"The Cannonball"

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jun 20 13:27:04 EDT 2005

Mr. Smoot:
Five cars west of Petersburg is what it looks like to me. Unless Petersburg
originated some head end traffic, I doubt that No. 15 had any more than
five cars departing. Although there had been a Bristol-Richmond sleeper in
days gone by, this assignment was gone by 1963. In fact there was only one
northbound "Short Run" (ACL #20) and one southbound "Short Run" (ACL #29)
operating between Broad Street - Richmond and Appomattox Station -
In 1954, there had been four "Short Runs" in each direction. With a 20-hour
layover in Petersburg for the next No. 15, I doubt any Richmond traffic
was relayed to Petersburg for westbound movement in 1963.

Since neither Eng 517 nor 501 are equipped with GRS train control, Eng 504 or
505 will probably be furnished as power for ACL No. 20 out of Petersburg.
It's also apparent that a crew will have to do a "Greek Job" to get No. 15
out of town, i.e. making a cut behind N&W 91, shoving seven cars to the
ACL lead, then holding to N&W 1728 and coupling back to N&W 91. Maybe
this was accomplished by a crew from Broadway Yard.

And about the engineer -- "Buddy" Phelps. He had a passion for steam locomo-
tives. In the waning days of steam, he'd keep in constant contact with the
caller. He might be in queue to take No. 78 with a fleet of Geeps to
and be back at Crewe for dinner. Or he might stand for a later coal train
headed by a Class A to Lamberts Point returning to Crewe whenever. If he saw
a steam trip in the scope, he'd mark off, then mark back up to catch a 1200.
It's known as "sharp shooting" and it's not condoned by management or union,
but in those times, "Buddy" could get away with it. After a tardy delivery
of an
excursion train from the ACL in October, 1959, it was "Buddy" who hurled Eng
through Dwight at 100 MPH on the way to Norfolk.

And yes, Frank, the "Lady Bird Special" musta operated in 1964 because I was
at the French Broad Institute in October, 1962.
Harry Bundy
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