So much of what I'm trying to do with this project is create a time machine. I want the guys operating on my layout to really get a sense of what it might have been like working on the New Haven during the late 1940s. So I try to send some additional prototype/historical flavor to them beforehand to get them in the right mindset, and to give them an idea of what's going on in the world as well as with the trains. It's another opportunity for realism, and a heck of a lot of fun to put together.
Even if you can't make it to one of my sessions, I hope you enjoy this little trip back in time...
To: Operating Crews
Lower Connecticut River Valley Region,
New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad
Providence Division Extra #1 (PDX-1, Shore Line Local)
Providence Division Extra #2 (PDX-2, Haddam Local)
Hartford Division Extra #7 (HDX-7, Valley Local)
Hartford Division Extra #12 (HDX-12, Air Line Local)
From: Superintendent of Operations
RE: Detail of Operations – October 15, 1948
To Whom It May Concern:
You have been assigned to work on one of four local freight extras this Friday, but please note - our transition to diesel motive power is almost complete; consequently, only one local remains steam-powered. Please review the information below to gain an understanding of what to expect during your assignment:
· October 15, 1948 is a Friday and Harry Truman is the president, currently campaigning for re-election on a whistle-stop tour throughout the western US. The local forecast calls for Indian summer to continue - mild temperatures in the morning (upper 40s), and it'll warm up in the afternoon (around 63 degrees). Should be a nice, sunny, dry day - much nicer than it was 10 years ago. Back then, we were still cleaning up after the Great New England Hurricane (a.k.a. The Long Island Express) that devastated our Railroad. But thanks to all your hard work and effort, we survived and even made it through the recent war, stronger than ever.
· The most popular song of the day is "A Tree in the Meadow" by Margaret Whiting – much better than Twelfth Street Rag by Pee Wee Herman, which was #1 last month. It almost compares to the great music we heard during the war. Of course, many of those songs bring back bittersweet memories, so maybe we're better off trying to forget.
· The cost of living keeps going up: The average cost of a new house has risen to $7,700 - reflecting the persistent housing shortage - but gas is still only 16c per gallon, and cars cost a little less - about $1,250, on average. Average wages are stagnant though - at less than $3,000/yr you're not making any more cabbage than you did last year.
· In sports, the first Olympic games since before the war ended in August, the same month Ben Hogan won the PGA Championship. The Cleveland Indians just beat the Boston Braves in the World Series this past Monday, killing our chance for a New England win. And we're all still mourning the passing of Babe Ruth a few weeks ago. Only 53, he was far too young to leave us.
· Given the recent sports events, you may have missed Whittaker Chambers accusing Alger Hiss of being a communist. But if you're lucky enough to have a television (and as a railroad employee, you’re probably not), you would have been able to see the HUAC's first televised congressional hearing and the Chambers/Hiss confrontation.
· If you'd rather not think of Reds under the bed, and have time to catch a movie this weekend, Sorry, Wrong Number (starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster) premiered on September 1st. If you hurry though, you may still be able to catch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (Cary Grant, Myrna Loy) or even Key Largo (Bogie & Bacall).
As usual, you can expect to receive your paperwork (Clearance Card, Orders, and Wheel Report) when you report for duty, but here's a brief description of what you can expect when you arrive:
· PDX-1 (The Shoreline Local) will have DEY-5 (S-2) #0615 for power and will depart Cedar Hill Yard/New Haven for Fort Yard/New London with 6 cars. It'll do most of its switching in Saybrook and will use Track 5 to transfer cars destined for up-river consignees to PDX-2 (The Haddam Local). It will also pick up east/New London-bound cars from Track 7.
· PDX-2 (The Haddam Local) will be debuting newly-arrived DERS-2b (RS-2) #0510 for power and will depart Fort Yard for Cedar Hill Yard with 11 cars for towns along the way. It will also pick up cars from PDX-1 on Track 5 in Saybrook and run up-river through the towns of Essex and Deep River to East Haddam. It'll drop any cars bound for points east of Saybrook on Track 7.
· HDX-7 (The Valley Local) will have K-1b (2-6-0) #278 for power and will depart Hartford for Middletown & return. It'll be a heavy day with 12 cars for consignees along the way. Since it's Friday, this train won't be going down-river to East Haddam, but may leave Haddam-bound cars in Middletown for forwarding the next day. It also interchanges cars with HDX-12 on Track 1 in Middletown.
· HDX-12 (The Air Line Local) will have DEY-1b (HH660) #0924 for power and will depart Cedar Hill for Middletown with 7 cars for local industries and interchange with HDX-7 in Middletown. This train will also coordinate switching in Middletown with HDX-7.
Of course, the crews of each of these trains must report to the agent of each town on their route for any additional car movements which may be required and to receive any additional orders, as necessary. Furthermore, Providence Division Extras must receive permission from the Dispatcher or Saybrook Tower Operator, as the case may be, in order to occupy main track between Cedar Hill Yard/New Haven and Fort Yard/New London. Finally, be sure to review the latest Bulletin Order and sign the Employee Register when you arrive, or else you may forfeit your pay for the day.