The next summer I was a Vacation and Relief Clerk working at McKinley Jct and O.A. Smith, in addition to sometimes stocking the cabooses with ice and mail for Peoria bound trains, even filling in for the janitor that looked after those chores. It was not an unpleasant summer.
As the weeks clicked on by I gained a respect for the older clerks with whom I worked. It was an all business environment and other than a "Good Morning" or a lunchtime comment about the Carinals, the day was filled with telephone conversations, the constant chatter of manual typewriters, and the clacking of the teletype.
Sometimes the conversations were around box cars that were mis-routed or deliveries that were unexpected. Once or twice I had to call out a crew for an extra that had to make a rush delivery to a certain customer. I was always amazed at the amount of paperwork that the job generated - copies of waybills, reports, delivery receipts, and so on.
One of my relief jobs involved getting the mileage from the locomotives that had just come in from Peoria, typing up quadruple copies and mailing and filing the copies to various destinations.
Most of my time was spent at the clerk's window writing down the car numbers as they passed by on the transfer runs that came from Bridge Jct. After the train had been yarded a crew puled out sections of the train, and cars for Laclede Steel were sent to one track, cars of newsprint for the Post-Dispatch were sent to another, and so on. I had to keep on top of things but there was a clerk supervisor who had the (correct) answer to just about any question I asked.
One day we shut down the yard while six brand new EMD locomotives were positioned for publicity photos. I enjoyed the quiet time just watching and listening to the other clerks as the photographer moved about.
I left to teach school in September 1969, and then moved to Kansas, but often thought fondly of my days on the IT. It was a family atmosphere, and everything disappeared with the merger with the N&W.
I hope everyone enjoys Nelson Morgan's TRRA recollections as much as I did.
The Editor's Page
St. Louis Union Station News
Twenty-six Years in a TRRA Tower
When the GM&O Train Disappeared One Night
Nelson Morgan, Sr.
Pages 4-22, 27-37, with many photos, drawings, and maps
Freight Car Carding
A Forgotten Art
Pages 23-26 (centerfold)
Busy Telegraph Days at Venice Jct.
A Joint Track Hot Spot in the 1940's and 1950's
William K. Dunbar
Where Have All The Towers Gone?
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Last Update: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 by Rich Zellich