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  Railroads of Madison County
Maurice Lewman
Memories

Back When

South Anderson, IN. sometime from June through August 1954. Train #74 on duty 12:30pm.

Parked the auto and after getting my grip from the trunk, walked in the east door of the roundhouse. At this time there are 16 stalls and about half have locomotives in them, either dead or getting some kind of repair. Only one is fired up and that is a yard engine. Walking out the west door of the roundhouse, I walked over to the engine dispatcher's building to sign in.

Checking the bulletin book and signing same, I checked job advertisements. Checked my watch, spin the crew board to see where everyone is located and I am ready to go to work. About this time the engineer, Bill Sailors, comes in and goes through everything I did. Bill is about 6'2", 180 lbs. and has about 3oz. of fat on him somewhere.

Bill was the first man hired after the depression. At this time, he is about 33yrs. old.

We walk out to the engine on the ready track and throw our grips on the engine. I climb on and hand the oiler to Bill and he starts his inspection. While Bill is doing his thing, I put the grips in the seat box, blow the water glasses out and wash down the deck and boiler butt and wipe off handles, seats and etc. That done, I check the ice and drinking water and the supplies, including the water in the tender.

That done, I check the fire, open the butterfly doors and the fire looks good. After checking the jets that blow the coal into the fire box, they appear to be okay, we start the stoker slowly and get an idea of the pressure needed on the jets. Next roll in a heel at the distributing plate. Not a large one but big enough to make the coal stay on the grates. When I checked the fire at the start, I turned the blower on and if the fire had stayed a blue, purple color I would have rocked the grates enough to have broken the crust that was forming which would have turned into a clinker.

About this time Bill has finished his rounds and has climbed on the engine. Bill makes an air test of the engine brakes and after that turns on the bell, gives a toot toot with the whistle and starts moving. With the cylinder cocks open, blowing the water out of the cylinders, we move out of the roundhouse tracks to the yards and our train.

After coupling to our train in #1 track and pumping up the air, Bill can see a signal at the rear of the train to set the brakes. Drawing off 15 lbs. of air and placing the brake valve in lap position, he waits for a release signal of the brakes from the car inspector at the rear end.

Receiving a release signal, Bill places the brake valve in running position and waits for a high ball. At this time, the conductor arrives with the paper work. We have 68 cars, 58 loads and 10 empties, a total of 4000 tons. 10 for Marion, 15 for Wabash, 6 for Claypool, 1 Milford Jct. and 3 for New Paris Jct., the rest for Elkhart.

This is a Tuesday and the local is coming south and we have a meet with him at Fairmount. The conductor starts back to the rear end and Bill gets a highball from the rear end. While all of this has been going on, I have my fire built up, the brakeman has permission to come out of the yards, cross over the B-line main and head north. We will have more on our trip to Wabash on #74 in a few days.

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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