| The 1191 (with the brakeman on the step) was taken in
1974, a year before photographer Nathan Griffin hired out on the UP,
at Hoskins Junction, which is near Clute, Texas.ĘThe engine is facing
south and this picture of the yard was taken about a year or so before
the yard tracks were extended. - © Nathan
the Yardmaster's Tower
Materials are always
being gathered for this new feature. If you have any stories or photos
that you would like to contribute to this effort, please feel more than
welcome to contact me.
view of Missouri Pacific's Centennial Yard from the Yard Masters
tower in 1984. Centennial Yard is formerly known as Lancaster Yard from
the Texas & Pacific days. - Jay
First in order: a
short description of the duties of those stationed out of the railyard,
including a few slang names.
Monkey - Air brake repairman
inspector - a.k.a. car knocker, wheel knocker, car toad, car tonk
- A person trained in the craft of inspecting and repairing railroad cars.
Crew Van Driver -
His job was to transport a train crew to and from their locomotive. Though
their duties may take them far from the railyard, each driver was assigned
to a specific yard.
Watchman - his job was to keep water in the boiler and keep enough
fire going in the firebox to move the locomotive within the railroad yard.
Monkey - An employee who is responsible for greasing frogs, switches and
interlocking track equipment. Also a car oiler.
- person working in an engine shed under the operating foreman. The Hostler
would go into the yard and pick up an engine from where the journeyman
Engineer left it running, and move it into the roundhouse.
Yard clerk - a car checker who maintains a listing of freight cars on
arriving and departing trains. A.k.a. Mud
Engineer - position was held by apprentice engineers learning the
trade. Their job was to move cars or rolling stock around the railroad
yard. Once the apprentice engineer proved his ability with handling the
Switch-engines, the next opening for a Road Engineer would be his.
- works in the railroad yards, hooking cars together, sometimes while
the cars were moving. A.k.a. Snake,
Wiper - His
job was to work a 12 hour shift in the roundhouse, where he packed the
internal moving parts of some engineer's beloved engine with grease.
- a.k.a. yard goat, dinger
Yard crew -a.k.a.
yard rats, hostler
look at Missouri Pacific's Yard Master Tower in Fort Worth, Texas
in 1984. - Jay Glenewinkel
on the Railroad
little information about the crew van drivers in the South Texas region
By Jay Glenewinkel
Like railroad crews,
the van drivers are assigned to Yards. Even the long haul drivers have
a main Yard Base.
I first became a
crew van driver in 1992. All the Crew Van Companies are contracted out
by the railroads, however, in a round about way, we do work directly for
the railroads as, as we have railroad radios. and our paperwork is sent
to the railroads.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Missouri Pacific (by then under
Union Pacific control, but still "officially" a seperate company)
contracted with a company called Browns transport. There were two types
of work, Yard Drivers and Long Haul. The yard drivers worked 12 hour shifts
within the Yard Limits, and Long Haul drivers worked with crews on the
mainline, and transported crews and equipment from city to city, or from
Yard to train.
My first job was with Browns, as a yard driver. This company was a very
poorly run company. The vans were always breaking down, and often unsafe
to be on the road. There were several occassions when there was a leak
of exhaust or fuel fumes in the vans, which often resulted in getting
the crews sick. Because of the lack of maintenance of the vans, which
in turn increased the dangers of operating a crew in these vans, I left
the company. Browns lost the contract about a year later and another company
In 1993, I went to work for a company called "Yellow Rail" on the Southern
Pacific. This company was contracted by the SP, but was also owned by
the SP. With this company, I worked long haul, often working with crews
in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Victoria and Houston. At the time, the DOT standards
had just been placed into law, however, Yellow Rail failed to abide by
the laws set forth. To begin, the vans used were min-vans rather than
full sized vans. DOT and Railroad standards are that any vehicle transporting
Railroad crews must be able to seat a minimum of 7 passengers, not including
the drivers. Often, the operaters of these vans would be on the road well
over 12 hours at a time.
I remember one particular trip I made with a Southern Pacific crew. I
picked up a three man crew, plus one Superintendant from Kirby Yard in
San Antonio. I took the crew on a 117 mile trip to Sinton, Texas by Corpus
Christi. They untied the train, and I assisted them with this train from
Sinton to Victoria. This was another 87 mile trip. Being an active railfan,
I was able to spot a dragging brake rig in the middle of the train. I
contacted the crew on the head end and told them the location of the car
in the train, as well as the car number. The crew immediatley stopped
the train. I drove to the head end to pick up the conductor and took him
to the car with the defect. Sure enough, I had made a "Good Find". I single
handedly prevented a major derailment, as there were several HazMat cars
in this train. The car was cut out of the train, and the crew was on their
way again. The train was put into a siding twice, and had to wait for
3 trains. When we finally arrived in Victoria, I had put in 13 hours already.
But my day on the job was just beginning.
In Victoria, I transported another crew to Flatonia. This was an additional
90 miles of so. From Flatonia, I worked with a third crew briefly on a
Westbound Train for about an hour. From there I headed back to San Antonio.
At this point, I had worked almost 19 hours on the road. Immediatley upon
arriving in San Antonio, I was called to take a crew from San Antonio
to Uvalde and assist them with a train all the way to Del Rio. Total mileage
for this trip was 160 miles, plus an additional 11 hours. In Del Rio,
I had to take a fifth crew to Eagle Pass, another 90 plus miles and 3
more hours. In Eagle Pass, I took a crew back to San Antonio.
This was one continous trip I had made. Almost 900 miles and 36 hours
on the road without rest. At the time, I lived directly across the street
from the Kirby Yard. When I walked in the door at home, I hit the bed,
and I was out for 16 hours. I was fired, because I refused what would
have been a trip to Houston from there. I thought 36 hours was enough
for one shift. Two good things did come out of it though. I earned a pretty
good paycheck for that long run, and I recieved a letter of recognition
from the President of the Southern Pacific Railroad for preventing the
derailment. I worked for Yellow Rail for about 8 months.
A few months later, I went back to work on the Union Pacific side under
a new company "Raudin McCormick" (RMC). This company was much better organized,
with better equipment and management. I started in the yard again, working
in an expanded yard limits territory. With this company, we worked 8 hour
shifts, rather than 12 hour shifts with Browns. I remained at this position
for a considerable amount of time. I had to leave the company for a few
months due to health and personal reasons.
In 1996 I hired back on with RMC, but this time as a long haul driver.
I mainly worked with train crews between San Antonio and Laredo in Dark
Territory. With the increase of traffic on this stretch of line, it would
often become very lengthy tasks. In Dark Territory, there were no signals.
The train crews communicated with the dispatcher out of Omaha and recieved
track warrants for movements. Any time a train was put into a siding,
the conductor would have to get off of the train, unlock and line the
switch, allow the train to enter the siding and then "Line and Lock" the
switch for the main. This routine was repeated when the train left the
siding as well. My job was to assist the conductors with transportation
to and from the trains. Often, I would be assigned to one train for an
entire trip. When the crew hogged out, so did I.
There were also several trips I made to Corpus Christi, Houston, Taylor
and Smithville. I also made a few trips to Palestine, Waco and Fort Worth.
In mid-1996 RMC took over the former Southern Pacific work by purchasing
Yellow Rail. This expanded our territory considerably. Just like the train
crews, we were allowed to work a maximum of 12 hours, then we hogged out.
Basically, our working time was ended in a similar fashion as railroad
crews. I remained with this company up until the time of the 1997 collision
Order - When a defective car is found by a car inspector, he tacks a small
card labeled "bad order" in bold lettering on or near the door of the
car. That car may not be moved from the terminal where the inspection
occurred until the necessary repairs are made.
Bleeder - The valve by which air is bled from the auxiliary air tank reservoir
on a car.
unit - slug
Bowl - The tracks in the Classification Yard where all of the cars are
switched to after being humped.
Classification Tracks A system of tracks designed to facilitate classification
switching by providing for the arrangement of freight cars according to
their kinds, contents and destinations.
- The make-up of a freight train by types of cars and their contents.
Flares (Fuses) - Combustible torches which burn (red, yellow or green)
for ten to fifteen minutes as warning signals to other trains when touched
off and placed or thrown on the ground by train service employees.
- The "X" shaped plate of a cross-over rail; also an implement to rerail
- Switcher engine
- A torpedo placed on a rail which will act as a signal warning when it
is detonated by a train crossing over it.
- Car with hinged trap doors and inclined floors which permits speedy
unloading of certain types of ballast or other material.
Box - Overheated wheel journal or wheel bearing which usually causes journal
packing to burn and smoke.
Yard - A switching yard on an incline where, after movements by the engine,
the cars are shunted by gravitational pull to their destination in a yard.
- A track on which various cars are delivered or received from one railroad
Tower - The main control room where the TMD (Train Movement Directors)
L.C.L. - Less than carload lot (freight).
Line - That part of a railroad exclusive of switch tracks, branches, yards
- Fast freight usually made up of merchandise, perishables or livestock.
- Maintenance of Equipment Department
MP - Motive Power Department
Reefer - A refrigerator car, sometimes known as a freezer.
Yard - A switching yard in which the movement of cars, after they are
released from a locomotive, are controlled by an employee in a control
Track - Minor car repair siding.
Roundhouse - A building in which locomotives and other railroad equipment
are inspected, cleaned, repaired and serviced.
Terminal Facilities - provided by a railroad at a terminus or at any intermediate
point on its line for the handling of passengers or freight, and for the
breaking up, making up, forwarding and servicing trains, and interchanging
with other carriers.
Turntable - A track table operating on a pivot for diverting locomotives
or cars into a specific track. Turntables may be located inside or outside
of a roundhouse or other shop facility.
- A track in the form of a "Y" which leads from a main line and is used
in lieu of a turntable for turning engines, cars and trains around.
- A system of tracks within defined area limits for the making up of trains,
storing of cars, and for other purposes.
Henderson Avenue looking north,
Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1950 - Craig Meador Collection
This Site is Dedicated to those who ran the MoPac
and made her one of the greatest roads in the Nation.
Special Thanks to All the Former Missouri Pacific RR
Engineers and Employees
who have contributed their lives to the Railroad and their unique knowledge
to this site:
James Blagg MPRR Telegrapher-clerk, Concordia
and Omaha Sub's, 1973-1987
Currie MPRR Engineer DeQuincy Division, 1972-1990 (engineer 1973-1990)
W. Favignano MPRR Mechanical Engineering Dept. at St Louis, 1974-1986
Jay Glenewinkel MPRR/UPRR Crew Van Driver,
Nathan Griffin MPRR/UPRR, Hoskins Junction,
Clute, Texas, 1975-Today
"Tuch" Santucci MPRR Engineer, Dolton and Villa Grove, IL , 1978-1985
Recommended Websites operated by former MPRR Employees:
Bob Currie's MISSOURI PACIFIC DeQuincy Division - MP Engineer
on the High Iron by "Tuch" Santucci - MP Engineer
Pacific Railroad Memories by C.E. "Cliff" Satterfield - MP Superintendent
Union, Lodge # 0455/Missouri Pacific System Federation
MPRR Employees Service Forum
- Devoted to sharing information of former MoPac employees. Feel
free to post names or information of those who worked on the railroad
-- former MP Employees are Welcome!
Railroad Clipart courtesy of
The Ultimate Railroad
Clip Art Library
l Last Update to this page: 24 April, 2008
All images & text © 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming
Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.