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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ralph Waldo Strickland, April 18, 1980. Interview H-0180. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Operation of the Seaboard Line in the 1930s and 1940s.

Strickland explains how the Seaboard Line operated during the 1930s and 1940s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ralph Waldo Strickland, April 18, 1980. Interview H-0180. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

They had nine switch engines on the Charlotte yard at twenty-four hour periods at that time. Those crews, there were three men to the ground crew. They had a conductor and two switchmen, then they had an engineer and fireman. In 1927 when I come here, they had that sixty pound rail. That's that small tee, real small, light rail. The next year, 1928, they had those ten hundred's. That was four drivers, coal tender and water tender was slant and tight. It was just a little, bitty old steam machine was all they had. That next year, 1928, they took that sixty pound rail up, and put the ninety pound rail in, the fall of 1928. Then they sent them eleven hundred's over there. That was a larger, heavier seams in it. Had that butterfuly fire door, and reverse lever and the valve gear on the side and all that stuff. Pulled many more more cars than those little old steam engines. When I first come on, they had them ten hundred's, and they couldn't pull but twelve, fifteen cars.
LU ANN JONES:
What does a conductor do exactly?
RALPH W. STRICKLAND:
He goes along and instructs his switchmen. He does the work and—switchman helpers, they call them—they help the conductor, watch him. Whenever he calls the move, they go ahead and make it. You walk around with a yard conductor. He classifies trains and sets those trains up in station order.
LU ANN JONES:
What does that mean?
RALPH W. STRICKLAND:
In station order, from Charlotte, you go over here to Mount Olive. That is, they set the cars up classified in station order. Whenever they cut off from the main line, come over here on the freight house, they wouldn't have to hold but maybe one or two cars. Next to the engine, they'd always be in station order. They'd have a solid load and want to set off up there. They wouldn't have to get way back in the train. Always that car would be up there next to the engine. That was what they called station order, they classified in station order. That's how they done that. They had six passenger trains in and out of Charlotte in a twenty-four hour period. They had pullman service from when I first come in 1927, 1928, 1929, all along in there, they had pullman service between here and Wilmington. Over at Charlotte, this is a Monroe subdivision. It's a subdivision from Monroe to
LU ANN JONES:
To where?
RALPH W. STRICKLAND:
They connect with the CC&O Railroad up here at Boxtick yard. That's where all that coal come from West Virginia, all them coal mines. That CC&O Railroad brings it down up here to what they call Bostick yard. The Seaboard connected where we had a joint yard up there. We'd go up there and get that coal and bring it down here.