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The Nerve of Foley And Other Railroad Stories   By: (1859-1937)

The Nerve of Foley And Other Railroad Stories by Frank H. Spearman

First Page:

THE NERVE OF FOLEY

AND OTHER RAILROAD STORIES

BY FRANK H. SPEARMAN

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 1900

Copyright, 1900, by Frank H. Spearman.

All rights reserved.

TO MY BROTHER

[Illustration: "FOLEY DROPPED DOWN ON THE STEAM CHEST AND SWUNG FAR OUT"]

CONTENTS

THE NERVE OF FOLEY

SECOND SEVENTY SEVEN

THE KID ENGINEER

THE SKY SCRAPER

SODA WATER SAL

THE McWILLIAMS SPECIAL

THE MILLION DOLLAR FREIGHT TRAIN

BUCKS

SANKEY'S DOUBLE HEADER

SICLONE CLARK

ILLUSTRATIONS

"FOLEY DROPPED DOWN ON THE STEAM CHEST AND SWUNG FAR OUT"

"THE CAB FOR A PASSING INSTANT ROSE IN THE AIR

"THAT WAS BURNS'S FIRING THAT NIGHT"

"SINCLAIR WAS WHISTLING SHARPLY FOR ORDERS"

The Nerve of Foley

There had been rumors all winter that the engineers were going to strike. Certainly we of the operating department had warning enough. Yet in the railroad life there is always friction in some quarter; the railroad man sleeps like the soldier, with an ear alert but just the same he sleeps, for with waking comes duty.

Our engineers were good fellows. If they had faults, they were American faults rashness, a liberality bordering on extravagance, and a headstrong, violent way of reaching conclusions traits born of ability and self confidence and developed by prosperity.

One of the best men we had on a locomotive was Andrew Cameron; at the same time he was one of the hardest to manage, because he was young and headstrong. Andy, a big, powerful fellow, ran opposite Felix Kennedy on the Flyer. The fast runs require young men. If you will notice, you will rarely see an old engineer on a fast passenger run; even a young man can stand only a few years of that kind of work. High speed on a locomotive is a question of nerve and endurance to put it bluntly, a question of flesh and blood.

"You don't think much of this strike, do you, Mr. Reed?" said Andy to me one night.

"Don't think there's going to be any, Andy."

He laughed knowingly.

"What actual grievance have the boys?" I asked.

"The trouble's on the East End," he replied, evasively.

"Is that any reason for calling a thousand men out on this end?"

"If one goes out, they all go."

"Would you go out?"

"Would I? You bet!"

"A man with a home and a wife and a baby boy like yours ought to have more sense."

Getting up to leave, he laughed again confidently. "That's all right. We'll bring you fellows to terms."

"Maybe," I retorted, as he closed the door. But I hadn't the slightest idea they would begin the attempt that night. I was at home and sound asleep when the caller tapped on my window. I threw up the sash; it was pouring rain and dark as a pocket.

"What is it, Barney? A wreck?" I exclaimed.

"Worse than that. Everything's tied up."

"What do you mean?"

"The engineers have struck."

"Struck? What time is it?"

"Half past three. They went out at three o'clock." Throwing on my clothes, I floundered behind Barney's lantern to the depot. The superintendent was already in his office talking to the master mechanic.

Bulletins came in every few minutes from various points announcing trains tied up. Before long we began to hear from the East End. Chicago reported all engineers out; Omaha wired, no trains moving. When the sun rose that morning our entire system, extending through seven States and Territories, was absolutely paralyzed.

It was an astounding situation, but one that must be met. It meant either an ignominious surrender to the engineers or a fight to the death. For our part, we had only to wait for orders. It was just six o'clock when the chief train dispatcher who was tapping at a key, said:

"Here's something from headquarters."

We crowded close around him. His pen flew across the clip; the message was addressed to all division superintendents. It was short; but at the end of it he wrote a name we rarely saw in our office... Continue reading book >>




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