Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Arizona Railway Museum - Part 2

Steve Old Business: I sent a copy of last week's Life After HP to Steve Whisel who is the railroad aficionado who gave me the tour. He replied with email which I have pasted below [with his permission].

Hello David,

Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Yes, I’m Steve. Not only do I volunteer as a docent, I also am the webmaster and Curator. Of course all of this is in my “spare” time. My “real” job is being the Chief Manufacturing Engineer at a local company. We source many parts from overseas and I have had the pleasure/privilege of riding trains around the world. Nothing beats American steam.

I will be sure to share your report with other members and I look forward to the second installment.

On a personal note, my passion for trains came through my first Lionel train as well. Actually, my parents purchased it BEFORE I was born. To add to the story, when they were in the store shopping, an elderly man noticed the young expecting couple and offered to sell his sons' (they had gone off to college) used trains. So, instead of growing up with a train set from the sixties, I was fortunate to have a much nicer set from the late 40s/early 50s.

I still have the set, and it continues to run under the Christmas tree annually. My son is also infatuated with trains and will eventually inherit stewardship. Being only 4 years old we are still working on basics, but he can rattle off the names 40-50 different Thomas the Tank characters. Now if only he could remember to flush….


Light Further, do you remember the light from last week? Steve also gave me the scoop on them.

From the Pennsylvania Railroad May 29, 1910 “Rules for the Government of the Transportation Department”:

Rule 19a – Red displayed to rear of train when on mainline track. Green is displayed outward and forward.

Rule 19b - Green is displayed to rear (with red pointing forward) when train is clear of mainline track (on a siding).

Of course, being railroad rules, it gets even more complicated when train is travelling opposite the normal flow, more than two tracks, etc. etc.

Other colors were also used (amber and clear) in various combinations with Green/Red to indicate multiple sections of the same train. For example, say a scheduled freight train was too long (too much freight), it would be broken into multiple “sections” and dispatched with a short time interval. Trains were scheduled by time. The lead section would have certain colors displayed at the front and rear to signify the “first” section and so on until the “last” section. Remember this was all in the days before radios so track workers had no idea of following sections (they would assume the tracks were clear because they saw the one scheduled train pass).

Often their only warning was the color of the markers. Scary.

Blue lanterns (and flags) were also used but ONLY for maintenance work. “Blue Flagged” cars were NOT allowed to be moved or touched until the worker who placed the blue indicator removed it. The railroad version of Lock-Out / Tag-Out safety for maintenance.

Coaches Interior Coach New Business: When you first enter the Arizona Railway Museum, the first items you encounter are the coaches seen in the photo to the left. These have been refurbished, both outside and inside. The exteriors look great — but the interiors are spectacular.

The amount of work must have been staggering because they had to strip down the walls to the underlying steel structure — repairing that then rebuilding the walls. This part of the car was configured as a lounge — much nicer than just the normal coach seating.

Interior Detail Interior Lighting And take a close look at the beautiful woodwork.

And the wonderful indirect lighting.

Ghost Chief One restoration detail that I loved is this ghost haunting the car. Actually, this is a glass panel in which is etched the image of an Indian Chief. This type of image was used extensively by the Santa Fe Railroad for their literature and corporate communication. Isn't it great?!!!

Berth Daytime Berth Nighttime For longer trips, travelers might prefer a berth. The photo at left shows the configuration during the day.

The photo at right shows the nighttime configuration. Note the authenticity — ARM was able to find and display actual Pullman blankets.

Interior Coach For shorter trips and those who were not as affluent, the coach car provided reasonable comfort. I noticed the generous amount of legroom offered in this configuration — so much better than what we moderns experience with the airlines.

Headrest Cover Notice the authentic headrest covers that really were used by the Santa Fe Railroad.

Dining Car Kitchen Naturally on any long trip, a traveler would get hungry. Thus a dining car was needed. A bit nicer than the poor experience that we used to get on airlines, don't you think?

In order to provide these meals, they needed a kitchen. Voilà.

I have a few more tidbits still to share — next week.

 Life is good.

 B. David