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MARCH 2008

Every Eleven Miles Hoodlum Update Railfan Photos – Keokuk Junction Rwy. The Memphis Dummies

Memphis Chapter Officers President – David Chase

Vice President – Bruce Smedley National Director – Bill Strong

Secretary – Oliver Doughtie

Treasurer – Thomas Doherty

Librarian – Mike Pendergrass Publication Editor – Tom Parker

Last Month’s Meeting We had fifteen attendees at the February meeting. Dave Chase brought the meeting to order and discussed his recent trip on the City of New Orleans with his son. Bill Strong announced that there will be a private railcar excursion for the NARP convention in October that will take passengers from Chicago to Portland. Anyone interested in attending should contact Bill for more information. Special Agent Turner from the BNSF police department gave this month’s presentation. The BNSF police department consists of six officers who cover the line from Thayer and Chafee, MO to Amory, MS. He began with pictures and a video of the damage from the tornado that crossed the BNSF Tennessee yard in southeast Memphis. He also showed an operation lifesaver video and a video on the BNSF program “Citizens for Rail Security” which is BNSF’s rail fan program. He discussed rail fans and how to safely take pictures and asked that all rail fans be cognizant of what we are photographing and putting on the internet. The most interesting part of the presentation was the general discussion where Agent Turner shared stories of vandals and robberies of railcars in and around the Memphis area.

March Meeting The program “British Steam in the 1050's and 1960's will be presented by Bruce Smedley. Also on the program will be Robert Schreiber, President of Greater Memphis Greenline, Inc. His organization is seeking to convert the former NC&StL right of way into a 13 mile multi-use urban park/trail. He needs our input so that the history of this right of way is not lost. BUFF ONLINE: User Name:Member Password: Buff (Capital “M” & “B”) Cover Photo: This photo of Nashville & Western 3901 was taken by Carl Lancaster on April 5, 2006 near Ashland City, Tenn. This line is part of the old Tennessee Central that has been reactivated at the industrial park near Ashland City. It is also the same line the IC operated between Hopkinsville, KY and Nashville up until about 1981.

MIDKIFF, was the son of John Franklin MIDKIFF, Jr., who was a Northern Pacific Railroad station master in Mabton, Yakima Co., Washington. Troy's maternal grandfather, George Rice WESTABY, III, worked for years for the Great Northern Railroad in both Montana and in Washington State. My father-in-law himself worked for the NP railroad as a telegraph boy.

This 1872 plat shows a water tank and wood station at Brooks Road on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad, now the Grenada District of the Canadian National/Illinois Central, only 5 miles south of Main and Calhoun

EVERY ELEVEN MILES By Miriam Robbins Midkiff from her Blog:

On New Year's Day, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi wrote a post entitled "Walksheds in the Hill Country." It's a fascinating look at the past when, in the old days before we became a country of automobile owners, general stores and/or grist mills were situated about three miles apart, so that everyone could live within a comfortable walking distance to and from a place

where they could do their business and trade. At once I was reminded of a conversation I had had with my father-in-law some time back where he was telling me how railroad stations, and particularly manned water towers, were located eleven miles apart. I couldn't remember the details, so I asked to talk to him after my husband called to wish his parents a Happy New Year. What I received what a great little history lesson about days gone by and an enjoyable conversation as well. My father-in-law, Troy

From left to right, Norman (the elder) and Troy Midkiff,with their father, John F. Midkiff, the Northern Pacific Railroad station in Mabton, Washington, c. 1942.

His father would receive the telegraph messages as part of his duties as a station master, and Troy would deliver them. During World War II, the death notices for soldier's

families would always have a black mark on the envelopes, and my father-in-law delivered his share of them. He knew enough to ask for payment before he handed over the envelope, knowing the shock would drive out all other thoughts from the recipient's mind. As you can imagine, often being the bearer of bad news, he was not always the most welcome visitor to people's homes, since for many of them, the only telegrams they ever received were unhappy ones. Troy told me that steam engines needed good clean water for their steam; otherwise, the minerals and impurities in the water would corrode the interior of the engine. Despite what you might see in old western movies, they couldn't just stop and draw water out of a river or creek unless the steam engine was fitted with a specialized filtering system, which was very unusual. A steam engine could go about eleven miles on level land before it would run out of water to produce steam. So railroad stations or manned water towers would be situated about every eleven miles along a railroad route, and even closer on steep grades.

Troy told me how there were stations at Toppenish and Mabton (where he and his parents and siblings lived just 100 yards off of the Yakima Indian Reservation), located 22 miles apart, with a manned water tower at Satus halfway in between. There was another station at Prosser, 11 miles east of Mabton, and then a station at Whitstran, another 11 miles east and somewhat north of Prosser. You can look at online maps of Washington State for Highway 22 and the Old Inland Empire Highway, which follow the Yakima River, to find these locations. Along the Columbia River, on both the Washington and Oregon sides, as one traveled east from Vancouver or Portland, the situation was the same: railroad stations or manned water towers every eleven miles. However, as one approached the Columbia River Gorge, where the railroad tracks had to climb along the steep sides of the river, the stations were situated closer together, since the steam engines used more steam to power their climbs up the steep grades. For example, somewhere west of Biggs Junction, Oregon on the Columbia River, there was a station, possibly near Celilo, where the railroad

traveled southeast along the steep rocky hills along the DeChutes River. From that station to Wasco, the line was less than eleven miles long. Looking at current online maps, it appears that the railroad no longer comes this way, but was probably along what is now either Highway 206 or Interstate 97. I found this bit of history simply fascinating, and it made me stop and think about how travel was for my ancestors who rode trains cross country, either to migrate to a new location or to travel to visit relatives. Those trips sure must have been long when you had to make a stop every eleven miles! It has also made me more interested in researching the background of my husband's and my own ancestors who worked for various railroads around the country. Searching for "northern pacific railroad" maps on Google gave me some fascinating results as well. Thank you, Terry, for the great reminder! Posted by Miriam at 6:35 PM

Hoodlum Update By Tom Parker

Following the publication of the article about the IC's “Hoodlum” in the November 2, 2007, Commercial Appeal and the December, 2007, Buff, I decided to follow the story up with some of my fellow members of the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees. While most were too young to recall, I did manage to find a couple of members that were able to provide some additional information. The first comment I got was “They used to have some whale of a card games on there!” According to retired General Yardmaster Charles Dowdy, the “Hoodlum” made its last run on October 31, 1955. He recalls because it was right after he “hired out” on the railroad. Retired machinist A. J Grandi recalls that before World War II, the “Hoodlum” consisted of a 1000 series 4-6-2 “Pacific” locomotive, a box car equipped with steps at the doorway and benches along the walls for the “passengers” and a caboose. Occasionally an 8000 series 2-8-4 Lima fresh out of the shop following repairs would be road tested on the “Hoodlum” before being released back

into service. The “Hoodlum” ran once an hour between South Yard and Johnston Yard and made stops at Trigg Avenue and Mallory Avenue. Grandi lived in the area around McLemore and Third and would ride his bicycle to South Yard and leave his bike under the McLemore viaduct and catch the “Hoodlum” to Johnston Yard. It was only after WWII that they started using a passenger coach instead of the boxcar, he recalls. The car was an ordinary heavyweight coach painted in typical Pullman green. It was probably only the surplus of passenger equipment after the war that afforded the employees such an upgrade. The GE 44 Ton 9275 replaced the steam engines in 1947 and was used until the “Hoodlum”'s last run in 1955 and it was used for a time as a “mule” at the Johnston Roundhouse shuffling the steam engines around. While no one knows for sure, it's probable the “Hoodlum” started running in the early 1900's, almost assuredly by 1914 when the Johnston Roundhouse was built. Johnston Yard was way out in the country back then and there was little or no public transportation. The average person didn't own an automobile and the railroad's pool of skilled shop employees such as machinists, steamfitters, blacksmiths and boilermakers would have all been located within walking distance of the Memphis Roundhouse at South Yard. Like many other passenger trains, the “Hoodlum” was killed by the automobile. When it was abolished, employees were given an allowance in their paycheck as compensation for driving their cars to work and messengers were provided with company vehicles to handle the company mail.

Railfan Photos from the Keokuk Junction Railway

KJRY FP-9 1752 and 1750 at Wheeler Rd, Mapleton,IL. ALCO RS3-M PREX 102 sits in the clear on RP Lumber Siding, August 31, 2007.. Ed Sanders Photo.

1750 and 1751 on their first revenue run on April 5, 2007. Here they are westbound working the siding one mile east of Cuba IL. Ed Sanders Photo.

Originally incorporated in 1980 as a terminal railroad in Keokuk, IA, partially as a result of the Rock Island bankruptcy, the KJRY has since acquired former ATSF and TPW trackage and now has grown to a short line operator with 147 miles of track in Central Illinois. The KJRY was purchased by the Pioneer Railcorp in 1996. Pioneer Railcorp operates 16 shortline railroads, among them the Pioneer Scenic Railway at Gettysburg, PA

KJRY'S FP-9A's on April 5, 2007, making the first trip made west with a train on the KJRY, crossing the Spoon River bridge at Seville, IL. Ed Sanders photo

and the Mississippi Central Railroad at Holly Spring, MS. Contributor Ed Sanders took these pictures of the KJRY's two FP-9A's last year. Ed reports that the Keokuk Junction has an additional F9A and a F-9B in the shop still being refurbished and repainted. Hopefully they will see service this spring. The locomotives are being repainted as “Peoria Western� units rather than

KJRY because Pioneer is planning to rename the railroad Peoria Western to better reflect the scope of its operations. No.* Type

Serial Blt.

Wouldn't it be neat if they added this type of power to the Mississippi Central? Tom Parker

Orig No. Subsequent Nos.

1750 FP-9A A632 1954 CN 6500 VIA 6500, AC 1750 1752 FP-9A A641 1955 CN 6511 VIA 6511, AC 1752 1754 F-9A

A1197 1957 CN 6525 VIA 6525, AC 1754

1761 F-9B

A623 1954 CN 6606 VIA 6606, AC 1761


RS-3M 80243 1953 CNJ 1549 CR 5239, CR 9931

*Reporting marks are Iffy, Might be PREX, PIRY, KJRY, PWRC


Mamouth Cave locomotive #4, originally built for the East End Railroad

While researching the Lakeview trolley I kept coming across “dummy” trolley lines, particularly the “East End Dummy Line”. As it turns out, a “dummy” is a steam engine with a car body constructed around the boiler, making it look somewhat like a regular trolley car. Additionally, dummy locomotives were equipped with a steam condenser which captured the steam as it exited the cylinders and eliminated the usual hissing noises and clouds of steam. Introduced at a time when horses and mules were the main means of transportation, it was thought that a quieter

locomotive hidden inside a car body was less likely to upset passing wagons, carriages and other horse-

drawn vehicles. The East End Street Railroad Company was incorporated in 1887 and operated between downtown Memphis to Montgomery Park which is now the location of the Midsouth Fairgrounds. Their tracks ran down Madison Avenue to Cooper Street, then east on Young Avenue to Montgomery Park. The railroad also opened their own park, East End Park, at the intersection of Tucker and Madison, near the present day Overton Square. The East End Railroad became part of the Memphis Street Railway Company in 1895. Mammoth Cave RR Number 4 was built by Baldwin

Early Riders on the Mammoth Cave Railroad

Locomotive Works for the Memphis East End Railroad. It was later sold to the Mammoth Cave Railroad and operated between the L&N Station at Cave City, KY to the hotel in Mammoth Cave National Park. It operated until 1929 when it was replaced by a “rail-bus�, a conventional bus equipped with flanged wheels. The locomotive and a combination coach-baggage car are now on display in an open sided shelter near the hotel. There were only about a thousand dummy locomotives ever built and only about five are known to still exist This locomotive is the most complete remaining example. A second Memphis dummy line was the Prospect Park and Belt Railroad Company. It was chartered October 24,

1887, and operated a line on Hernando Road between Beale Street and Nonconnah Creek. It was purchased by the City and Suburban Railway company in 1890 and electrified at that time. Like the East End Railroad, the City and Suburban Railway became part of the Memphis Street Railway in 1895. Dummy locomotives were used during the transition between horse drawn street cars and electric trolleys. They were an improvement over horse power but were exremely hard on the rails, particularly on lines with frequent stops. They were beter suited for suburban or interburban routes which covered longer distances with fewer stops. After a short period they were replaced by electric trolleys. Tom Parker

Resources on the Internet There are many resources available on the internet that are are of interest to railfans and rail historians. Bill Strong pointed out a General Electric railfan site at /en/railfans.html. While not an official Electromotive Division web site, the Unofficial EMD Webpage at oco is useful in determining the heritage of EMD locomotives, especially if you have the order number, frame (serial) number or know the original owner. For local research, the Shelby County Register's web site at is a great help. I used this site extensively to research the Lakeview Trolley. In the Archives section can be found the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers. Alterna TIFF software is required to view these pages and can be downloaded from the website.

Many times I will include links to websites in Buff articles. For example, more information on dummy engines can be found at: /articles/magazine/it/1998/4/ 1998_4_34.shtml . Tom Parker Undated photo of a Prospect Park and Belt Railroad dummy


Originally IC 9506, Built by Darby in 1968, CC 199506 is captured here on the rear end of an outbound Chicago Central train at Olympia Fields. IL, just south of Markham Yard on November 21, 1997. I don't know who Elizabeth is. Tom Parker photo. Meeting Schedule March 10, 2008 April 14, 2008 May 12, 2008 June 9, 2008 July 14, 2008 Meetings are the 2nd Monday of each month in the White Station Branch Library from 7-9 pm. 5094 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN (in front of Clark Tower)

Contact the Editor Tom Parker 3012 Wood Thrush Drive Memphis, TN 38134

THE MEMPHIS BUFF welcomes contributions for publication. Copyrighted materials must contain the source. Original documents and photos are preferred for clarity. Enclose a SASE for the return of your materials. Articles sent via the Internet should be in Microsoft Word format. Photos should be JPEG files @ 72 dpi and at least 800x600 size. Consideration for a cover photo would require a much higher resolution. THE MEMPHIS BUFF is a not-for-profit publication for the Memphis Chapter of the NRHS. All credited photos herein are copyright by the photographer and may not be reused without permission.

March 2008 Memphis Buff  

Hoodlum Update Hoodlum Update Every Eleven Miles Every Eleven Miles Railfan Photos – Keokuk Junction Rwy. Railfan Photos – Keokuk Junction R...