Tuesday, November 27, 2012


WP Number 805-A
There is something very real for me with these photographs that I am sharing. Even though I never knew much about the WP as a company, I know a lot about how their equipment worked. Take this locomotive for example, we had these on the SP, and I got to ride in the cab of several as I was taking unofficial "student trips" from Bakersfield to Fresno. I had already taken my student trips as a switchman, but my friend Wayne Johnson arranged for me to pretend to be a student brakeman. It was a treat to ride in a "covered wagon" and it is something I will always remember.

Those rides occurred in 1965. That was when we still flushed the on-board toilet onto the track. It is hard to believe  but even the passenger trains flushed onto the roadbed. I remember signs that were posted in the toilets of the passenger cars that cautioned one not to flush when the train was stopped at a station. Now I wonder about the overall insult to those men who worked on the section gangs. They had to know that we were shitting on there work projects. 

The view from the cab was somewhat restricted compared to the view from a road or yard switcher. The only way to see to the rear was to lean out the window unless the train was on a curve. The engine compartment was enclosed and extremely loud. The toilet was located near the rear of that compartment. 

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