N&W Commuter Trains

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Mar 13 12:31:05 EST 2006

<<Recently I was discussing with my son the fact that, on the N&W, passenger brakemen did not handle money or tickets. These were duties of the Conductor only.

Understandable, given the nature of the operation. Ridership wasn't that heavy (compared to the routes on some other roads,) stations were relatively far apart, affording time for "the lift" of tickets by one person. N&W certainly didn't operate commuter trains.

Son and I were comparing this to the nature of the game on roads which operated commuter service into the big cities, where each Conductor and brakeman "worked" only two or three cars, where trains might stop at ten or twelve places on a 45 minute run into or out of the city, and where a "swing brakeman" was sometimes used for only a portion of the run, to assist with "the lift."

Any thoughts from the other Listers about the thing we saw fifty years ago on the N&W (and/or other roads) in this regard?

-- abram burnett>>


You neglected the N&W commuter operation inherited from the Wabash between Orland Park and Chicago. I had the pleasure of odd chances to ride the "refurbished" Powhatan Arrow coaches assigned to the operation in its waning years under direct N&W control. My recollection is that the N&W passed this operation on to Metra in 1980. Metra quickly replaced the N&W equipment with their own modern bi-levels and locomotives. (The happy ending, of course, is that those commuter coaches were eventually assigned to the NS steam program a few years later). I have no specific recollection of the ticket collection procedure aboard the N&W operation. It seems unlikely that the N&W would have limited the lifting of tickets and handling of cash fares to the conductor only, especially for single level cars on a 6-8 car trainset stopping frequently in suburban Chicago.

Randy Rippy
Woodbury, Minn.
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