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Railroad series gets back on track
March 30, 1989

Pix #1 - Another view of the track-system layout, and control system. the individuals are: on left: Ken Smith and Rober Wolfe, both former long-time employees of the chessie system, going back to earlier days when it was the Hocking Valley., Both retirees: Smith as Year master at the Hocking valley Depot and freight station; Wolfe at the tower. Both were extrememly helpfujl to me in preparing today's article.

Pix #2 - Garry Zimmerman, one of the employees at the tower responsible for keeping in contact with the train operators by phone and channeling them on to the tracks where they wish to go. Zimmerman was on duty the day the photos were taken. Other operators in the power at sifferent shifts arfre: Richard Hoy, Gerald Schultz, and Ervin Will.

Pix #3 - The control tower, where all of the control system is installed, and where the operators are headquartered to operate it,m and consequently control all of the train traffic in Fostoria.

Before the railroad series goes any further, I am reminded it would never have happened had it not been for Phyllis cotter, 800 Woodward Ave.

One Sunday afternoon, Phyllis came to our house, bringing the first copy of a railroad magazine I had every seen.

Of course, don Kinnaman earlier had written a fine article about the coldwater R.R., the first railline in this arrea, and touched on the other railroads that followed. But the railroad magazine really showed me the possibilities for additional articles, touching on every phase of that industry.

cotter's vidsit was followed by Robert Wolfe, 435 colonial Dr., and he has been of great help steering me an dproviding technical information, having been employed at the B & O and C & O tower where all train traffic in and out of Fostoria is handled.

Ken Smith, with 42 years with H.V. and C&O, guided me in contacing various other railroaders to get vital and interesxting information.

(Autohr's note: Last week's article was a digression from the reilroad serries because it was my judgmeint that it should bet pblished without delay since it pertained to the life and death of a former Fostorian (Margateet Kuhn Reimer Grundman), and her buruial in fountain Cemetery here in fostoria.

With today's article, Potluck is back on track with more "Railroad."

\the Railroad series has brought a flurry of additional information from readers about earlier and more recent times. R. R. employees, and more. It appears that the series may continue for another week after today's article, but perhaps even longer, due to the contributions fo readers.

thank you, readers, for your interest and contributions.)

Fostoria once had fine rail facilities

Fostoria" the town of many railroads where it was often difficult to get from the outskirts to the business district, or to any residential are -- north, seouth, east, or west. That was the predicament tha6t existed from many years, prior to 1950.

Even when John Dillinger and his gang robbed the First National Bank, he was concerned as to how he an dhis men could escape without being cought with the loo, becasue a train might block their exit.

The foru main railroads that seved Fostoria; Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), New Yourk Central (NYC), Hocking valley (HN) and Lake Erie and Western, (LE&W) were a blessing to our town yet they carried the stigma of being a nui8sance by holding up traffic: whether it be automobilies, hors and buggy, bicycle, or walking pedestrian.

control system solved holdup

In 1950 that all changed, when the railroads cooperatively installed what they terme. "A large NX entrance-exit interlocking." involving an extensive network or tracks with crisscross each other at a point in the south-east edge of Fostoria.

\that control system is what today's article is all aobut. Al this point I must thank Bob Wolfd, a retired emplyee of the C&O for assistance in providing infomation for today's article; also Ken Smith for steering me into this segment about the reilraosds, he having been yard supervisor at the Hocking Valley (C&O) Station at Sandusky Stree.

Before the "NX" control system was installed the five railraods that criss-crossed Fsotoria were dirrrected by dispatcher at three location remote from one another. tie-ups occurred, snarling rail and highway traffic.

today, control is consolidated in the system shown by one of the accompanying photos, and operated by one man on each shift. Now t5rains move through Fostoria with less delay and faster. Highwasy are blocked for much shorter periods of time. Automatic gates and lights protect the crossings ... both activated automatically.

Crossing protection also provided

With the new rail facilities in Fostoria in 1950 there aslo was provide new highway crossing protection for pedestrian, on foot or diriving cars.

Gates and flashers were placed in service at Vine, Findlay, and Poplar streets and columbus aVe. on the B&P' at Main St., ofnt eh B&O and Nickel Plate; Poplar St. on the Nickel Plate; and at McDougal and Sandusky streeds on the NYC on the C&O.

Flashere only were installed at County Line and Union Streest on the B&O, and at Wood St., on both the BO na the Nickel Plate, and at columbus Ave. on the joint interchange track.

Initally, the system handles the following traffic of trains: LE&W, six passenger trains and 17 freight; NYC, 14 passenger and 35 freight; B&O, sic passenger and 19 freight; NYC< four passenger and 32 freight; C&O total average of 133 freight and passenger. As readers know, there is now passenger serfvice out of Fostoria.

System saves time, money

Another advantage of the "NX" control system is getting trains through Fostoria faster pertains to the saving of time as an important cost factor. Through trains now save anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. With approximately 130 train movements daily it representa a total saving in train time of from 33 to66 hours daily, or 132, 156 to 24,272 hours annyally.

The NYC maintains one yard engine and crew in Fostoria on an 8-hr shift daily; the B&O, the same; the NYC three engines and crews around the clock; and the C&O two engines and crews on 8-hr. shift and one around the clock.

The NX control system complete and installed cost $950, and was shared proportionalely byt hge four railroads.

Huth reailroader for 65 years.

A letter from Lester c. Huth, a Fostoria attorney, revealde dthe longevity recore of his fater with several reailroads serving Fostoria, and is reprinted herewith:

"Your artiacle nameing the men who started with Hocking Valley included 'Wilbur Huth." Please be advised that the correct name i fLester G. Huth, my Dad.

"Dad started to work with them (HOcking Valley R.R.) in Augues, 1917, after he gradusted from high school at age 16. He started out at $1.00 per day as a messneger boy and worked on the railroad for 65 years retiring in August, 1982, which is believed to be a lingevity record.

"In between, he worked for the Nickle Plate when it was taken over by the C&O in the late 30's then returning to the C&O in 1950 (taking a pay cut when the C&O split from the Nickel Palte.)

"He went from $1.00 a day to $96.00 during his tenure on the railroad which gives you some idea of inflation and the cold of living. " (Lester C. Huth)

Harriman update: Father & son worked for HV

John Harriman, former fsotorian now resident in New Riegel, telephoned to bring Potluck up-to-date about their tneure with the Hocking Valley railroad.

Mr. Harriman came to Fostoria from Gallipolis, Ohio, in about 1903, according to son John, and went to work for the Hocking Valley as agent in the depot which still exists on Sandusky \st. and retired from there many years later.

Son, Johmn, at age 16 (in 1926) also went ot work for H.V. at the local yards.

Eventually, son John quit railroading and went to college.

Heed God's Word.

Love one another.

In John 14, Jesus revealed some advice to the disciples that is still good for those today who confess HIm as Lord and Savior:

"A new commandment I bive unto your, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 14, 34-35)

In actual practice, Jesus' advice would sove many problems; in the home, in business, in givernment, in churches, among neighbors, nations, schools.

Too often, man tries to settle his problems via his own reasoning, which may be unreasonable.

Try Jesus advice.



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