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Maurice Lewman
Memories

Whoa!!


January 13, 2003

There is a photo of NYC 5261 (J-1c Hudson) on Jim Fitzgerald's Railfan Pages in the Vollrath New York Central photo collection at: http://www.pioneer.net/~fitzrr/index4.html

The 5261 in the photo is going west at Dunlap. This is about half way between Goshen and Elkhart. The reason I could tell it is going west is the telephone lines are on the north side beween the two ponts. The 5261 is running on #1 main. The track to its left is #3 or the the west bound freight main. After they installed TCS they did away with #3 freight main and ran #4 freight main east to Dunlap calling it a controlled siding.

Seeing this reminded me of an incident in 1964 when I was the engineer on the Goshen switch run and we were running #1 main from Elkhart to Goshen. The fireman had just been taken off and at Dunlap the track curves to the left. We ran the EMD GP7 long nose ahead east. Things were just fine and we were running 50 mph.

Coming to the curve something didn't look right. I asked the brakeman if everything looked ok ahead and he said yes. But things just did not feel right, so, I go to the left side and look. Up ahead was a crane with a piece of rail across all three tracks. As I watched, the crane operator dropped the rail and headed east with the crane and everyone else was running away. One little section hand realized what he was suposed to do and was coming toward us swinging a fusee so hard that, if he had let go, it would have gone 2 miles.

We were only 15-20 cars from that piece of rail, about 750-1000 ft. I jumped back to the right side, big holed the train, put the engine brake full on and waited. Of course I was busy all of this time talking to the engine, telling it to "Stop! Come on, stop!" It must have done some good as we stopped about 10ft from the rail.

What had happened was the Dispatcher thought they wanted to turn a 35ft rail, but it was 135ft rail. I had put flat spots on all of the wheels on the engine and they had just put new trucks under the unit a day or two before. The rest of the day was thump, thump and 15 mph back to Elkhart that night. Nothing was ever said to me about the flat spots or anything.

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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