"The Friendly"

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"The Friendly"
Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 9:20 PM
There is a thread on the Model Railroader forum about missing Southern Pacific. That reminded me of some of the experiences I had with SP as a kid (UP took them over when I was in high school).

One time, before I knew it was common thought doing such a thing was a waste of time, I wrote to Southern Pacific asking something about locomotives. Whoever got my letter sent me an official roster. Another time when I wrote asking about something else they sent me a booklet about SP and a system map.

In 1989 SP 4449 came to town with some type of train carrying officials of the company. As the train was leaving, one of the guys on board threw a brochure to me about some distribuiton system with CSXT. I think it was TDSI, unfortunately I have not seen that brochure in years.

In 1992, SP was running their "New Image Special" (or whatever the train was called) with the business cars, a bunch of Golden West Service cars, and an SP container and May trucking 28' piggyback on a RTTX flatcar. I had not heard anything about it. The day it came to town I was sick, so my mother took me for a drive to the train yard, where I saw a bunch of Daylight passenger cars. We went home to get a camera and my father (who was off duty that day), then drove back to take some pictures. By this time they were about to get ready to put the train back together (the freight cars and passenger cars were on different tracks). It turned out that my uncle was the switchman on the switcher that was to put the train back together. Before they did, one of the officials asked him if he wanted a tour of the business cars. He said he would go if I could come. So my uncle, my father, and I got to see the inside of Southern Pacific's business cars. Unfortunately, the thought of being able to go inside of the cars never crossed my mind and I had used all of the film by then.

There was one time when I was a kid and in the parking lot taking pictures of the locomotives parked next to it when the RR police officer told me I could not be there. However, more often than not I found that Southern Pacific lived up to its nickname of "The Friendly".

"No soup for you!" - Yev Kassem (from Seinfeld)

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Posted by Kozzie on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 11:35 PM
Hey Eric

Thanks for sharing those memories with us. I thoroughly enjoyed them. [:)][;)]

I wonder how many of those business were preserved...I notice Kato are making some of them available in the model range.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 3:21 AM
I remember being very dissapointed when I finally got to ride the LA-SF Coast Daylight to find that the dining car had been replaced by an automat car. But there was an attendent, the car was spotlessly clean, and the food turned out to be quite delicious which really surprised me having experience the Penn Central cafe cars. After eating, I explored the train to find the round-end observation at the end open . The conductor said I could have one of the two rear-facing seats at the rear for paying the parlor upgrade, which turned out to be reasonable, and made the whole trip most enjoyable.
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Posted by JoeKoh on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 7:03 AM
Yep was a time before where the beancounters didnt rule the railroad. thanks for sharing.
stay safe

Deshler Ohio-crossroads of the B&O Matt eats your fries.YUM! Clinton st viaduct undefeated against too tall trucks!!!(voted to be called the "Clinton St. can opener").


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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 5:49 PM
That reminds me, Eric, of my writing the Maine Central. Back when I was a young skeets I thought I'd like to railroad in the fridgid north. Of course, I wasn't expecting to be hired sight unseen, but it was just a probe into the possibility.

I got a real nice letter from some official at Portland thanking me for the interest in their road. He suggested I stop in next time I'm up Portland way, and we'd talk.

I never went. It's just as well; I'd have been tamped under some ties somewhere by that slimy Guilford Industry bunch of cutthroats later on.

I still have the letter with the neat MeC pine tree herald letterhead. They deserved better than they got.
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Posted by ericsp on Sunday, January 16, 2005 11:55 PM
Years ago (mid 1980s) my parents were remodeling our house. Since my father used to work in construction, he was doing it himself. One evening, he went to a hardware store, that was next to a Southern Pacific branch line, to get something, and my brother and I went along. As we were leaving, the local was coming up the tracks. We got to the crossing just about the time the lights started flashing, so we got to wait for the train. I remember it consisted of a GP9, 3 SP 240000 series boxcars, and a bay window caboose. I remember as the caboose rolled by one of the guys in it waving at us, and us waving back.

"No soup for you!" - Yev Kassem (from Seinfeld)

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Posted by kenneo on Monday, January 17, 2005 12:41 AM
It was never in the rules, just one of those ad-hoc informal things, but crews could get a verbal instruction from the TM or the RFE for not waving. You could ask at the depot or call the dispatcher (trick chief) and get a "sorta" lineup if you were out taking pictures.

Boy, how times have changed!

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