The young man, in this 1946 picture, is not waiting for a train. He just stopped to see what was happening at the station. (Authors collection) mals, circus wagons and cages were shipped back on the railroad. One cow elephant was reluctant to leave. She left the march and was found drinking at Wallace’s pond. When she reached the station she refused to enter the box car. There was no way to get the big girl to go in under her own power. Six men and a boy hauled her in with the mechanical advantage of a block and tackle. The car door was secured just as the way freight blew for the road crossing. Section Hand’s Freight A motor car with four section hands stopped at the station to inquire if the track was clear for them to proceed to Newfoundland. They were particularly cautious because they had just had a frightening experience. At Stockholm they were told that the way freight was at Newfoundland and would soon be heading west. The foreman realized that the train as usual would be unloading freight at Oak Ridge and he could meet the train there. Unusually, this day there was no business. The way freight passed by the station without stopping. The track workers saw its plume of smoke rising above a narrow rock cut a mile before the planned meet. The scramble to leave the rails before entering the cut left the men and motor car in great disarray among the trackside weeds. The locomotive puffed merrily by with its half dozen cars and caboose. Experience Counts In the very early Susquehanna diesel days an Alco.S2. going in the coal yard siding, dropped two wheels off the track. The train crew was prepared with re-rails, spike and a spike hammer but had little experience spiking the re-rails to the ties. One by one the trainmen tried to hit the spike head with the pointed spike hammer. A seventy year old retired sectionhand stood by watching the bungling with disgust. He finally grabbed the hammer and drove the spikes home with the standard four meaningful strokes. With an easy tug on the throttle the wheels were lifted up on the rail. The Speedy Milk Trains To see the milk trains at the end of a day was like having dessert after a good meal. There were two of them, each with three engines and two dozen cars. The trains raced through Oak Ridge twenty minutes apart. Kids and grownups were warned not to stand in front of the station when the milk train 4 The arrival of a train was always an exciting time. The Hanford Branch mail and passenger train stopped at Oak Ridge minutes before eleven o’clock in the summer of 1939. This date engine No. 972 hauled the combination mail baggage car and coach. passes. The speed of the cars drew objects into their wheels. My brother lost his new express wagon this way. The three H -4 consolidations passed with a swish, swish sound as the engineers adjusted their throttles for a gentle braking action on the down grade. The little 50 inch drivers and the rapid motion of the rods added to the appearance of speed. A veteran engineer told me that he had piloted a milk train for 11 years with the same engine, camelback Consolidation No.121. The Susquehanna served the rich dairy farm country of Sussex and Warren counties, comparatively close to the market. The short haul was an invitation for trucks to compete. Inevitably the two milk trains and the ice train were combined. In the 1930’s, the three trains became one plodding freight, switching here and there as it went. The speedy milk trains were gone forever. Travel to the Farmers Picnic In the early 1900’s the big event of the summer was the farmers’ picnic at Lake Grinell. The picnic took place in an oak grove along the tracks of the Susquehanna and the L. & H. R. making connections at Sparta Junction. Many farm boys took their girlfriends to this popular outing. Les, a young fellow from Oak Ridge, took a girl from Milton. They arrived at the station with a fully loaded picnic basket and boarded the picnic special. They made the connection at Sparta Junction and spent a pleasant day at the picnic grove. The returning special train arrived at the station on time but Les and his friend were not among the passengers. Had they missed the train? There was concern how they would get home. Soon a work train arrived delivering the two special passengers to Oak Ridge. Les had to explain what happened. At Sparta Junction the two boarded the waiting train. Les chose the last seat on the last car. With all of the attention on each other they paid no attention to what was happening. The train pulled out leaving them stranded on an unattached car. They started walking. It was three miles to Sparta Station. It was the good fortune for the pair that the company engineers and surveyors had been working that day up along the Delaware River and were returning with an engine and a coach. The crew saw the plight of the travelers, broke the rules and invited them aboard. At Oak Ridge a horse and wagon was waiting to take them home, the end of a near perfect day.

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