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Railroad flag men

Railroad flag men

Here is my very crude modeling of a busy industrial area, NOT exactly like 3M.
These were Fairbanks Morse H-10-44 engines. I think one at a time were in town for a few months, then it might be replaced by another. I vaguely remember CNW numbers 1049, 1051, and 1053 over a two year period.

And 55 years ago, I remember a grade school friend showing me an unpainted gray die-cast HO model of an FM, and keep in mind that it wasn't an old locomotive model back then. Since then, I saw who actually made that first one, and have since forgotten. The one in my picture is a modern plastic Walthers locomotive.

My story line is from 50 years ago.



This scene happened after dark at night.

Over a dozen loaded hoppers are being pushed west, uphill, from the 3M plant,
toward the rail yard by Marathon Park.

( I could suppose that pushing the cars west would save a run-around move at that small yard,
so they would be ready to head east as soon as they cleared the junction switch.)

A fusee is burning on the coupler.

One flagman was on top of the first car, with a lantern, giving hand signals.


And in the middle of this is another brakeman, relaying the signal.
That man in the middle is really useful when they go around curves, especially the S-curve.
Remember, this is after dark, and I could see waving lanterns up there. Not like this daytime model picture.
And the string of cars could be twice as long than what I modeled here. Those FM's could really push a load.

The cars are moving nearly ten miles an hour, after dark, and the FM roars loudly.
And the last relay man is on top, within sight of the engineer.
That's the way it was, 50 years ago.

The locomotive wasn't on the head end for this move.
There's 7 city streets to cross over, although there was very little automobile traffic on most of them once they left the 3M area.
There wasn't a caboose to ride for this reverse movement, like they might do in modern times.
And these brakemen didn't have radios.
50 years ago.


There are 4 pages in this series:
3M Railroading
Aerial view of the Wausau granule factory
3M Rail Spur on the west side of Wausau
Railroad flag men

to My Main Index Page on the TrainWeb site.

This page was filmed in March, 2021