Train Orders/Mail Question

Discussion in 'General' started by tdyeharris, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. tdyeharris

    tdyeharris Member

    I don't have a reply...I have a question. My dad recently told me a story of working for Frisco in Texas....his job was to use a pole to hand off a 'bag/messages...?' engines barreled through the station- without stopping. He remembered pulling back as the train got so close...and the train had to stop, back up and get the bag. I'm probably not real accurate in my description- but I'd like to know what that was called...the job, the bag.... I know that after that, he left Frisco in Texas and returned to Missouri. I'm trying to piece together my dad's and grandfather's history with Frisco. thank-you.
  2. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I'll provide a good picture for you soon. :)
  3. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Here's a couple of pictures from another thread on the site:



    I still have a good one to post later from Don Wirth.
  4. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    He was handing up train orders as seen in the photos of the fireman in the engine and the conductor in the rear car. The Frisco had poles as seen in the photos on all the territory I ran on, but the use of live poles (humans) was also used. The train had to back up because they had to have those orders/messages to continue past that station. It literally could be a matter of life and death.

  5. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Very nice view of Whirlaway in action. Those two pics were -4 and -5 of your North Clinton group. What was in -1, -2 and -3? Any views of the train coming, or going away?


    ps - I was told some time ago that good pics of Whirlaway were hard to come by. Anyone out there have some good shots of SLSF 2007?
  6. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I just found those pics in another thread Ken.
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Actually Terri, the guys missed one key point. You stated bag. What your father was probably talking about was "hooking the mail"; catching a hanging bag of mail at a depot with the Mail Hook as the train sped by a depot where there was no passenger stop. My father-in-law served on an Railway Post Office (RPO) car from Monett to St Louis. He told of two different rookies wanting to try the hook, one that missed just as your father described and another that slit the bag open with the hook, which resulted in the train stopping and passengers collecting mail while the RPO clerks watched them so that no mail would be lost or stolen. He said hooking the mail was somewhat intimidating the first time; standing in an open doorway on a speeding train, head out the door behind a little wind deflector, watching and holding the hook at the right angle to hook the bag without ripping it. Just before hooking the bag, which was suspended vertically on the mail crane, he would kick a bag of mail out the door onto the depot platform. Pictures attached for clarity.
    5697486250_3555fe1217_b.jpg lg_Making-a-catch.jpg The_Moment_of_the_Pull.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
    ccrump, Joe Lovett and FriscoCharlie like this.
  8. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    The picture I promised earlier will post on the Frisco Archive at 6:00 Eastern on Wednesday evening. :)

  9. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Ken, there's a 5x7 color print of Whirlaway on eBay right now for about 6 bucks. Larry
  10. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    You can download any of the images posted to the Frisco Archive, upload them to Walmart, and have them printed in any size you want.

  11. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Charlie, off subject but I started a "conversation" with you--did you see it? Larry
  12. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Negative. I sent you one though.
  13. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    That's a nice one with the double Order Hoops, on it. I used to see the agent, hold those hoops and give orders to the trains. The double one is top for the engineer and the lower one is for the conductor on the caboose. Only seen the double ones used in photo's. Good day's gone by.
    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  14. Phred

    Phred Member

    When I was little, my dad use to take me to Lindenwood Yard to watch the Texas Special come through. I remember them having three hoops.
  15. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Pretty neat, wonder if that would have been for a Steam Helper? Anyone have knowledge of this?
    Karl likes this.
  16. Phred

    Phred Member

    I don't think it was for a helper; the time frame would have been after steam. The only steam around were a few boarded up engines near the round house.

    We moved to South County in 1963 when i was 7, these are some of my earliest memorys so they aren't very clear. I don't remember for sure, but I think all three were used for the Texas Special. Also at that time they use to use a mid-train caboose on the auto rack trains to watch for vandalism; this was when the cars were still open. The third hoop might have been for the extra caboose. The hoops were at the end of the yard, by the building that is still there and usually we watched near the center or other end of the yard so I didn't get to watch them pick up the orders that often. This was before I-44 was built and I think we usually walked there, but I don't remember.

    I do remember one time one of the orders got dropped and I (or my dad) picked it up. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to it.
  17. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    The train order hoop stands certainly ante-date the advent of diesel power, and the Frisco would not have made changes to the stands. In the March 1946 Book of Rules, rule 204(a) applies. "In addition to copies of all train orders and clearances delivered to each employee addressed (to C&E, i.e., Conductor and Enginemen. This means the helper crew), an extra copy will be furnished the rear brakeman of all passenger trains."
  18. Phred

    Phred Member

    Thanks for the reply,Karl. That must have been it; Engineer, Conductor and Rear Brakeman. I think the location was outside the yard office here is a link to a photo.
    I guess before the yard office was built they used the old style hoops like the photo Frisco Charlie posted on the 16th.
  19. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    From the "Motive Power" Section of the forum, here is a photo of Don Wirth's father on 4-28-1951, sitting in the right-hand seat of Hudson #1064, taking orders on the fly at the Southeastern Jct. tower. Maybe one of my favorite photos of Frisco Steam in action.


    Best Regards,
  20. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    I believe the order hoop lost favor as trainmen suffered injuries as train speeds increased. Can you imagine the kinetic force associated with a train travelling at 45 mph ?
    Tom Duggan

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