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  Railroads of Madison County
Maurice Lewman

Stack Talk

On June 12, 2002, it was announced that the fires would be dropped on Frisco 1522 a 4-8-2 Mountain type steam locomotive. Maurice had this to say about the `stack talk' of operating steamers. - rph

June 14, 2002

It is sad to hear that these engines are having the fires pulled. In many cases it is because of ever increasing insurance rates.

But about the stack talk. We were waiting at Greensburg Indiana for our connection 2nd 90. Everything was late for some reason. The yardmaster said 1st 90 was about 5 miles west and had them running. I stepped outside of the shanty and heard 1st 90 coming. The coal dock was on a curve and the speed was 40 mph or within 10 mph. A couple of miles west of town the track started down hill and then about 3/4 mile west of the coal dock it started uphill again.

As he started down grade you could hear the engineer ease off the throttle and that L-2 was talking. Just before he started uphill you heard the throttle come back out and then as he got a little more on the up grade he started cranking that old girl down in the corner a little more. This engineer was the master and the engine was talking like music in your ears.

As they came under the coal dock at close to 50mph the engineer was leaning from the cab whipping the cab with his hat like a jockey. He knew that I knew he had it right and he was the master. That was 50 years ago and is just as clear as if it were today.

There just is no way I can adequately describe that time. You had to be there and feel the vibration, the sound of power and see the absolute control that was in the face of that engineer to understand this picture that I have tried to recreate in words.

Maurice Lewman

Maurice worked the Michigan Division from 1947-1981. He then worked on the Bee Line from 1981-1992. From 1947 until august 1950, he worked on the section at Shirley and Markleville. In 1950 he started firing on steam and then on through the diesels. Maurice said, "I had the pleasure of working with C. C. Staley and Ron Buser many times."

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