tower. You see, I first met you at Miller. I was railfanning the area in July 1993 and you invited me into the tower. We talked a while, and I shot quite a few slides of the tower and the interlocking machinery. On my way out you handed me a copy of the latest Bull Sheet. A short while later I asked to be placed on your mailing list, and I have looked forward to each issue with great anticipation. I guess you could say, the (Bull) Sheet hit the (rail) fan.

Currently, I don't have internet at home, so I won't be able to visit your website. My computer hardware and software is too old to support internet properly. However, when my wife and I get settled in our new home, I'll be replacing my antiquated system, and then I'll be a regular website visitor.

Good luck to you and Cody as you move into the retirement home. May the Good Lord bless you with good health, faithful friends and abounding happiness - which of course includes continued railfanning, bicycling, etc. Maybe I'll even run into you someday when I'm railfanning in your area.

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Dear Allen,

Thank you so much for the neat article on Charlie [Bull Sheet, September 2005]. He enjoyed it, too, as you can well imagine. He is (for the most part) a delightful boy.

I was sorry, however, that you are retiring from the Bull Sheet. So I wanted to thank you for it. We have enjoyed it immensely over the years.

Of course I found out about it via another ham who likes trains and have been enjoying it ever since. You obviously put a lot of work into it. Thank goodness it is on the website.

I am glad you are still driving the crew van. Honestly, Allen, of all the jobs I have held over the years, it was my very favorite. However, the hours are not so good for family business so I work somewhere else now. Of course, as is obvious, I still love trains!

I was fortunate to be able to go up into Beaver Street Tower before it was demolished.

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Allen,

Say it isn't so.. 'Allen Brougham will succumb to the internet.'

Somehow I will survive without the internet, but I will miss the Bull Sheet.

It has been a great trip. For you, obviously, a really great trip. Thanks for keeping it going as long as you did.

I envy you the ride on the Broadway Limited [Bull Sheet, September 2005]. Although it doesn't seem much by today's way overly inflated prices, the cost of a trip on the Broadway was out of the question. I did have the opportunity to see it often on its night time westbound journey in the Pennsylvania Station at Harrisburg, and I really did dream about the adventures that lay behind at trackside.

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Hey Allen,

Sorry to hear about the 'Sheet' packing up, but I suppose all good things have to come to an end. I gotta find some B&O related organization that deals with the 'good old days' when we ran real trains. Maybe some of the old timers have survived the years, and remember the days when things were done right.

I will miss the reports of various train journeys, even the abominations of today.

I just had a mini-holiday, using Amtrash from Metropark to New London. The train was 40 minutes late, and the refreshment car was on the wrong end. Being handicapped, I couldn't walk the train length, and there was no aisle trolley offering edibles.

I used to ride local train No. 35 daily on the B&O which had a parlor-diner and two coaches between Philly and Washington. A waiter always made a tour of the coaches offering coffee, sandwiches and milk. Later a 'coach attendant' would appear, to sweep up crumbs, etc., from the carpet. The B&O had class!

Just had lunch with a friend who recently rode the Capitol Limited to Chicago, first-class. He could not smoke, even in his own bedroom! Food and drink service was terrible, and the train was five hours late. Most people should be aware that the USA has the worst rail service in the civilized world. We can point with pride to nothing.

Good luck driving that jitney...

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Hey Al,

Great final edition of the Bull Sheet! You ended the printed version on a very high note.

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Dear Allen,

Hope retirement is treating you well and that you are able to do everything you always wanted to accomplish.

I want to take the time to thank you for turning me on to the abandoned portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Fulton County. You peaked my interest several years ago when you wrote about it in the Bull Sheet [September 1999].

I have been following the progress of the trail via the internet and finally made the ride. We parked along Oregon Road under the old roadway and climbed up to highway level and the sight was awesome. One can only imagine the hustle and bustle that once roared along that portion of the turnpike. So many time I traveled through those old tunnels when I was a young lad. I hope the conservancy will be able to restore the portals to their original design.

I knew the Bull Sheet would someday end and one can only imagine how much work you must have put in every month to come up with a quality publication. Your efforts were certainly appreciated here! Over the years the Bull Sheet crowd and the Cherry Run group prospered from your leadership. But then the inevitable happened; life goes on and people move on!

Enjoy your retirement and I hope to see you at a railfan function in the future.

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Dear Allen,

Hi! I just got the September 2005 Bull Sheet and I'm sorry to read that it is the last one.

My earliest memories of the Bull Sheet are sitting at the west end of Wilsmere Yard with a group of friends in the late 80's and very early 90's when the Tropicana Juice train would happen by and one of the crew members would throw a copy out of the cab window rolled up in a rubber band at us, and whoever got to it would then make copies of it for the rest of us. Gradually we all started signing up and having you send it to our homes.

I especially enjoyed the schedules and rosters that you put in it every so often.

I for one will truly miss getting it every month.

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Dear Allen,

I've received your letter of August 31, 2005, informing us that the Bull Sheet will terminate effective with the September 2005 issue.

While we regret its discontinuance, we certainly must extend our deepest appreciation for your efforts in producing a really quality newsletter over these years. We in Philadelphia have certainly made use of the valuable material contained in your publication, and we are grateful for your having shared it with us.

I enjoyed your many personal accounts of experiences over the years and always looked forward to the occasional reports on your Amtrak "adventures."

We of the Cinders staff wish you the best in the future... enjoy your retirement!

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Hello Allen,

Always thanks for the good reading. Your first paragraph in the August [2005] issue that tells us about the [Union Pacific] 'Heritage Series Locomotives' honoring the six major railroads is, of course, good for sales, public relations, employee morale and to ease the pain of mistake for the people who okayed the gobbling up of all those good railroads.

The few giant railroad systems that now run the country's railroads - could they in a national emergency even begin to handle the traffic the World War II railroads did so efficiently?

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Dear Allen,

I very much enjoy reading the Bull Sheet at the NRHS Library in Philadelphia, and just wanted to make one comment about the listing of Waldwick Tower, N.J., in the August [2005] issue.

The Erie was four-tracked through Waldwick - in fact, from Ridgewood Junction to Suffern. Waldwick controlled a set of crossovers (I believe universal, but there may have been only five) and a yard used for stabling commuter trains overnight. Some Main Line and Newark Branch locals originated and terminated at Waldwick.

I believe the subsequent reductions in track were all done by New Jersey Transit. At present there are three main tracks from Ridgewood Junction to Waldwick and two from there to Suffern.

We're putting the whole section on towers in our reference file, as well as the material on the Northern Central.

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Dear Allen,

I read with interest your article [Bull Sheet, August 2005] on the new interpretive signs that have been put up on the Northern Central Trail. I know how much that trail means to you. But I wonder, now that you're a bike rider - if you could have your way - would you keep it as a bike trail or turn it back into a railroad line (assuming some decent level of train activity)?

I suspect you'd prefer it being a railroad again, especially if it were going to see trains like the Parkton Local. The irony is that had the line remained viable for just a bit longer, it's doubtful any of it would have become a bike trail. Likely, all of it would have been turned into a light-rail line to give further incentive to residential development in the northern part of Baltimore County.

But is THAT what you'd want? The charm of the area is its rustic, bucolic flavor. You wind your way through the woods at whatever speed you wish to peddle, taking in a scene that is in may ways reminiscent of a simpler time. Would you really want to lose that?

As it is, I suspect that the trail could eventually revert back to a train line if I-83 becomes so well used that it turns into a parking lot during rush hours. It already is, closer to downtown. I don't know what the rush hour traffic density is, but I assume that inside the Hunt Valley area above the Beltway, rush hours can be pretty grim. Maybe the solution would be to try fitting in a light-rail line next to the trail, but that often doesn't work well. More often than not, a fence is put up between these transportation modes which ruins the ambience of a bike ride or hike, and also ruins railroad photography (not that anyone cares about THAT).

I've been fascinated for some time that the rail line out of New Freedom was never separated from the hiker-biker trail by a fence. I assume it's been due to so little rail traffic on that line. Alas, once again it's dormant.

How about converting it to a light-rail line serving York? Do you know if that has been considered? It seems like a logical use and a way for the good citizens of Pennsylvania to get something for all the tax dollars that went into upgrading that line so a few freight cars could be hauled from New Freedom. Then, irony of ironies, the companies in New Freedom that benefited from this upgrading went out of business. Oh sure, there was the Dinner Train, but that was more entertainment than anything else, and was not viable.

Another thing that would likely be different had the line survived is the area's wine making. There were two wineries near the former right-of-way in Maryland, and another in southern Pennsylvania. These are small family-owned wineries, and I doubt they could have withstood the pressure to sell their lands had the area become a booming residential area thanks to the introduction of light-rail.

Likewise, the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad would still be around had not Chessie killed it off in the mid-60's. It did so, I understand, to avoid its becoming a commuter railroad again. It would have, and just think how much better off northern Virginia would be had it happened. There'd be one less bike trail, but in this case, it would have been well worth the cost. Admittedly, the W&OD Trail is heavily used. Even when I ride over it on weekdays, there are lots of people out using it.

I understand that in the recently signed into law Transportation Bill, there is some money set aside for bike trails. So far, I've not heard where any affected trails are located. They are probably in Alaska, as their Congressman, Don Young, seems to be the new Bud Schuster (formerly representing the Altoona area and one time head to the Transportation Committee). Like Bud, he's having highways and bridges named after himself. Some guys really have guts. I mean, spending taxpayer money on something that's going to be named for yourself.

I'll hasten to add that this committee has also been the place where some significant transportation legislation has been formed. Who knows what railroading would be like today had not the Transportation Act of 1980 (the Staggers Act) been passed. Its impact is still being felt today.

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Hey Allen,

Sorry to hear of Ralph Fisher's passing. Somewhere in my memorabilia I have a 19 order signed by him at Singerly or Aberdeen. I didn't know Ralph well, but we exchanged relief on several occasions. He was a year younger in age, but was two years ahead of me on the roster.

The mention of RV Tower brought back memories. In those days it was a conventional tower with a US&S interlocker similar to the one at North Avenue. I posted there in 1949 but never worked the job.

While I left the B&O for another railroad in 1951, the B&O was always my favorite, and it's a pity that I only hear about old timers when their obituaries are published. The B&O was like a big family, with some of the swellest guys anyone would want to know. Fortunately, I took many pictures whilst employed there, so the memories are always fresh, as they should be.

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Dear Allen,

I am writing to you to say a big Thank You for including my article about the former B&O 3302 'Edward G. Hooper,' in your May 2005 issue of the Bull Sheet, and for having it available for others to read on the Bull Sheet website. You are a real gentleman and a genuine rail historian.

Your consistent endeavors in keeping the rail fan community current with updated news and historic documentation from your experiences on the railroad are treasures that no amount of money could purchase. Rail enthusiasts and historians of the B&O, Western Maryland, Chessie System and CSX, all over the world owe you a debt of gratitude for your time and efforts.

Even though I have not been a subscriber to your news letter, I personally am grateful that I have known you through the years, as a member of the Baltimore Chapter NRHS, and I do appreciate all of your contributions in keeping our railroad history alive, and especially that of the B&O.

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Dear Allen,

I was going through some of my gandfather's old photos and came across some B&O shots - I would like to share them with you and B&O rail fans. Two of the photos have information and date on them. The rest I have no clue about; my grandfather passed away years ago and took the information with him.

The first photo is B&O 5220 (4-6-2) class P-5 taken at Frost, Ohio, March 1946. The second photo is B&O President Roosevelt special at Marietta, Ohio, 1938. The rest are of wrecks and trackside shoots. I hope you enjoy them as I did.

To view photos, CLICK HERE

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Dear Allen,

Kudos to you and William A. Burke, Jr., for raising the issue of signaling - actually the lack thereof - on American tourist railroads in the March 2005 issue of the Bull Sheet. I believe that American tourist railroads and rail museums miss a great opportunity to educate railfans and the general public as to what it was like to run a railroad before modern technology intervened by generally ignoring signals and traditional operating methods. Radios definitely help make railroad operations safer, but they do little to enhance the experience for visitors to American tourist railroads and museums.

As a regular traveler to Great Britain, I have come to appreciate how much traditional signaling and methods of operation can add to the overall experience of customers to tourist rail lines. While I had been in some interlocking towers around Maryland, especially Perryville in the early Amtrak days, I really got hooked on signaling while touring British steam heritage railways, with all those semaphores and signal "boxes." On one visit, the signalman at Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway invited me up into the "box" for a look around, and under his guidance had me pull off the points and signal levers on the armstrong frame to set the route of a train into the station. Also of note is the Didcot Railway Centre (easily accessible by train from London) which has a signal box giving regular demonstrations of traditional British signaling and operations, including handing off the single line token to the engine crew. The National Railway Museum at York has a demonstration lever frame where visitors can move the levers. The museum also has a real-time computerized display from the York Signal Centre of the rail lines in that area. Museum visitors can follow the movement of trains on the display until they pass an observation area at the rear of the museum overlooking the York railway station. Sadly, opportunities like these just don't exist at American rail museums and tourist railroads.

Bull Sheet readers interested in learning more about traditional British railway signaling may visit The Signal Box website at www.signalbox.org. It is very well done and gives a comprehensive explanation of British manual signaling operations, which have little in common with North American practices. This website also has links to other internet sites dealing with railway signaling around the world.

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Dear Allen,

I was sorry to read about Sonny Clodfelter's death in your March [2005] news. I knew Sonny for years, but lost contact with him when he shifted over to the Odenton station. We went to high school together at Baltimore Polytechnic and graduated from there in 1951. We also lived in the Homestead area of Baltimore off of Harford Road at Clifton Park near the Alameda and the old B&O line that ran through the park. I also used to get my commuter ticket from him on Monday mornings at St. Denis when he filled in for agent there and then when he worked it before going to Odenton. I continued commuting to D.C. until February 1998 when I retired from the government.

I remember the days, when you used to fill in for Jerry Ford at the old Camden Station ticket office with the train crew's room behind the ticket office, where the conductors and then the brakeman met and waited until the trains came up from the yards.

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Dear Allen,

I am so sorry to hear about your dog Rex. I know first hand of what you are going through since I lost both of my dogs in the past 18 months. They were brother and sister, and I had them for 15 years.

I want to commend you on the piece in the Bull Sheet [January 2005] about the wreck on the low grade line in 1957. You managed to answer many of the questions that have remained unanswered over the years. Since the topic, as you pointed out, is still sensitive to many, I choose not to bring it up around the railroad, but some things just didn't jibe with me. Over the years, those questions have gnawed away at me but now I know and I thank you. It was also professional of you to protect your sources for the same reason of sensitivity.

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Dear Allen,

A friend recently passed along a copy of the December 2004 Bull Sheet which contained a tribute to J.J. Young. I was surprised at the similarity of stories from people who had met J.J., as my experience was nearly identical.

I was making a railfan trip to Binghamton in the mid 1980's, and set up along a bridge to shoot a train I thought was coming. Some other fans were also there and one, whom I later learned was J.J., was holding forth on the details of train operations around Binghamton, telling us what to expect and where to go for good shots. His unbounded enthusiasm was almost like this was his first visit to this popular railfan playground. When the train finally showed up, he was excited and ready to join the chase.

I would occasionally run into J.J. on subsequent trips, and he was always the same: helping other fans and always enthusiastic. Although I never knew him personally beyond these encounters, I too felt a loss when I read of his passing.

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Dear Allen,

I was deeply saddened to read of the passing of J. J. Young, Jr.

John and I spent many a day chasing trains around the Southern Tier. John was an interesting person in many ways, but his love of railroading, railroaders and railfans was unrivaled.

He was passionate about Alcos and it was an event to see him photograph a GM unit of any kind. His enthusiasm was contagious, and I always appreciated that he could talk over the roar of a train climbing the grade out of Binghamton up to Belden Hill Tunnel. He also had a great command of salty language that always spiced a conversation.

Rest easy, John, and know that people like myself who were touched by your humanity, will always remember you! I am sure heaven is a livelier place, and that it is full of Alcos and EM1's.

_ _ _ _ _

Hi Allen,

I enjoy reading the Bull Sheet as it is fresh material for someone living in Wisconsin. Back in the early 1990's, I switched my interest and modeling from CNW to CSX and its fallen flags. Thanks to the Bull Sheet I now model some B&O and Chessie within the 1970's to 1980's time period.

I worked for the Wisconsin Central for one and one-half years. I worked nights and weekends but it got to be too much. I'm now a local truck driver and I enjoy watching trains again.

There are still a considerable amount of WC SD45's coming through on the CN, with UP, CSX and NS run-through power.

Keep up the good work.

_ _ _ _ _

Dear Allen,

My wife and I have moved from the southeast Columbus suburb of Groveport to the west side suburb of Hilliard.

If you are up on your early 70's Penn Central/Conrail history, Hilliard will ring a bell with you as a large hump yard was built around 1970 or so in Hilliard. We live about three miles from it and I cross the north end of it almost daily. NS operates the hump yard, and CSX operates the TOFC/COFC yard. Late at night when all of the outside and inside noise has gone down, I can hear cars coupling during hard couples and the trim job putting blocks together. We are far enough away, however, that we can't hear the squealing of the wheels as they go through the hump retarders. This is fine with me! The only bad thing about the yard is that there are few public views of the tracks, thus train watching is not really an option.

Hope all is well in your semi-retirement. I enjoy reading the Bull Sheet, especially your travels on Amtrak. Keep up the good work!

_ _ _ _ _

Hello Allen,

"Remembering the Parkton Local," how well I do remember. A lot of very interesting reading that leads to personal memories and wishful thinking that it should still be there - not light-rail. Calvert Station should still be there and not light-rail running down the middle of Howard Street. Oh well, these are just my feelings.

Keep up the good work with the Bull Sheet. I enjoyed reading about your last travel experience in the March 2004 issue.

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Dear Allen,

I enjoyed the recent Bull Sheet [March 2004] recounting your great circle rail journey. There are probably more than a few readers who travel vicariously through your rail trips... especially those of us whose schedules don't allow for such a trip. Just a few comments on some of your observations.

As a native of Atlanta, I would agree that Peachtree (Brookwood) Station is rather small for a city that size. It was actually built as a 'suburban' station by the Southern Ry. Indeed, Southern's first president, Samuel Spencer, was once immortalized with a statue in the courtyard there. The real Grand Dames of the city lost the battle with the wrecking ball in the early 1970s.

Union Station, home to the Atlantic Coast Line, Georgia RR, and the L&N, succumbed first; and its proud sister, Terminal Station, was knocked down in 1972. Terminal hosted trains of the Seaboard, Atlanta & West Point, Central of Georgia, and also some of Southern's trains. (The Falcons play football near the site today.)

As a 7th grade safety patroller in 1961, I journeyed from Terminal with several hundred of my young compatriots on an annual SR trip to Washington, D.C. (the furthest 'nawth' I had been at that time). Three years later my folks, brother and I would leave from Terminal for a trip to the New York Worlds Fair. In 1966 we would all take a rail trip down to 'New Awlins.' All of these trips were 'on the cheap'...dad worked for the Southern Freight Tariff Bureau in Atlanta and secured passes.

Your comments about New Orleans brought back fond memories. My young wife and I lived there 1975-76. Whenever I had some free time, I would park near Lee Circle and ride that streetcar out to the end of the line at Carrolton. I would get off while the motorman 'flipped' the seats, then reboard to retrace our route. Past Tulane U., the Audubon Zoo, the Garden District... a great way to spend an hour or two. And we occasionally took a harbor cruise on one of those steamboats... usually aboard the 'Cotton Blossom.'

The monstrous H.P. Long rail/auto bridge was built back in the 1930s... it's a bit unnerving to motor across it high above the river with a rumbling, swaying train a couple of feet from your lane!

Nothing beats a fried oyster 'po-boy' sandwich on French bread (plenty of mayo) and a cold bottle of Dixie beer at lunchtime in N.O.

Your rare mileage trip was certainly notable... that trackage rarely sees passenger trains. We lived in Lake Charles for five years (moved from there to Richmond in 1985), and from what I recall about the area, some of your detour may have been on old MoPac trackage (UP today, of course). That area was notable for those rice fields you saw, boudin (Cajun sausage) and crawfish raising!

Haven't made it west of Louisiana (by train) yet, but I'll just have to keep checking the Bull Sheet to get the skinny on what it's like.

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Dear Allen,

I read with interest the story [Bull Sheet, March 2004] of your around the country trip via Amtrak. As it happens, we were both traveling on different trains at about the same time. In many respects our trips were similar in terms of on-time performance, or lack thereof.

The "b" word plays far too important a role in Amtrak's vocabulary, especially in California. You were robbed and should have been given back at least some of your fare for the Coast Starlight portion of the trip. While the scenery from the bus is similar between Ventura to Goleta, after that the train hugs the shoreline to a point south of Guadalupe while the road goes inland via Santa Maria. Even out of L.A., the scenery is better on the train once you leave Glendale.

A five-hour bus ride under any circumstance is an abomination to one's good senses. Again, you got a cramped coach seat in place of your "spacious" sleeper room. I don't know why Amtrak thinks this is a fair trade just to keep you on time. Amtrak should offer passengers the option of continuing on the train - and taking chances that other train connections are available within a reasonable period of time. And, to repeat, Amtrak should give customers (especially first-class customers) a refund for having to use a bus when a bus is not a scheduled part of the trip.

Being that you enjoy train riding, it's understandable you would forgive Amtrak for things it cannot control, like UP dispatching and freight train density. However, most Amtrak customers aren't so understanding. Admittedly, there will always be some winnowing out of newcomers for whom train travel just isn't going to be enjoyable no matter how well Amtrak does. But there are many more "on the bubble" for whom their first trip aboard a train will determine if they come back for more. It is these people that I think Amtrak is losing more often than not. These are the folks it truly cannot afford to lose.

About meals: As I understand it, there are four different menu sets used aboard Amtrak trains. This allows some amount of variety unless you just happen to ride trains that are on the same menu that you started off with. Most of the time, you should end up with a fair variety of dining car selections. Menu selections in the lounge car are not as varied. CA ATK does offer some different choices at lower prices than on the rest of the Amtrak system, so I tend to buy more food aboard CA ATK trains.

I also think that CA ATK trains are more comfortable and more user friendly than other Amtrak long-distance trains. Admittedly, the rest of Amtrak is slowing catching up (plugs for computers, for example), but the interior design of the CA bi-level coaches is much superior to Amtrak's Then again, the CA cars are for shorter distance trips than on Amtrak's intercity trains.

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Dear Allen,

(1) Your February [2004] Bull Sheet arrived February 24.

(2) With the exception of the PRR info (page 9) and the Iron Horse Trail (pages 2 & 3), all was information I already had from other sources. Thought you should be award of this.

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Dear Allen,

Thank you for the copy of the [November 2003] Bull Sheet that you sent the Hagerstown & Frederick Railway Historical Society. I'm always glad to see the H&F Railway and the Historical Society in publication.

The section with the historical reference on car 150 has some mistakes that need to be corrected. I'm not sure if the info was from the handout at the [Myersville Trolley] Festival or from my lecture, but it is misleading. One of our members, Frank Tosh, and I have been working to correct the information in the handout and the Festival publications, because they have been wrong for so long! Here is more accurate information:

The Southern Car Company in High Point, North Carolina, built car 150 in 1918. It was used by Columbia Railway, Power & Light Company, in Columbia, South Carolina. In Columbia, the car served Camp Jackson. The car, along with her sister cars 151-153, was purchased by Potomac Edison to serve in the Hagerstown area.

There is no record of the car ever serving as a troop carrier or running on the line to Myersville.

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Hi Allen,

I enjoy getting the Bull Sheet every month; especially the CSX paint rosters and accounts of trips taken by you or others.

I would like to see the numbers and disposition of engines retired by CSX.

I would appreciate if you could make the type larger on the CSX paint rosters for us old, old, old roster nuts.

Keep up the good work.

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Dear Allen,

I enjoyed the account of the Bethesda-Georgetown bikeway and Rock Creek trestle rebuilding [Bull Sheet, July 2003]. I worked in an office building in Bethesda from fall 1956 to early 1958, and remember the B&O local freight.

The expression "On the Bell" may have a double meaning in addition to a train on an approach circuit. The late Phil Paradis, an ex-New Haven tower operator and a major railroadiana collector, used this announcement for his phone answering machine: "This is Phil Paradis on the bell in Millbury, Mass." I assumed he meant the Bell System phone as opposed to the railroad DS or other line. Sadly, Phil died of chronic liver disease about two years ago, and I never met him in person. His collection was auctioned the following summer; I regret a scheduled dinner party kept me from attending. Later I bought a UQ semaphore arm at the Gaithersburg RR sale from a dealer who probably acquired it from Phil's estate.

DON MORRISON
Wallingford, Pennsylvania
 

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Allen,

I had to chuckle a bit at Rich Ballast's glowing comments on the 'new' Horizon cars on the Three Rivers [Bull Sheet, March 2003].

Some history:

By the mid-1980's, Amtrak's coach fleet was being spread thin. California and Cascade service was increasing and the 40-year-old Heritage fleet was becoming more difficult and costly to maintain. The big problem was that Budd and Pullman were out of business and car builders were few. About the only builder available was Bombardier.

Without bearing the expense and startup pains of a new design, (ala Acela) the only thing available was Bombardier's Comet II coach. These were actually commuter cars in service on MBTA, Metro-North, NJT and SEPTA. (The original Comet cars were built in the 1960's by Pullman-Standard - so the design is now over 40 years old.)

Amtrak ordered 78 high-density coaches, eight low-density coaches and 18 snack bar coaches. (Subsequently, eight more coaches were converted to low-density.)

Beginning in 1989, the cars were placed in service on Chicago-based corridors and some California corridors (freeing up some Amfleet and Superliners).

Recent deliveries of the Talgo, California and Surfliner cars have now freed up the Horizon cars.

In closing, I would note that some railfans think that assigning Horizon cars to the Three Rivers is Amtrak's way of trying to kill the overnight Pittsburgh-Chicago portion of the train.

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Dear Allen,

Thanks for another Amtrak trip report [Bull Sheet, February 2003]. We always enjoy these, especially since you usually travel to places where we have been. It's interesting to get someone else's perspective on the travel and the communities.

On the day that the Bull Sheet arrived, I had just picked up tickets for a trip that we'll take beginning April 15. We will leave Rocky Mount on the Silver Meteor to Washington, where we'll pick up the Capitol Limited to Chicago. From there it will be the Texas Eagle to Los Angeles and the Coast Starlight to Emeryville. That will be our only night off the train; the next morning we'll board the California Zephyr to Chicago. We'll head south from Chicago on the City of New Orleans to a connection with the Sunset Limited to Jacksonville. There we will catch the Silver Star back to Rocky Mount.

Obviously, it is a trip fraught with great possibilities and hazards. In most instances we have good 'cushions' for our connections and/or alternate trains, but much has to work out well for us. Being perhaps more adventurous than wise, and wanting to travel many of these routes while we definitely had them, we seized the opportunity.

In the days when I traveled on business, I was able to do much of it by train, and I always tried to make circle trips rather than out and back on the same train. Typically, I would rack up 10,000 to 30,000 miles most years, and managed to get coverage of many now vanished routes. I'm amazed and pleased that I'll cover about 400 new miles on this trip.

I'll let you know how we fare on our trip.

_ _ _ _ _

Dear Allen,

It took me quite a while to get around to reading the February 2003 issue of the Bull Sheet, and now wish I had gotten to it sooner. Better late than never, though. Seems we were both in Los Angeles at the same time, oblivious to each other. My mother and I arrived in L.A. aboard the ship Queen Elizabeth 2 on January 18, the day you departed eastbound on No. 4. We stayed over one night and went east on No. 2 to Jacksonville, Florida, and from there to Baltimore on No. 92, the reverse of your westbound trip. I thought you might find our experiences an interesting comparison to yours.

The trip on No. 2 was nice, although I am not a fan of Superliner equipment. We had no adventures to equal yours in the lavatory, but I did note at least two of the downstairs restrooms on our sleeper, "California," had defective locks. Also, the lavatory in the deluxe bedroom adjacent to our malfunctioned, putting that bedroom out of service. Our sleeper attendant, a youngish woman, was useless, more interested in hanging out in the diner with other crew members than doing her job. By the last day aboard No. 2, the public toilets in our sleeper were a disgrace. The dining car staff was good, although they need better instructions about serving wine. We found the food, while not up to QE2 standards, nevertheless well-prepared and attractively served. The "maitress d'hotel" in the diner, Jean, was delightful and entertaining; I won't soon forget her "call letters" for announcements, KTRN (K-Train). With the noted exception, the rest of the on-board staff were energetic and kept the train surprisingly tidy throughout the trip.

As you know, No. 2's schedule is well padded. Nevertheless, both UP and CSX seemed to enjoy playing mind games with those of us transferring to No. 92 at JAX; we kept getting later and later, only to arrive at JAX just about an hour behind schedule. Having observed some pretty nasty railroading, I now understand why some say UP stands for Unbelievably Pathetic. To be fair, there was a lot of trackwork going on, the ride east of Tucson being a lot better than the last time I rode the Sunset Route.

Kudos to the folks at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal for an amazing servicing turn. It took just 37 minutes (out of an allotted two hours) from arrival to departure to service and restock the train, change engines, and add several deadhead cars (plus pull a very happy but very drunk passenger out of the coaches). It was a genuine pleasure to watch really professional railroaders at work.

The trip from JAX to Baltimore on No. 92 was pretty routine, which is good news for the Silver Star. We were more than an hour down leaving Jacksonville and stayed that way, which in view of the fairly heavy snowstorm in the Carolinas was pretty amazing.

This was my first time in a Viewliner sleeper. The deluxe bedroom is roomier than the Superliner version, especially overhead, but suffers from many of the same design faults. The ride quality of the sleeper was pretty awful. The Heritage diner right behind the sleepers offered an interesting contrast, as its ride seemed steadier and more comfortable than the newer cars. Some of the blame goes to the poor trackwork over much of the Silver Star's route. It's depressing to see (and feel) the depths to which the old RF&P has fallen.

The seasoned crew on No. 92 was spit and polish all the way; no complaints here. And the dining car waiters know the proper way to serve a bottle of wine, too!

We made the entire trip without flying - traveling to New York on the Acela Express to get the ship there, first-class of course! No complaints here, either, as the service was superb, efficient and friendly. The lead attendant stayed with us on the platform at New York's Penn Station until a red cap came to help with the bags.

I was very impressed with the red cap service where ever we used it: Baltimore (departing and returning), New York and Los Angeles. All of the men were very courteous, very helpful, and showed great concern for my mother. They gave great service and were rewarded accordingly.

You noted that on No. 4 you met a farmer and his wife who had been on the QE2 cruise through the Panama Canal. (For future reference, QE2 is the ship, whereas QE II is the reigning British monarch.) Besides my mother and me, there were at least three other couples on No. 2 who had been on the same cruise. I know Amtrak has arrangements with several cruise lines, but Cunard Line, the QE2's owners, is not one of them. Methinks there's a big business opportunity here for Amtrak, especially since many cruise fares (including our) have free air transportation built in. Returning home by train was a great way to extend a pleasant, relaxing cruise vacation by cruising overland. We both enjoyed it immensely; I'll do it again if the trains are still running.

I cannot complain about the cost of the train trip, since it was minimal (tips and wine, mostly). Amtrak has a credit card tied into its Guest Rewards program, and I had enough points to cover the entire one-way journey for both of us. But I'm a piker compared to the Amishman I met on board No. 2. He said he taking his wife, his brother, and his sister-in-law in sleepers from Iowa to San Diego, and returning to Iowa via Philadelphia, for nothing, all paid for by Guest Rewards points earned through credit card charges. That's 200,000 points! The message here is to sign up and start earning free travel.

I concur with the comments following your main story, up to the "Superliner dome car," at least. I was told a while back that Amtrak considered such a car but rejected it because of the problems of ensuring adequate collision protection at the dome end. The collision posts on Superliner cars run up to and are tied into the roof. Replacing the front end of the roof with a glass dome without strengthening the section just below the glass would seriously weaken the dome end of the car. Modifying an existing car to install a dome and still meet FRA impact standards would be hideously expensive, and building a small allotment of new cars to such a design would be very expensive as well. Add in the replacement of revenue space (bedrooms) with non-revenue lounge space, and it's east to see why Amtrak hasn't yet gone for the idea.

Any way, I've carried on long enough. I enjoy your newsletter a lot, and look forward to more travel stories in the future. Keep up the good work.

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Dear Allen,

Noted your item on DS Tower in the January [2003] Bull Sheet. With regards to same, I would like to advise of the following, both for yourself (from the photos) and for any readers who might entertain thoughts of visiting for archeological purposes.

The tower's foundation is a sunning spot for a profuse number of copperhead snakes that live in the area.

I was not aware there was a basement under same. I could only speculate that it may serve as the primary den for the above. I have been told by several persons of seeing up to a dozen or so at a time on or about the foundation. Further, during the cleanup of 396's derailment at Boyds in September 1986, one of Hulcher's bulldozers churned up a nest containing several alongside the south embankment (No. 2 track) very near the tower's former location.

I wouldn't want to sound like an alarmist, as the snake item is always present in rural areas. However, in this instance I would feel neglectful for not passing along the information.

I don't know what time of year you visited the site and made the photos, but I would tell you, if it was not cold weather, I would not have ventured into the ravine or anywhere else in the area that was not in the clear.

Keep up the good work; enjoying every issue.

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Hey Allen,

Congratulations! For once you were on an Amtrash train that wasn't hours late! Of course, as you say, the schedule was rigged, but then what isn't these days?

Welcome to the Club of Amtrash bathroom adventurers! In December I was visiting a fellow model railroader near Hartford, using the Vermonter for the journey and riding what passes itself off as first-class on trains of diminished circumstance. Nearing Hartford, a call of nature demanded response, so I headed for the handicapped W.C. This facility has a sliding door, and whilst attempting entry, the train lurched and the sliding door slammed shut on my right ring-finger. I uttered a colorful metaphor, completing my business, and sought out a uniformed employee. We were arriving at Hartford, and train personnel were occupied opening doors, etc., and since this was my destination as well, I detrained, having only been given perfunctory scrutiny by a disinterested trainman. The injury may have been picayune, but it was downright painful, and since I am a church organist, I could see this affecting my expertise. Next day when returning, I spoke to the booking clerk, who put me in telephone contact with "someone in authority" who took an abbreviated report. On arrival home, I visited my physician and then made a detailed telephone report to someone in Philadelphia. On Sunday I painfully fulfilled my obligations at the console, and through the week received a printed copy of the accident report. I then tracked down the claims office at New Haven, and relayed all info to that location. Not wishing to involve a solicitor unless necessary, I am now waiting for Amtrash to make me an offer I can't refuse. Bathrooms in "am-tube" configured cars are an abomination under God. Being handicapped, and using a crutch for extensive mobility, also "exceeding Plate-C" by dimensions, I use the handicap 'loo in the buffet vehicle which also houses first-class passengers. The sliding door is a menace, being subject to the erratic motion of the poorly-suspended am-tube. Hopefully, one day the entire fleet will be replaced; they are absolutely the worst cars ever constructed for railway use, possibly to discourage train travel so service can be discontinued.

Although nothing was broken due to my accident, I did lose the finger nail, and the area must be bandaged whilst a new nail materializes. This is somewhat of a nuisance when playing the organ, and I am compelled to select the easiest musical selections and hymns. Hopefully, Amtrash will make up in restitution what it lacks in performance.

While I realize you are a push-bike enthusiast, and enjoy writing about Rails-to-Trails, I am saddened when I see ANY railway abandoned and the tracks lifted. I do get a kick out of your travel adventures, and I compare them with the magnificent trains I knew when I was young. Your recent trip to the Left Coast must have been a welcome break from the severe temperatures we've been experiencing here in the East. I have been hibernating most of the time, working on my H-O layout. I don't make extensive train trips anymore, just medium hops to Connecticut. The last sleeping car I rode was in 1975 between Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria.

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Dear Allen,

The February [2003] Bull Sheet arrived in the mail and I immediately set forth to read your Amtrak story. I enjoy those so much and this one was no exception. It even had some "personal" things in for me as I have sat in the Orlando Amtrak station many times - not as a passenger, but as a railfan. It's not too much further west of that where son Steve worked when he was in Orlando (by where the old steam engine is parked, if you saw it), and spent all of his noon hours there were on three of his five working days where he could catch three Amtraks if they were on time.

Interesting, too, on the BNSF plans of rerouting the Southwest Chief around La Junta, seeing this was our getting-off-and-on town when we went to see son Phil in Colorado last February. And having you riding the same train as we from La Junta to Chicago made it even more interesting to read. Even my wife read it too and enjoyed it as well. Your bathroom problem sounded like something that would happen to me. (The glasses story as well.)

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Hi Allen,

I've enjoyed reading your Bull Sheet and look forward to getting it every month. I first wanted it for your issues with the CSX roster and paint schemes. I modeled some CSX, L&N, Chessie, and now B&O. What's a guy from Wisconsin who never lived back East doing with this fascination? Well, I used to be big into CNW and some Soo Line, but I just burnt out on it. I needed something to rekindle my interest in railroads if I was going to keep my interest. CSX with its fallen flags seems to be just the right recipe. You've helped ripen those interests with the Bull Sheet.

I also belong to and receive quarterly issues of four historical societies - the Soo, Chessie Lines, L&N and B&O. I'm kind of amazed there really isn't a CSX Historical Society or something for Norfolk Southern. They've been around for 15 years or better so they should have generated some interest by now.

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Hello Allen,

I really enjoyed your story on your visit to Hunt Tower within the pages of the November 2002 Bull Sheet. As I read your article, I thought back to my first visit to Hunt Tower in the early 90's or late 80's. I was railfanning Conrail from Enola to Altoona hitting as many interesting photo locations as possible on a warm, sunny day. I came across Hunt Tower by pure accident. Like your comrade Darren Reynolds, railroad towers have always held a special appeal to me. Luckily for me it was open and the two folks present were quite friendly. The fact that I was such a long way from home in Richmond amazed them. I was given a full tour of the tower and a lecture of its history. Before I forget, during my visit, there was a three-track high iron and some trains still had crummys, or cabin cars as they were called on the Pennsy. I got quite a few good photos from inside the tower of trains roaring by outside as well as trackside with the tower in the foreground and background.

Before I departed, one of the tower keepers noticed my "Keep on Truckin' by Train" bumper sticker on my car as he mowed the grass. He inquired if I had an extra bumper sticker like that, and I informed him I did at home. He offered me an official Hunt Tower baseball style cap on the spot with my promise to send him the sticker, which I did pronto when I returned home several days later. To this day, I still visit Hunt Tower whenever I visit Altoona or the East Broad Top Railroad.

ROBIN SHAVERS
Richmond, Virginia

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Dear Allen,

A short note to let you know I thoroughly enjoyed the September 1, 2002, Bull Sheet article "Down to the Sea at Halifax" by Doug Koontz. It reminded me of my trips on the Ocean and VIA's discontinued train Atlantic (I think that was the name). The Atlantic left Canada, traveled through Maine and then back into Canada. American Customs and Immigration officials rode the train to inspect passengers getting off in Maine. The exterior doors were wired shut to ensure no one could get on or off except at doors where immigration officials were stationed.

My first railroad trip to the Maritimes was to a Toastmasters International conference in St. John, the stop before Moncton. At that time, Amtrak's Adirondack began in Washington, running "backwards" to New York, where direction was reversed for the balance of the trip. Scheduled arrival in Montreal was about 8 p.m., too late to catch VIA's train, requiring an overnight stay to catch the train the next day.

I enjoyed Canada so much I went back the following year to Moncton and the year after to Halifax. The last two trips were on the Ocean. Amtrak changed the Adirondack's schedule to begin in New York and arrive in Montreal about one hour before the Ocean left. I made the connection both times. I always wondered if the passengers could clear Canadian Immigration at Cantic in time to get to Montreal on time.

I remember the Park car well. VIA did a nice job in refurbishing it, as well as the rest of the fleet. The engines slightly tugged on the train at departure when I left Montreal. My scanner was useless! Not because I didn't know the frequency. Not because it wasn't operating. But because I don't speak FRENCH! The only word I understood was "Highball." The language seemed to change to English the moment the train left Matapedia and pulled into Campbellton and left the province of Quebec. It only takes a few minutes between the stations but you change provinces AND time zones.

The train had four or five sleepers. I finally got smart and asked to be in the sleeper closer to the Park car as I would spend more time there than in the diner. Talking about the diner, the food was delicious!

Thanks for bringing back delightful memories.

MICHAEL DITKOFF
Lanham, Maryland

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