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Maurice Lewman
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Leesburg Station

M. E. Lewman Collection

When I started in 1950 the depot, toilet and platform were still there just like in the photo. In the photo it was a train order station and in my day it was a manual block, train order station. After about 1963 it returned to a train order station and non - block operation.

The old highway 15 was to the left of the depot and made a small S curve behind the train . Of course the railroad had to make the same S curve to stay east of the highway. The rail was probably 65 lb. but during my time was 105 lb. . When the rebuild started in the 70s 135 lb. welded rail was used. The elevator and lumber company was the industry at this location. There was a small 15 car siding until about 1965.

What made things go was a gravel pit at this location and as the interstate highway building progressed we had 40 cars of sand out of the pit 6 days a week . The loading tipple was in a hole making us use air when handling the cuts in and out of the pit . One day we were switching and it started to get dark. The brakemen got caught without their lanterns and I asked the conductor how I was supposed to see him. We had about 40 cars and there was not one light at the pit making depth perception non existent.

The conductor said for me to watch for a signal in the super structure of the tipple. After some time I saw a, come ahead signal, with a cigarette lighter. You could get in the clear with 109E cars and locomotive, but you had to straddle the derail with the rear trucks and every track including the siding was full.

LEW

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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