Just wondering.....

Discussion relating to the PRSL

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

Steam man
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 6:35 pm
Location: South Jersey

Just wondering.....

Post by Steam man »

...Any other former Seashore Lines employees in here? Or any other railroad people, or more specficly any other block operators?
Last edited by Steam man on Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
W.L Avis
Steam professional since 1974
Former Block Operator- PRSL

louisfols
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:34 pm

Just wondering......

Post by louisfols »

I have a cousin that I think was a brakeman in the 60's named Dean Hillman if anyone knew him. He than when on to be a Camden fireman.
Lou

DougD
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:01 pm

Post by DougD »

My Father Dan DiGiovacchino (1950 to 1989) and My Brother Danny (1974-1992) worked on the PRSL/Conrail. Both were Freight Brakemen/Conductors.

DougD

PRSLTrainman
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed May 19, 2004 10:46 pm

Post by PRSLTrainman »

Me. Worked as a brakeman during the summers of 69,70,71, & 72. Came back full time in June 73 through 76. Was furloughed in the spring of 75, stayed on furlough for the entire last year, never hearing a word from the railroad. In 76, on the first day of Conrail, I was woken up out of a sound sleep at 7:00am, and told to run in for a physical, I was assigned to a spot on the roster in Cleveland Ohio starting the next day. I promptly resigned, hung up the phone, and went back to sleep.

To this day I have never missed the winter ice and cold, the risk (grade crossings or on the ground), or having the extra list rule your life. However, I still treasure the comaraderie with the guys I worked with (by far the largest and funniest group of "characters" I've ever associated with) and the experience for then a young guy out of high school that has paid dividends my whole life. (When you start out in train service as a kid who just a week before was in high school, you better grow up pretty fast.)

I still regularly wish that I could have the opportunity to go out runnin' again for just a couple trips. There's nothing like being on the point of about 100 cars of Beesley's Point coal, roaring your way from Oaklyn to Clementon. Or, flying back up the Cape May branch from Tuckahoe with a light engine and a hack, way over track speed, slowing down only slightly coming around the curve at Clementon Lake so you don't out run the crosing gates at Erial Rd.

Lou "Yock"

Steam man
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 6:35 pm
Location: South Jersey

Post by Steam man »

PRSL Traiman
You right about the characters (some good,some bad) and having to grow up in a hurry. You're straight out of high school and have never really be exposedto the real world of railroading. A few weeks later, you're in charge of the very serious job of moving trains over the railroad. And I also agree with you, Once a railroad man, always a railroad man. The experiances and responsibities you have change the way you look at at lot of things. I hired on as an extra operator for the summer and wound up staying full time until just before Conrail came in. I still to this day when around an any kind of railroad facility, won't ever step on the head of a rail--Safety First!!
W.L Avis
Steam professional since 1974
Former Block Operator- PRSL

David
Posts: 683
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:28 pm
Location: Naples, Florida

Post by David »

Lou "Yock"-- Did you know Lee Ek? Lee was a great friend of mine. Learned a lot about the PRSL from him.
David-Moderator: New Jersey Railfan, L&HR, NYO&W and L&NE, Forums

PRSLTrainman
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed May 19, 2004 10:46 pm

Post by PRSLTrainman »

David,

Sure did. Worked with him many times. A good man and a smart railroader.

JimBoylan
Posts: 3355
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Post by JimBoylan »

Unusual, but not very exciting for the rest of you. I had an office job (Car Distributor) with The Shore Fast Line when it restarted in 1982. We ran over the former P-RSL.

Don Lee

Post by Don Lee »

I was a PRSL block operator from '66 thru '69. Was qualified at all locations, except Canal. Brown was my favorite location, always some kind of activity, especially when the Reading still interchanged at Bulson St. Spent more time at Tuckahoe than anywhere else. There was a lot of dead time between the freights and waiting for the lines, but it was still a neat place with old time atmosphere.

I'm still railroading, 40 years later with 2 more to go.

TR-00

Post by TR-00 »

Started in '67 as a grunt on the track gang under old man Rodio. Walked the ties (especially along the Salem Branch) until laid off in '69. Learned a lot about railroading and even more about snakes, mosquitoes and green head flies.

Steam man
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 6:35 pm
Location: South Jersey

Post by Steam man »

Don Lee wrote: " Brown was my favorite location, always some kind of activity, especially when the Reading still interchanged at Bulson St."

"Tuckahoe....There was a lot of dead time between the freights and waiting for the lines, but it was still a neat place with old time atmosphere."
Don,
You're right about working Brown, it was my favorite also. The second trick was probably the busiest operators job on the railroad. The Reading trains didn't go into Bulson St. when I was there, they would setout the train on No.1 track just south of Morgan Blvd. then run around and pickup thier cabin car and head out. There were times when I wish I had No.1 track for train movements,but we couldn't use it because of some kind of arrangment that when the Seashore Lines train ran No.1 ,there was a penalty or extra pay (not sure which) involved.

Tuckahoe was a real railroad place to work ,with the Armstrong machine and the 'special smell" of an old railroad structure. And it was a wait then hurry up place,especially when the lines would arrive,then split the train, do the reverse move then you'd throw the switch and pull off the signals in a fairly quick manner. And the whole tower would shake when you were changing routes with the switches.

Wnslow was interesting in it's own way too. It was one of the few interlocking stations where trains passed you at track speed,such as the AC lines making 70 mph.

I also worked Berlin Block Station where you had to go outside and throw the switches for the local drill. And I was the last operator that worked Glassboro Interlocking Station the day it closed. It was another interseting old railroad place with it's wooden cabinet machine.
W.L Avis
Steam professional since 1974
Former Block Operator- PRSL

Don Lee

Post by Don Lee »

W.L.,
I don't remember any restrictions on No. 1 at Brown. A lot of times Beesley's Point traffic was set off or picked up there. When all of the freights had to work Bulson St., No. 1 was only useful for the northbound lines. When Bulson St. got plugged, a yard job would drag a southbound pickup out onto No. 2 south of Morgan Blvd. Many days WY 33 would get his pickup there.

When Pavonia was being rebuilt to accomodate the shift from Camden Yard, Brown became the primary hold out location. It was always a challenge to see how many trains you could hold and still remain fluid. One afternoon, I had 7 trains waiting to get in. One on each track, south of Morgan, one in the pocket on the middle, one on the hill at Mill and two on the Clementon Branch. I could give Pavonia six of the seven in any order that they wanted.

I worked Tuckahoe more than any other location on the PRSL. I think the secret ingredient to Tuckahoe was Stanley Reed, the signal maintainer. He kept the rods well lubricated and always in adjustment. Even with that, you still had to drop your butt to get the dead track over. One night a bolt of lightning came in the window on the north end of the tower, went behind the machine, and ended up in the patch panel over the operators desk. Sparks flew everywhere and knocked out everything but the city phone. Reedie spent most of the night trying to fix the damage.

I only caught Winslow a few times. In '66, I was assigned to the Ocean City operator-clerk relief job. It worked OC, 1st on Mon-Tue, 2nd on Wed-Thu and Fri at Winslow on 3rd. The only train you saw was the deadhead equipment back to Phila from the Fri only Cape May line. The deadhead passed about 30 minutes into the shift and then nothing else until about 3 am when you copied a train order for 296 at Williamstown Jct. I caught a weeks hold down another time on 2nd. At that time, all of the freights turned at Winslow and exchanged cars with each other, 294 from Atlantic, 390 from Cape May, 91 from the Clementon Branch and 289 from the C&A. It was kinda cramped trying to find room to make all of the swaps. The PRSL finally figured out that four trains converging on one location didn't work very well. This only lasted a few weeks before things went back to the way they were.

Berlin was only open when they were single tracking the C&A between Kirk and Winslow. I think I was gone by that time. I remember visiting Charlie Crelier a couple times when he worked there.

By the way, I have a slide of your father handing up some waybills at Williamstown Jct. I was riding a Beesley's Point Extra right after the new Geep's arrived and he needed to have the bills delivered to Bulson St.
The technical term for the ride was a "qualifying trip." The real reason for the ride was to check out the new engines.
Don Lee

mitch kennedy
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Lewiston Maine

Post by mitch kennedy »

Hi and Merry Christmas from Maine! I didn't know what thread to put this under, but after speaking this afternoon to a friend of mine in Jersey, I learned that Bob Koenig (engineer) passed away a few years back after a long sad bout with Alzheimers. He was the person who gave me my first ride (Magnolia, CA-299, in the 6004!), and along with Chet "the Jet" Gildea and Lee Wnuk, as well as everyone on CM90/91 in the late 70's, gave me a lot of knowledge about the going ons of a railroad, stuff I use even now, with EDI, computer-aided dispatching and the general woes of deregulation. I understand Elmer Devenney is still working in the towers in Pennsylvania tho he may be retired and (first name may be wrong) Bob Daniels is a regular on NJT's AC run (with a friend of mine as a conductor who I posted with at Arsenal and Zoo 30 years ago). Anyway.... hope to meet some of you PRSL guys some day when I visit Jersey/...Oh-and Al Eldridge is STILL volunteering at the Pa State Ry Museum at Strasburg, going strong at 80+!!! And yes, I remember Charlie Laird coming down from Pine Valley to Clementon at 55+ hoping the gate were working at Erial road!

Return to “Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines”