Switchtenders at Roanoke

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Mar 25 15:49:10 EDT 2020

 Jimmy, you are right. Many of these local names were disappearing when I came to the yard in mid '81. At that time there was a large group of men we refereed to as the "class of '55", obviously because they hired in 1955. These men were my teachers and were very much steeped in the old traditions of "how and where & when " concerning the operations on the yard.
So, as these men began to leave throughout the '80s and '90s, they took much of the "old ways" with them. Folks who hired with and close to me tried to pick up on all the traditional ways. Sometime in the late '80s and forward it seemed that the newer hires had neither the interest, nor desire, to save these traditional ways. Most all of the men/women of my generation are now gone. I have no idea how much of the old traditions are left today.
Jeff Sanders, 
Yard Brakeman
June 1981 - Oct. 2009

    On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 10:48:34 AM EDT, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:  

 On 3/24/2020 10:22 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
 Two quick questions:
What time frame (or decades) would most of these names have been familiar to RT operating crews/dispatchers? 
     I hired on in 1972, so, before then. For example, the Old Pull Up at the west end of Park St yard was from the days when the Shenandoah Div. trains were yarded there before the big hopper yard was built and crews took their trains out to 672.
Secondly, could a new hire have read/learned any of this in a bulletin or ETT, or was it all learned by ear from older men? 
    Not much! It was mostly learned. Even learning the yard tracks was done by experience, not book learning. Later on there was a map of sorts floating around to try to teach the new hires, but, the map looked NOTHING like the yard, so, it was hard to make out what was what.
    A couple of other things that I thought of last night;
 Inbound trains from the east would come up usually the WB Running track (sometimes the EBRT) to the hump and stop, waiting for yarding instructions. The place where they stopped was just east of a crossover from the WB to the EB running track at the hump road crossing. This spot was known as "The Coat Rack".
 Over on the north side at the Call Office, the tracks were from north to south, the Westbound Main line, #1 Park St and the Tail Track (closest to the Call Office). The Tail track went east and connected to the westbound Running Track west of the signal circuit at 16th St.
    I was a road man, so, there are a lot of other names that I know yard man Jeff Sanders could fill you in on.

Jimmy Lisle
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