Georgia Railroad

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  • Member since
    May 2019
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Georgia Railroad
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Monday, June 1, 2020 9:35 AM

I was happy to see the article about the Georgia Railroad, my long-ago employer, in the current CT. One doesn't see much written about the Georgia.

My wife and I once rode the legendary mixed train (it had one stainless steel coach) from Atlanta to Augusta and, after a couple of days visiting friends, back. Unlike the 10-hour ordeal described in the story, our trains, IIRC, made few or no set-outs/pick-ups, and traveled the line (171 miles) in, I think, about 3.5 hours. Unfortunately, the windows were quite dirty, so the view was not great. It was just me, my wife, and the conductor, who to my surprise wore a uniform. It was hot and stuffy. The conductor had lots of good stories, seemed completely charmed by my wife, and was great company. I can't remember where the coach was cut in, but I think right behind the engines; but maybe right ahead of the caboose.The coach was not used as the caboose, I'm prety sure, because there was no flagman inside the coach. This was in '73, and the GARR had mostly GP7s.

No effort whatsoever was made to market the passenger service; and even as an employee, I was discouraged from taking the trip. We boarded in Atlanta Yard (aka Hulsey Yard); there was no platform or anything. There was not so much as a bottle of water in the way of amentities.

You had to be a railfan to enjoy it, and I did, and I think my wife did also; she's a trouper.

When I worked there in '73 and '74 (in Atlanta and in Lithonia), the GARR had just begun an era of losing money every year until it was finally put out of its misery by SCL/LN.

If anyone is wondering where Lithonia is, on the map in the article, it would fall beween Stone Mountain and Conyers.

I have some great memories from those days.

And some truly dreadful ones; the morale there was terrible, and as a long-haired hippie type then, I wasn't everyone's favorite guy.

My best friend there (who hosted poker games at his house) was a black guy, a clerk named Bill. One dark night he was shot in Atlanta yard while walking a cut, writing down the car numbers. He took it in the leg, and recovered well. The unsettling think was that many employees thought Bill was probably shot by a co-worker! But I never really bought into that, and I don't think Bill did either. (OTOH, he never really wanted to talk about the incident.) I saw the wound; the bullet went almost all the way through his leg and you could see the bulge where it was trying to come out the other side. The doc wanted other stuff to heal before removing the bullet, so we played one poker game while the bullet was still there. Bill was a super, gentle guy, and he soon came back to work; and suprisingly he never seemed all that unnerved by it all. He was more popular than I was, TBH. Me, if I had gotten shot in the yard, that would have been my final trick! My wife would have made sure of that.

Soon after I went to GARR, I got an offer to be a trainman on the SCL in Richmond. But we had already settled in to Atlanta, had leased an apartment. I often wondered how the Richmond job would have gone. I've always felt some regret that I didn't take that opportunity.

In any event, I would not trade away my railroad time for anything.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, June 1, 2020 10:51 AM

Thanks.   A much-needed story at this time.

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Posted by GeoffS on Monday, June 1, 2020 11:26 AM

A wonderfull story sir!  Maybe you should send it to the Fast Mail section of CT so more people would see it!

GS

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Monday, June 1, 2020 8:25 PM

I appreciate the comments, gentlemen. Thanks.

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  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, June 1, 2020 10:00 PM

GeoffS

A wonderfull story sir!  Maybe you should send it to the Fast Mail section of CT so more people would see it!

GS

 

And I second that!

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    May 2019
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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 12:28 PM

Thanks, Flint. Maybe I'll do that.

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