NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/29/24 4:02 p.m.

The other remaining C39-8: Norfolk Southern C39-8E #8688. You can see the flat-topped cab, which is also taller and the same height as the air filter and dynamic brake enclosure, making it visually less gawky. While the C39-8E was rarer than a regular C39-8, they look the same as pretty much any later Dash-8 product, and so are visually less distinct. The #8688 is, from what I understand, not operational and is solely used as a rolling fuel tender for emissions testing rebuilt prime movers.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/29/24 4:06 p.m.

Penn Northeastern's other C39-8, the #8211, which was also ex-Conrail but had been repainted into NS colors, and then was patched out by the PN. It was removed from service between 2018 and 2019 and parted out to keep the #8212 running.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/29/24 4:13 p.m.

While the big GEs were unique, at least the SD40-2Ws that they still use are really sharp, with this outrageous D&RGW-esque livery.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog Dork
5/29/24 5:03 p.m.

Nick might know.  wink

Why does our little Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad only have "HLCX" painted on their engines?

The section of track through my hometown is so poor they only travel about 15 mph.  I'm sure their money comes from the the mainline they own across North Florida.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 8:48 a.m.

In reply to Purple Frog :

HLCX is a leasing company, Helm Financial, so those are lease units that they're using. There's quite a few shortlines that don't any of their own motive power, they just lease it, seems to be pretty common in New England.

Reporting marks ending with X means that it's either a leasing company or a private owner. You'll see tank cars with GATX, and that's General American Transportation Company, and in more recent years they've gotten into locomotive leasing as well. Some others off the top of my head are:

  • LTEX - Larry's Truck & Electric, a scrapper, dismantler and leaser out of Ohio.
  • MPIX - Motive Power International, which was Morrison-Knudsen/MKRail's leasing division.
  • BDLX - Big Dog Leasing, the leasing part of RMDI, which was a dismantler/rebuilder out of Pittston.
  • PLMX - Preferred Leasing Management, a pretty short-lived one that had a handful of SD40s, they were nicknamed Plums, because of PLM,.
  • PNCX - Precision National Corp, based out of Mt. Vernon, IL, they ran from '71 until bankruptcy and liquidation in '97.
  • VLIX - Vintage Locomotives Inc., a really weird one that's basically one guy who has a bunch of classic diesels scattered everywhere that he'll sell or lease.
  • NREX - National Rail Equipment, who's a big leaser, rebuilder, dismantler and now manufacturer of "green power". They had the ex-Rock Island Silvis facility that they sold off.\
  • EMDX - That was EMD's reporting mark for leasing locomotives or demonstrator units.
  • GECX - This was GE's reporting mark for lease units or demonstrators.

Then you can have private owners or historical groups that have reporting marks of their own. Like, Adirondack Railroad equipment uses ADIX as their reporting mark, but it's owned by Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, who owns the equipment and operates the trains. It has to do with the state and Genesee Valley Transportation owning their rails, and ARPS just operating over them. WEBX is Webb Rail, who owns a bunch of private railcars and a couple of New Haven FL9s, which is used for charters.

Really funny is that when CSX was formed, they had to use the reporting mark of CSXT, with the T for Transportation, because just using CSX would have caused conflict with the reporting mark system.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 9:35 a.m.

The X at the end of a reporting mark was supposedly key evidence in Dave Brucker's tales about how the baggage car under New York City was part of FDR's secret train. Which, of course, turned out to be a complete load of BS.

The myth, if anyone isn't familiar, was that there was a car stored on a siding, Track 61, under New York City that was constructed specifically for FDR's usage and had been abandoned there since the '40s. FDR and his entourage supposedly could drive his car into the garage of the Waldorf-Astoria, descend into a freight elevator, and then load the car aboard the train to hide his paralysis. This story was told by Dave Brucker, who was a Metro North employee who was giving unsanctioned tours after hours to people. He had this whole tale about how the car was armored, had gun ports along the roof, and had an extra-wide door on the side so that FDR's car could be loaded aboard whenever he visited New York City, and he said that the MNCX reporting mark indicated it was not Metro North's car, and that "X mean it was in government or military service".

The whole thing was completely wrong and a total fabrication by Brucker, who was later fired over his little tours. Turns out Metro North didn't like him taking people into restricted areas after hours, go figure. Going through the bullet points of his story:

  • The car hadn't been abandoned there since the '40s. It was used by New York Central and Penn Central and had become a tool car later in life to help with derailments and MoW.
  • It was not armored. It was just a regular Pullman Standard steel baggage car.
  • Those were not gun ports on the roof. They were just the regular clerestory roof of cars of that era.
  • It didn't have an extra-wide door, it was a regular baggage car door and although a car could technically have been put onboard, it would have taken most of FDR's presidency trying to jockey it in there. There were cars in that era designed for hauling automobiles and they did have extra-large doors, but this wasn't one of them
  • MNCX didn't mean it was in government service. When Metro North inherited the car in '82, they mistakenly put MNCX on there as the reporting mark, when they needed to put MNCW on it to denote it as part of their MoW fleet. Since it didn't move over the system at all, it was just never corrected. Before that, MNCX was first used as a reporting mark in July of '57 for the company Maintenance, Inc. and then stricken from the list in '62, then reinstated for Minnesota Corn Processors in '85, all well after FDR's death.
  • Most of the time that FDR came to New York from Washington, he didn't even use Grand Central Terminal. Getting to GCT from D.C. would have been a jerry-rigged back and forth maneuver and he instead used Penn Station. The only time he would have used GCT was when coming from his home in Hyde Park and it's said that most of the time he would have driven from Hyde Park.
  • Track 61, where it was supposedly stored actually predates the hotel and Roosevelt’s presidency by decades. And in fact, until it was moved, the baggage car was sitting on Track 63, not 61 because the rails of Track 61 had been replaced by concrete slabs to support new emergency generators. It is true that an elevator and stairway connect the Track 61 platform with the hotel but the elevator is believed to have been built during the construction of the Waldorf-Astoria and not "designed specifically for the size and weight of the Pierce-Arrow limousine,” as Brucker. Track 61 and 63 were originally built to serve a steam powerhouse that once existed on 49th Street that served Grand Central and other buildings.
  • FDR did have his own personal railcar, but it wasn't an NYC car or a baggage car. It was B&O coach Ferdinand Magellan.

It is worth pointing out that Track 61 does have some actual Presidential history beyond Roosevelt: it was reportedly used as an “escape option” by the Secret Service for President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in 2003 while in meetings for the U.N. General Assembly.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 1:08 p.m.

The real big iconic lease fleet in the '80s were the Oakway SD60s. As part of a weird financial game, in 1986 EMD built 100 SD60s and then sold them to Oakway Inc., a subsidiary of Connell Leasing, and then EMD leased them back from Oakway after which EMD gave them to BN to use, and billed BN for their use based on the kilowatt-hours generated by the locomotive. They were the first real "power by the hour" lease contract, and a way to get around shop maintenance unions.

Most locomotive leases are made on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and payment is regardless of whether the unit is moving freight, idling at a servicing facility or sitting cold in the yard. The Oakways, on the other hand, were lent to Burlington Northern on a kilowatt-hour basis. That meant that BN paid for only the time the locomotive is in operation or service, with it costing the carrier more to operate the locomotive at Run 8 than when it was idling between runs.

Probably the most interesting thing about the Oakways was the maintenance and repair of the units. Rather than the locomotive lessor being responsible for service, the Oakways were owned outright by EMD and so were to be maintained at an off-site location by EMD personnel. Initially, the work was done at a Colorado & Wyoming shop at Trinidad, CO, but BN's craft unions screamed bloody murder over this, so the work was moved to a facility adjacent to BN's shop at Murray Yard in North Kansas City, where the work was done by several craft unions under BN and EMD supervision, and then eventually, the work was moved to BN's Alliance, NE, locomotive maintenance facility.

The eventual labor settlement wiped out one of the advantages of the Oakway SD60s, and meant there wasn't any replication of the Oakway song-and-dance, but they were still nice shiny new horsepower at a time when Burlington Northern was still saddled with a ton of old worn-out SD40s and U30Cs and U33Cs. They leased them for over 20 years which is very unusual and even in the 2000s, the Oakway SD60s, despite their age, were often used as head locomotives in a train. Very often you would see brand new locomotives behind the aging SD60s. Engineers loved running them and they were fairly strong and very reliable. Even after 25 years, when the first 50 were returned to EMD by BNSF, the paint still looked very good even though they had never been painted. And the whole fleet remained nearly intact until the end, which was a real rarity. The first 50 were sent back by BN in 2011, with the remaining 50 going back in 2017, and they've since been scattered to the winds. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 2:48 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 2:49 p.m.

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic SuperDork
5/30/24 2:58 p.m.
NickD said:

Penn Northeastern's other C39-8, the #8211, which was also ex-Conrail but had been repainted into NS colors, and then was patched out by the PN. It was removed from service between 2018 and 2019 and parted out to keep the #8212 running.

Another let's just put the tracks down the middle of the street. Who has the right of way, the train or the school bus? smiley

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 3:51 p.m.
VolvoHeretic said:
NickD said:

Penn Northeastern's other C39-8, the #8211, which was also ex-Conrail but had been repainted into NS colors, and then was patched out by the PN. It was removed from service between 2018 and 2019 and parted out to keep the #8212 running.

Another let's just put the tracks down the middle of the street. Who has the right of way, the train or the school bus? smiley

Train always has the right of way. Even when it doesn't, it does.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/30/24 3:52 p.m.

Oakway Leasing EMD SD60 #9000 leads two sisters and a Burlington Northern GE C30-7 on a northbound BN coal empty at Palmer Lake on Colorado’s Joint Line on July 13, 1987.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 7:55 a.m.
NickD said:

Canadian Pacific has announced that they will be running a public excursion June 29 on the Iowa Interstate Railroad, making a round trip on the IAIS main line between RRHMA’s Silvis Shop facility and Bureau Junction, Illinois. This will be the only public trip being operated during #2816’s current North American tour and #2816’s first public excursion in over a decade, and its hopefully a sign that the #2816 isn't just going to get shoved back in the shop once the Final Spike Tour is done. They'll be running over the former Rock Island main line and it will feature a mix of streamlined ex-Union Pacific air conditioned coaches from the RRHMA fleet and open-window heavyweight former Pennsylvania Railroad P-70 coaches owned by Iowa Interstate. Fares are $149 for adults and $89 for children in the streamlined cars, and $129 for adults and $79 for children in the open window cars.

Well, spoke too soon. And so did CPKC. Yesterday they announced that they are canceling this public excursion, and instead, the locomotive will be brought to Silvis for static display. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 10:09 a.m.

So, I had been considering heading up to New England on the weekend of August 17th and 18th, because Mass Coastal/Cape Cod Central had announced that the 18th would be their Railfan Day, with trips behind their ex-NH EMD FL9s, in McGinnis Paint, and access to their Hyannis shop facilities for photos. So my rough plan was to head east Friday and visit Railroad Museum of New England/Naugatuck Railroad on Friday, then head to Essex and check out the Valley Railroad on Saturday, and then continue east to Hyannis for the Mass Coastal/Cape Cod Central's Railfan Day on Friday. I was just thinking "Well, I should probably get hotel reservations sometime soon."

Then last night, Trains Magazine announced that on September 28th and 29th, they would be holding, in conjunction with Vermont Railway, a Railfan Weekend special on the Vermont Railway to celebrate Vermont Railway's 60th anniversary. As part of the ticket, you get a Rutland-Bellows Falls round trip on September 28th, which is the original Green Mountain Railway route, and then a Rutland-Burlington round trip on September 29th, with photo stops at selected scenic locations and a box lunch served on board both days. All trains will be pulled by Green Mountain Railway Alco RS-1 #405 with three coaches in matching paint.

Well, Rutland is a lot closer than Hyannis, and that's some rare mileage. Most of their occasional passenger trains only run Burlington south to Charlotte or Vergennes, about halfway on the old Rutland Railway mainline between Burlington and Rutland. Also, the #405 is a really neat and historically important machine, since it's spent it's entire 72 year lifespan plying the same exact rails. It was purchased by the Rutland Railway in 1951, then conveyed to the original Green Mountain Railway in 1964 when they took over the Rutland-Bellows Falls segment of the Rutland after the Rutland's liquidation. It worked that line, alongside Nelson Blount's Steamtown USA steam locomotives, and then became part of Vermont Rail System, later renamed Vermont Railway, in 1997, when VRS, which owned the Burlington-Rutland mainline, took over the Green Mountain. It's remained in Green Mountain Railway's Rutland-inspired livery ever since then, with Vermont Railway operating their excursions under the Green Mountain name. On days where the traffic is light or other power is down for maintenance, Vermont Railway is even known to use the old 1000hp Alco in revenue freight service.

So, I bought my ticket, and I'm planning to go to Rutland in late September, instead of Cape Cod in August. It also helps out, since the Cape Cod Central Railfan Day had a conflict with my autocross schedule and I was going to have to miss an event, where as the Vermont Railway charter avoids any conflict. Part of me also feels that I should go on this trip because Trains Magazine, and all of Kalmbach Media, was just sold to a new owner and who knows if the new owner will continue offering special events and charters like this.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 10:16 a.m.

Sadly, being late September instead of mid- to late-October means that likely the leaves won't be in full color, but it should still be a very nice trip. I've read that that was one of the issues with moving Steamtown USA from Bellows Falls, VT to Scranton, PA; the scenery in from Bellows Falls to Rutland was very good, while the scenery in Scranton varied from poor to mundane. Pennsylvania is very beautiful at parts, but the old DL&W line to the Delaware Water Gap goes through the rough end of Scranton (as if there is any other part of Scranton *zing*) and passes through a massive junkyard. Certainly not on par with the old farms and covered bridges of the ex-Rutland line.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 10:19 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 10:30 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 10:32 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 12:47 p.m.

Crossing the causeway over a marshy offshoot of the Connecticut River, just outside of the yard at Bellows Falls. The Rutland loved building these causeways and had a series of them, and some huge trestles, as they island-hopped their way across the north end of Lake Champlain. Also, as shown, despite being a 73 year old museum piece, and the only Alco left on the Vermont Railway roster, the #405 does get out for some revenue freight work on occasion.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/24 3:10 p.m.

I just noticed that the Trains ad says "The diesel locomotive will be lettered Green Mountain for that day!" Well, it's always lettered Green Mountain, so I have to wonder if they meant that it will be lettered in it's original Rutland lettering, which would be really cool.

It also says "A bonus surprise is planned for attendees at the end of the event." No clue what that might be.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/1/24 10:01 a.m.

I did see where the 470 Railroad Club has announced their annual fall special on the Conway Scenic Railroad, which 02Pilot and I rode two years back. I'd like to go again, now that I have an actual camera, because the scenery and those B&M F7As are absolutely gorgeous. I am a little on the fence though, because the time we rode, the whole trip was, erm, a bit haphazardly run. I remember paying $20 extra to ride in the dining car, which was to include a meal, then being told by the staff that not enough volunteers showed up to run the kitchen, so hot meals wouldn't be available, and then watching as plates of hot meals sporadically exited the kitchen and went to random tables (not mine), and then not being reimbursed the extra money I paid.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/1/24 10:09 a.m.

The flyer for the trip, if anyone is interested in going. It doesn't say motive power, which on one hand could just be covering their ass in case one of the F7As develops mechanical issues and they have to sub it out. But, on the other hand, they're getting close to having their ex-B&M GP9 ready and running, so maybe the hope is to get that finished and painted and then use their B&M GP9 with Conway Scenic's Maine Central GP9 #573 (B&M, Maine Central, and Portland Terminal all shared common ownership)

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/3/24 10:51 a.m.
NickD said:

Honestly, seems like dark times over at the LA&L family. Alcos being phased out, sections of the WNY&P being idled after no traffic in a year's time, pretty much everything in Oil City is drying up and blowing away, and scrapping is in full effect. Almost everything on the Ontario Midland was scrapped; locos (except for the two, #361 and #408, that went to SNEX and are now on the Batten Kill), plow, flanger, side dump, boxcars, MoW equipment, whatever else they had. So far the MLW/Alcos which have been cut up seem to have had either major frame or mechanical issues, or they are lower HP switchers which are too small for freight trains and were exchanged for credits, as part of the Tier 4 locomotive program. The rumor mill also says that the big GE AC6000CWs are for sale, if they haven't been sold already.

Well, the rumor mill was correct on the AC6000CWs being eliminated. Mark Klingel caught four of the eight AC6000CWs being moved over the WNY&P's tracks from the headquarters at Olean, PA to Meadville, PA for eventual pickup by NS. Symbol OL-1 brought them from Olean to Falconer, and then symbol ME-1 brought them from Falconer to Meadville.  The four units that were transported for interchange and shipment via NS were Bath & Hammondsport #6006 and WNY&P #6000, #6003, and #6007. The #6006 wears lettering and decals for another LA&L subsidiary company: Bath & Hammondsport, while the #6007 still wears its former CSX YN2 colors among its WNYP patches. From what I understand, the #6007 never ran for the WNY&P and was strictly a parts donor, while the other three ran at various times but have been parked. The word is that they're going back to Wabtec to either be parted out or used for some sort of rebuild program, and that the other four operational units will be joining them in the near future.

Certainly an odd site to see big "new" GEs being lead to retirement by old Alcos. The AC6000CWs were pretty short-lived, only arriving in 2019 and having had half of them retired the past couple years, and now being phased out. I don't think that that's any comment on the reliability of the GEs or anything like that, it's simply that the big frack sand business that was interchanged from the Buffalo & Pittsburgh at Salamanca and then hauled down to Port Allegany, Emporium, and Turtle Point ended up folding up. Used to be that the Driftwood Job was the big moneymaker and WNY&P was beating the daylights out of the 6-axle MLWs hauling trains over Keating Summit, so they got the big GEs to handle it, only for that business to come to a screeching halt.

I hate to be Mr. Doom-and-Gloom, but, honestly, the future of the WNY&P looks pretty grim. They've got a lot of trackage that they've idled for complete lack of customers. The big shutdown of the 70 miles of line from Jamestown, NY to Saegertown, PA made the news earlier this spring, with them idling that line due to a lack of on-line customers. That line, while connecting the Meadville-Oil City segment with the rest of the line, had only generated 3 carloads of traffic in the past 3 years and WNY&P figured it was just cheaper and easier to have connecting railroads move traffic from Falconer to Meadville for them. But even before that operations on the eastern end of the line now appear to be only Olean-Port Allegany, and that's just a handful of cars most of the time, with the line to Machias Junction mothballed some time back, the line to Hornell only operated for very sporadic storage moves for Acela passenger sets out of the Alstom plant, and the only customers left for the Olean operation are the Farmers Valley wax plant, the one remaining glass plant at Port Allegany, Monofrax and Bush Industries in Falconer. They also trimmed down the Meadville-Oil City line a year or so ago, with the closing of the south side industrial park across the famous ex-PRR wye bridge. I took the route map and highlighted the dormant segments and it really shows how little of the system is actually being utilized. That's a lot of track to be paying taxes on that is generating little to no income.

According to one source, it sounds like further retrenching of the WNY&P is expected. The Driftwood run will end with what traffic remains being handled by B&P and interchanged in Salamanca. The Meadville-Falconer run will also end, with the traffic going out of Meadville via NS, however the Olean-to-Falconer run will still operate. That leaves...not a whole lot. That same source also said that the remaining Alcos will be replaced in time with GP15-1s.

It's really always kind of been the story of the west end of the Erie: not enough local traffic. Even in 1870, when that line was built, it missed all the major settlements and had little on-line traffic. Erie, and then Erie-Lackawanna, just used it as a high-speed through route and never really developed the line, and then neither Conrail nor NS could really make it work either, not helped by both of them having access to better paralleling mainlines from NYC and PRR. Trying to make it into it's own standalone line was kind of a folly. As one person put it "Sad but somewhat inevitable given the road was seemingly on life support for a long time. My visits always left me with the impression of a road that existed more for the delight of foamers than actual economic reasons. But boy was it a show!"

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/3/24 2:02 p.m.

Supposedly the current roster of the whole LA&L family is;

Ontario Midland: RS-18u #417, M420W #3560
B&H: C424m #422, C424m# 423, C424m #424  
LA&L: Rs-18u #416, C420 #420, C425# 425, C425# 428 (Out Of Service and being parted out for scrap), C430 #433
WNYP Olean: #426, C430 #430, C430 #431 (Out Of Service), C430# 432, NYLE M636 #636 (in shop)
WNYP Meadville: C424 #421 (Out Of Service, maybe?), C425 #427, C424 #435

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/3/24 3:57 p.m.

I saw last winter where the New York & Lake Erie ended up with M636 #636, well, it's wearing their reporting marks at least, and was wondering what that was all about. When I was down for the R&N RDC trip two months ago, I got talking with Pete Swanson, who lives out in that area, about the drawdown at WNY&P and LA&L, and I mentioned NY&LE getting an M636. And I said "What's with that? There's no freight service, the terrain is pretty flat, and they only use three coaches on their excursion. Do they need an M636? Especially when they have a bunch of other stuff that's out of service."

His reponse was, more or less, no, there is no freight service on NY&LE, there hasn't been in a long time and likely never will. The owner of the NY&LE has kept trying to get the state and Cattaraugus County to cough up money to restore the line south of Dayton to Waterboro so that he can run passenger service from Buffalo south to Jamestown on the Buffalo Southern (Buffalo to Gowanda), NY&LE (Gowanda to Waterboro), and WNY&P (Waterboro) using his MLW FPA pair, but no one is really biting and thinks it's just a scam to get money because it really makes not a damn bit of sense and the line south of Dayton hasn't seen a train in decades. From what I understand, the switch between the WNY&P and NY&LE at Waterboro isn't even there anymore.

No, according to Pete, Bob Dingman, who is the NY&LE president, really wanted two M636s from WNY&P, but all the big six Alcos except one were spoken for; they donated the M630 to Meadville, and sold four of the M636s to Genesee Valley Transportation, and so the #636 was the only one left. And he wanted it for use down on the Oil Creek & Titusville, which is his other operation that runs 16.5 miles of the old PRR Buffalo Division between Titusville and Rynd Farm (near Oil City). The OC&T does seem to do a pretty good passenger business and it hauls freight and right now, they only have an M420W and an Alco S-2, so I can understand wanting some more horsepower. But they do have an ex-N&W C425 up at NY&LE that was at one point in good shape and only needed some wheel work. Typical "new toy-itis" that some of these stranger short lines have: they've already got a bunch of other stuff they can't keep running over minor issues, but they just keep buying new stuff, which then falls out of service and is replaced by some other shiny new toy.

I'm glad I got out to NY&LE to shoot some photos of it last year, because those FPAs are really neat machines, but it's definitely a strange operation, and I kind of have to wonder about the long-term viability of it. Pete's verdict was that it is basically Bob Dingman's personal 1:1 scale toy train set and as soon as he passes away, it'll get shut down. I know on the Arcade & Attica charter last summer, the conductor who was onboard, and whose name I did not catch, had just come over from NY&LE, and had helped out with an NY&LE charter by the same folks the fall before, and he basically said, it was a good thing they did that charter on the NY&LE because things were changing over there, and not for the better.

Now, according to this conductor whose name I did not catch, he had busted his ass over at NY&LE, building up some of the special trips and the relations with businesses that were partners, making sure everything ran smoothly and on time, and installing an intercom system so that one conductor could address the whole train in a speaking voice instead of having to go car-to-car, shouting everything. At one point, Bob Dingman mentioned to him that "he didn't know what he was going to do when he retired" since his son wasn't interested in the business and he had no one to hand it over to. He mentioned to Dingman that he'd be interested in running it for him, with Dingman still owning, and he said Bob and his wife were strongly considering it (he mentioned that Bob and his wife were really great people, and excellent people to work for).

Not long after, the son was all of a sudden interested in running the NY&LE and Bob handed the reins over to him, and the son went and got certified as an engineer and was running a lot of the trains and put his ladyfriend on all the trains with an unspecified level of authority, and this conductor said he was constantly butting heads with the son and his woman over stuff. He said the last straw was on one of the Murder Mystery Dinner Trains, there was a guest who had had a couple drinks and started getting into an argument with the woman, and she got on a radio that she wasn't even technically supposed to have, called up to the son, who then immediately dumped the brakes into emergency and got into an argument with the passenger. Which then turned into this conductor getting mad because, remember, a conductor is the one who is in charge of the train, and he said he had not been informed that she had a radio, she had not been trained on proper radio protocol, and that she should have come to him first instead of running to her boyfriend, and that the son should not have dumped the train into emergency and come back and screamed at a passenger because it was unprofessional and someone could have gotten hurt.

He said not long after he jumped ship, er, train to Arcade & Attica, and he said since then, a couple people he'd known had ridden the NY&LE and said service was slipping. They didn't use the intercom anymore because no one knew how to use it, and it was one of the Murder Mystery Dinner Trains and they were late leaving Gowanda, took too long to go from the train to the restaurant in South Dayton, and then were so far behind schedule that they had to cut the experience short and go back to the train and were late getting back to Gowanda.  

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