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September 2005


CSX Impacted by Storm Along Gulf Coast

[CSX, 9-1-05]...

CSX Corporation said that it is continuing freight transportation service to customers outside of the immediate Gulf Coast storm area by rerouting rail traffic through its well-established western gateways, including East St. Louis, Ill., Memphis, Tenn., and Montgomery, Ala., as well as through its various TRANSFLO and Intermodal facilities.

The most severe storm impact is concentrated on the 100-mile CSX route between Pascagoula, Miss., and New Orleans, including several bridges. Repair work has already begun and will take some time to complete.

"Like all companies with operations in the storm area, our primary concern is locating and assisting our approximately 300 employees and beginning the recovery process," said Michael Ward, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"The physical impact to our rail infrastructure, while significant, is confined to a relatively small segment of our 22,000-mile network. The flexibility of our system allows us to continue service beyond the heavily impacted areas, and the strong fundamentals and outlook for CSX remain intact," said Ward.

In the third quarter, CSX expects some business interruptions and additional costs due to rerouting and rebuilding efforts. At this time, the company expects that insurance over its self-insured retention of $25-million will be adequate to cover expenses and capital costs of rebuilding.

"CSX has been a citizen of the Gulf Coast region for many decades and extends its deepest sympathies to the people affected," said Ward. "As we have done many times before in other areas, we will work closely with our customers, employees and communities to help restore economic vitality to the region."


The Initials a Name Make!

An Update From 10 Years Ago . . .

Item from the Bull Sheet, July 1995:

"Gary and Bonnie Taylor of Sanford, Florida, are now the proud parents of a baby boy whom they had named Charles Samuel years before the stork arrived. But Bonnie, a crew van driver for CSXT and also a railfan, came upon a further idea to make the lad's name more complete. By inserting an X, his initials would honor a certain railroad...

"Thus it is for Charles Samuel Xavier Taylor - initials CSXT."

Could it be that Charlie Taylor may be the only person ever to have indigenous initials to honor this (or any other) railroad? Perhaps. But 10 years after the fact, I felt it was time to print an update on the fellow's progress - and to see if he had developed into a railfan...

Bonnie, his proud mom, has offered the following:

Dear Allen,

Thank you so much for your kind letter of June 21, and please forgive this late reply!

In reference to young C.S.X.T., Charlie is doing very well. Yes, he does like trains - when I go out to see them, he comes along with me.

He is in the fifth grade now and does fairly well in school. He also plays sports and some piano.

Charlie and I took two Amtrak trips this year. The first was from Sanford to Trenton, N.J., where we rented a car and then went to see a program of the Bethlehem Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Pa. We also saw snow! We had a sleeper and we both slept really well.

The second trip was about the time your letter came! We took the Auto Train to Virginia and then went to the mountains, Luray Caverns, Singing Tower, etc.

Allen, it's all going well so far.

His favorite trains are the Juice Train and the Circus Train.

Best to you,

Charlie Taylor (CSXT), 10 years old


Remembering the Broadway Limited

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

As a kid I spent many hours drooling over passenger train timetables. I had system timetables from a number of railroads, but one of my favorites was the Pennsylvania Railroad's offering with its Grif Teller painting of the Horseshoe Curve on its colorful cover. Inside were all the trains the company offered, but one in particular really stood out...

The PRR made no secret about it - the Broadway Limited was its premier train. It was included in the New York to Chicago section along with the other trains serving the line, but the name Broadway Limited was highlighted in bold face type. Moreover, the notes at the bottom advised passengers that the train allowed no discounts - such as those routinely offered on other trains for clergy, military, non-profit groups, etc. Also, there were no coaches. Wow! "This must be some kind of train," I reasoned.

Growing up in Monkton I did get to see some of the varnish plying the Northern Central line - the Liberty Limited being the hallmark train from Washington to Chicago at the time, also the Washington section of the Spirit of St.Louis - but the Broadway Limited I would not get to see. It did not honor its presence by going through Monkton. So I simply imagined.

I did get to see the Broadway's route on occasion - field trips with my railfanning uncle to Harrisburg, and visits with a friend living in Valley Forge - but the timing while trackside always eluded the heralded passage of the Broadway Limited.

I dreamed that some day I could actually get to ride the Broadway Limited - if only the train could retain its premier status and I could save enough money to buy a ticket. Indeed, it finally happened, but not until I was 25.

The date was June 3, 1966, a Friday. Originally three of us were planning to take the trip, but only two of us actually did. Alan Crumbaker, a friend I had met a couple of years earlier who shared the same passion for trains as I, carefully plotted an itinerary with me. And we did not want to short-step the adventure by boarding the train at a close-by mid-point, such as Philadelphia or Harrisburg - we would travel all the way to New York to take the Broadway from beginning to end. Also, in keeping with the train's best tradition, we would book our space in its very finest accommodation.

The Broadway Limited offered six types of sleeping car rooms. Most trains only offered two, or in some instances up to four or five, but it was a rarity that a train would offer six. On the Broadway, these included roomettes, duplex single rooms, double bedrooms, compartments, drawing rooms, and master rooms. These accommodations were contained in equipment of various configurations: cars having 10 roomettes and six double bedrooms; cars having 12 duplex single rooms and four double bedrooms; cars having 11 double bedrooms; a mid-train lounge car with six double bedrooms; cars having four double bedrooms, four compartments and two drawing rooms; and an observation car on the rear with one double bedroom and two master rooms. Passengers could choose their accommodation based upon their specific needs and/or cost preferences. Roomettes and duplex single rooms had space for one passenger; the double bedrooms and compartments had space for two; and the drawing rooms had space for three. By unfolding the walls between a pair of double bedrooms, there would be space for four.

The master room was slightly larger than a drawing room. It contained two single lower beds that folded away when not in use, a spacious lavatory with a shower, and a radio. This was described as the train's 'finest, most spacious accommodation' for up to two people. There were only two master rooms assigned to the train, both in the same car, and each carried the highest room charge of any room available. This is what we wanted!

The railroad then had but two cars with this type of accommodation - namely the Mountain View and the Tower View - which alternated nightly on each set of the Broadway's equipment. We soon learned the rotation schedule, and the car to be assigned on that particular night would be the Mountain View. But just to make sure, the Saturday before our intended trip, Alan and I ventured north to Trenton, New Jersey, to watch that particular set of equipment pass through. The Mountain View should have been assigned, but it was not. Instead, a substitute car (which had no master rooms) was being used. Alarmed by this, we called a friend of ours who worked in Baltimore's passenger sales office a couple of days later, and upon checking he assured us that Mountain View would indeed be assigned to our train - so not to worry!

The magical day arrived, and the two of us - smartly dressed in our finest attire - went to New York. It was our intention to enjoy our ride to the utmost - and to keep a very low profile that we were actually riding in pursuit of our hobby of enjoying trains. But this would shortly change...

We left New York exactly on time. We quickly took seats toward the rear of the observation end of our car, trying our best to appear as though we were 'typical' Broadway Limited clientele, refined, and only passively interested in the railroad sights we were passing. Following our departure from Newark, and being offered selections from the car's tray of hors d'oeuvres (and I enjoyed a couple of Manhattans from the bar), I had to contain myself as we slowly overtook an MU commuter train moving in the same direction as we on the next track over. "Oh, that's interesting!" (or words to that effect) I said quietly to Alan - rather then shouting "Ooh, ooh, would you look at that!" Again, we were trying to keep a dignified, low profile.

But then Alan (discreetly) removed a copy of a PRR employees' timetable (graciously provided to him earlier by a friend) from his inside jacket pocket - just to take a brief look... and a fellow seated across from us rather excitedly said: "Yee, gads, where did you get that?"

Oops! He was a railfan, too. He had blown our cover!

His name was Alec Wilder. He lived in New York, and he was a frequent patron of the Broadway Limited who enjoyed the luxury of going to Chicago whenever he wanted - just to 'get out of town.' We quickly became friends.

Our conversations from this point onward were somewhat less low-key with respect to our hobby than we had first intended. Anyway, many of the patrons who had been seated in our area had left for, I suppose, dinner (or at least, I hope they did do so to avoid overhearing railfan banter). Meanwhile, the train zipped through Trenton, and after our brief stop in North Philadelphia, we enjoyed a speedy run through the labyrinth of tracks at Zoo Interlocking and then onto the Main Line toward Paoli.

Our action plan was to go to dinner about the time it got dark, which Alan and I did. Alec agreed to meet with us for breakfast the following morning - to be served in our master room. What a treat that would be!

The spacious twin-unit dining car was only slightly patronized as we entered, and we were seated at a table on the left side by the steward whose name was Kresl. Our waiter was a seasoned veteran to the craft named Carter. We soon learned that Mr. Carter was making his very last trip - he would be retiring the next morning. I believe, too, that we were his last dinner customers.

"Bon Appetite!" said the menu, which I still have. "The Broadway Limited bids you welcome to its table... In this dining car - pride of the Pennsylvania - we are dedicated to making your repast aboard an exquisite dining experience..." For our entrees, I chose (what else!) the Broiled Boneless Sirloin Steak ($6.95), and Alan chose the Roast Prime Ribs of Beef Au Jus ($5.95). Along with the meal came a complimentary glass of Sherry (to which Alan, who does not drink, gave me his). I now had two glasses of Sherry, eventually a third (also complimentary). But the real treat came when the steward offered Alan a second Prime Rib, on the house, which he accepted. (According to Alan, today's prices would be $41.50 for my meal and $35.50 for his.)

We sped through Lancaster without stopping, and we returned to our room by about the time we arrived in Harrisburg. At some point - I cannot remember precisely when - I took a walk through the train. There were about a dozen cars, as I remember, plus an RPO car and a baggage car. Patronage was light.

Our train remained on time as we traveled along the Middle Division, I spending at least a little time tuning the room's radio which was mounted into a panel. Reception was not great, as I recall, but I believe I picked up the faint sounds of a selection by Vivaldi at one point.

As we began our ascent into the mountains west of Altoona, and wishing to see our train go around the Horseshoe Curve, we ventured from our room back to the lounge section. Once again, this was the rear car in the train. All of the other passengers had long since vanished, and our obliging porter extinguished the interior lights to give us a better view. It was awe inspiring; perhaps the epitome of our trip.

Back in our room, we awaited our speedy passage through Johnstown before retiring.

So who says you actually have to sleep if you have the most deluxe accommodation available? Well, I did, but not for long. The excitement of the moment found me up and about somewhere in Ohio, just as it was beginning to get light. I took solitary station in the rear seat in the lounge to watch the landscape disappear back into the distance. It was great! Then we made a stop - not in the schedule - at Lima. As we left, I saw a lady walking toward her vehicle carrying a sack of mail.

As breakfast time approached, Alec Wilder came back to our room to join us. His first order of business was to get a look at the shower room. Indeed, for as many times as he had ridden the Broadway Limited, he had never before examined the master room. He was impressed. Our porter brought us a table, and our respective breakfast selections were brought through the train from the dining car by the waiter responsible for providing room service. The diner, as I recall, was about four or five cars up. Sure, we could have gone to the diner for breakfast... we simply wanted to have breakfast in the room!

Following breakfast, and some more socializing, Alec and I actually did venture forward to the diner. All we had was coffee, but we wanted to be Mr. Carter's very last customers before he retired. We were.

The Broadway Limited covered 907 miles in its overnight run to Chicago. We were due there 16 hours after we left New York - an average speed of about 57 miles per hour. But we arrived 15 minutes early! This, I am told, was the norm, not the exception. The Pennsy really took pride in that train and its punctual performance.

This, then, was my first and only ride on the 'true' Broadway Limited - that is, before the train got downgraded with coaches and a slower schedule. It was quite an experience - one in which its details are so vividly remembered. And the train was every bit as exciting as what I had envisioned while drooling over the PRR timetable as a kid many years before.

Coincidentally, Alec Wilder, our railfan friend we met on the trip, was a rather notable classical and jazz music composer. According to a biography offered on some websites, he often wrote his music while traveling on trains. He died in 1980.


'Precious Moments' on the Railroad

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Scattered throughout previous issues are reminiscences from my 30-year career on the railroad - many of them fond, some of them not so fond - but never before have I attempted to catalog into one article those moments that stand out as being my favorites. Briefly, and in reverse sequence of when they occurred, here are the top four. Each example assimilates a contribution to history, an opportunity to represent life on the railroad to an interested public, and a personal legacy I shall most wish to be remembered:

October 6, 2000... I was on duty at HO Tower, Hancock, West Virginia... Miller Tower - my previous duty station - had closed just a week and a half before. Following a week of vacation, I assumed the second-shift position at Hancock on October 5. This, then, was my second day at my new duty station. In fact, I was still in training; George Spies was on duty with me to assist (but the following day I would work the position by myself). Something very exciting was about to happen. I knew that it would (it was prearranged). Two charter buses pulled up outside. They conveyed about 80 members of the B&O Historical Society who were on a field trip as part of their annual convention being held that year in Cumberland. They came to visit the tower. But there were time constraints; they could only stay about 45 minutes, and the tower would only hold about a dozen people at any one time. Not wishing to deny any of these fine folks the opportunity of a guided tour, I hurriedly arranged with the tour leaders an assembly-line type of dialog; they in turn grouped the participants in such a way that most in the party could inspect the linkage in operation and activities from outside the building while relays of about a dozen participants could ascend into the office for a brief visit. I began each session at the bottom of the steps with a safety blitz, and then led them into the office for a short talk followed by questions and answers. Meanwhile, George (bless his heart), agreed to work the desk so I could devote full time to the visitors. This was fortuitous, as it developed, as a train was making a setoff within the plant during most of the visit, and I could never have devoted the time needed for a guided tour had I had to work the desk by myself. Indeed, that the tower was in such a busy work mode enhanced the visit for the participants involved, and I know that it was a huge success. I recall, too, meeting a number of folks for the first time who told me that they were readers of the Bull Sheet. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. (I retired from the railroad two months later.)

September 24, 2000... I had spent eight years of duty at Miller Tower, and this was to be its final day. I had requested the honor of being the tower's last operator, and my request was granted. Twenty-five people gathered to be part of its final minutes, and I arranged a ceremony to mark the locking of the door. Active participants - in addition to myself - included Michael Koch (clergyman), Tom Kraemer (guitarist), Mario Hendricks (drummer), Paul Swain (operator), and Marvin Duvall (retired operator). The ceremony began with a song ('Bless This House,' modified to fit the occasion), a silent last visit by all in attendance to the interior accompanied by guitar selections from the Baroque era, a greeting to those assembled, a prayer, a reading of my final entry onto the train sheet, a three-minute interlude accompanied by guitar for a silent recessional of past operators who were there 'in spirit,' a 10-second drum roll, a recessional of the active participants (I stayed behind), a final sounding of the tower's horn, extinguishing the interior lights, the locking of the door, and then I descended for the last time. It was quite emotional. My sense of history told me that it should be done in no other way. The tower's closing ceremony honored its century-long legacy.

March 5, 1992... The only other time I got to close a tower was similar in spirit to the one described above. I had served at JD Tower, Hyattsville, Maryland, for six and one-half years, and on this particular date I was honored to be its last operator. Here again, I had requested that honor. The closing ceremony began at the end of the shift with about 20 people in attendance. Active participants included Mark Nieting (clergyman), Mario Hendricks (drummer), Donald Breakiron (retired operator), and Bob Uhland (former operator). My final entry into the tower's logbook - which I read aloud - concluded with: "This, then, is my last entry to the JD logbook, and all operators who have heretofore served this station and are here with us in spirit, will be invited to depart with us now as I prepare to lock the door. I value the honor of being the station's last operator. JD Tower Alexandria Junction, Maryland, rest in piece." Later, the logbook was given by the railroad back to me, and I still have it.

September 29, 1990... The three examples above surely qualify as 'Precious Moments,' but what occurred on this particular date shall forever rank as my all time favorite. HX Tower, Halethorpe, Maryland, had been my duty station for ten years when it closed in 1985. It was still standing, though, and in use by the signal department as a maintainer's office. I came up with an idea to return to the place, with all my friends, for a day of nostalgia. The division manager agreed to the plan, and on September 29, two days prior to the actual fifth-year anniversary of its closing, the tower was reopened for an event known as 'Remembrance Day.' The second-floor office portion of the building was put to use for the showing of videos, the parking spots became a picnic area, and an RDC Budd car with tables (borrowed from MARC) was spotted on the track in front of the tower for use in socializing. Approximately 90 people - including employees, retired employees, friends and railfans - came to the tower for 12 hours of pure fun. As day turned into night, an outdoor slide show emerged in a corner of the parking lot. It was an event long to be remembered. I was especially proud of it, and very grateful to the railroad for its superb cooperation by allowing it to happen.


Some 'Enchanted Places'

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Growing up in Monkton in my earlier years, I became well acquainted with 'Winnie the Pooh.' Mr. Milne's stories of Christopher Robin and his forest friends were a mainstay of my evening, family time activities. The final chapter of the final book closed with the description of an 'Enchanted Place,' where Christopher Robin and his beloved bear Pooh parted company. (Yet they would always remain there in spirit!)

Indeed, we all have our Enchanted Places. Within the past several weeks, I revisited some of mine. Here they are:


The family moved to Monkton following the second World War. I was five years old at the time. My parents wanted to move to the country; my father needed a home near the train in order to commute to work (we had no car). The property was known as Meadowhill. This is where I got my own taste of living in the country, of playing in the stream, of having my very own dog, of our flock of chickens, of watching the Kentucky bluegrass in the meadow as it waved in the breeze, of hearing and seeing trains from a distance, and Winnie the Pooh...

When I was 18, I left Meadowhill and joined the Navy. My father died a year and a half later, and my mother sold the place. But with the roots well established in those Glory Years, I always thought of Meadowhill as an Enchanted Place. Indeed, Monkton is my 'true' home.

I would drive past Meadowhill on occasion. In recent years I thought of stopping in - just to let whoever was living there know that I had lived there many years before - but I did not want to impose upon somebody I had never met. That is - until one day - while I was en route to Monkton for a biking engagement, while passing Meadowhill, I saw somebody outside...

That was July 21. I stopped. I told the fellow that I had grown up there. Such excitement. He and his wife were delighted to see me. They listened intently to my tales of life back in the 1940's and 1950's. They were very interested in the history of the house, too (it was built c-1886 in the mansard style); I in turn returned several weeks later with some old photos. They even took me on a tour of the house (or perhaps it was I taking them). Such memories!

And, of course, the property's proximity to the Northern Central line of the Pennsylvania Railroad while I was growing up had quite an impression on me. Who knows what might have happened if there had been no trains in my immediate turf back then. Er, I guess I might have eventually had to actually go to 'work' for a living, rather than to enjoy so much fun in the career as a railroader that developed.

The property is no longer known as Meadowhill. In fact, the current owners knew nothing of the name until I told them. The meadow I so much remember is now a forest; the top of the hill is now subdivided. But the old house - with its rooms (with steam radiators) and so many memories - is still its majestic self. It's truly an Enchanted Place!


With so much written about Monkton station in 19 years of Bull Sheets, I need not dwell on its significance in my early life as another Enchanted Place. Its story has already been told. That it is still around, and in use by the public as a visitor center, makes each visit I make to it a singular experience.

Such as it was August 16 when I went to the station to attend a meeting. The NCR/Hereford Volunteers uses the building for its monthly meetings. How appropriate! You will recall from the August issue that the NCR/Hereford Volunteers are the ones who bought and installed the eight interpretive signs that now adorn the Northern Central Railroad Trail. So impressed was I of this project that I decided to join the group. Now I, too, can participate in some of their activities.

There were 11 of us in attendance. Instinctively, I took a seat on 'my' railroad bench - the bench I donated back to the station in 1989 from the collection of all the benches from the station my father had bought from the railroad following the last trip of the Parkton Local in 1959.

When it was my turn to speak, I gave a brief narrative of my love for the station, moments I had experienced, and how my father and I had been the last people to actually use the station on its final day of railroad service. They seemed interested.

I then took a train order stick that was hanging on the wall, complete with string and a message, and demonstrated its function. Such a thrill! Such memories!

Yes, this is an Enchanted Place!


About a mile north of Glatfelter's Station and about half a mile south of Howard Tunnel in Pennsylvania, the Northern Central line hugged the bank of Codorus Creek in a long, sweeping curve that, in the railroad days, gave the passengers near the rear of the train an unobstructed view of the train as it graced its way forward. The curve is still there, but trees now obscure some of the view. It is not a true 'horseshoe' curve, but it is as close to that description as any other curve along the present-day trail.

Nobody is certain how Dipper's Curve got its name; some sources even offer a different spelling. But it is a majestic place.

I have participated in numerous bicycling events around that curve in recent years. Most recently it was August 17 (the day following my meeting at Monkton station) as part of a Moonlight Bike Ride. We had begun at Seven Valleys (where I had put on a demonstration for the kiddies using toy train whistles) and proceeded northward through Glatfelter's, around Dipper's Curve and Howard Tunnel to Twin Arch Bridge, where we stopped and then reversed direction.

On the return trip I biked near the rear of the procession. The moon shone brightly in the sky, but otherwise it was pitch dark as the lights from each of our bikes lighted our way back in the direction to where we had begun.

Just as we entered Dipper's Curve, I noticed a remarkable sight. With the lights from all those bicycles snaking out ahead of me, the thought immediately struck me... This was... a 'Train.'

Indeed, back in the 1960's, when PRR trains still plied the line, there were occasions that I had peered out from the rear of the train to see the phenomenon of lights from the train, along that same section of the line, in a darkened landscape. And now, with bikes, I was seeing it once again!

Dipper's Curve is a majestic place. But now, seeing this, and knowing that I can see it over and over again on future moonlight rides, I know of this as a truly Enchanted Place! Long may it be!


A Fond Farewell!

This issue is the last . . .

With this issue, the Bull Sheet completes 19 years of publication - 228 editions in all. I'm sure it has served a purpose, and I'm sure it has touched a lot of hearts. It's been a lot of fun.

The Bull Sheet began in its current format to a distribution of about 20 readers in October 1986. It's an anomaly that it lasted as long as it did. In fact, that very first issue was only intended as a 'commemorative' offering, with no intention that it would continue. But it did.

Actually, the Bull Sheet began several years earlier than that as an informal, hand-written note, using carbon paper, to selected friends on a mostly-daily basis, to keep them advised of locomotive sightings and other tidbits during my tenure as an operator at HX Tower near Baltimore. These notes (sheets) ended when the tower closed in October 1985. Then, one year later came the 'commemorative' issue, and the rest is history.

The support of the Bull Sheet's readers has been legendary. Many have contributed material to its pages, and this is greatly appreciated...

Christopher Robin moved on to other things... so, too, must I.

Later this year I (and dog Cody) plan to move to a retirement home. I need the time to prepare for and make the move, so now seems to be the ideal time to end the publication. Anyway, I feel its time had come, even if I did not use moving to a new location as the reason.

For those who will truly miss the publication, there really is a silver lining. I do intend to keep current the website, at least for now. Most elements of the site should continue unabated, and visitors should see little change. Features that appear in the printed version normally get added to the site anyway, so features that get produced from this date forward can similarly be added.

Coincidentally, 500 copies of the printed version have been produced in recent months, yet the website (as registered on a counter over a recent four-month period) averaged almost 700 visits each day. This sends a strong message... the internet is now a very effective medium, and it is popular.

Once I complete my move and get settled in, I may even have more opportunity to devote time to the website than I presently have. And, yes, the next time I go Amtraking, that will be included too.

Within the next several weeks, statements will be sent to subscribers. Prompt attention to this matter will be appreciated; I need to get on with other things. Please do not send payments until you receive a statement, and please do not send an amount greater than what is shown. This is important. Any payment made in excess of the amount shown will be returned (which will complicate bookkeeping). Or, if you prefer (and you make your intention known), an overpayment (in excess of the statement amount) will be sent to the Miller Tower Project in your name. Again, let me know if this is what you want. I will be happy to oblige.

Good-bye to all of you. Once again, it has been fun!