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Full text of "Tales of an engineer, with Rhymes of the rail"

TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



WITH 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 



TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



WITH 



of tije ISail 



BY 

CY WARMAN 



NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER S SONS 
1896 



Copyright, 1895, 
BY CHARLES SCRIBNER S SONS. 



*** These tales are republished, by permission, from 
McClure s Magazine, the Engineering Magazine, and 
the Youth" 1 s Companion. The rhymes are mostly from 
the New York Sun. 



JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A. 



TO THE GREAT ARMY OF 



THE SILENT HEROES WHO STAND ALONE AND 

BORE HOLES IN THE NIGHT AT THE 

RATE OF A MILE A MINUTE, 

THESE TALES ARE DEDICATED. 

THE AUTHOR. 






756 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE ON THE ENGINE OF 

A "FLYER" 3 

THE DEATH RUN 49 

FLYING THROUGH FLAMES 65 

A NOVEL BATTLE 73 

ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 89 

ON AN IRON STEED 107 

OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 125 

THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 143 

JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 159 

RELATIONS OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE RAIL 
ROAD J 79 

FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB .... 199 
RHYMES OF THE RAIL: 

The Flight of the Flyer 213 

From Budapest to Belgrade 215 

At the Engineer s Grave 218 

The Freight Train 220 

Chipeta 222 

Our Heroes 22 4 



t 



Vlll CONTENTS 



PAGE 

The Tramp s Last Ride 226 

The Nellie Ely 227 

Nobody Knows 229 

The Open Switch 230 

The Orient Express 232 

The Fellows Up Ahead 234 

An Old Story 236 

Dead 238 

The Country Editor 239 

Standing his Hand 241 

The Old Engineer 243 

When You are Gone 244 

Loch Ivanhoe 245 



GOD, WHO MADE THE MAN. 



I hear the whistle sounding, 
The moving air I feel ; 

The train goes by me, bounding 
O V/" throbbing threads of steeL 



My mind it doth bewilder 

These wondrous things to scan; 

Awed, not by man, the builder, 
But God, who made the man. 



tjou$an&4ptle Mtoe on fyt 
of a 4i 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE ON THE 
ENGINE OF A "FLYER" 



A THOUSAND miles in a night in one 
sleep, as the Indians say was what I 
wanted to do ; and I wanted to do it on a loco 
motive. I searched some days in vain for an 
opportunity. Then I was introduced to Mr. H. 
Walter Webb, third Vice -President of the New 
York Central Railroad, told him my trouble, and 
promptly received permission to ride the en 
gine that pulled the "Exposition Flyer." The 
artist who was to accompany me as promptly 
received permission to occupy the attending 
train. 

When, on the afternoon of September the 
26th, I went down to take my run out, one 
hundred and one passengers were waiting in 
the Grand Central Station with tickets for 



TA.LE? OF AN ENGINEER 



Chicago by the "Flyer." It was 2.45, fifteen 
minutes before leaving time. At 2.55 they were 
all aboard. A little ahead of my turn, I showed 
the gate-keeper an order signed by the Super 
intendent of Motive Power, which gave the 
engineer authority to carry me on the locomo 
tive, and passed to the train. I found a little 
wiry engineer standing right in under the boiler 
of the 898, oiling her link motion. 

A one-hundred-pound engineer and a one- 
hundred-ton locomotive ! A little bird chas 
ing an eagle across the sky ! Each seemed to 
exaggerate the other. How different was this 
mammoth machine from the mountain climbers 
I had been used to built so near the ground 
that to get under them the engineer must lie 
flat down and crawl. 

As the great clock in the despatcher s office 
pointed to 2.55 the driver began to glance at 
his watch. Then he climbed up into the cab, 
exchanged oil cans, climbed down, and walked 
around the locomotive, dropping a little oil here 
and there giving her a last finishing touch. 
Then he put his foot first against the main, 
then the parallel rods, to see if they moved 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 



easily on the pins. Already I had introduced 
myself to the engineer, and was now on the 
engine making friends with the fireman. At 
2.59 we were all in the cab. The pointer stood 
at one hundred and eighty pounds ; the fireman 
leaned out of the window just behind me, look 
ing toward the rear of the train. Glancing over 
at the engineer, I noticed that he was looking 
ahead, and that his left hand was on the throttle. 
Just as I looked back, the conductor threw up 
his right hand, the fireman shouted "All right," 
the throttle flew open, and the first great ex 
haust seemed to lift the roof from the shed. 
The drivers are so large six feet six that 
with each exhaust the train moves forward 
nearly five feet, and with each revolution we are 
nineteen and one-half feet nearer our journey s 
end. 

Whatever of anxiety I might have felt an 
hour ago is gone ; and as the proud machine 
sweeps over switches, through tunnels, under 
bridges, and through suburban New York, and 
finally around to the shores of the Hudson, all 
thought of danger has vanished, and I know 
that I shall enjoy the ride. Nearly a thousand 



TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



miles of rails reach out before us, but to me the 
way seems short. I hear the click of the latch 
as the engineer cuts the reverse-lever back, 
shortening the valve stroke and increasing the 
speed. As often as he does this he opens the 
throttle a little wider, until the pressure in the 
steam-chest is almost equal to the pressure in 
the boiler. Every time he touches the throttle 
the swift steed shoots forward as a smart road 
ster responds to the touch of the whip. When 
the lever is forward and the stroke is long, the 
steam flows in at one end of the cylinder, and 
pushes the piston head to the other end. When 
this exhausts, another flow of steam enters the 
other end of the cylinder to push the piston 
back. The result of this is a continuous flow 
of steam through the valves, and a useless waste 
of water and fuel. When the stroke is short, 
the valve moves quickly. With an open throttle 
the steam darts from the steam-chest, where the 
pressure is high, to the cylinder ; another quick 
movement of the valve closes the port, and the 
expanding steam does the rest. 

The long, heavy stroke is necessary only in 
starting trains and on heavy grades. 



THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 



Absence, we are told, makes the heart grow 
fonder. The pain of parting is all forgotten in 
the joy of meeting; and now as we begin to 
swing round the smooth curves, all the old-time 
love for the locomotive comes back to me. 
The world will never know how dear to the en 
gineer is the engine. Julian Ralph says, "A 
woman, a deer, and a locomotive." The en 
gineer would say, "A woman, a locomotive, 
and a deer." 

Again I hear the click of the latch, and a 
glance at the ground tells me that we are mak 
ing forty miles an hour. The scene is impress 
ive. The many threads of steel stretching 
away in the twilight ; the river on one side, 
on the other a rock wall, and above the wall 
the vines and trees ; the gentle hills beyond the 
Hudson where the leaves are turning with the 
touch of time the end of summer at the death 
of day ! 

Now the people along the line begin to look 
for us : every one seems to expect us, except 
two Italian women who are walking near the 
wall. They hear the whistle, look back, and 
see the great engine bearing down upon them 



8 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

at a fearful rate. I glance at the engineer, 
whose grim face wears a frown, and whose left 
hand moves nervously to the air valve, then 
back to the throttle. 

Panic-stricken, the women start to run, but in 
a moment we dash by them. The wind of the 
train twists their clothes about them, pulls their 
bonnets off, while their frightened faces are 
whipped by their loosened hair. A step on one 
of the sleepers strikes the basket on the arm of 
one of the women, and a stream of red apples 
rolls along the gutter, drawn by the draught of 
the train. Now the smoke clears from the 
stack, the engine begins to swing and sway as 
the speed increases to forty-five or fifty miles 
an hour. Here and there an east-bound train 
brushes by us, and now the local which left New 
York ten minutes ahead of us is forced to take 
our smoke. The men in the signal towers, 
which succeed one another at every mile of the 
road, look for the " Flyer," and each, I fancy, 
breathes easier when he has seen the swift train 
sweep by beneath him. 

Everything appears to exaggerate our speed, 
which is now nearly a mile a minute. An ox- 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 



team toiling up a little hill serves to show how 
fast we go. As we sweep by a long freight 
train, west-bound, it is hard to tell whether it is 
running or standing still. In fact, we cannot 
tell until we come up to the locomotive and 
hear one loud exhaust, and we are gone. 

When the whistle sounds, the fireman looks 
ahead, and if the signals are right, he shouts to 
the engineer. If the road is curving to the left, 
it is not always easy for the engineer to see the 
signal displayed. The fireman even tries the 
water. Fifteen years ago that would have cost 
him his job. " You keep her hot ; I 11 keep 
her cool," the engineer would have said at that 
time. And yet he should be glad to have some 
one help him watch the water, for nothing brings 
such lasting scandal to a runner as the burning 
of an engine. He may run by his orders, but 
if he drops his crown sheet he is disgraced for 
life. 

We are now fifty minutes out ; the throttle 
is closed. A half mile ahead is the water 
trough. When the engine reaches it, the fire 
man drops a spout, and in thirty seconds the 
big track trough is dry. When the tank is filled 



IO TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

the throttle is opened, the fireman returns to 
his place at the furnace door, and in a few min 
utes we are sailing along the line as fast as 
before. The black smoke curling gracefully 
above the splendid train reminds me of what 
Meredith said of his sweetheart : 

" Her flowing tresses blown behind, 
Her shoulders in the merry wind." 

We have lost a minute or a minute and a half 
taking water, and now we are nearing a bad 
bridge a bridge under repair, and over which 
the engineer has been instructed, by a bulletin 
posted in the round house at New York, to 
pass at ten miles an hour. We are three min 
utes late, when again we get them swinging 
round the curves beyond the bridge ; for it 
must be remembered that the Central s track 
along the Hudson is far from straight, though 
the road bed is so nearly perfect that passengers 
in the coaches do not feel the curves. Every 
one seems to know that we are three minutes 
late. The old man with the long-handled 
wrench, tightening up the bolts in the rails, re 
proaches the engineer with a sort of " What s- 
de-matter-wid-yez?" expression, as we pass by. 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE II 

The man in the next tower is uneasy till we are 
gone. 

We are a hundred miles from New York now, 
and although I carry a time-card, I am unable 
to read the names on the stations. Holding 
my watch in my left hand, I tap the case with 
my right ; the engineer shakes his head slowly, 
and holds up three fingers : we are three min 
utes late. I cross over, take a seat behind 
the driver, and, speaking loud at the back of 
his neck, express the hope that we shall reach 
Albany on time. 

He says nothing. I cross back to the other 
side, and as often as he whistles I ring the bell. 
A minute later he turns to the fireman and 
shouts : " Look out for her, Jack," at the 
same time pulling the throttle wide open. Jack 
knew his business and proceeded to look out 
for her. Taking the clinker hook, he levelled 
off the fire, shook the grates, and closed the 
furnace door. The black smoke rolled thick 
and fast from her stack, then cleared away, 
showing that she was cutting her fire beauti 
fully. Swinging the door open, the skilled fire 
man threw in three or four shovels of coal, 



12 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

closed it, and leaned out of the window, watch 
ing the stack. The trained fireman can tell by 
the color of the smoke how the fire burns. 

The few pounds of steam lost in fixing the 
fire, and by reason of the throttle being thrown 
wide open, are soon regained. The pointer 
goes round to 190, and the white steam begins 
to flutter from the relief valve at the top of the 
dome. She must be cooled a little now, or she 
will pop, and waste her energy. An extra flow 
of cold water quenches her burning thirst, and 
she quiets down. How like a woman when her 
heart is hurt ! She must be soothed and petted, 
or she will burst into tears and sob herself 
away. 

Now we turn into a long tangent, and are 
clipping off a mile a minute. Our iron steed 
trembles, shakes, and vibrates a little, but aside 
from the fact that there is some dust, the cab is 
not an uncomfortable place. The exhausts, that 
began in the Grand Central station like the 
explosion of a shotgun, come so fast, so close 
together, that they sound like the drumming of 
a pheasant s wings. 

The sun sinks behind the big blue mountains, 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 13 

the shadows creep across the valley, and up to 
our window comes the faint perfume of the 
fields the last scent of summer in the soft 
September winds. Here and there we can see 
the lamps lighted^ in the happy homes by the 
Hudson, while the many colored signal-lamps 
light up our way. 

Not long ago I stood for the first time on the 
deck of a steamer bounding over the billowy 
bar at the mouth of the Columbia River, and 
was filled with a reckless joy. Looking down 
at the little woman who hung to the railing near 
me, I beheld a face radiant with rapture. 
"How is it?" I asked. "It s worth drown 
ing for," was her answer ; and so I reckon now. 
Taking into consideration all the risk, and the 
fact that I must remain on this narrow seat for 
twenty hours, yet I am forced to confess that 
so grand a trip is but poorly paid for. 

If I am at all uneasy it is only when turning 
the slightly reversed curves where the way 
changes from a two to a four track road, or 
back. Plain curves are all well enough. But 
it does not seem quite right to shoot her into 
those kinks at a mile a minute. Yet after I 



14 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



have seen her take two or three of these, I 
rather enjoy it. She sways to the right, to the 
left ; then, with a smart shake of her head when 
she finds the tangent, she speeds away like the 
wind. 

Every man in the employ of a great rail- 
.-load company plays an important part. These 
smooth curves, perfectly pitched, are the work 
of an expert trackman. The outer rail must be 
elevated according to the curve, and with full 
knowledge of the speed of the trains that are to 
use the track. I have seen a train on a heavy 
grade, drawn by two strong locomotives, when 
nearly stalled on a sharp curve, lift a sleeper 
from the middle of the train and turn it over. 
It was because the curve was too sharp, and 
the elevation too great, for so slow a train. 

The engineer looks across the cab and smiles, 
and I know that he has taken my hint about 
reaching Albany on time good-naturedly; we 
understand each other. In his smile he asks : 
" How do you like it? " and I answer by raising 
my right hand with all save the first finger partly 
closed, and with a slight turn of the wrist give 
him that signal so well known to train and 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 



engine men, which means "All right; let 
her go." 

We were due at Albany at 5.45, and at 5.40 
the fireman stepped over and shouted in my 
ear : " That big building at the end of the 
stretch there is the capitol of the State ; " and 
the " Exposition Flyer " rolled into Albany on 
time. 

An extra sleeper, well rilled with the good 
people of the capital, was switched to our train. 
Saying good-by to the old crew, I swung into 
the cab of the 907. The engineer shook hands 
warmly, said he expected me, introduced me 
to his fireman, showed me a comfortable seat 
directly behind him, and opened the throttle. 
This locomotive was nearly new, black and 
beautiful. 

I noticed that we pulled out a few minutes 
late. There is a heavy grade out of Albany, 
and though we had a helper pushing us over 
the hill, it seemed as if we should never get 
them going; and when we did, we were six 
minutes behind our card time. The fireman, 
with whom I sympathized, worked hard, but he 
was handicapped. The hard pounding up the 



I 6 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

hill had torn holes in his fire. His furnace door 
worked badly it would not stay open ; and 
to make a misstroke with a single shovel of coal 
on such a train is not without its bad effect. 
The gauge lamp bothered him. Twice he had 
to climb to the top of the big boiler and re 
light it. The additional car, too, told on the 
locomotive, and it seemed impossible, though 
the crew worked faithfully, to get a mile a min 
ute out of her. When the engineer shut off to 
slow for a station, running without steam, she 
swept over the steel track as smoothly as a 
woman rides on roller skates, making little 
more noise than a coach. She was the smooth 
est rider and the poorest " steamer " of the lot ; 
but it does not follow that with all things work 
ing well she would not steam, nor was her crew 
at fault. But so important are the moments on 
a train like this, that the least mishap is as fatal 
as for a trotting-horse to slip in the start. 

A number of little things, including a bad 
stop at a water-spout, put us into Syracuse six 
minutes late ; and the gentle and gentlemanly 
engineer, for whom I was really sorry, showed 
plainly his embarrassment. 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE I 7 

A jolly-looking young man was the engineer 
of the 896. This crew was a little remote, I 
thought, at first. But when they had seen my 
credentials they thawed out ; and although we 
left eleven minutes late, the ride to Buffalo was 
a delightful one. Just as we were pulling out, 
one of the black boys from the " diner " came 
to the engine with a splendid luncheon, sent 
over by Conductor Rockwell. We were soon 
going. Holding the plate on my lap, I began 
to devour the eatables ; but as the train began 
to roll about, I was obliged to throw the lunch 
eon out of the window, almost losing the plate 
as I did so. But I held to a half-gallon pail 
which was nearly full of steaming coffee. I 
asked my friends to join me, but they shook 
their heads. The engine rolled more and 
more, as did the coffee ; and the boys laughed 
as I stood tiptoe, taking one long drink after 
another. I passed the pail to the fireman, who 
was about to dash it away ; but, catching scent 
of the coffee, paused, and passed the pail up to 
the engineer, who took a good drink. The 
fireman then took a good drink too, and would 
have emptied the pail ; but I touched him on 



I 8 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

the shoulder, and he passed it to me. I took 
another drink, all hands smiled, and we settled 
down to business. 

I had been riding on the fireman s side for 
half an hour when the jolly driver motioned me 
over, and I took a seat behind him. This,, 
locomotive was not very new, but she was a 
splendid " steamer." The fireman appeared 
to play with her all the while. The track was 
straighter here, but not so good. This made 
nojifference with the bold young man at the 
throttle. 

" How old are you? " said I. 

" Twenty- five." 

" How long have you been running? " 

"Twenty-two years," he said. 

I don t know whether he smiled or not, for I 
saw only the back of his head. These men on 
the " Flyer " seldom take their eyes from the 
rail. I expressed anew a wish that we might 
be able to make up the lost time. 

" I think we shall," he said, and he pulled 
the throttle lever back toward the tank. 

It was nearly midnight now, and the frost on 
the rail caused the swift steed to slip. When 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 19 

we had reached the speed of a mile a minute, 
and gone from that to sixty-five miles an hour, 
I thought she would surely be satisfied; but 
every few minutes her feet flew from under her, 
and the wheels revolved at a rate that would 
carry her through the air a hundred miles an 
hour. The engineer stood up now, with one 
hand on the throttle, the other on the sand 
lever; for it is not quite safe to allow these 
powerful engines to slip and revolve at such a 
rate. 

" We Ve got twenty-eight miles up-hill now," 
said the engineer, as he unlatched the lever 
and gave her another notch. The only effect 
was a louder exhaust, and a greater strain on 
the machinery. It seemed the harder he hit 
her, the better she steamed ; and we went up 
the hill at almost a fifty-mile gait. 

"Now it is down hill to Buffalo," said the 
driver; and, as the speed increased to sixty- 
five, seventy, and then seventy-five miles an 
hour, the sensation was delightful. 

" We Ve got thirty-six miles now, and thirty 
minutes to make it in," said the man at the 
throttle. 



20 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

"And you Ve got your nerve also," said I in 
a whisper. Orchards, fields, and farms sweep 
by, and the very earth seems to tremble beneath 
our feet. The engine fairly lifts herself from 
the rail, and seems to fly through space. 

We stopped at Buffalo at 11.39, just one 
minute ahead of time, and this remarkable run 
was made over the poorest piece of track on 
the main line of the New York Central and 
Hudson River Railroad. Eight hours and forty 
minutes, and we are four hundred and forty- 
four miles from New York. 

The men who manned the 898 and the 907 
are sound asleep, and this last crew will be so 
within an hour. The flagman and brakeman 
meet for the first time since they left New York, 
come forward to ask how I like it, then drift 
into the station, "jolly up" the girl at the 
lunch counter, pay for their luncheon, " stand " 
her "off" for a couple of cigars, and go out 
into the night. These are the jolly sailors of 
the rail. Perhaps they have worked together 
for a dozen years, in sun and sleet, skating 
over the icy tops of box-cars, and standing 
on the bridge at midnight. For this they 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 21 

have been promoted to the smoothest run on 
the road. 

The conductor swings his hand-grip, and whis 
tles as he strolls into the station and registers. 
"Train 41, on time." The wary watchman in 
the despatcher s office, who can close his eyes 
and see every train on his division at any 
moment, lights his pipe, and puts his feet upon 
the table, glad to know that the most important 
train on the line has reached its destination. 
Mr. H. Walter Webb, at the club, the play 
house, or at home, glances at his watch, and 
as he has received no notice of delay, knows 
that his pet train the " Exposition Flyer " 
has been delivered safely to the Lake Shore. 
While this was being accomplished, the one 
hundred and one passengers laughed, chatted, 
ate dinner, and went to bed. 

It might be of interest to pause a little in 
our journey here, and give some account of 
how a great railroad is operated each man 
going about his business, and doing what he 
has to do with so little noise. 

The Superintendent of Motive Power and 



22 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Machinery has full charge of the rolling-stock 

the road s equipment. The officers imme 
diately under him are the Division Master 
Mechanics, who are assisted by a travelling 
engineer, who goes about seeing that the men 
as well as the locomotives do their work. He 
is usually promoted from an engineer, and is 
a valuable officer, seeing that engineers do not 
abuse their engines or waste the supplies. 
Often, upon the recommendation of the trav 
elling engineer, firemen are promoted. 

Every man reports to his immediate superior 

the fireman to the engineer, the engineer to 
the Division Master Mechanic, he to the Super 
intendent of Motive Power. These officers 
and men are in the Motive Power Department ; 
they are in the Operating Department also. 

At the head of the Operating Department is 
the Division Superintendent. This officer ap 
points the train-masters, yard-masters and sta 
tion agents. It is usually with his indorsement 
that brakemen are promoted to be freight con 
ductors, and freight conductors to passenger runs. 
The engineer, especially when on the road, is 
responsible to the Division Superintendent. 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 2$ 

Next in importance is the Traffic Depart 
ment. If the road has a General Traffic Man 
ager, the work will be in the hands of a Gen 
eral Freight and a General Passenger Agent. 
Neither the section boss, the local agent, nor 
the conductor can issue transportation com- 
plimentarily. 

There are also the Engineering, the Auditing, 
Track, and Medical Departments. There is 
a Superintendent of Bridges and Buildings. 
There is the General Store Keeper, in charge 
of all building material and supplies. Every 
pound of waste, every gallon of oil, every nut 
or bolt, is charged to the locomotive for which 
it is requested ; and at the end of the month 
the Master Mechanic knows what each engine 
has cost the company how many miles she 
has made to the ton of coal, the pint of oil, 
and the pound of waste. So, you see, there 
are other records an engineer must make 
besides a record for fast running. 

The conductor is the captain of the train, 
and as long as he is consistent his talk "goes." 
In addition to his duties as collector of revenue, 
he must, especially on a single-track road, read 



24 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

and check up the register, to see that all trains 
due, and having rights over his train, are in. 
If we except the despatcher, the conductor is 
the best judge of orders in the service. By the 
use of two carbon sheets, the operator receiving 
an order for a train will make three copies : one 
to file in the telegraph office, one for the 
conductor, and one for the engineer. The 
conductor will examine the order, and, if it is 
correct and proper, sign his name and the 
name of the engineer. He should go to the 
head end and read the order to the engine-men. 
If the brakemen hear it, so much the better. 
It would be a good plan if all these men were 
furnished with a copy of the order. The con 
ductor now returns to the train. The engineer 
does the running ; but if he should run contrary 
to orders, the conductor may pull the automatic 
air valve and stop the train. 

The writer of a recent article says : " It may 
be possible to make such mechanical improve 
ments as will permit a rate of one hundred 
miles an hour ; but where are the men who will 
run these trains of the future when they are 
built?" 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 



2 5 



This reminds me of a conversation which 
took place in my hearing thirteen years ago, in 
the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. The men 
talking were a train crew, waiting on a side 
track for the Leadville express, which had just 
begun to operate between the carbonate camp 
and Colorado s capital. 

11 They are going to build a line over Marshall 
Pass to Salt Lake," said the conductor; "but 
I 11 husk punkins fore I 11 run a train there." 

" You think you would," said the long, lank 
brakeman, taking the stem of a black clay pipe 
from between his teeth. "I want t tell you 
that if they build a road to Pike s Peak, they 11 
be men just fool nough to go there and rail 
road." 

In less than three years these very men were 
running over the mountain, and in less than ten 
years we saw a railroad to Pike s Peak. It 
makes no difference to these fearless fellows 
where the road runs up a tree or down a well 
so long as there are two rails. Bring on your 
thunder birds ; never yet in the history of rail 
roading has an engineer asked for more time. 
When the running time between New York and 



26 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Chicago is fifteen hours, the engine-men will 
work harder for promotion than they do now. 
We have now not only the men to run these 
trains, but we have the motive power. With a 
track as nearly perfect as engine 999, for ex 
ample, herself is, she will make her one hundred 
miles an hour. This locomotive is the plain 
single-cylinder, eight-wheel type of engine, 
which has been a favorite with engine-men for 
the past fifteen years. Manifestly, Mr. Buchanan 
has very little faith in the newer compound loco 
motives which have been claiming the attention 
of managers of late. The Rio Grande Western, 
one of the swiftest little lines in the West, has 
been making a thorough test of the compound 
engine. It finds that with an ordinary train 
they show no saving of fuel, but with a heavy 
train they perform beautifully. 

When the next new ocean-steamer is placed 
upon the Atlantic, she will probably shorten the 
time from Queenstown to New York to five days. 
That would be six days to Chicago, and seven 
days from Queenstown to the summit of Pike s 
Peak. There is no excuse for squandering five 
days in a journey from New York to San Fran- 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 2>J 

cisco. This would make a comfortable time- 
card : 

New York to Chicago ... 19 hours 

Chicago to Denver .... 23 hours 

Denver to Ogden 19 hours 

Ogden to San Francisco . . 23 hours 

Total, eighty- four hours, or three days and a 
half, from New York to the Pacific Coast. The 
same time can be made going east ; for actual 
running time is reckoned, no allowance being 
made for difference in time. A sleeping-car 
attached to the Union Pacific fast mail leaves 
Omaha every evening at 6.30, and arrives in 
Denver at 7.30 the next morning, five hun 
dred and sixty-five miles. This run is made 
across the plains, where the traffic does not 
justify the expenditure of a very considerable 
amount of money on track. There is never a 
night that this train does not reach the speed 
of a mile a minute. Every day this fast mail- 
train makes the run from Chicago to Denver in 
a little over twenty- four hours. 

Either the Rio Grande or the Santa Fe", in 
connection with the Rio Grande Western, can 
take you from the Queen City of the Plains to 



28 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Ogden in nineteen hours. The Southern Pacific 
has a very good track and splendid equipment, 
and they should be ashamed to take thirty-six 
hours of a short life to run a little over nine 
hundred miles. They can make the run in 
twenty- three hours, and do it easily. What we 
want is better track. The locomotive of to-day 
will do for some time. 

^Ve want, also, a high regard for the lives of 
passengers on the part of railroad officials and 
employees. Much as I would like to, I am un 
able to offer a reasonable excuse for some of 
the collisions which have cost so many lives. 
It was not to be expected that the railroads 
could handle the multitudes to and from the 
World s Fair without injuring a number of 
people, and without some loss of life. But 
if every section of a train had been kept ten 
minutes behind the section it followed, there 
could have been no rear-end collisions such 
as we have heard of recently. Every train 
should have proceeded upon the theory that 
it was followed closely by a special, and the 
flagman should have been instructed to flag 
without ceasing. Better be in Chicago ten 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 29 

minutes late than in eternity ten years ahead 
of time. 

A locomotive should never cross the turn 
table without a box of sand, and the driver 
should see that the pipes are open. Enough 
sand to fill the sailor hat of a summer girl will 
often save a whole train. 

Of course there will always be wrecks as long 
as mortal men- tend the switches and hold the 
throttles, for it is human to err ; but the mind 
should be on the work at all times. No man 
should be compelled, or even allowed, to remain 
on duty more than twelve hours, or eighteen at 
the most. After twenty-four hours the eyes 
become tired ; after thirty- six hours the brain is 
benumbed. 

I have been on a locomotive forty hours, and 
all desire to sleep had left me ; but I felt that I 
was dreaming with my eyes wide open. The 
fireman had to speak twice to get my attention, 
I was not asleep, but my mind was away, and 
when called to note a signal it returned reluc 
tantly. The brain seems to feel the injustice 
of such abuse, and simply quits walks out. 
Of course, it can be compelled to work, but it 



30 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

will not work cheerfully or well. Just as any 
other striker may be forced to submit to a de 
crease in wages or an increase of hours, so it 
may work, but will " soldier " enough to put its 
employer on the losing side. 

After such a strain I have gone to bed at 
eight in the evening, and have rolled and tossed 
and beat about until midnight, unable to sleep. 
Once I dozed for a few minutes, and then sat 
up in bed, pulled my watch from under my pil 
low, held it to the open window where the full 
moon fell upon its face, and said, so loud that I 
was wakened by my own voice : " Nine fifty- 
five ; No. lois due here at 10.1." Half asleep, 
I had dreamed that I was on the side track at 
Chester, waiting for the east-bound express. 
How forcibly the time-card rules are photo 
graphed upon the brain ! Even in my sleep I 
was " in to clear " six minutes before the oppos 
ing train was due. 

It so happened that the night-train from 
Leadville was due in Salida at about that time. 
I could hear it roaring down through Brown s 
Canon, and then I heard the long, wild wail 
of the whistle echoing along the sides of the 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 3! 

Sangre de Cristo range. I saw the head brake - 
man open the switch, dropped out on the main 
line, saw the signal from the rear-end when the 
switch was closed, and drifted away down the 
valley of the Gunnison to the vale of sleep. 
A yard engine screamed for brakes that 
short, sharp shriek that tells of danger and 
hints of death. I looked out of the window, 
and saw the great white quivering head-light 
bearing down upon me. Twice in reality I 
have stood in the shadow of death, and I know 
that at such times the mind sweeps over a 
quarter of a century in a second or two. We 
were on the side track ; our train was stand 
ing. Some one had left the switch open, and 
the express was heading in upon us. There 
was nothing to do but to leap for life. As 
I threw my feet out of the window to jump, 
the cold air awakened me, and I saw before 
me, not a head-light, but the big bright moon 
that was just about disappearing behind the 
mountains. 

And this is the way I slept until 6.30, when 
the caller came. I signed the book, and at 
7.30 was on the road again. 



32 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Where there are no regular runs, and the 
men run " first in, first out," it is almost im 
possible to always have just work enough to 
go round. T t he men are as much to blame as 
the management for the overwork of engineers. 
They are paid on these mountain roads four 
dollars per day. Days are not measured _by 
hours, but by miles. Forty- four mountain, or 
eighty-five valley miles is a day on freight. On 
passenger service one hundred and five valley 
miles is a day s work. The point between 
valley and mountain mileage is passed when 
the grade exceeds two hundred feet to the 
mile. Men have made sixty days in a month 
on these mountains, and they have earned the 
two hundred and forty dollars ; but they should 
not have been allowed to do it. 

One young man, Hyatt by name, used to 
threaten to put himself into a receiver s hands 
when he made less than forty days a month. 
Fifty days was fair business, but sixty suited 
him better. He kept it up for three years, 
collapsed, and had to be hurried out of the 
country. I don t know that he ever wholly 
recovered. He was a fine fellow physically, 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 33 

sober and strong, or he would have collapsed 
sooner. I am afraid the older engineers are a 
V little selfish. When the management proposes 
to employ more men, or promote some fire 
man, there is usually a protest from the older 
runners. 

In the general instructions printed in the 
New York Central time-card, we find the fol 
lowing : " The use of intoxicating drink on the 
road, or about the premises of the corporation, 
is strictly forbidden. No one will be employed, 
or continued in employment, who is known to 
be in the habit of drinking intoxicating liquor." 
They might have added " on or off duty," 
just to make it plain and strong. A man who 
was drunk last night is not fit to run a train or 
engine to-day. Men who never drink should 
be encouraged, and promoted ahead of those 
who do. I have always opposed the idea of 
promoting men strictly in accordance with the 
length of time they have served in any capacity. 
If all firemen knew that they would be pro 
moted when they had fired a certain number 
of years, there would be nothing to strive for. 
They would be about as ambitious as a herd of 
3 




34 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

steers who are to be kept until they are three 
years old, and then shipped. 

The best engine-man has been a fireman; 
the best conductors are made of brakemen ; 
the best officials are promoted from the ranks. 
Mr. John M. Toucey, General Manager of the 
New York Central, was once a trainman. Pres 
ident Newell, of the Lake Shore, used to carry 
a chain in an engineering corps on the Illinois 
Central. President Clark, of the Mobile and 
Ohio, was a section man ; afterwards a fireman. 
Another man who drove grade stakes is Presi 
dent Blockstand, of the Alton. Allen Manvill, 
the late president of " the longest road on 
earth," was a storehouse clerk. President Van 
Home (Sir William now), of the Canadian 
Pacific, kept time on the Illinois Central. A 
man named Towne, who used to twist brake- 
wheels on the Burlington, is now Vice- President 
Towne, of the Southern Pacific. President 
Smith, of the Louisville and Nashville, was a 
telegraph operator. Marvin Hughitt, of the 
Chicago and Northwestern, began as a telegraph 
messenger-boy. President Clark, of the Union 
Pacific, used to check freight and push a truck 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 35 

on the "Omaha platform." The Illinois Cen 
tral, I believe, has turned out more great men 
than any other road. President Jeffrey, of the 
Denver and Rio Grande, began in the Central 
shops, at forty-five cents a day. General Super 
intendent Sample, of the same Company, began 
at Baldwins at $1.50 a week. 

But this has been a long detour, and my 
wait at Buffalo was really a very short one. 
The 896 gave place to the 293, and in a few 
minutes we were under way again. 

The locomotives used by the New York Cen 
tral were designed by Mr. Buchanan, Superin 
tendent of Motive Power. They consume a 
tank of coal over each division, and drink up 
thirty-six hundred gallons of water an hour, or 
nearly a gallon a second. A number ten moni 
tor injector forces the water from the tank into 
the boiler. When I stepped from the Central s 
magnificent hundred-ton locomotive to the 
Lake Shore s little McQueen, with her five-foot- 
ten wheel, the latter looked like a toy. 

I had not heard so much of the Lake Shore 
and Michigan Southern, over whose line we 



36 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

were now to travel, and was agreeably surprised 
to find such splendid track. The 293 put a 
mile a minute behind her with a grace and ease 
really remarkable. The lamps have all been 
blown out in the farmhouses, and the world 
has gone to sleep. The big white moon, that 
came up from the Atlantic as we were leaving 
the metropolis, is dropping down in the west. 

The Lake Shore is remarkable for its short 
divisions and long tangents. " That s the east- 
bound Flyer, " said the fireman, as a bright 
head-light showed up in front of us ; and in a 
minute she dashed by. I had just begun to 
get used to the bell when we stopped at Erie 
on time. 

A flat-topped Brooks locomotive, number 559, 
with a big, roomy cab, a youthful driver, a six- 
foot wheel, and an enthusiastic fireman who 
knew his business (as they must on this run), 
backed up to our train. " You 11 have this 
class of engine all the way to Chicago," said 
the engineer. "They were built for these 
trains." They are but little heavier than the 
McQueen, but splendid " steamers," good riders, 
and run like a coyote. The fireman found 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 37 

time to show me the home of the dear dead 
Garfield, and made me shudder when he pointed 
to the Ashtabula bridge, where so many lives 
were lost some years ago. I was glad to think 
that wooden bridges and poor roadways were 
things of the past. 

We are making a mile a minute. What 
would the driver do if he saw before him a 
burning bridge, or the red lights of a standing 
train ? His left hand is on the throttle ; he 
would close it. Almost in the same second his 
right hand would grasp the sand lever, and 
with his left he would apply the brakes. With 
both hands, in about the third second, he would 
reverse the engine. Perhaps he has heard that 
old story that to reverse a locomotive is to 
increase her speed that a bird will fly faster 
with folded wings : he may pretend to believe 
it ; but he will reverse her just the same. If 
she has room she will stop. Even without the 
aid of the air-brake she will stop the train, if 
the rail holds out. I ought to say that, the 
instant he reverses the engine, he will kick the 
cylinder cocks open otherwise he may blow 
off a steam-chest or a cylinder head. 



38 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



engineer will risk his life to save his 
train. Of this the travelling public may rest 
assured. Even though he may be, or may 
have been, the greatest coward living, a man 
who has run a locomotive for a number of 
years will do, in the face of a great danger, 
just what I have described. To say that he 
does this mechanically is not to accuse him 
of cowardice. It is harder to enlist than to 
march to the music and keep up with the crowd 
when the battle is on. He does not, mechani 
cally, say good-by to loved ones, and step into 
the cab knowing that he must face danger, even 
death. The mother seeing her child fall in 
front of a cable-car, without stopping to reason 
what is best to do, or taking thought of the 
risk, springs to the rescue. The engineer, see 
ing an open switch, reasons no more, but does 
that which human instinct tells him to do. It 
was my business, for a number of years, to read 
and write about railroad people ; and if_an, 
engineer ever left the cab without first making 
an effort to save his train, I have failed to hear 
of it. 

Having met and passed the east-bound 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 39 

"Flyer," we have absolute right of track to 
Chicago. All north or east bound trains have 
rights of track over trains of the same or in 
ferior class going in the opposite direction. The 
terms passenger or freight are descriptive, and 
do not refer to class. All trains are designated 
as regular or extra. The regular trains are 
those on the time-cards ; the extras are run 
by special telegraphic orders, and always carry 
white flags or white lights on the locomotive. 
An extra train composed of passenger cars 
is usually called a " special ; " of freight cars 
an " extra ; " and they must always be kept off 
the time of regular trains of whatever class. 

" And this is Cleveland," said I, as I looked 
from the roomy cab of another Brooks, " the 
home of the Grand Old Chief? " I had hoped, 
by showing that I knew Mr. Arthur, to put 
myself in touch with the driver ; but a prophet 
is never appreciated at home, and the only 
reply was a good-natured grunt and a sarcastic 
smile. 

It is hard pounding out of Cleveland, and 
I wonder that a yard-engine does not give 
us a little start. It is almost morning now. 



40 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Just the time for a wreck. More collisions, 
I believe, occur between the hours of two and 
six A. M. than in the other twenty hours of the 
day. Now for the first time I feel just a little 
tired. Just once I closed my eyes, and it 
seemed to rest them so that I kept them closed 
for a moment, until I felt myself swaying on 
the seat. Then I opened them wide, for we 
were making more than a mile a minute, and 
to sleep was to run the risk of falling out of 
the open window at my left. That was the only 
time on the whole trip that I felt the least incli 
nation to sleep. 

At Toledo we changed engines and train 
crews, and in the gray dawn of morning pulled 
out for Elkhart, Indiana. The 94 had seen 
considerable service ; she was not very beauti 
ful, and, having a flat spot on one of her wheels, 
was a little lame. The hostler " slid " her, the 
fireman said ; but when the serious-looking 
engineer got her headed down the sixty-eight 
mile tangent, the flat spot and the little limp 
gave us no more trouble. The speed was so 
great that she touched only the high places, 
and the ride down the long stretch of straight 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 41 

track was a delightful one. The sun, that I 
had seen drop down behind the Catskills, as 
it seemed, but a few hours ago, swung up 
from the Atlantic, and shone on the Hoosier 
hills, " where the frost was on the punkin, and 
the fodder in the shock." The trainmaster, 
from Toledo, came over to ride with me, and 
showed me where the daring train robbers held 
the train up in an open prairie, on a straight 
track. We held our watches on the 94, and 
found that she made ten miles in eight minutes, 
and eleven miles in eight and one half minutes. 
Old and lame as she is, she manages to limp 
over eight thousand miles a month, at an 
average rate of a mile a minute.. 

The 94 reminded me of a jack rabbit. When 
he gets up he is so stiff and lame that a well- 
trained greyhound is ashamed to chase him. 
He will wabble about, stumble and fall, put 
down three and carry one, until the dog is 
ready to eat him. Then he lays his ears down 
along his spine, and skims over the sage-brush 
with the speed of the wind. 

At Elkhart the 160 backed on to our train. 
The conductor came running forward with a 



42 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

manifold order, and, handing a copy to the 
engineer, they both began to read. " Put up 
green signals," said the driver; and the fire 
man planted a small green flag on either side 
of the front end of the locomotive, and we were 
off for Chicago. These flags did not affect 
us or our train ; they only showed that some 
thing was following us with the same rights 
that we enjoyed. As often as we passed a train 
or switch-engine, the engineer sounded two 
long and two short blasts of the whistle, and 
the other engineers answered with two short, 
sharp whistles, saying that they understood the 
signals. 

The 1 60 was an easy rider, and as she slipped 
down the smooth steel track, the run over the 
last division was no whit less glorious than was 
our midnight ride on the Central. 

The cheerful driver appeared to regard his 
day s work as a pleasant morning ride down 
to Chicago, one hundred and one miles, in two 
hours. When we were acquainted, and he had 
seen my old worn license as a locomotive 
engineer, he called me over to his side. Find 
ing myself, for the first time in my life, at the 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 43 

throttle of a locomotive making a mile a minute, 
I was almost dizzy with delight. Fields and 
farms flew by, and the mile-posts began to get 
together like telegraph poles. A prairie hawk 
flying down the track became bewildered, and 
barely saved his life by a quick swerve as the 
front end of the locomotive was about to strike 
him ; his wing brushed the signal lamp on my 
side. Little brown birds, flying in front of us, 
dashed against the cab windows, fluttered from 
the running board, and dropped to the ground 
dead. 

While she was making her mile in fifty to 
fifty-five seconds, the train inspector came over 
the tank, bearing a tray which held a steaming 
breakfast for the " dead-head," in the cab. 
" Put it on the boiler head," shouted the engi 
neer ; and then I learned what the flat top was 
intended for. Placing the tray on top of the 
boiler, I stood up in the corner of the cab and 
ate my breakast, and enjoyed it at the rate of a 
mile a minute and a dollar a meal. 

Looking back along the side of this remark 
able train, I was surprised to note that the 
heavy Wagner cars, owing to hydraulic buffer 



44 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

equipment, swayed not to exceed two inches 
out of a straight line when we were making 
seventy-five miles an hour. I have never trav 
elled in the cars of this swift train ; but, judging 
from the way the locomotives ride, the coaches 
must be as easy as a sleigh. We placed the 
coffee cup outside the tray on the jacket, which 
is almost as smooth as glass, and it rode there 
for a half hour, when the inspector took it off. 

Nobody ever heard of a person drowning on 
air, and yet I believe it is possible. When we 
were running at the rate of seventy-five or 
eighty miles an hour, I closed my mouth and 
leaned out of the window. The force of the 
air was so great that it actually strangled me ; 
I tried it again and again, with the same result. 
The air drove into my nostrils with such force 
that I invariably opened my mouth to breathe ; 
and then the air drove down my throat, and 
compelled me to draw back into the cab. Now, 
when we breathe water into the nostrils, we 
always throw open the mouth, only to take in 
more water and strangle the worse. If, when 
you had put your head out of a locomotive cab 
moving at seventy-five or eighty miles an hour, 



A THOUSAND-MILE RIDE 45 

a strong hand seized it and held it there, you 
would, I believe, actually drown. 

In California they do not say the oldest mis 
sion, the largest orchard, the biggest tree " in 
the State" or "in the Union," but "in the 
world." I shall say this is the swiftest and 
safest long distance train on earth. That it is 
the swiftest, the time-card proves. It is the 
safest, for the reason that, from the moment 
the " Exposition Flyer " leaves New York, 
every man in the employ of the New York 
Central and the Lake Shore railroads, including 
Dr. Depew and Mr. John Newell, look out for 
her until she whistles into Chicago. If the 
"Flyer" loses over five minutes, the fact as 
well as the cause of the delay is wired at once 
to Mr. Edgar Van Etten, the General Superin 
tendent. Everything is out of the way, and 
switches set for her ten minutes before she is 
due. Ordinarily, when a passenger train is 
late, her danger is correspondingly increased. 
Not so with the " Exposition Flyer ; " she has 
the right to the rail until she is able to use it, 
or until she becomes twelve hours late. When 
she is one minute late, all who are watching 



46 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

and waiting for her know it, and their anxiety 
increases until she is heard from. No train on 
the road runs closer to her time-card than the 
" Flyer." Nearly all the ugly wrecks are rear- 
end collisions ; but there is no danger from that 
source to this train. Nothing short of a thunder 
bolt can catch her. 

But, behold, here in full view are the glisten 
ing domes of the White City and the mammoth, 
high-mounted Ferris wheel ! The last of nearly 
a thousand miles of steel has slipped from under 
our faithful steed, and at precisely ten o clock 
A.M. we stop at the Chicago station on time. 
It has taken twenty hours, eight engines, and 
sixteen engine-men to bring us through, and it 
has been a glorious trip the best of my life. 



Mun 



THE DEATH RUN 



A LONG in the early eighties, when the Den- 
"^ ver and Rio Grande was a narrow gauge 
road, and the main line lay across the great 
divide at Marshall Pass, there was a wreck in 
the Black Canon, and of that wreck I write. 

So rough and impenetrable was this canon 
that the men sent out to blaze the trail were 
unable to get through. Engineers, with their 
instruments, were let down from the top of the 
canon wall, hundreds of feet, by long ropes; 
and to this day, if you look up when the train 
goes round " Dead Man s Curve," you will see 
a frayed-out rope whipping the gray rocks, five 
hundred feet above the river and the rail. 

By the breaking of this rope a human life 

was lost : the first of many lives that have been 

lost in this wild canon. In the rush and hurry 

to complete the road, little attention was given 

4 



50 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

to sloping the cuts or making it safe for the 
men who ride ahead. So, when spring came, 
and the snow began to melt on the mountains 
and moisten the earth, great pieces of " scenery " 
would loose their hold upon the steep hill, and 
sweep down the side of the canon, carrying 
rails, road-bed, in fact everything but the right 
of way, across the river, where the land-slide 
was often landed high and dry on the opposite 
shore. 

So often was the " scenery " shifted during 
the first twelve months that the night run 
through the Black Canon, so wildly beautiful 
by day, so grand and awful by night, came to 
be called the "Death Run." 

It was engineer Peasley s run out that night ; 
but he had just returned from the stony little 
graveyard that had been staked out on the 
banks of the Gunnison, where they had buried 
his baby. He was a delicate-looking man, and 
when he came into the round-house that after 
noon to register off, he wore his soft hat far 
down over his inflamed eyes, as if he would 
hide from the world any trace of that sacred 
grief. Kipp, his fireman, saw him, and was 



THE DEATH RUN 51 

sorry, for he knew how dearly the driver had 
loved the little one now lost to him. Sliding 
from the pilot, where he had been scouring the 
number-plate, Kipp went to the book and 
registered off also. 

And so it happened that, when Number 
Seven left Gunnison at 9.15 Jack Welsh held 
the seat, and fireman McConnell handled the 
scoop. The sharp exhausts from the straight 
stack sent up a solid stream of fire, as they 
hurried out through the yards, that fell like hail 
among the crippled cars on the " rep" track. 

The brisk bark of the bounding engine 
dwindled down to a faint pant, and was drowned 
in the roar of the wheels, as the long train 
hurried away down the valley, and was swal 
lowed up in the Black Canon. The run was 
regarded as a difficult one ; but the extra crew 
were equal to it, and at every station up to 
11.30 the operator wired the despatcher, the 
despatcher the train- master, and he the super 
intendent : " Number Seven on time." 

Although he had no regular run, McConnell 
was really an old fireman. He had but recently 
returned to the road after a year s absence. 



52 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

At the earnest solicitation of his good mother, 
he had left the rail to return to his father s farm 
near Salina, Kansas. He was a good and duti 
ful son, and he loved his mother as only such 
a son can love ; but he could not help the long 
ing within him to return to the road. That 
summer the Missouri Pacific opened a new line 
right through his father s farm, and every day 
he heard the snort of the iron horse, saw the 
trains go to and fro, saw the engine-men throw 
ing kisses to the girls on the farm, and he 
wanted to return to the Rockies. More than 
once every day he looked away to the west, 
where he knew the trains were going up and 
down ; where the snow lay in great drifts on 
one side of the track, and the flowers bloomed 
by the other. Who can say how the heart of 
the engine-man longs for the engine? 

<? i ? -^-~: " 

He loves the locomotive 

As the flowers love the lea, 
As the song-birds love the sunlight, 
As the sailor loves the sea. 

When the harvest had been cut and the 
golden grain garnered, the restless youth bade 
his parents adieu, and set his face toward the 



THE DEATH RUN 53 

sunset. He had been a faithful fireman, and 
found no trouble in re-establishing himself in 
the service of the "Scenic" Line. 

The Death Run was a long one : one hundred 
and thirty-five miles over mountains and through 
canons. They had crossed Cero summit, and 
were now roaring along the canon, by the banks 
of the beautiful river. 

The night grew warmer as they drifted down 
toward the valley of the Grande. The engineer 
sat silently in his place, trying the water, whist 
ling for stations, and watching the way. The 
fireman, having little to do now, lounged in the 
open window and looked out on the rippling 
river where the moonlight lay. It was almost 
midnight when the operator at Roubideau was 
awakened by the wild wail of the west-bound 
express. As the long train rattled over the 
bridge beyond the little station, the operator 
reached for the key and made the wire say : 
" Number Seven on time." 

Beyond the bridge there was a bit of a tan 
gent, a few hundred yards; and when they 
turned into it, the fireman got down from his 
comfortable seat to fix the fire. 



54 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

The driver released the brakes at the bridge, 
and the train was now increasing her speed at 
every turn of the wheels. Looking ahead, the 
engineer saw the open mouth of Roubideau 
tunnel, which, being on the shadow side of the 
hill, looked like a great hole in the night. 
Nearer the engine he saw a number of dark 
objects scattered about. In another second he 
discerned what these were, and realized an 
awful danger. As he reversed the engine and 
applied the air, he shouted to the fireman to 
jump. He might have jumped himself, for he ^j 
saw the danger first ; but no such thought came 
to him. In another second the pilot was plough 
ing through a herd of cattle that were sleeping 
on the track. If they had all been standing, 
he would have opened the throttle and sent 
them flying into the river, with less risk to his 
train. But they were lying down ; and as they 
rolled under the wheels, they lifted the great 
engine from the rails and threw her down the 
dump at the very edge of the river. So well 
had the faithful engineer performed his work 
that the train was stopped without wrecking a 
car. Many of the passengers were not awakened. 



THE DEATH RUN 55 



x- The trainmen came forward and found the 
engineer. He was able to speak to them ; he $ 
knew what had happened, and knew that he 
had but a few minutes to live. These brave, 
\ rough men of the rail never hide anything from 
each other, and when he asked for his fireman, 
they told him the fireman was dead. 

As he lay there in the moonlight, with his 
head resting in the conductor s lap, while the 
brakeman brought a cup from the mail-car and 
gave him a drink of water, he told them where 
he wanted to be buried, back East some 
where ; spoke of his insurance policy ; left a 
loving message for his wife ; and then, as if he 
had nothing more to say or do, closed his eyes, 
folded his hands over his brave heart, and with 
out a murmur apparently without pain 
died. 

It was many hours before they found the fire 
man. When the crash came, he was standing 
in front of the furnace door. The tank doubled 
forward and forced him up against the boiler- 
head, where, if he had not been killed instantly, 
he must have been slowly roasted. He lay in 
the wreck so long that, when they got him out, 



56 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

there was a deep and ugly groove across his 
face, where he had lain against the narrow edge 
of the throttle lever. Save this deep furrow, 
there were no marks upon his face. But that 
one mark remained, even after the body was 
embalmed. 

The writer was, at that time, employed by 
the same company, and was sent out to the 
wreck to take charge of the body of the fire 
man, bring it to Denver, and then take it back 
to the farm at Salina. The travelling engineer 
went out with a special engine and the superin 
tendent s private car, and I went with him. 

It is not a pleasant task to deliver the dead 
to bereaved relatives; but it is the least that 
can be done, and some one must do it. The 
engine left the track precisely at midnight, 
Friday night, and it was not until the after 
noon of the following Tuesday that I reached 
Salina. 

There had been six children in this happy 
family, three boys and three girls. The eldest 
son was a locomotive engineer, but he had left 
the road for good, and was now with the family 
at the Kansas farm. 



THE DEATH RUN 57 

"How does he look?" asked the engineer, 
when we had taken seats in the farm carriage. 
"Can mother see him?" 

" He looks very well," said I ; and then^ 
remembering that ugly furrow in his face, " but 
would it not be better for all of you to remem 
ber him just as he left home? " 

" I shall leave that all to you," he said, while 
the hot tears fairly rained down upon the lap- 
robe that covered our knees. 

When we reached the McConnell place, and 
I went into the house where the family were all 
assembled in the large, plain parlor, there was 
no need of an introduction. They all knew 
me, and knew why I had come, and when they 
crowded about me, all weeping so bitterly, I 
felt that I could not hold out much longer my 
self. I did better than I had expected, however, 
until I attempted to talk, when the tears came 
up in my throat and choked me. So, with a 
little brother on one knee, a little sister on the 
other, while the two young ladies were sobbing 
by the window, and the brave young engineer 
was trying between his tears to calm his mother, 
I gave way, and wept with the rest. 



58 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

When we had all gained the little relief that 
always comes with a shower of tears, the mother 
began to talk to me and ask questions. To 
begin with, she asked me if I could tell her 
exactly when her boy was killed. 
"Last Friday night," I said. 
"What time?" she asked, glancing at her 
two daughters, who had turned from the window, 
and were trying to dry their eyes. 

"Almost exactly at midnight," was my reply. 
"Ah!" she said, bursting into tears again, 
" I knew it ! I knew it ! " 

" He was killed instantly," said I ; "he never 
knew what happened." 

I said this with the hope of their deriving a 
shade of comfort from the fact that the dear, 
brave boy was not roasted alive, as so many 
engine-men are. 

" Not quite instantly," said the weeping 
mother. " He called me twice : Mother ! 
Mother ! and I saw him standing before me 
with a great deep furrow across his face." 

Then she placed the edge of her hand against 
her face to show me where the scar was ; and 
when I saw her mark the very angle of the ugly 



THE DEATH RUN 59 

groove, I felt a strange tingling sensation at the 
roots of my hair. 

" Has any one written you the particulars of 
the wreck? " I said. 

"No," she answered, "we have had but two 
telegrams : one from the superintendent, telling 
of his death, and the one from you when you 
left Denver." 

What she said so affected me that I excused 
myself and walked out to the barn, where I 
could think. I was not long in arriving at the 
conclusion that when the 177 left the track, in 
that infinitesimal fragment of time, the boy saw 
that he was in the shadow of death, and his first 
and only thought was of his mother. His whole 
soul went out to her so swiftly and so surely 
that she not only heard him call her, but saw 
him, just as he was. 

At the barn I found the dead boy s father, 
who had insisted upon his son s going in with 
me, upon our arrival at the house, while he 
" put up " the team. I thought his the saddest 
face I had ever seen, as he moved about in his 
tearless and silent sorrow. 

" Plow did it happen ? " asked the farmer, 



60 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

when he had finished his chores, and we were 
walking back toward the house together. 

" Hit a bunch of cattle," said I. 

"In the night?" 

"Yes," was my answer, "just about mid 
night." 

"What night?" 

" Last Friday." 

"Stop," said the farmer, touching my arm. 
" I want to tell you something that happened 
here last Friday night and I remember that 
it was just about midnight." 

Then he told me how his wife had screamed 
and wakened him, and how she had wept bit 
terly, and insisted that Johnny had been killed. 
He had been struck by somebody or something, 
she insisted, and she could see a great deep, 
ugly scar on his face. 

I don t know why I did not ; but I remem 
ber distinctly that I did not tell them not 
even the engineer, who was accustomed to see 
ing such things that the scar was there, on 
Jack s face, just as his mother had seen it that 
Friday night. We did not open the coffin at 
the church, nor at the grave. 



THE DEATH RUN 6 1 

I remained with the family at the farmhouse 
that night, and with them, on the following day, 
went to the little church in town, where the 
good priest talked a great deal longer than was 
necessary, I thought, for he had it not in his 
power to do John McConnelt any good by 
talking. In a pleasant place, on a gentle slope 
that tipped to the west, his grave was made ; 
and while we were weeping there, another 
grave, in another place, was being filled, hiding 
from the eyes of the world the body of the 
brave engineer. 



ljrougl) 



FLYING THROUGH FLAMES 



"POOREST fires had been raging in the moun 
tains for more than a month. The pas 
sengers were peering from the car-windows, 
watching the red lights leap from tree to tree, 
leaving the erstwhile green-garbed hills a bleak 
and blackened waste. 

The travelling passenger agent had held the 
maiden from Normal out on the rear platform 
all the way up the mountain, soothing her fears, 
and showing her the sights and scenes along 
the line. "Over there," he said, "is the 
sunny San Luis Valley, and those high hills 
that snowy range when seen in the golden 
glow of sunset was called by the Spaniards 
Sangre de Cristo, the blood of Christ. Far 
ther to the south and a little west is the great 
silver camp of Creede, where it is always after 
noon. 

" Looking far down the vale you can see the 
5 



66 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

moon-kissed crest of the Spanish range, below 
whose lofty peaks the archaic cliff-dwellers had 
their homes. Here to the north, where you 
see the fire flying from the throbbing throat of 
a locomotive, is the line that leads to Lead- 
ville, whose wondrous wealth is known to all 
the English-speaking people ; yes, even as far 
south as Texas they have come to talk of Lead- 
ville and the mines. 

" Now we have reached the crest of the con 
tinent, where " 

" Oh, yes, I have seen it ! " chimed in the 
maiden. " It s by Ernest Ingersoll, is it not? " 

"No," he replied, "this one is by the 
Builder of the universe, and, as I was about to 
say, the water flows this way to the Atlantic, 
and that way to the Pacific Ocean." 

" Why, how very, very funny," said the 
" schoolmarm ; " but the railroad man has 
never been able to see where the laugh came 
in. He was making no attempt to be funny ; 
and, turning the tourist over to the porter, after 
assuring her, for the one-hundredth time, that 
accidents were never heard of on Marshall 
Pass, he said good-night. 



FLYING THROUGH FLAMES 67 

The conductor came out from the smoky 
station, lifted his white light a time or two, the 
big bell sounded, and the long train began to 
find and wind its way over the smooth steel 
track that should lead from the hoary heights 
to the verdant vale. And the gentle curves 
made cradles of the cars, and the happy maiden 
in high Five dreamed she was at home in her 
hammock, while the man of the road went 
peacefully to sleep in upper Six, feeling that 
he had shown all the wonders of the West 
to at least one passenger in that train-load of 
people. 

The engineer reached for the rope, and the 
long, low "toooo toooo-too toot " went out 
upon the midnight air ; and the women folks 
whispered a little prayer for the weary watcher 
in the engine cab, placed their precious lives 
in his left hand, and went to sleep again. 
The long train creaked and cracked on the 
sharp corners, and as the last echo of the 
steam-whistle died away in the distant hills, 
slid swiftly from the short tangent, and was 
swallowed up by a snowshed. 

At that moment the fire leaped from a clump 



68 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

of pinions, and the sun-dried snowshed flashed 
aflame like a bunch of grass in a prairie fire. 

It had required the united efforts of three 
locomotives to haul the train up the hill, and 
the engineer knew that to stop was to perish in 
the fire, as he was utterly unable to back out of 
the burning building. 

That is why it appeared to the passengers 
that all at once every tie that bound this 
human-burdened train to the track parted, and 
the mad train began to fall down the moun 
tain. Away they went like the wind. On 
they went through the fiery furnace like a 
frightened spirit flying from the hearth of hell. 
The engine-men were almost suffocated in the 
cab,whlle the paint was peeled from the Pull 
man cars as a light snow is swallowed by the 
burning sun on a sandy desert. 

At last the light is gone ; they dash out into 
the night, out into the pure mountain air ; 
the brakes are applied, the speed is slackened, 
the women are still frightened ; but the con 
ductor assures them that the danger is past. 

Now they can look back and see the burning 
sheds falling. The " schoolmarm " shudders 



FLYING THROUGH FLAMES 



69 



as she climbs back to her berth, and an hour 
later they are all asleep. At Gunnison they 
get another locomotive, a fresh crew, and the 
train winds on toward the Pacific slope. 

The engine is stabled in her stall at the 
round-house. The driver walks about her, pats 
her on the neck, and talks to her as he would 
to a human being : " Well, old girl, we got 
through, didn r t we? But it was a close call." 



i^M M 







# ofcel Battle 



A NOVEL BATTLE 



ONOW-BUCKING with a pilot plough is 
dangerous business. However, there is very 
little of it to do in these days. Now a road 
that is able to accumulate a snow-drift is 
able to own a rotary plough or snow excavator. 
These machines are as large as a coach and as 
heavy as a locomotive. The front end is funnel- 
shaped ; and instead of throwing the snow away 
it swallows it, and then spurts it out in a great 
stream like water from a hose at a fire. Inside 
the house, or car, there is a boiler as large as 
a locomotive boiler, with two big cylinders to 
furnish power to revolve a wheel in the funnel- 
shaped front end. This wheel is like the wheel 
of a windmill, except that the fans or blades are 
made of steel and are quite sharp. As the 
plough is driven through the drifted snow by a 



74 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

locomotive, sometimes by two or three of 
them, the rapidly revolving wheel slices the 
snow from the hard bank, draws it into the 
steel chest, where the same rotary motion drives 
it out through a sheet-iron spout. 

Once at Alpine Pass, on a summer branch of 
the Union Pacific, I saw one of these machines 
working in six feet of snow that had been 
there six months, and was so hard that men 
walked over it without snowshoes. It was about 
the middle of May; the weather was almost 
warm at midday, but freezing at night. A 
number of railroad and newspaper men had 
gone up there, eleven thousand feet above the 
sea, to witness a battle between two rival exca 
vators. The trial was an exciting one, and 
lasted three days. Master Mechanic Egan, 
whose guest I was, was director-general, and a 
very impartial director, I thought. The two 
machines were very similar in appearance ; but 
instead of a wheel with knives, one had a great 
auger in front, the purpose of which was to 
bore into the snow-drift and draw the snow into 
the machine, as the chips are drawn from an 
auger hole by the revolving of the screw. The 



A NOVEL BATTLE 75 

discharging apparatus was similar in the two, 
and like that already described. 

There was a formidable array of rolling stock 
on the two sidings at the foot of the mountain 
where we had our car and where we camped 
nights. On one side track stands one of the 
machines, with three engines behind her ; on 
another, the other, with the same number of 
locomotives. You could tell the men of the 
one from those of the other, for the two armies 
dwelt apart, just as the Denver police kept clear 
of the State militia in Governor Wake s war. 

It was perfecd^_jnatural for the men on the 
different machines to be loyal to their respec 
tive employers, and a little bit jealous of the 
rival crew ; but I was surprised to see how 
quickly that feeling extended to the crews of 
the half-dozen locomotives, all working for the 
same railroad company, and in no way interested 
in the outcome. 

On the morning of the first day of the trial, 
when the six engines came down the track 
from the coal-yards, a trainman stood at the 
three-throw switch, and gave a locomotive to 
each of the two machines alternately. They 



76 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

all knew where they belonged, and they kept 
the same place, each of them, until the battle 
was over. 

There was no betting, but there was a dis 
tinct "favorite" from the start; and when the 
iron horses were all hooked up, the men on the 
" favorite " began, good-naturedly enough, to 
"josh" the other crew. 

Mr. Egan decided that one of the machines 
should go forward ; and when it stuck, stalled, 
or stopped, for any reason, it should at once 
back down, take the siding, and give the other 
a chance. 

It was nearly noon when the railway officers 
and pencil-pushers climbed to the storm deck 
of the first machine, and the commander gave 
a signal to start. The whistle " off brakes " 
was answered by the six locomotives, and the 
little engine that brought up the rear with the 
special train. The hungry machine gathered 
up the light drifts which we encountered in the 
first few miles, and breathed them out over the 
tops of the telegraph-poles. At a sharp curve, 
where there was a deep drift, the snow plough 
left the track, and we were forced to stop and 



A NOVEL BATTLE 77 

back out. The engineers looked sullen as they 
backed down to let the other crew pass, and 
the fresh men laughed at them. The snow was 
lighter now, so that instead of boring into it, 
the second plough only pushed it and piled 
it up in front of her, until the whole house was 
buried, when she chocked up and lay down. 
Now the frowns were transferred to the faces of 
the second crew, and the smiles to the other. 

For two days we see -sawed in this way, and 
every hour the men grew more sullen. The 
mad locomotives seemed to enter into the spirit 
of the fight ; at least, it was easy to imagine that 
they did, as they snorted, puffed, and panted in 
the great drifts. Ah, t was a goodly sight to 
see them, each sending an endless stream of 
black smoke to the very heavens, and to hear 
them scream to one another when about to 
stall, and to note with what reluctance they 
returned to the side-track. 

In the little town at the foot of the hill the 
rival crews camped at separate boarding-houses. 
This was fortunate, for it would not have been 
safe for them to live together. Even the 
engine-men by the end of the second day were 



7 8 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

hardly on speaking terms. Bob Stoute said 
that somebody had remarked that the 265 
would n t make steam enough to ring the bell. 
He did not know who had said it, but he did 
know that he could lick him. After supper 
that evening, when the " scrappy " engineer 
came out of Red Woods saloon, he broadened 
the statement so as to include " any Rotary 
man on the job, see?" 

When we went into the field on the morning 
of the third day, not more than seven miles of 
snow remained between us and the mouth of 
the Alpine tunnel, where the race would end, 
for the tunnel was full of snow. All the fore 
noon the hot engines steamed and snorted and 
banged away at the great sea of snow that grew 
deeper and harder as we climbed. The track 
was so crooked that the ploughs were off the 
rail half the time ; so that when we stopped for 
luncheon we had made less than three miles. 

The least-promising of the two machines was 
out first after dinner; and as the snow was 
harder up here, she bid fair to win great credit. 
She rounded the last of the sharp curves that 
had given us so much trouble successfully. 



A NOVEL BATTLE 79 

But as the snow grew deeper she smothered, 
choked up, and stalled. Then even her friends 
had to admit that, " she was not quite right," 
and tne engine-men looked blacker than ever 
as they backed down and took the siding. 

Up came the rival, every engine blowing off 
steam, the three firemen at the furnace-doors, 
the engineers smiling, and eager for the fray. 
As she turned into the tangent where the other 
had stalled, the leading locomotive screamed 
" off brakes," and every throttle flew wide open. 
Down, down went the reverse levers, until every 
engine in the train was working at her full 
capacity. While waiting in the siding, the en 
gineers had screwed their " pops," or relief 
valves, down so that each of the engines carried 
twenty pounds more steam than usual. There 
were no drifts now, but the hard snow lay level 
six feet deep. The track was as good as 
straight, just one long curve; and the pilots 
would touch timber line at the mouth of the 
tunnel. The road here lay along the side of 
the mountain through a heavy growth of ,pine. 
The snow was granulated, and consequently 
very heavy. By the time they had gone a 



80 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

hundred yards, a great stream of snow was flow 
ing from the spout out over the telegraph 
wires, over the tops of the tall spruces and 
pines, crashing down through their branches 
until the white beneath them was covered with 
a green carpet of tree-twigs. On and on, up 
and up, the monster moguls pushed the plough. 
Higher and higher rose the black smoke ; and 
when the smoke and the snow came between 
the spectators and the sun, which was just now 
sinking behind the hill, the effect was marvel 
lously beautiful. Still, on they went through the 
stainless waste, nor stopped nor stalled until 
the snow plough touched the tunnel-shed. 

The commander gave a signal to " back up ; " 
and with faces wreathed in smiles, and with 
their machine covered with cinders, snow, and 
glory, the little army drifted down the hill. 
The three days fight was at an end, and the 
Rotary was the victor. 

But I started to write about pilot ploughs and 
old-time snow- bucking, when we used to take 
out an extra insurance policy and say good-by 
to our friends when we signed the call-book. 
On a mountain division of a Western road, 



A NOVEL BATTLE 8 1 

some ten years ago, I had my first experience 
in snow-bucking. For twenty-four hours a 
pilot-plough and flanger had been racing over 
the thirty miles of mountain, up one side and 
down the other. As often as they reached the 
foot of the hill they received orders to " double 
the road." 

It was Sunday afternoon when the caller came 
for me. Another engine had been ordered out 
to help push the snow-plough through the great 
drifts, that were getting deeper and deeper 
every hour. Ten miles out from the division 
station, at the foot of the mountain proper, we 
side-tracked to wait the return of the snow- 
plough. 

The hours went by, the night wasted away. 
Monday dawned, and no news of the snow 
brigade. All we could learn at the telegraph 
office was that they were somewhere between 
Shawano and the top of the hill, presumably 
stuck in the snow. All day and all night they 
worked and puffed, pushed and panted, but 
to no purpose. Now, when they gave up all 
hope of getting through, they attempted to 
back down ; but that was equally impossible. 
6 



82 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

The heavy drifts in the deep cuts were not 
to be bucked away with the rear end of an 
engine. 

Tuesday came, and found us still watching 
and waiting for the snow plough. Other engines 
came up from the division station with a work 
train, and a great army of trackmen with wide 
shovels. A number of railroad officers came, 
and everybody shovelled. We had no plough 
on our side of the hill, and had to buck with 
naked engines. First we tried one, then two? 
then three coupled together. The shovellers 
would clear off a few hundred yards of track, 
over which we would drive at full speed. As 
our engine came in contact with a great drift, 
all the way from eight to eighteen feet deep, 
she would tremble and shake as though she was 
about to be crushed to pieces. 

Often when we came to a stop only the top 
of the stack of the front engine was visible. 
The front windows of the cabs were all boarded 
up to prevent the glass from being smashed. 
For three or four days the track was kept clear 
behind us, so that we could back out and tie 
up at night where there was coal and water. 



A NOVEL BATTLE 83 

All this time the snow kept coming down, day 
and night, until the only sign of a railroad 
across the range was the tops of the telegraph 
poles. Toward the last of the week we en 
countered a terrific storm, almost a blizzard. 
This closed the trail behind us, and that night 
we were forced to camp on the mountain side. 
We had an abundance of coal, but the water 
in the tanks was very low; but by shovelling 
snow into them when we were stuck in the 
deep drifts, we managed to keep them wet. 

For three or four days sometimes in the 
dead hours of the night we had heard a 
mournful whistle away up on the mountain 
side, crying in the waste like a lost sheep. 
This was a light engine, as we learned after 
ward, that had started down the hill, but got 
stuck in the storm. For four days and nights 
the crews were imprisoned in the drifts. They 
had only a few pieces of hard bread, which 
they soaked in snow water and ate. More than 
once during the fourth day they had looked 
into the tallow bucket, and wondered if they 
could eat the tallow. 

On Sunday morning, just a week from the 



84 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

day on which I had signed the call- book, the 
sun shone clear and bright. The crew with 
the big pilot plough had reached the summit ; 
and now a new danger confronted the lone 
engine, whose cry had gone out in the night 
like the wail of a lost soul. The big plough was 
coming down the hill with two locomotives 
behind her ; and if this crew remained on the 
main line, they would be scooped into eternity. 
When the storm cleared away, they found that 
they were within a few feet of the switch target. 
If they could shovel out the snow and throw 
the switch, it would let them on to a spur. 
Hungry and weak as they were, they began 
with the fireman s scoop to clear the switch and 
shovel away from the wheels so that the engine 
could start herself. All the time they could 
hear the whistles of the three engines, now 
whistling down brakes, back up, and go ahead, 
as they hammered away at the deep drifts. 
At last the switch was forced open, the engine 
was in to clear ; but not a moment too soon, 
for now came the great plough fairly falling 
down the mountain, sending a shower of snow 
over the lone engine on the spur. 



A NOVEL BATTLE 85 

We, too, had heard and seen them coming, 
and had found a safe siding. When the three 
half-starved and almost desperate engineers 
came to the clear track we had made, the great 
engines, till now held in check by the heavy 
snow, bounded forward down the steep grade 
at a rate that made us sick at heart. Each of 
the locomotives on the side track whistled ; but 
the wheels were covered with ice and snow, 
and when they reversed their engines they 
seemed to slide as fast. Fortunately, at the 
next curve, there was a heavy drift, so deep 
that the snow-train drove right through it, 
making a complete tunnel arched over with 
snow. Thus, after eight days, the road was 
opened, and eight sections of the passenger 
train came slowly and carefully down the moun 
tain and passed under the arch. 



an <cean 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER. 



A T midnight seventy-two fires were lighted 
"^ under the nine big boilers of the " Bis 
marck," and shortly after a cloud of yellow 
smoke, rolling from the huge stacks, was float 
ing over the bosom of the bay. 

In their various homes and hotels a thousand 
prospective travellers slept and dreamed of their 
voyage on the morrow. 

By daybreak the water evaporating into steam 
fluttered through the indicators, and as early as 
6 A. M. people were seen collecting about the 
docks, while a fussy little hoisting engine worked 
away, lifting freight from the pier. At seven a 
few eager passengers came to the ship s side, 
anxiously inspecting her, and an hour later were 
going aboard. 

Officers in uniform paced the decks, guarded 
the gangways to keep intruders back, and others 
of the crew, in citizens clothes, mingled freely 



TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



in the crowd, having a sharp eye for suspicious 
characters. 

Finally, the steam-gauge pointer advances to 
the hundred mark. Noise and confusion wax 
wilder. The ship s crew is busy, from captain 
to meanest sailor, until at ten o clock, thirty 
minutes before sailing, the sound of hurrying 
feet is lost in a deafening hum of human voices. 
All visitors are now refused admittance, except 
perhaps a messenger with belated letters, pack 
ages, or flowers for people on board. 

The little hoister fairly flies about in a heroic 
effort to lift everything that is loose at one end 
and store it away in the ship s hold. The pier 
is invisible, buried beneath a multitude of peer 
ing people. 

All being ready, the captain is notified, and 
at his signal the first engineer pulls the lever 
and starts the little engine whose work it is to 
open the throttle, the steam shoots out from 
the big boilers into the great cylinders, screws 
begin to revolve, and the ocean-liner, with one 
thousand passengers, two thousand tons of coal, 
and three thousand pounds of ice cream, leaves 
the landing. 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 91 

Hundreds of handkerchiefs flutter, and hun 
dreds of people say good-bye, with eager, up 
turned faces that try to smile through tears. 
Some are sad with the pain of parting, while 
others, like Byron, are sad " because they leave 
behind no thing that claims a tear." 

Thirty-six stokers take their places before the 
furnace-doors, each with two fire-boxes to feed. 
There are three stoke-holes, twelve men in each, 
and twelve buckets of cold water, with a bottle 
of red wine in every bucket. As the speed in 
creases, the great ship begins to rise and fall ; 
not with the swell of the sea, for there is no 
swell and no sea, but with her own powerful 
exertion. 

When the ventilators catch the ocean breeze 
and begin to drink in the salt air, there is rejoi 
cing in the stoke-room. Unfortunately for the 
stokers, the increased draught increases also the 
appetite of the furnaces, that seem famishing for 
fuel. 

After four hours in the heat, semi-darkness, 
and dust of the furnace-room, the stokers come 
out, and fresh men with fresh bottles take their 
places. Gradually the speed of the boat in- 



92 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

creases. The fires are fanned by the ever- 
increasing breeze, the furnaces fairly roar, and 
the second shift work harder than the first. 

If there is no wind, instead of allowing the 
stokers to drop dead, the engineer on watch 
simply turns a lever and starts the twelve large 
steam fans, and saves the firemen just before 
the bone buttons are melted from their overalls. 

The steamship stoker is inferior mentally to 
the locomotive fireman, but physically he is the 
better man. The amount of skill required to 
stoke is nothing compared to that of firing a 
railway engine. The locomotive fireman must 
use his own judgment at all times as to how, 
when, and where to put in a fire. The ocean 
stoker simply waits for a whistle from the gang- 
boss, when he opens his furnace-door, hooks, 
rakes, and replenishes his fire, and at another 
signal closes the doors, the same whistle being 
a signal to his brother stoker at the other end 
of the boiler to fix his fire. 

The white glare of the furnaces when the 
fires are being raked is so intense that the place 
seems dark when the doors are closed. And 
through that darkness comes the noise of the 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 93 

rattling clinker-hooks, the roar of the fires, the 
squeak of the steering- engine, and the awful 
sound of the billows breaking on the ship. 
Once above all this din I heard a stoker sing : 

" Oh, what care we, 
When on the sea, 

For weather fair or fine ? 
For toil we must 
In smoke and dust 

Below the water-line." 

Then came the sharp whistle, and the song 
was cut short as the stoker bent to his work, 
and again the twenty- four furnaces threw their 
blinding glare into our faces. 

With all the apparatus for cooling the stoke- 
room, it is still a first-class submarine hell. 

One night, when the sea was wicked, rolling 
high and fast from the banks of Newfoundland ; 
when the mast swung to and fro like a great 
pendulum upside down, I climbed down to the 
engine-room. When the ship shot downward 
and the screws went out of the water, the mighty 
engines flew like dynamos, making the huge 
boat with her hundreds of tons tremble till the 
screws went down into the water again. 

In the stoke-rooms the boilers lie crosswise 



94 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

of the ship ; so when she rolls it is with the 
greatest difficulty that the stoker prevents him 
self from being shot head first into one of the 
furnaces. Here I watched these grim toilers 
this wild night, and it seemed the more she 
rolled, pitched, and plunged, the more furiously 
they fed the furnaces. What with the speed of 
the ship and the speed of the wind, the draught 
was terrific, and the fire boxes seemed capable 
of consuming any amount of coal that could be 
thrown into their red throats. Though abso 
lutely safe, the stoke-room on a night like this 
is an awful place for one unused to such scenes ; 
so terrible that a young German, working his 
way from New York to Hamburg, was driven 
insane. 

As the sea began to break heavily on the 
sides of the boat and make her rock like a frail 
leaf in an autumn wind, the man was seen to 
try to make his escape from the stoke-hole. 
For an hour he worked in the same nervous 
way, always looking for a chance of escape. 
At last the ship gave a roll that caused the 
furnace-door to fly open, and with the yell of a 
demon the green stoker sprang up the steps 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 95 

leading to the engine-rooms. Here one of the 
engineers, seeing the man was insane, blocked 
the way. The poor fellow paused for a moment, 
and stood shaking like an aspen, while the cold 
perspiration rolled down his face. Two or three 
men tried to hold him, but, without the slight 
est effort, apparently, he cast them off, and, 
running out on the steerage deck, jumped into 
the sea. 

All through the night, above the roar of the 
ocean, at regular intervals, came the sharp 
whistle of the head stoker, and at longer inter 
vals the cry from above: "All s well." On 
Sunday morning when we awoke, the waves still 
washing up the steerage deck and the great 
ship rolling from side to side, we could hear 
from the stoke-room the same shrill whistle, and 
the same cry outside of "All s well." Then, 
like a flood of sunlight, came the sweet strains 
of the anthem, which the band always plays on 
Sunday mornings ; and again the sea came up 
and closed our windows and shut out the light 
of day, and the sound of the sea drowned all 
other sounds, and seemed to suggest " Nearer 
My God To Thee." The waves rolled back, 



96 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

the sun shone in through the window, and the 
hymn was heard again. 

When the reckoning was taken, we were all 
surprised to learn that on such a tempestuous 
sea this wonderful ship had made a mile more 
than on the previous day on a summer sea. 

" Look away," said the captain, as we passed 
an ocean steamer that seemed to be standing 
still. 

"Is she at anchor? " I asked. 

" No," said the captain, " she *s making twelve 
knots an hour ; and only a few years ago she 
was one of the ocean greyhounds." 

Within the last decade the time between 
New York and Southampton has been reduced 
by nearly two days ; but those who look for a 
like reduction within the next ten years will 
surely be disappointed. The Lucania, with 
thirty thousand horse-power, is able to make 
only a little over a mile an hour more than 
the Fiirst Bismarck, with sixteen thousand. If 
by nearly doubling the horse-power, and with 
twenty-five per cent more firemen, we can 
shorten the time but half a day, then indeed 
does the problem become a difficult one. 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 97 

The Fiirst Bismarck is 502 feet long, 27 feet 
wide, and 60 feet deep, from her hurricane deck 
to her keel. There are nine huge boilers, 15 
feet 7 inches in diameter, and 19 feet long. It 
requires 130 stokers and trimmers, and 300 tons 
of coal a day to keep them hot. They boil 
down 100 tons of water every 24 hours. There 
are, all told, 55 engines on board the ship. 
The steam that drives the boat passes through 
three pairs of cylinders. The first are 43 inches 
in diameter, and work at a pressure equal to 
eleven atmospheres. The next, 67 inches, 
working at four atmospheres. The third are 
the low pressure cylinders, 106 inches in diam 
eter, with one atmosphere pressure, and a 
vacuum equal in working power to an atmos 
phere. 

There are two main shafts, one to each screw, 
or propeller, 20 inches in diameter, each 142 
feet long, and weighing a ton for every foot of 
steel. 

There are twelve engineers and twelve assis 
tants. Over all these men there is a chief engi 
neer, whose duties are similar to those of a master 
mechanic on a railway. His office is a little 
7 



98 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

palace, finished in beautiful Hungarian ash, 
supplied with easy-chairs and soft couches. 
There is an indicator which shows at all times 
the pressure under which the various engines 
are working and the speed of the boat. 

When we were ready to go below, the chief 
engineer pressed a button, which, he explained 
to us, was a signal to the engineer in charge to 
open the doors and allow us to pass from one 
room to another ; for there are water-tight doors 
between the engines. There are in all thirteen 
air-tight compartments, so that if a man-of-war 
were to stave a hole in one side of the Bismarck, 
that compartment would simply fill with water, 
but would do no serious damage. In fact, a 
half-dozen holes might be stove in, and she 
would continue to ride the waves. 

If the Bismarck were to strike a rock and 
cave in six feet of her bottom or keel, a solid 
plate or false bottom would then be reached 
that would stand almost any pressure. 

When a boat with a single propeller loses her 
steering apparatus, she is in great danger ; but 
with a twin screw ship there is absolutely no 
danger. By simply reversing one screw, the 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 99 

ship may be steered as a row-boat is guided, by 
holding one oar still, and moving the other. 

The electric-light plant alone is of interest. 
There are four dynamos, and they supply a cur 
rent for eighteen hundred lamps. In addition 
to the lamps in the saloons and state-rooms, all 
the signal-lights are electric, as well as the lights 
used in the steerage and in the supply rooms. 

The chief steward has been with the com 
pany twenty- seven years, and will probably 
be there as long as he cares to remain. There 
are eighty-four other stewards, who report di 
rectly or indirectly to him. The passengers 
are divided into three classes, first cabin, 
second cabin, and steerage ; so that three sep 
arate and complete kitchens and dining-rooms 
are kept up. The food furnished for the steer 
age passengers is better than one would expect 
when we consider that the company carries 
them from New York to Hamburg and keeps 
them on board seven days for $10. 

The food and service in the second cabin are 
better than at the average $3 a day American 
hotel. In the first cabin saloon they are per 
fect. The stewards file in in regular order, and 



IOO TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

when a change is made they all march out, 
keeping time to the band, and making, with 
their neat uniforms and snow-white gloves, a 
goodly sight to see. 

Each table has its own table steward, and at 
the elbow of each passenger stands a white- 
gloved under-steward who seems capable of 
anticipating your very thoughts. If a drop of 
coffee is spilled over your cup before you 
have time to realize it yourself both cup and 
saucer are exchanged for one in perfect trim. 

The regular dinner consists of from seven to 
ten courses, and is fit for the Emperor. The 
wines and ales are excellent, and are forty per 
cent cheaper than in New York. 

In addition to the regular meals, at eight 
o clock every evening they serve tea in the main 
saloon to all who care to indulge in that stimu 
lant. After that, at nine o clock, the band 
gives a concert in the second cabin saloon, 
which is always attended by many of the first 
cabin passengers. There, the people sit about 
the tables and eat the daintiest little sand 
wiches, and some of them drink the delightful 
Hamburg beer, while the band plays. 



ON BOARD AN OCE^N FLYER TO I 

If you are ill and remain in your berth, the 
room steward will call a half-dozen times a day 
to ask you what you want to eat. If you 
remain on deck, the deck steward will bring you 
an excellent dinner without any extra charge. 

It was the day after the rough sea when we 
were shown through the steerage ; the women 
and children were still huddled in their gloomy 
bunk-rooms, recovering slowly from the sea 
sickness of the previous day. 

Cheerless as their surroundings were, they 
had the satisfaction of knowing that the count 
ess at the top was as sick, when she was sick, 
as they. 

Forward, where the ship s side walls are close 
together, the sailors sleep. Here, when the 
sea is rough, one may experience the sensation 
of riding in the elevator of a sixteen story 
building, and, as the bow descends, the sensa 
tion of falling. The occupants of this rough 
quarter are a rough-looking lot, but apparently 
as happy as cowboys. Every sailor has his 
regular ration of rum, while the stokers, in 
addition to the red wine they have in the stoke 
room, have kiimmel four times a day. 



102 TALES OF A N ENGINEER 

Just back of the sailors are the stores. In 
the cold room, where the meats are kept, all 
the pipes are covered with frost. The large 
ships all have ice -machines, and make their own 
ice. There are also two large evaporators, so 
that if the supply of drinking water should 
become unfit for use, drinking water could be 
made from the sea. The same evaporators 
could easily supply water in the same way for 
the boilers, should the supply run short. 

Two things I should like to change : the tons 
of wholesome food, delicious meats, and delicate 
sweets that are carried from the tables and 
thrown into the sea, I would give to the poor 
steeragers. Every day at dinner, when the 
lamps made the saloon a glare of light, I could 
see these poor people peeping in at the windows, 
where the tables were freighted with good things, 
and it made me sad. Sometimes a mother would 
hold her poor, pinch-faced baby up to the win 
dow; and I could not help wondering what 
answer that mother would make if the baby 
were to ask why they did n t go in and eat. 

After making the steerage happy, I should 
like to rig a governor to the main shafts, so 



ON BOARD AN OCEAN FLYER 103 

that the screws would not " cut up " so when 
out of water. I mentioned this to Mr. Jones. 
He looked at me steadily for a moment, then, 
as he allowed his head to dip slightly to the 
starboard, a sunny smile broke over his kindly 
face, and he replied, "Well, somebody has 
tried that already." 



an 



ON AN IRON STEED 



TTUNDREDS of hansom cabs, countless car 
riages, and myriads of omnibuses came 
out of the fog and filled the ample grounds in 
front of Victoria Station. A solid stream of 
men, women, and children was pouring in at 
the gates to the platforms where the trains 
stand. Long lines of people were waiting in 
front of the windows in the booking office. 
Trunks, bags, and boxes fairly rained into the 
luggage-room ; but the porters (short, stout fel 
lows) picked them up and bore them away, as 
red ants run away with crumbs at a picnic. 

To the train, titled people came in carriages, 
behind splendid horses, with coachmen in high 
hats, and footmen in yellow trousers. American 
millionnaires came also in coaches and tally-hos, 
and mingled with the plain English nobility. 

You can tell the American women by their 
smart dresses, and the English by their heavy 



108 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

boots, red cheeks, and heaps of hair. You can 
tell the London swell from the New Yorker, for 
tliere is something the matter with one of his 
eyes. And you can pick out the duke and the 
lord, for they are, in most cases, plain and 
modest men. There is a noticeable absence of 
poor people ; for the train is not going to the 
hop-fields of Kent, but to Paris and the Riviera. 
The American representative of the London, 
Chatham, and Dover Railway, in a shining silk 
hat, a snow-white cravat, and blood-red bou- 
tonniere, and the station-master, are busy assign 
ing small parties of Americans to compartments, 
and larger parties to saloons. The Englishman 
travelling in his native land makes little trouble 
for any one. He usually has his luggage aboard 
and his porter dismissed with a scowl and a 
threepence, while the foreigner with a smile 
and a shilling awaits his turn. All the English 
man asks is to be let alone ; and surely that is 
not too much. 

The faded carriages that stretch away in a 
long line towards the locomotive look singularly 
small to those who are accustomed to seeing 
the heavy trains of America. 



ON AN IRON STEED 109 

And now we come to the locomotive. The 
stoker touched his cap when I stepped aboard, 
and I noticed that he did this every time he 
addressed me. If I asked a simple question 
he invariably touched his cap before he an 
swered. 

The absence of a pilot, or "cow-catcher," as 
it is sometimes called, makes the English loco 
motive look awkward and unfinished to an 
American. There are no cylinders, cross-heads, 
or main rods in sight, and at a first glance she 
reminds one of a well-made stationary engine. 
Even her beautiful high wheels are half covered 
with steel. Like a well-dressed Englishman, 
the English locomotive looks best from her 
knees up. 

Above her running-board she is scrupulously 
clean, bright, and interesting. But even here 

she has a vacant look. There is but one steam 
*Q 

dome and no sand box or bell ; she looks as 

though she had been driven under a low bridge 
and had her back swept bare, and then had 
nothing rebuilt but one dome and the stack. 

In the cab, where ought to be comfortable 
seats for the driver and stoker, there are high 



IIO TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

boxes that come nearly to the window sills. 
No matter how long he remains on duty, the 
driver must stand up ; nor has the stoker, who 
in descending a long bank might get a mo 
ment s rest, any place to sit, but must stand 
the whole way on his weary feet. This is 
simply disgraceful. The precious lives.. oL 



sands of people are placed in the hands of the 
engine-driver, and yet no thought is given to 
his comfort. I read, with considerable amuse 
ment, an article in an English journal urging 
the Board of Trade to provide medals as a 
reward to engine-drivers " for duty ably done." 
I would suggest better wages, and seats in cabs. 
Medals are all right as a mark, but even 
titles are no good when we are dead. Think 
of a man spending years in learning a trade, 
and then doubling the road between London 
and Dover, a hundred and sixty miles, for seven 
shillings, $1.75, or ninety miles for a dollar," 
just $3 less than an engineer gets for cover 
ing the same distance on a mountain road in 
the United States. The risk is about the same, 
for an English driver runs four times as fast as 
the mountaineer. 



ON AN IRON STEED III 

Out through the ragged edge of London, 
over the Thames, and down the rail our steel 
steed whirled us at a rapid rate. The English 
driver does not run "with his hand on the 



throttle, and his eye on the road," as we are 
wont to picture a locomotive engineer ; for the 
throttle is at the top of the boiler head, and 

t* ^^-- .^^*^** "******** ** "^ *""**^* n^^ * 1 ^^^*^ m " * J ^** 

must be sought out by the driver before he can 
shut off steam, no matter how great the emer 
gency. It does not require a practised rail 
roader to understand that if the driver had his 
hand on the lever, he could shut off without 
taking his eyes from the rail, and in less than 
a quarter of a second. 

Five miles out we stopped at a small station, 
and picked up four more carriages. Our train 
was equipped with the matchless " Westing- 
house " air-brakes ; and they do the work de 
lightfully on these light cars. So perfectly were 
they adjusted, and so smoothly did the quiet 
old seven-shilling-a-day driver apply them, that 
the train came o a dead stop with as little jolt 
as would attend the stopping of a baby carriage. 

Already I had learned to like our locomotive ; 
but when we got a signal to go, and the driver 




112 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

gave her steam, the fifteen carriages refused to 
start. Here I witnessed, for the second time 
" \p in my life, the working of the slowest, clumsiest 
piece of machinery in use to-day in any civilized 
country, the " reversing wheel." I had seen 
it once before, when the London and North- 
Western s prize engine was leaving Chicago. 
When the locomotive fails to start her train, it 
is always necessary to reverse her to get what 
there is of slack between the cars. In this way 
the engine starts a car at a time, so that by the 
time the last car is started, the locomotive has 
made a quarter of a turn or more, and the front 
part of the train is in motion. With a quick- 
working reverse lever this is accomplished 
easily ; but with a wheel that must be given 
from seven to eleven revolutions to reverse the 
machinery, the process is painfully slow, with 
out the saving grace of being sure. As the 
wheel revolves, the locomotive creeps forward, 
stealing the slack from car after car, so that 
by the time the machinery is in the forward 
motion the slack is gone, and you are just 
where you were before you began to reverse. 
There was a serious collision on the Great 



ON AN IRON STEED 



IT 3 



Northern not long ago ; a double-head express 
train dashed into a goods train that was being 
shunted ; and if the locomotive had " wheels," 
the wonder is that more people were not killed. 
From Herne Hill, where we got the last four 
carnages, it is seventy-five miles to Dover ; and 
we were to make the run without a stop. Just 
about the time our steed got them going, she 
dashed into a tunnel half a mile long. The 
great drivers hammering the rails, and the 
rattle of the carriages, made a deafening roar, 
and, to add to the torture, the driver pulled the 



iA 

whistle. The English locomotive whistle is 
the^shrillest, sharpest, most ear-splitting in- . 

strnmpnt nf tnrtnrp pver Vipnrrl Tt i<5 aHrmf- 

,jV> 



s v trument of torture ever heard. It is about 
as musical as a Chinese fiddle accompanied 
by a lawn-mower. 

As the smoke of London began to grow dim 
in the distance, a beautiful panorama of fields 
and farms opened up before us. As far as 
the eye could reach on either side were rolling 
meadows and brown fields, dotted with thatch- 
roofed stacks. If the speed slackened as we 
ascended a long "bank," these rural pictures 
claimed my attention and made me forget for 



114 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

the moment that we were at the front of the 
Paris express. But when we had reached the 
summit, and the world began to slip beneath 
us till the keen air cut our faces, we were made 
to realize that we were not losing any time. 
Now we were rolling along the top of a high 
hill, from whose flat summit we looked down 
the chimney-pots in the village houses ; and 
now dashing into a deep cut, where flocks of 
frightened quail rose up and beat the bank, 
or, caught by the eddying wind, were dashed 
against the sides of the flying train, as a man 
standing near the track and grown dizzy throws 
himself beneath the wheels. 

A sharp curve throws our train out on the 
brow of a gentle hill. Below, through a green 
valley, winds a lazy looking river the Med- 
way. This is the old town of Rochester, the 
land of Dickens, and beyond the river stands 
the old Norman castle. 

And this is what Mr. Jingle said when he 
saw it : 

" A fine old place a glorious pile frown 
ing walls tottering arches dark nooks 
crumbling staircases old cathedral, too 



ON AN IRON STEED 115 



earthy smell pilgrims feet wore away the 
old steps little Saxon doors confessionals, 
like money- takers boxes at theatres queer 
customers, those monks popes, and lord treas 
urers, and all sorts of old fellows with great red 
faces and broken noses turning up every day 
buff jerkins, too matchlocks sarcophagus 
fine place old legends strange stories." 

The red vines that cling to the shoulders 
of this rare old ruin glow warmly in the autumn 
sun. Only a flash, and we turn another corner, 
and the old castle is lost in the dreary blond 
brick houses of Rochester. Now and then, 
as the train whirls through the city, the tower 
ing spires of the cathedral are seen. 

Away, away, the engine flies, and the dull 
town is left for the sunny fields. We are now 
entering the great hop fields of Kent, one 
of the fairest counties in all England, I am 
told. Ours is not the only locomotive abroad, 
for almost every moment we can see another 
train flying across the country, always crossing 
either above or below our track. Out in the 
fields are other engines, great awkward machines 
pulling ploughs, and sometimes trains of wagons, 



Il6 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

through village streets. At the end of a long 
curve, around which we swing at a mile a 
minute, rise the great spires of the cathedral 
of Canterbury. 

Here, too, are clinging vines and crumbling 
walls, old legends and strange stories. Here 
are stone steps worn away by pilgrims knees, 
the steps that lead from the musty crypt to 
Becket s shrine. Here sleep the murdered 
Bishop and the King. But there is no time 
to dream, for we are now whirling away towards 
the water-edge. At last the driver shuts off 
steam, the stoker washes the deck with a water- 
hose connected with the injector pipe, and 
remarks that his work is done. His labor, 
like his salary, is light ; for although we have 
been on the road nearly two hours, he has not 
burned a half-ton of coal. The trains, of 
course, are light, and that makes light work 
for the engine-men. It is all down hill now, 
and we fairly fall through the tunnels and deep 
cuts, till all at once the " silver streak," as they 
call it here, is seen ; and this is the end of the 
first heat. 

Many things bear the name of " the widow 



ON AN IRON STEED 1 1 7 

at Windsor," and I was not surprised to find 
the Victoria rocking restlessly by the dock 
at Dover. It is surprising to an American to 
see how quickly fourteen English carriages can 
be emptied. I should say that in two minutes 
from the time our train stopped, we were all 
aboard. In eight minutes the baggage was 
transferred from the train to the boat, and in 
ten minutes we were leaving the dock. 

The Channel has not the reputation of being 
particularly pacific, and this was one of her busy 
days. In ten minutes after the whistle sounded, 
the Victoria was capering out towards the 
coast of France just as an untamed broncho 
capers with a cowboy across a corral. To the 
disgrace of the London, Chatham, and Dover 
Railway Company, she is a side-wheeler. Ex 
cept the reversing-wheel and the seatless cab 
of the 117, this is the only disgraceful thing 
I found on the Dover route. 

There are in the Victoria a number of state 
rooms, a splendid lounging saloon, a ladies 
cabin, and a " public house." Better than all 
these things, there are the ever-ready stewards, 
who watch the women ; and just at the moment 



Il8 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

when life loses its glitter, and the unhappy 
tourist ceases to care, come quietly, wearing 
the while a look of deepest sympathy, leave 
a small regretting basin by her chair, and move 
away. 

I made a short study of a lord going over. 
He was not what you would call distinguished 
looking, in his large soft hat and rain coat, but 
he looked respectable at least. We had not 
gone very far when he began to turn his head 
from side to side as if he had lost something. 
Then he would close his eye for a spell, and 
try to think. He was the homeliest man I 
have seen in Europe; and he was constantly 
doing "stunts" with his good eye in order 
to keep the glass in the other. I don t know 
whether he died or not, for a sort of mala 
rial feeling came over me, and I lost interest 
in everything except the French coast. 

In spite of the rough sea, we made the run 
from Dover to Calais, twenty-five miles, in a 
few minutes over an hour. 

"Chemin de Fer du Nord " is the first 
French sign seen by the voyager from England. 
It is the name of the railway or " road of 



ON AN IRON STEED 119 

iron," as the French put it over which we 
are to pass to Paris. 

The captain of the Victoria had given me 
a letter which contained a pass, a " permis 
de monter sur les machines," and this pass 
went on to say that I would be "permitted 
to circulate or promenade on the machine 
drawing the quick express during one voyage 
between Calais and Paris." 

Sliding back into my engine clothes, I went 
forward to where the locomotive stood steaming 
and sizzling, ready to be off. 

Just as I reached her, the driver began to 
whirl the reversing wheel ; for he had heard the 
signal- bell, and the long train moved away. 
I showed my pass. The driver smiled, and 

waved me out of the fireman s way. The cab 

J tJAjA*" 

was the same wretched, comfortless cavity that 

I hacT seen on the Dover, only not so clean. 
The tank, or tender, where the coal is carried, 
was filled with slack and dust. As fast as he 
shovelled into the heap where the slack was 
dry, the fireman turned the hose on it, until 
it was a puddle of mush ; and, to my surprise, 
he shovelled this slop into the firebox, and kept 




120 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



the locomotive howling hot. It would be im 
possible, of course, to fire an American express 
locomotive with such fuel ; for there the engines 
are worked so much harder to draw heavy 
trains. When we had whipped around a few 
curves I saw that the best place for me was 
behind the driver, and I stepped over to his 
side. 

There existed between the engine, the engine- 
men, and me a feeling of estrangement that 
was almost melancholy. 

I missed the sleepy panting of the air-pump, 
and the click of the latch on the reverse lever. 
There was no bell to relieve the monotony of 
the rasping, phthisicky whistle. I wondered if 
we could ever understand each other, if she 
would respond to my touch ; for the driver 
talked to her in a strange tongue. 

The engine-men wore no gloves, and handled 
the door-chain and hot levers as though they 
were wood. The driver held a piece of burn 
ing waste in his hand to furnish fire for his 
cigarettes. I dicl, not repxoach him or blame 
hini for smoking cigarettes ; it was the " wheel," 
no doubt, that drove him to it. 




ON AN IRON STEED 121 

If cabs had seats, running a locomotive would 
be much easier in Europe than in America. 
The ways are all walled or fenced in, and there 
is no necessity for the constant straining of the 
eyes and nerves, from which American drivers 
suffer so much. 

The first stop is at Amiens, eighty miles out. 
There I saw what I had never seen before, 
women working the switches in a signal-tower. 
There were two of them, and they appeared to 
have the station quite to themselves. I make 
no doubt that they find their work very agree 
able and interesting, that they are faithful, that 
their homes are happy, and that they consider 
themselves very superior, and refuse to exchange 
calls with their sister, the " bull whacker." 

At Amiens we met Night on her way to the 
west, and I gave up the engine for the more 
comfortable carriage. This compartment was 
very like the one assigned our party on the 
Chatham and Dover, except that it was a trifle 
wider, and done in tan instead of blue. 

Here, as in England, the stations are ample, 
with all the tracks under cover. The trains 
stop but five minutes; but the European car- 



122 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

riages soon discharge their passengers, the 
first-class into the buffet, the second, as a rule, 
into the buvette. A brass-hulled yard engine 
was hustling about, uttering shrill shrieks in the 
great sheds. The yard-men worked without 
lamps, and wore horns over their shoulders, 
through which they " conched " signals to the 
engineers. The locomotives have no head 
lights in Europe, sucrf as are used in the States, 
but there was a hand-lamp, or a lightning-bug, 
chained fast to the pilot of the " shunter " at 
Amiens. 

After trembling away in the twilight for an 
hour, and an hour into the night, the street- 
lamps began to thicken by the way, and in a 
few minutes we stopped in the great station 
of the Nord, and were in Paris. 



an dBartijquafee 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 



R more than twenty minutes the cab rat 
tled through the narrow, stony streets of 
Paris, crossed the Seine, always interesting, but 
weirdly beautiful at night, with its many bridges 
and countless lamps of every color, and finally 
stopped at the Gare de 1 Est. 

" Orient Express, Monsieur? " asked the por 
ter, as he balanced my box on the scales. 

"Oui," said I ; and then he cried the weight, 
fifty kilos. " Twenty-one francs, if you 
please," said the man in the baggage-office, and 
I flashed up my transportation. 

"Twenty-one francs," the money-taker re 
peated, and I showed my sleeping-car ticket, 
thinking I had him on the hip this time sure. 

" For the baggage, for the baggage," he said, 
in French, growing impatient ; and I gave him 
the money. Manifestly there was no free bag- 



126 



TALES OF AN ENGINEER 







gage on the Orient Express ; and the rate of 
twenty-one francs, 173-. 10^., or $4.20 for one 
hundred pounds, eight hundred miles, was a 
stiff one. 

To the porter who freighted my trunk I gave 
some sous, and saw him drop them into a 
locked box at the door of the baggage-room. 
In England the porters keep what they get, and 
it has a good effect. It makes the individual 
porter look out for baggage ; for the more peo 
ple he serves, the more he will receive. In 
France each porter waits for the other, knowing 
the division will be equal at night ; and so there 
is nothing to work for. It kills competition, 
this French arrangement, and makes the man 
almost worthless. The moment you relinquish 
the "pourboire," the porter s interest in you 
ceases. He simply heads you in on the main 
platform, where you must work out your own 
salvation. I fancy this rule does not apply at 
all stations, but it certainly does at the Gare de 
1 Est, with a very bad result. 

The train which I was preparing to board 
this bleak November night consisted of a 
smart-looking locomotive and five cars. Next 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 



the engine there was a sort of combination ex 
press, baggage, and commissary car, where the 
stores were kept. Then came the dining-car, 
one-third of which was made into a beautiful 
smoking saloon, with great easy-chairs put up 
in dark leather. Back of the diner there were 
three sleeping-cars, Mann boudoirs, and run 
ning along under the roof, above the tops of 
the high windows, in bold gold letters, was the 
name of the company unabridged, " The Inter 
national Bed- Wagons Company and the Grand 
European Express ; " only it was in French, and 
ran like this : " Compagnie Internationale des 
Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Europeans." 
The outward appearance of this company s 
trains is similar to the trains run on the Ameri 
can continent. The cars are long, and rest on 
eight wheels. You enter the car at or near the 
end, and pass through a narrow corridor, from 
which you enter the compartments. A com 
partment holds two or four people, and often, 
with the judicious expenditure of a few francs, 
the voyager can secure a small compartment all 
to himself, and he is quite as secluded and com 
fortable as he would be in the state-room of a 



128 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



Pullman or Wagner. There are certainly many 
advantages in a compartment sleeper. A man 
travelling with his wife has only to provide him 
self with two tickets and secure a compartment 
all to themselves. Two ladies travelling together 
would have the same advantage. 

There is no rush or excitement, no one ap 
pears to be in any hurry. Three or four por 
ters come along, leisurely rolling a little iron 
car containing a small canvas travelling-bag. 
Other porters not in uniform come with 
hot-water cans, long flat cans which they 
slide into the compartments of ordinary Euro 
pean coaches; but the Orient is heated by 
steam. Now comes a truck with a great many 
mail- bags, which are put into the rear car. The 
mails are an important item to the railways, and 
as this train leaves Paris but twice a week, they 
are usually heavy. In half an hour the splendid 
train is trembling away in the night. It is 
seven o clock, and the dining-car is filled with 
people, men and women from every corner 
of the earth. If a Russian speaks to an Italian, 
or a German to a Spaniard, it is almost invaria 
bly in French. 




OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 129 

All the reading matter belonging to the train 
is printed in three languages ; but only French 
is spoken, save when another language is abso 
lutely necessary. The cards posted in the cars 
have these headings: "AVIS," " NOTIZ," 
"NOTICE." 

The dining-car service is equal to the best in 
any country, and the rates are reasonable. The 
first-breakfast is the regulation European bill, 
bread, butter, and coffee, with fruit if you want \ 1 - 
it, for i/. 75/ (is. 5//., or 35 cents). 

At eleven o clock they serve a good dejeuner 
for five francs, a dollar, and at evening a 
splendid dinner for six francs; so you have 
three good meals for $2.55, which in America, 
in the average dining-car, would cost three 
dollars. 

When dinner is over, the men lounge in the 
smoking-room for a couple of hours, and then 
go to their boudoirs. 

In a few hours we were rolling away toward 
the selvage of France over a smooth track. 
Shortly after midnight I was awakened by a 
commotion at my door, opened my eyes, and 
beheld an officer in the corridor. He was 
9 



130 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

grand beyond description. With every move 
ment of the train he flashed back to me the 
flickering light that went out of my compart 
ment to his plated person. In addition to the 
cord on his cap and his brilliant buttons, he 
wore festooned about his breast enough gold 
cable to rope a steer; and I knew then that 
we were in Germany. This awe-inspiring indi 
vidual stood without, while his assistant, a less 
imposing personage, inspected my ticket and 
hand-luggage. 

We left Paris at 6.50 p. M., and at noon the 
next day we were at Munich. Half-way between 
noon and night we were rolling along the banks 
of a beautiful river, near the edge of Austria. 
It was a clear, sparkling stream such as run 
rapidly down from the hills, and far to the 
south we could see the mountains wearing 
their first white robe of winter, and stabbing 
the blue sky with their polished peaks. 

When the train stops at a station of any 
importance, an officer with a large book, fol 
lowed by two or three assistants, goes to the 
locomotive, secures the autograph of the engi 
neer, and gives him a lot of vocal instructions. 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 131 

They all talk at once, " kracking " their s till 
one is reminded of a skating party breaking 
through the ice. Finally peace is declared, 
they all salute, and the train moves on. Every 
thing has a military air about it. The old 
woman sweeping a crossing brings her broom 
to her shoulder, and the one-legged watchman 
comes to the proper position, with a red flag 
for a musket, as the train goes by. 

Twenty-four hours takes the traveller to 
Vienna, 1,402 kilometres, over 800 miles, 
which is very good speed. 

The locomotives used in Austria are more 
like American machines than those of England 
and France, and the day-cars are the best I 
have seen on the Continent. They are heavier 
than the ordinary European railway carriage, 
and rest on eight large wheels. First-class 
carriages are heavily padded with beautiful 
Russian leather, clean, cool, and comfortable. 
You enter these cars, not at the side nor at 
the end, but at the corner; the compartments 
open into a corridor. 

Leaving Vienna, you pass through a great 
valley, or prairie, where farmers follow bull- 



132 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

teams down the dark furrows that seem never 
to end, but disappear at the edge of the horizon. 
The vastness of the fields, and the houses so far 
apart, give the land an air of desolation. 

At midnight we were at Budapest, the beau 
tiful capital of Hungary, with a splendid king s 
palace on the Danube ; but there is no king 
there : the king is the Emperor of Austria, and 
lives at Vienna. Here are more strange-looking 
people, and the signs and notices are printed 
in four tongues. Twenty minutes for another 
language. 

Dropping down the Danube for six or seven 
hours, we see the sun rise in Servia, and the 
first stop on the following day is at Belgrade. 

Farther to the south, it is warmer here ; the 
earth is dry, and the sky clear. Here the 
voyager begins to feel that he is in a new world, 
with strange people. Here are evidences of 
dress reform. The pantaloon is merging into 
the gown, or the gown into the pantaloon, per 
haps, as it is in America. Each succeeding 
hour takes the traveller farther into this desolate 
country, so old and yet so new, with so little 
of what are now regarded as signs of civilization. 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 133 

Here prosperity and poverty appear to meet 
and pass. A wild-looking shepherd, in his coat 
of wool, gazing at the train, reminds me of the 
lone wolf as I have seen him stand in my native 
land, watching the train with nothing near him 
but solitude and God. 

In the low, stone-fenced corrals are stacks of 
fine oak-brush, cut from the gentle hills, evi 
dently in summer when the leaves were green ; 
and this brush is to be given to the frail horses, 
cows, and donkeys for hay. These stacks of 
bushes tell more than enough of the poverty of 
the country. When we have travelled through 
it, we wonder how the International Sleeping- 
Car Company can afford to run a train even 
twice a week through such a land. 

At noon we met and passed the west-bound 
train. It may be that we had passed other 
trains ; but this was the first passenger train I 
had seen for forty hours. 

I carried with me a permit to ride on the 
locomotive of the Orient Express when I wished 
to do so, and now I slipped into my engine 
clothes and mounted the machine. The engi 
neer was a native j and about all we could say to 
each other was " Yes " and " No " in French. 




TALES OF AN ENGINEER 



Nearly, if not all, the railroads here are oper 
ated by the Governments of the various countries 
through which they pass. The Orient express, 
however, is operated solely By the Sleeping-Car 
Company. This company s conductor, who goes 
all the way from Paris to Constantinople, is the 
captain of the train ; only the Government in 
spectors of the different countries come aboard 
to inspect baggage and look after the interest 
of the Government. The railway fare from Paris 
to Constantinople by the Orient Express, a train 
de luxe, is sixty-nine dollars ; the sleeping-car 
ticket is eighteen dollars. 

The track was only fair, but the locomotive 
was in good condition. The time is slow, not 
more than twenty or thirty miles an hour. 

At the first road crossing outside the town 
we found a long line of wagons drawn by small 
cattle, waiting at the closed gate. Behind these 
wagons, reaching far out to the hills, miles 
away, were strings of pack animals loaded with 
corn on the stalk. Evidently this was an im 
portant market for the surrounding country. 

It was a beautiful afternoon, soft as Septem 
ber in Paris or New York. The road here ran 




OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 135 

up a broad vale, which, however, grew narrower 
as we ascended the waterless stream. On either 
side the wash, the country grew rough ; the hills 
in the distance would be called mountains in 
the Holy Land. The wagon road lay parallel 
with the railway, and in half an hour we passed 
hundreds of ox teams bringing wood down from 
the hills. Some women and children were 
driving a flock of turkeys, a man was leading a 
sheep, and others were carrying jars of some 
thing honey perhaps on their heads. 

All at once the air grew still ; an oppressive 
silence seemed to hang on vale and hill, and 
all the people stopped short. It seemed to me 
that we had run into a bad piece of track, or 
that our train had suddenly quickened its pace. 
I saw a Servian woman, with a little child 
on her arm, stagger, stop, take the water-jug 
from her head, and hug her frightened babe to 
her naked breast. Hundreds of yoked cattle 
were lowing, burros were braying, and whole 
flocks of sheep were crying on the distant 
downs. Meantime the curves seemed to in 
crease ; and although we were not making more 
than forty miles an hour, we appeared to fairly 



136 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

fly. Men stood still and stared at the heavens. 
A Mohammedan slid down from a pack-mule, 
spread his prayer-rug, set his face toward Mecca, 
and prayed. Christians crossed themselves, and 
as often as I stole a glance at the driver I found 
him looking at me. Till now, I had attributed 
the action of these wild people to childish 
wonder at seeing the train sweep by ; but when 
I looked at the almost pale face of the sun- 
browned driver, I was bewildered. The things 
I beheld were all so unnatural that I felt my 
head swimming. Glancing ahead, I saw the 
straight track take on curves and shake them 
out again, resembling a running snake. The 
valley had become a narrow gulch, and from 
the near hills arose great clouds of smoke, as 
from a quarry when the shots go off. The fire 
man, who had been busy at the furnace-door, 
stood up now and gazed at the driver, who 
pressed his left hand hard over his eyes, then 
took it off and tried to see, but made no attempt 
to check the speed of the flying train. As a 
drunken cowboy dashing down a straight street 
sways in his saddle, as a wounded bird reels 
through the air, did this mad monster of a 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 137 

locomotive swing and swim o er the writhing 
rail. 

Suddenly a great curve appeared in front of 
us. This time the stoker, who had left off 
firing, saw it, and made the sign of the cross. 
Again the driver hid his eyes, and again I felt 
my brain grow dizzy trying to understand. We 
could hear and feel the engine wheels rise and 
fall on the twisting rail with a deafening sound. 
At last she settled down, and began to glide 
away as a boat glides down a running stream. 

" What is it? " I asked of the French fireman. 

"Tremblement de terre," he said, shaking 
himself violently, and pointing to the ground ; 
and then I understood that we had been riding 
over an earthquake. The driver was either too 
proud and brave to stop, or too frightened to 
be able to shut off steam ; I don t know which. 

Passing out of Servia, we clip off a corner of 
Bulgaria, calling at the capital, Sofia. 

The next place of importance is Adrianople, 
the old capital of the Turks. It was here that 
young Mohammed caused the great cannon to 
be cast with which he battered the walls of 
Constantinople, and conquered Constantine, the 




138 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

last Christian emperor of Byzantium, while the 
fat priests plotted against each other, and 
the poor ignorant Christians laid down their 
arms to cross themselves. 

It is Wednesday morning, and we are rolling 
slowly along over a dreary, desolate-looking 
country. All things European are rapidly dis 
appearing. The old familiar battle-cry of the 
beggars of France, "pourboire," is changed to 
"baksheesh." 

Instead of section men with picks and shovels, 
we see by the side of the track dark Turks in 
bicycle trousers, carrying rusty muskets on their 
shoulders. 

Here and there, far apart, we find bands of 
dusky, sooty laborers burning oak-brush, from 
the sticks of which they make charcoal. 

While we are at dejeuner, the train toils up 
a long grade, and finally reaches the summit of 
a sort of tableland from which we look down 
into the quiet Sea of Marmora, sleeping silently 
between Europe and Asia. It looks more like 
a great lake than a sea, with its sloping shores 
and marshy margin, fringed with flags and 
swamp- grass. 



OVER AN EARTHQUAKE 139 

Now we are entering a city that seems very 
old. The train rolls along among the houses 
behind a rain-stained wall ; and when we stop, 
we find the platform crowded with red caps, 
the cabmen are having a spirited argument, 
hotel-runners, guides and dragomans are push 
ing each other, a long line of hammels t or 
porters, are waiting at the customs office, and 
beyond them a line of miserable beggars, and 
this is Constantinople. 



2E>artranelle 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 



/CONSTANTINOPLE may be considered as 
^"^ the end of the railway system of the earth. 
Here, if you wish to see more of the Orient, 
you must take to the sea. There is, to be 
sure, a projected railway out of the Sultan s 
city into the interior, but only completed to 
Angora, three hundred and sixty-five miles. 

The intention of the projectors was to con 
tinue the road on down to Bagdad, on the River 
Tigris, through which they could reach the 
Persian Gulf. 

I had arranged to go to Angora, but found 
a ten days quarantine five miles out of Con 
stantinople, and backed into town. I then 
made an effort to secure from the office of 
the titled German who stands for the railway 
company some idea of the road, its pros 
pects, probable cost, and estimated earnings ; 
but my letters returned without a line. 



144 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

To show that I was acting in good faith and 
willing to pay for what I got, I went with 
Vincent the guide, the only good guide I ever 
knew, and asked them for some printed 
matter, or photographs, or anything that would 
throw a little light along the line of their 
plague-stricken railway ; but they still refused 
to talk. 

No wonder it has taken these dreamers ten \ 
years to build three hundred and sixty miles 
of very cheap railroad ! 

It was my misfortune to fall into a little old 
Austrian- Lloyd steamer, called the Daphne. 
Before we lifted anchor in the Golden Horn, 
I learned that her boilers had not been over 
hauled for ten years ; and before we reached 
the Dardanelles, I concluded that the sand had 
not been changed in the pillows for a quarter 
of a century. I have slept in the American 
desert for a period of thirty nights, between the 
earth and the heavens, and found a better bed 
than was made by the ossified mattress and 
petrified pillows of the Daphne. 

It was bad enough to breathe the foul air that 
came up from the camping pilgrims on the 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 145 

main deck; but the first day out we learned 
that these ugly ^Armenians, greasy Greeks, | 
and filthy Bedouins would be allowed to come 
upon the promenade deck and mingle with 
those who had paid for first-class passage. 

Poorly clad, half-starved, poverty-stricken 
people headed for the Holy Land came and 
rubbed elbows with American and European 
women and children. Of course, one sympa 
thizes with these poor miserable people ; but 
one does not want their secrets. These facts 
are not put here to injure the steamship 
company, but that other voyagers may fight 
shy of these little old rattle-traps of coast 
steamers, that ought to be run up a canal for 
the sea-birds to rest on. This company has 
many excellent steamers, and ought to be 
ashamed to put first-class passengers into a 
cattle-ship and charge first-class rates. 

We left the Bosphorus at twilight, crossed 
the Sea of Marmora during the night, and the 
next morning were at Gallipoli, where the bird 
seeds come from. 

The day broke beautifully, and the little sea 
was as calm as a summer lake. By ten o clock 



146 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

we were drifting down the Dardanelles, which 
resembles a great river j for the land is always 
near on either side. 

The ship s doctor, who was my guide at 
every landing-place, kindly pointed out the 
many places of interest. 

"Those pyramids over there," he would say, 
" were erected by the Turks to commemorate 
a victory. Here is where Byron swam the sea 
from Europe to Asia ; and over there is where 
King Midas lived, whose touch turned piastres 
to napoleons, and flounders to gold fish. Here, 
to the left, on that little hill, stood ancient 
Troy." 

All things seemed to work together to make 
the day a most enjoyable one, and just at night 
fall the doctor came to me and said, 

" See that island over there ? That was the 
home of Sappho." 

And there she sang, 

" T was like unto the hyacinth 

That purpled on the hills, 
That the careless shepherd, passing, 
Tramples underfoot and kills." 

An hour later, we anchored in a little natural 
harbor, and five of us went ashore. 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 147 

Beside the ship s doctor, whose uniform 
was a sufficient passport for all, there were 
in our party a Pole and a Frenchman (both 
inspectors of revenue for the Turkish Govern 
ment, and splendid fellows) , a Belgian, and the 
writer. We entered a cafe"-concert, where one 
man and five or six girls sat in a sort of balcony 
at one end of the building and played at 
" fiddle." The main hall was filled with small 
tables, at which were Greeks, Catholics, Arme 
nians, Turks, and negroes as black as a hole 
in the night. Between acts, the girls were 
expected to come down, distribute themselves 
about, and help consume beer and other fluid 
at the expense of the frequenters. 

The girls were nearly all Germans, plain, 
honest, tired-looking creatures, who seemed 
half embarrassed at seeing what they call 
" Europeans." One very pretty girl, with 
peachy cheeks, who, as we learned, had for 
several evenings been in the habit of drinking 
beer with a Greek, sat, this evening, with a 
dark Egyptian, almost jet black. The Greek 
a hollow-chested, long-haired loafer came 
in ; and the moment he saw the girl with the 



148 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

chalk- eyed man, turned red, then white, and 
then, whipping out a gun, levelled it at the girl. 
Nearly all the lights went out, and the girl 
dropped from the chair. When the smoke 
and excitement cleared away, it was found that 
the bullet had only parted the girl s hair, and 
she was able to take her fiddle and beer when 
time was called. 

At midnight we were rowed back to the boat, 
with all the poetry knocked out of the isle 
of Sappho, hoisted anchor, and steamed away. 
On the whole, however, the day had been a 
most delightful one. To me there are no fairer 
stretches of water for a glorious day s sail than 
the Dardanelles. 

When we dropped anchor again, ten hours 
later, it was at Smyrna, the garden of Asia 
Minor. Here I went ashore with my faithful 
guide, the doctor, and found a real railway. 
The Ottoman Railway, whose headquarters 
are at Smyrna, was the first in Asia Minor, 
and was begun by the English company, which 
continues to do business, thirty-six years ago. 
Mr. William Shotton, the Locomotive Superin 
tendent, showed us through the shops and build- 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 149 

ings. One does not need to be told that this 
propertyTs managed t^ttn English company, 
I saw here the neatest shops and yards 
that I have ever seen in any country. There 
were in the car-shops some carriages just com 
pleted, designed and built by native workmen 
who had learned the business with the company ; 
and I have not seen such artistic cars in Eng 
land or in France. 

Mr. Shotton explained to me that they found 
it necessary to ask an applicant his religion 
before employing him, so as to keep the Greeks 
and Catholics about equally divided ; otherwise 
the faction in the majority would lord it over 
the weaker band, to the detriment of the 
service. An occasional Mohammedan made 
no difference ; but the Greeks and Catholics 
have it in for each other, as they do at Beth 
lehem, just as they had in the dark days of 
the gentle Constantine, and just as they will 
have till the end of the chapter. 

The Ottoman Railway Company has three 
hundred and fifty miles of good railroad, and 
Tibpe s some day to be able to continue across to 
Bagdad, though it is hinted by people not 



150 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

interested that the Sultan s Government favors 
the sleepy German Company, to the embarrass 
ment of the Smyrna people, who have done so 
much for the development of this marvellously 
blessed section. 

We spent a pleasant day at Smyrna, with its 
water-melons, Turkish coffee, and camels ; and 
twenty-four hours later we were at the Isle of 
Rhodes, where the great Colossus was. It was 
a dark, dreary, windy night, and the Turks 
fought hard for the ship s ladder. We had 
on board a wise old priest from Paris, with a 
string of six or eight young priests, who were to 
unload at Rhodes. Despite the cold, raw wind 
and rain, men came aboard with canes, beads, 
and slippers made of native wood, for there 
is a prison here, and offered them for sale at 
very low prices. 

For the next forty-eight hours our little old 
ship was wallopped about in a boisterous sea, 
and when we stopped again it was at Mersina, 
where a little railroad runs up to Tarsus, where 
Saul used to live. As we arrived at this place 
after sunset, which ends the Turkish day, 
we were obliged to lie here twenty-four hours, 
to get landing. 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 151 

On the morning of the second day, after our 
arrival at this struggling little port, our anchor 
touched bottom in the beautiful Bay of Alex- 
andretta. Here they show you the quiet nook 
where the whale shook Jonas. That was a sad 
and lasting lesson for the whale ; for not one of 
his kind has been seen in the Mediterranean 
since. All day we watched them hoist crying 
sheep and mild-eyed cattle, with a derrick from 
row-boats, up over the deck and drop them 
down into the ship, just as carelessly as a 
boy would drop a string of squirrels from his 
hand to the ground. 

The next morning we rode into the only har 
bor on the Syrian coast, and anchored in front 
of the beautiful city of " Bayroot," I believe 
that is the correct spelling ; it is the only way 
it has not been spelled ! 

It would take too long to describe this place, 
even if I had the power, to tell of the road to 
Damascus, the drives to the hills of Lebanon, 
through the silk- farms, the genial and obliging 
American Consul, the American College : but 
here, after nine days and nights, we said good-by 
to the obliging crew of the poor old Daphne. 



152 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

It was Christmas Eve when we learned that 
the sea had quieted sufficiently to allow ships 
to land at Jaffa ; and as early as 3 p. M. Cook s 
comedian came and hustled us aboard. The 
ship did not leave until 7.30, and we had to 
pay a dollar each for our dinners. For nearly a 
week the steamers had been passing Jaffa with 
out landing, and the result was that Beyroot and 
Port Said were filled with passengers and pil 
grims for the Holy Land. All day the Russian 
steamer which we were to take had been load 
ing with deck or steerage passengers, poorer 
and sicker and hungrier, if possible, than those 
on the Daphne were. It was dark when they 
had finished, and when we steamed out of 
the harbor we had seven hundred patches of 
poverty piled up on the deck. It began to 
rain shortly, that cold damp rain that seems 
to go with a rough sea, just as naturally as red 
liquor goes with crime. For a week or more, 
these miserable, misguided beggars had been 
carried by Jaffa, from Beyroot to Port Said, then 
from Port Said to Beyroot, unable to land. And 
this was Christmas Eve. Not a passenger nor 
a pilgrim in all that vast shipload but had hoped 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 153 

and prayed and planned to be at Bethlehem 
to-night. The good captain caused a canvas to 
be stretched over the shivering, suffering mob 
that covered the deck; but the pitiless rain 
beat in, and the wind moaned in the rigging, 
and the ship rolled and pitched and ploughed 
through the black sea, and the poor pilgrims 
regretted the trip in each other s laps. All 
night and till nearly noon the next day they 
lay there, more dead than alive ; and the hard 
est part of their pilgrimage was yet before them. 
If you have ever seen a flock of hungry gulls 
round a floating biscuit, you can form a very 
faint idea of a mob of native boatmen storming 
a ship at Jaffa. Of course the ladders are filled 
first ; then those who have missed the ladders 
drive bang against the ship, grab a rope, or 
cable, or anything they can grasp, and run up 
the iron, slippery side of the ship, as a squirrel 
runs up a tree. 

From the top of the ship they began to fire 
the bags, bundles, and boxes of the deck pas 
sengers down into the broad boats that lie so 
thick at the ship s side as to hide the sea 
entirely. When they had thrown everything 



154 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

overboard that was loose at one end, they 
began on the poor pilgrims. 

Women, old and young, who were scarcely 
able to stand up were dragged to the ladders 
and down to the last step. Here they were 
supposed to "lay" for the boat into which the 
Arabs were preparing to pitch them ; for the 
sea was still very rough. Now the bottom step 
of the ladder was in the water, now six feet 
above ; but what did these poor ignorant Rus 
sians know about gymnastics? When the roll 
ing sea brought the row-boats up, the pilgrims 
usually hesitated, while the bare-armed and 
bare-legged boatmen yelled and wrenched their 
hands from the chain. By the time the Moham 
medans had shaken a woman loose, and the 
victim had crossed herself, the ladder was six or 
eight feet from the small boat ; but it was too 
late to stay her now, even if the Arabs had 
wished to, but they did not. When she 
made the sign of the cross, that decided them, 
and they let her drop. Some waiting Turks 
made a feeble attempt to catch the sprawling 
woman, but not much. Sometimes, before one 
could rise, another woman for they were 



THROUGH THE DARDANELLES 155 

nearly all women would drop on to her bent 
back. Sometimes, when the first boat was filled, 
an Arab would catch the pilgrim on his neck, 
and she could then be seen riding him away as 
a woman rides a bicycle. From one boat to 
another he would leap, with his helpless victim, 
and finally pitch her forward over his own head 
into an empty boat, where she would lie limp 
and helpless, and regret it some more. 

I saw one poor girl, with great heavy boots 
on her feet, with hobnails in the heels, fall 
into the bottom of a boat ; and before she could 
get up, three large women were dropped into 
her lap. Just then the boat, being full, pulled 
off, and I saw her faint, and her head fall back ; 
and her death-like face showed how she had 
suffered. It was rare sport for the Moham 
medans. 

"Jump ! " they would say to the Christians. 
"Don t be afraid ; Christ will save you ! " 

It was 4 P. M. when the last of these miserable 
people, who ought to have been at home hoe 
ing potatoes, left the ship. An hour later, a 
long dark line of smoke was stretching out 
across the plain of Sharon, behind a locomotive 



156 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

drawing a train of stock cars. These cars held 
the seven hundred pilgrims bound for Jerusa 
lem. It will be midnight when they arrive at 
the Holy City, and they will have no money 
and no place to sleep in. Ah, I forgot ; they 
will go to the Russian Hospice, where they will 
find free board and lodging. It is kind and 
thoughtful in the Russian Church people to 
care for these poor pilgrims, now that they are 
here ; but it is not right nor kind to encourage 
them to come. It will be strangely interest 
ing to them at first; but when they hava 
seen it all, there will be nothing for them but 
idleness ; nothing to do but walk, walk, up 
the Valley of Jehosaphat, and down the road 
to Bethlehem. 



3|affa to 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 



JAFFA was the home of Simon the Tanner, 
whose house still stands, and is now for 
rent. It was the shipping station of Jonas ; the 
port where Solomon landed the cedars of Leba 
non, with which he built his extravagant harem ; 
and out of the wreck-strewn reef that frowns in 
front of the custom-house, rises the rock of 
Andromeda. It was here the poor lady was 
chained; but it was not the sea monster she 
feared, but a change in the wind. If the wind 
had blown from shore, and brought to her the 
faintest whiff of Jaffa, she could not have lived 
to tell her tale. When you land here, which 
you can accomplish only when the sea is calm, 
you find yourself in a narrow, mean, muddy 
street, filled with freighted camels, hamals, and 
burros, through which you are marched for a 
quarter of a mile before you come to a road 



160 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

wide enough to hold a carriage ; then you look 
across the street, see Howard s Hotel, dismiss 
the carriage for which you have paid a tourist 
agency a dollar, and walk to your stopping 
place. 

We landed at 10.30, and by 10.45 we had 
become tired of the sights and scent of the 
city. Securing a guide, I waited upon the chief 
of the Jaffa and Jerusalem Railway. 

It was Saturday; the manager whom I 
could not see said he was very busy, but if I 
would come in to-morrow, he would be glad to 
give me any information I desired. I went 
straight to the station, caught the 12.15 express, 
-and entered the only first-class carriage in the 
train, with a ticket for Jerusalem. The road is 
a three-foot gauge, the cars are narrow, and 
only half of one little pine coach is set apart 
for first-class passengers. This space is cut by 
a partition making two boxes, six by seven feet, 
for tourists. 

/ The train is made up of all kinds of cars. 
The grass is green between the ties, and the 
scale that is crumbling from the sandstone 
cornice of the station is allowed to remain 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM l6l 

where it falls, to be crushed under the feet 
of the travellers. The management is French, 
with a strong Turkish flavor^ The pompous, .al 
most military-looking manager, and the brightly 
umfoTmetr^chef de gare," or station-master, 
seem strangely out of place, when you glance at 
the wretchedness that surrounds them. Here 
is a queer mixture of the frivolity of France 
with the filth of the Orient. From the time 
you get the first glimpse of the Jaffa gare till 
you reach Jerusalem, the whole show has about 
it an air of neglect like a widow s farm. They 
^ appear to know as much about railroading as 
tKe^average Arab knows about the Young Men s 
--, Christian Association. 

The time was up, and we were fifteen minutes 
over-due to leave, when I asked Howard, the 
hotel man, what the matter was. 

"Waiting for le directeur de la compagnie" 
said he, with a smile ; for he knew how absurd 
it was to hold the only daily train the road runs 
for the General Manager. 

Another quarter of an hour went by, and still 
another. 

Suddenly there was a bustling among the 
ii 



162 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

station-hands, the bell jingled, the whistle the 
deep-voiced North American Baldwin whistle 
sounded, and we moved away. At the last 
moment I saw the handsome station-master 
hurry a well-dressed gentleman to our car, put 
him in, and then swing gracefully into the 
second-class carriage immediately behind ours. 
A couple of officers of an English war-ship 
which was anchored off Jaffa occupied one of 
the first-class compartments, and now the new 
comer came in where I was. 

The train started slowly, and seemed to be 
running over a track made of short pieces of 
rails; but I soon found that the one wheel at 
my corner had three flat spots on it, and that 
the"two rear wheels had but one. This gave 
the car an uncertain sort of movement, two 
short hops and a long one. I looked at my 
companion and tried to look pleased. He 
frowned. I raised the window and tried to see 
what made the car caper about so, and my 
travelling companion burnt a cigarette. 

"Little rough," I said as a feeler; and my 
friend blew such a fog into my face that I was 
obliged to take to the window again. 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 163 

"Window too cool for you? " I asked, ven 
turing another flyer at the Frenchman, and he 
scowled. 

Growing accustomed to the pounding and 
bucking of the carriage, I began to looITaf the 
strange~sc"enes along the line. On one side 
there was an orange orchard, whose trees were 
laden with golden fruit. On the other was an 
olive orchard, and here and there tall date-palms 
flung their banners to the breeze. In a field 
near by, a native was ploughing with two little 
thin-legged blond cows, followed by another 
team which was a strange combination, a 
burro and a bull ; and just behind that a tall 
camel came swimming slowly through the peace 
ful air, drawing a wooden plough which had but 
one handle. This is a beautiful valley, called 
the Plain of Sharon ; and if it was farmed as 
France or England is farmed, it would be a 
veritable garden. Forty-five minutes out we 
stopped at Lydda, twenty kilometres from Jaffa. 
Here my friend got out, walked up towards the 
engine, scowled, and returned to the car. The 
red-fezzed station-master from Jaffa came from 
his carriage, just as the station-master of Lydda 



1 64 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

came out of the station. Their eyes met ; they 
stopped, clasped their hands, and you could see 
in a minute that they belonged to the same 
lodge. The Lyddian tilted his head slightly, 
as a hen does when she sees a hawk high above 
her; then they unplatted their fingers, and 
rushed into each other s arms. When they had 
embraced, the chef from Jaffa held the Lyddian 
off at arm s length, and looked calmly into his 
eyes, as if to say : " Hast thou been faithful to 
thy trust ? Lie not ; for behold the breath of 
the high chef des gares is upon thee and will 
wither thee if thou speakest not the truth." 

The Lyddian nodded his head three times 
very slowly, and the chef kissed him on the 
right and then on the left cheek. Another deep 
blast from the Philadelphia whistle, and my car 
riage began to scamper away like a wounded 
hare in the stubble. Another quarter of an 
hour brought us to Ramleh old Arimathsea. 
One hour from Jaffa, and this Syrian cyclone, 
this Jerusalem jerk- water, has covered nearly 
eighteen miles. I dropped off as the train was 
coming in, and made a picture of the pretty 
little station. Ramleh is an old town, in fact, 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 165 

everything is old here. The railway, which was 
opened only two years ago, is old, and only a 
few people came to see the train go by. It has 
always been a place of importance, for here the 
old caravan road from Damascus to Egypt 
crosses the trail trod by the Crusaders from Jaffa 
to Jerusalem. At Lydda I fancied I smelt a hot- 
box ; then I laughed at the idea, a hot-box 
at eighteen miles an hour ! It was only the 
odor of the Orient, I reasoned, and forgot. But 
now, as the train stopped at Ramleh, two clouds 
of beautiful blue smoke came up from a coal 
car near the locomotive, and floated away across 
the rolling plain. The doctor of the battle-ship 
and his friend the lieutenant were contemplating 
one of these boxes, when I came up and offered 
to bet a B. & S. that my side would blaze first. 

" Taken ! " said the game doctor ; and while 
we were amusing ourselves thus, my French 
friend came forward, saw the hot-box, and made 
a bee-line for the station. 

The next moment he was out again with the 
conductor. You could see that the box was 
not the only thing hot on the J. & J. The 
distinguished traveller was beating his hands 



I 66 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

together, pushing his nose sideways with his 
front finger, and telling the conductor things 
that would burn the paper if we printed them. 
When he stopped to breathe, the station-master 
of Ramleh, who had already been hugged 
and kissed by the station-master from Jaffa, 
pulled the bell, and the train started. My trav 
elling companion then turned on the poor 
station-master for having started the train while 
he was busy roasting the conductor. He raised 
both hands above his head and rolled off a 
succotash of French and Arabic for a whole 
minute ; and when he turned, the rear end of 
the train was just disappearing over a little hill 
beyond the switch, and the General Manager 
le directeur de la compagnie was left 
behind. 

I believe he must have been glad of it, for 
he knew enough English to know that English 
officers were making jokes of his railroad, and 
that I was not over-pleased with the flat wheels. 

The land was still beautiful. A little way 
to the south was the broad valley of Ajalon, 
where Pharaoh conquered a king, and gave 
the ranch to Solomon, together with his 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 167 

daughter ; for it was plain to Pharaoh that 
Solomon was wasting a fortune trying to create 
a boom on Mount Moriah, which is in Jerusa 
lem, the only place where they suffer from 
drought and mosquitos at the same time. 

" Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon, and thou, 
moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun 
stood still, and the moon stayed, and there was 
no day like that before it or after it." So it is 
written of the valley of Ajalon; and now the 
sound of a locomotive whistle floats o er the 
plain, and echoes in the hills of Judaea. 

"I win ! " said the Doctor, presently, pulling 
his head in from the open window. " Mine s 
burning beautifully." 

Leaving the plain, we enter a canon about 
six hundred feet above the sea, .up which we 
toil at a snail s pace. The country grows more 
desolate, the hills are barren wastes of gray 
rock, with not enough vegetation to pasture a 
tarantula. When we had arrived at Beir Aban, 
thirty-one miles out, time two hours and fifteen 
minutes, and the station-master from Jaffa had 
embraced and kissed the station-master at Beir 
Aban, first on the right cheek, and then on the 



1 68 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

left, the cloud of smoke that arose from the 
two hot boxes hid the locomotive entirely. For 
a half-hour the train crew carried water from 
the tank and flooded the hot boxes. The same 
was repeated at Bittir, even to the kissing 
and embracing, and we were off on the home 
stretch for Jerusalem, which is twenty-six hun 
dred feet above the Mediterranean. The canon 
grows narrower as we ascend, and still there is 
no earth in sight, nothing but rock, rock, 
everywhere. Sometimes we can see on the 
sides of the terraced hills a few rows of olive- 
trees, which, like the scrub cedars in the moun 
tains of America, seem to spring from the very 

Vs^ J 

stones. 

The conductor the slouchy, careless, polite 
conductor came through the car for the last 
time, and every one was glad we were nearing 
the Holy City. The train-men are all French, 
and, like most French people one is compelled 
to rub up against in the churches, theatres, and 
shops of the Republic, especially in Paris, 
they appear never to use water, except the little 
they put in their claret. There are more foun 
tains than bath-tubs in Paris. French people 




JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 169 

in the lower walks of life remind one of the 
Mohammedan making a pilgrimage to Mecca, 
who obstinately refuses to bathe until he gets 
there, only these people seem never to get 
there ! There s the sea at Jaffa ; but these 
fellows never think of using it, any more than 
the natives do. 

The conductor is in keeping, however, with 
other things pertaining to the road. Their 
" cabinets de toilet," supposed to be built for 
the use of the public, are absolutely unapproach 
able. They are as far below those of France in 
the way of cleanliness as the latter are below 
those found in England. I have never seen 
such inexcusable filthiness in any country. 
Even the Arabs notice it. 

The distance from Jaffa to Jerusalem, accord 
ing to Howard s " Guide to Palestine," is thirty- 
two miles as the raven makes it, and thirty-six 
by wagon -road. No guide-book has been per 
petrated since the opening of the railway ; but 
none is necessary, as the time is about the 
same. In fact, " White Sheik " Howard s 
Arabian steed beats the train as often as he 
is ridden down from Jerusalem. 



170 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

The distance by rail is eighty-seven kilo 
metres (about fifty-four miles), according to 
the time-card ; and the same makes the running 
time four hours and ten minutes : but we lost 
an hour to-day. 

The fare, first-class, is $3.00, second-class 
$2.00, and third-class $1.25. The road has 
never earned operating expenses, I am told, 
and never will, I am led to believe. The loco 
motives are the best mountain locomotives 
made ; and that is about the only thing they 
have to speak of. 

I think there must be something in the 
Brotherhood of Station-Masters prohibiting the 
sweeping of floors in stations, as they are all 
covered with sand, dirt, and scraps of paper, 
and things. 

I travelled over a little lumber road in Texas 
once, whose initials were T. & S., and the train 
men called it the " Trouble and Sorrow," and 
sometimes " Timber and Sand." I rode on 
the locomotive, for it was the first wood-burner 
I had ever seen. The train was carded at 
twelve miles an hour, and we were losing time ; 
but it was the only time I was ever frightened 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM I 7 I 

on an engine. The road was so rough, and the 
engine rolled so, that the hazel-splitter hogs 
would scamper out of the ditches beside the 
track. In places the track was so sunken that 
the ties hung to the underside of the rail ; and 
when the engine struck a place like that, and 
drove the ties down, the mud and water would 
shoot out over the face of the earth, and fresco 
everything inside the right of way. The pas 
sengers, if they had not been too frightened, 
could have picked flowers from the windows of 
the rolling coaches almost. Till now, the 
T. & S. has been to me the rockiest road on 
earth ; but now it s all changed. 

Now the whistle sounds deep and long, the 
train has reached the top of the canon, the end 
of the gulch, and here before us, nestled in the 
very top of a group of little mountains, is Jeru 
salem. The sun is just going down in the hills 
through which we came, and away to the east, 
beyond the Dead Sea, the hills of Moab are 
taking on the wonderful tints they wear at 
sunset. They are unlike any other mountains, 
in that the crest-line is as straight as the line of 
the horizon on a level plain. 



172 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

How strange it all seems ! There is nothing 
but rocks, and scrubby olive-trees, and dead- 
looking grape-vines, and not many of them. 
The people are strange, too. On the way to 
the hotel, we pass all kinds of people of the 
Orient, Bedouins on high horses, with their 
knees cocked up; plains-men on thin-legged 
Arabian steeds ; all manner of men on donkeys 
and on foot, beggars, and even lepers, and 
poor Jews ; Jews with cork-screw curls hanging 
down in front of their ears, and idle pilgrims 
who do nothing on earth but walk, walk up the 
valley of Jehosaphat and down the road to 
Bethlehem. 

The moment you have seen it all, Jerusalem 
becomes to you the most melancholy locality 
on the face of the earth. It was so with us, I 
know; and when the time came to leave, not 
one of our party missed the train. 

When the Syrian cyclone begins to descend 
from Mount Zion to the sea, you are led to 
believe that you will reach Jaffa in about an 
hour ; but when the train has gone a quarter of 
a mile the careful driver reverses the engine, 
opens the cylinder- cocks, and you think by the 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 173 

swish, swish, of the escaping steam that there is 
an open switch just ahead ; but you are always 
wrong. The truth is, they have no air-brakes, 
and the driver is obliged to hold the train with 
the engine in the back motion until it is brought 
down to a reasonable pace. When you have 
nearly stopped you go ahead again, just as you 
did before, and go on repeating the perform 
ance to the bottom of the hill, twenty-five miles, 
and two thousand feet below Jerusalem. The 
balance of the journey over the Plain of Sharon 
is^less hazardous. The engine-driver is a 
Frenchman, and extremely careful and compe 
tent. He never allowed the train to get beyond 
his control foFa^smgle moment, and he riavon 
the whole, about as difficult a run as there is 
east of Pike s Peak. 

At Jaffa, as at Constantinople, you must take 
to the sea again, for there are no more railroads 
here. 

After the Jaffa and Jerusalem, the P. and I. 
is good to look upon. This little railway 
runs from Port Said to Isma ilia, less than a 
hundred miles. The gauge is not even three 
feet, which seems to be a sort of standard 





174 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

for narrow-gauged railways everywhere. It is 
only thirty inches. The locomotives are like 
toy engines, but good ones, and the carriages 
are beautiful, perfect little palaces. < They 
are not only neatly designed and artistically 
constructed, but scrupulously clean and very 
comfortable. They are narrow, of course, but 
ample room is given to each passenger. They 
are so arranged that the whole car may be 
opened up, allowing one to pass through it 
from end to end. I had no time to inform 
myself regarding the road s history, but I was 
told that it had been built and was being ope 
rated by a French company. I hope so, for 
the J. & J. has rather disgraced France. The 
rail, which rests on metallic cross-ties, looks to 
be about thirty pounds to the yard. The road 
runs, for the greater part, along the Suez Canal, 
with the sea on the other side ; and the ride 
from Port Sai d, if the sand is not blowing, is an 
interesting one. 

In the shallow sea to the right are myriads of 
sea-birds of every conceivable kind, and farther 
out, hundreds of sleepy-looking little ships with 
one sail, whose masts lean back like a slender 



JAFFA TO JERUSALEM 175 

palm in a steady wind. To the left is the 
canal, upon whose narrow waters one sees the 
flag of almost every civilized country, save per 
haps the Stars and Stripes, which, somehow, 
one seldom sees at the Orient, or anywhere 
else, for that matter. Even at Constantinople 
the flag at the embassy flies only on high days 
and holidays, and not very high then. 

With all their enterprise, this company make 
one serious mistake. They refuse to " paste " 
baggage through from Port Said to Cairo, and 
at Ismailia the traveller must hunt out his lug 
gage, and have it re-weighed and re -registered. 
The P. & O. s beautiful new steamer Caledonia, 
bound for India, had unloaded an English 
excursion party the day I went down, and it 
took nearly two hours that night to re-weigh the 
baggage where we left the smart little railway 
and boarded the Egyptian line. 

TJhe Egyptian state railways are not bad, nor 
very good, but they answer the purpose. Their 
locomotives are fair, their cars are of the usual 
European style, short and light. They make 
very good time, too, for such a slow country ; 
but one must travel first-class always in Egypt, 



176 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

to avoid smoke, filth, and dirt of every kind, 
tfeejELuick and the dead ! 

If the reader has ever ridden on the rear- 
end of an American railroad train, and is of an 
observing turn, he has noticed that the moment 
the train passes a gang of section-men, they all 
fall to as vigorously as though they were repair 
ing a wash-out, and were holding the President s 
special. " Poor fellows," says the sympathetic 
traveller, " how they work ! " He does not 
observe that every Irish son of them has one 
eye on the track, and the other on the rear-car 
looking for the roadmaster. Well, they do that 
here, and the Arabs did it on the Jaffa and 
Jerusalem, just as the Chinamen do in Cali 
fornia, and the negroes in Texas. Human 
nature is much the same the world over. 



delations? of tlje C3;mplo^ee to 
ivatlroao 



RELATIONS OF THE EMPLOYEE TO 
THE RAILROAD 



A S the shifting sands in the bed of a river 

are constantly changing the channel, so 

are the conditions of the country constantly 

changing the relations of the railroad employee 

to the railroad. 

When the country is prosperous, and all the 
railroads are running full-handed, employees 
are apt to air their grievances and ask for a 
raise in wages as often as a dividend is declared. 

^^ ^^*~~*^^^s***~** 1 **^ __^ -^^^ ^^ 

When times are hard and hundreds of idle men 
are abroad in the land, and locomotives are 
rusting in the round-houses, railway managers 
are "apt to ask the employees to submit to a 
reduction in wages as often as a fresh batch of 
men are discharged and sent adrift. These 
facts may not be very complimentary to either 
side, but they are facts, I fancy, all the same. 



I So TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

The railroad company proper is regarded by 
the average employee as a mythical soulless 
something, ever invisible and always out of 
reach. "The struggle is really between the men 
and the management, the employees and the 
officials ; and as they are all employees, from 
the president to the tie-tamper; from the mas 
ter-mechanic to the poorly-paid wiper, we 
must have a division to begin with. Out of 
this great body we must find the fighting forces 
for two armies, absurdly arrayed, one under 
the flag of " Capital," the other bearing the 
banner of " Labor." 

This condition of things is all the more incon 
sistent when we remember that the real fighters 
are all laborers ; only, one side has succeeded, 
the other is struggling to succeed. And how 
1ire~we to know them? When does the "em 
ployee " become an official? Ah, that s the 
easiest thing in the world. For example, this 
change in the life of a locomotive-engineer 
comes the day he is promoted to be travelling 
engineer or round-house foreman. It comes 
to the conductor when he is made superintend 
ent of a division ; to the telegrapher when he 



RELATIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD l8l 

becomes a despatcher or train-master. The 
other employees come in awkwardly, congratu 
late the new official, and then go back to the 
boarding-house and lock their trunks. Here is 
a parting of ways. From this day the new 
official walks on the other side of the street, 
regarding the promotion (for which all are striv 
ing) almost a misfortune. At the end of a 
week his room-mate leaves him, and he goes 
also, to live in a better place. At the end 
of a fortnight he finds that he has, almost un 
consciously, changed his mode of living and 
his associates. 

He sits no longer in the councils of em 
ployees, for he stands for the company, for 
Capital. In many cases he pays up his dues 
and takes an honorary membership, or with 
draws finally from the Brotherhood. He is so 
different in his new place that sometimes he is 
accused of being " stuck on himself." I put it 
that way, for it is precisely as the " other fel 
lows " will put it ; and I have dwelt upon this 
point to show that there is no mistaking an em 
ployee for the " company," which is simply the 
management. It would not be just to say that 



1 82 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

the new-made officer deserves all the bad things 
said of him, nor would it be right to say that 
the unpromoted employees are wholly to blame. 
They have simply all dropped down the wrong 
leg of the " Y," and nobody has taken the 
trouble to back them up and set them right. 
Then |t is always so much easier to convince a 
working-man that he is getting the worst of it 
than to show him that he is prosperous and 
ought to be happy. That s why the professional 
agitator has such smooth sailing. Man is a 
scrappy animal at best, and I think that the 
constant strain under which the railroad em 
ployee works tends to make him especially 
irritable, as the constant watchfulness of his 
nature tends to make him suspicious of signals 
which are not perfectly plain to him. 

The railroad manager at his office, dictating 
letters, directing business, and hearing griev 
ances, is a different man altogether when seen 
attlre club, at the races, in Sunday-school, or 
at home ; but the less-experienced employee is 
always the same on and off duty. He has not 
yet learned how to forget his work, to put it 
aside, and rest his weary brain. He railroads, 



RELA TIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 183 

not only earnestly, but all the time : on the rail, 
in the round-house, the barber-shop, and the 
boarding-house. When he wants his plate 
changed, he tells the waiter to " switch out the 
empty, and throw in a load." 

The little jealousies and animosities just 
described exist among the employees as well as 
between the man and the managers. For years 
the bitterest hatred existed between the Brother 
hood of Locomotive Engineers and the Brother 
hood of Locomotive Firemen. Until lately a 
member of the latter organization was not eligi 
ble to membership in the former. In the West, 
where promotion comes quick and easy, where 
the fireman of to-day is the engineer of to-mor 
row, where the world seems wider and ideas 
broaden, these narrow views found little favor. 
Indeed, it was the Western delegates in the 
convention who caused these restrictions to 
be removed. 

There existed for years the bitterest hatred 
between the members of the Order of Railway 
Conductors and the Engineers Brotherhood. 
So cordially did they hate each other that it 
was almost impossible to get good service. 



184 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Railway managers made no frantic effort to 
bring about a reconciliation between these im 
portant branches of the train service. On the 
contrary, I am afraid some of them rejoiced in 
the strife, knowing well that so long as labor 
warred with labor, capital would have smooth 
sailing. 

When the Knights of Labor were in their 
glory, many railroad employees turned to that 
organization as the coming Moses. This led 
up to a struggle between the Knights and the 
Brotherhoods. 

When Debs often wrong, but always honest 
an<f earnest, I believe - conceived the idea of 
bringmg"air railroad employees together in one 
colossal Brotherhood, he found himself opposed 
by all the older organizations, including the 
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, for whose 
advancement he had spent the best years of his 
life. Just as the different nations of the earth 
train their cannons on the other shore, so do 
the various labor organizations of the United 
States "lay" for one another. 

Happily, thoughtful men are beginning to 
regard all this as quite unnecessary, as a great 




RELATIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 185 

waste of energy; and a change is coming. 
Lopking back over the fields where labor and j 
capital have fought, we see only waste, want, 
desolation, and death. In struggles of this kind 
capital gains nothing, and the_be_st labor can 
get is the worst of it. The great strikes of the 
past twenty years, including "the last bitter strug 
gle ..of 1894, must prove plainly to the thought 
ful, working- man that he must rely mainly upon 
his own ability to make a place for himself in 
the world and to hold it. 

The struggle between the American Railway 
Union and Mr. Pullman in the beginning, the 
railway companies of the country in the end, 
has proven two facts : to capital, that it is just 
as well to treat fairly and deal honestly with 
labor; to labor, that the country is not ready 
for anarchy. Few people believe that the acts 
of lawlessness committed at Chicago were the 
doings of working-men. These outrages were 
committed mainly by idle loafers and criminals , f 
of every cast and irom every country, g oreigfa hAj-^^ 
working-men, at best, appear to bring all their > - - 
grievances, all their disrespect for law, in ^ Qk( jj^ 
short, all they possess that is un-American, Jf)*^ 




1 86 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

tg^America. In nearly all the labor disturb 
ances the finger-marks of the foreigner are V 
plainly visible. The long and lawless struggle 
at Cripple Creek was organized and officered 
wholly by foreigners, and their energies were 
directed mainly against one American, self- 
made as far as his fortune is concerned, who, 
in the panicky winter of 1893-4, advanced 
nearly $100,000 to build a railroad to the great 
gold camp, thereby providing work for hundreds 
of men who were actually hungry. I find no 
fault with a man because he is a foreigner ; only, 
if he cares to live in the United States, he ought 
to respect the laws of the country. But when 
an American journal, or news-gathering associa 
tion, will interview an Anarchist upon the mur 
der of the president of a republic, allowing him 
to rejoice in cold type over the death of a dis 
tinguished citizen of another country; then, 
when Americans allow such a man (a murderer 
at heart) to live in the land, Uncle Sam becomes 
an accessory, and by his tolerance encourages 
Anarchy. 

I have seen their emblems. Here, in Paris, 
not more than a mile from where I write, there 



RELATIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 187 

is a corner in the graveyard set apart for these 
miserable people. The walls are all ablaze 
with red rings, a sort of bloody funeral harness, 
and on their shields, red with rust, are engraved 
the knife, the pistol, and the torch. It is not 
good for the young republic of France, with a 
new-made grave of a murdered president, to 
allow these things to hang here, with their 
breath of danger and hints of death. 

It is not difficult for one, even slightly ac 
quainted with the history of the railroads of the 
United States, to pick out those that have been 
most prosperous ; and it is gratifying to note 
that those roads enjoying the greatest prosperity 
are generally at peace with their employees. 

We "Have seen the unpleasant side of the 
employee, how, in the past, peace seemed to 
trouble his mind, and now we shall see the 
other side. 

He is not only capable of appreciating hu 
mane treatment, but is as loyal to the company 
employing him, when properly handled, as the 
highest officer can possibly be. Cross him, 
and ~"h~eT will fight for his manager. Ask his 
opinion, and he will show you how far the 



1 88 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

"Thunder-bird" of his line is ahead of the 
wretched and rickety old " Night-hawk " run by 
the opposition road. The enthusiasm of the 
earnest and industrious passenger-agent and his 
army of assistants seems to find its way down 
the line to the humblest employee. 

I don t pretend to say that such is always the 
case. A great deal nearly everything, in 
fact depends upon the character of the higher 
officials. A railway manager, the fingers of 
whose phone run down to the pool-rooms and 
the gilded palaces of painted women, will have 
a demoralizing influence upon the employees of 
the road. Turning restlessly in his office-chair, 
ever gazing out at the window to fields which 
he fancies elysium, ever impatient and anxious 
to get away from work, to return to play, he 
cuts everything short, and you will find his sub 
ordinates following in his footsteps. 

Take the manager who is thoroughly in ear 
nest, honest and loyal to the company, and his 
influence will be felt. It is not difficult for a 
manager to win and hold the respect of the 
employees of a railway. If he but takes the 
trouble, and has the happy faculty of imparting 




RELA TIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 189 

a little human kindness to every employee with 
whom he comes in contact, he will soon win 
the respect of all his subordinates. In doing 
this he makes his own labors lighter, and at the 
same time adds to the happiness of the em 
ployees and the revenue of the road. The 
best service can be had only when all work har 
moniously and with a will. Railway employees 
know when they are treated decently. They 
know, too, that an impartial judge, commonly 
known as " public opinion," will pass upon 
their cause, and they are learning rapidly that 
it is not good to kick unless they have a " kick 
comin , as they express it. The best of them 
are not great readers, but they manage to 
acquire more knowledge of things in general, 
and railroads in particular, than the average cit 
izen does. Go and mingle with a band of yard 
men who are loafing round a switch-engine, and 
in a half hour you will get a good bit of the his 
tory of American railroads, and much of the 
personal history of the leading railway officials 
of the country. You will find, too, that, if they 
" roast " some of them vigorously, they praise 
others enthusiastically. It is always pleasant to 




190 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

say nice things of other people. It is pleasant 
to try to pick out the good things in the life of 
a man whom the public has regarded as bad. 
Jay Gould, for example. The employees of 
railroads commonly known as the " Gould 
Systems " were always sure of three things, 
good wages, decent treatment, and a good 
check for their money the moment they earned 
it. This respectful consideration for his em 
ployees, which was one of the noble traits in 
Mt. Gould s character, has been imparted to 
his assistants, and is distinguishable to this day. 
Not long ago, during an inquiry by the Govern 
ment into the matter of wages of employees, 
the president of one of these roads was called 
to the stand to testify. Wheri the venerable 
railroader took his place and raised his hand to 
be^sworn, his white hair falling like a halo about 
his head, the United States judge looked at 
him for a moment, and said : " You need n t 
swear." Perhaps the judge remembered that 
in that same city then a wild outpost of civ 
ilization on the Western plains this man 
had begun his railroad career as a Eurrible 
empIoyee7~aTid that in all these years his 



RELATIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 191 

honesty had never been questioned, and that 
was sufficient. 

Perhaps it was not much to take his testi 
mony without swearing him, but to me it seems 
a delicate and touching compliment to this 
great good man. I know it is customary to 
preserve these little flowers for the grave, but I 
prefer to put this one here. It may serve as a 
"marker" to those who follow in his footsteps, 
a something to strive for, " a consummation 
devoutly to be wished." 

I never knew Tom Potter, never saw him, 
but I know he lived and died. I remember 
that for a year after his death it was impossible 
to open one of the many trade magazines, 
printed and supported by railway employees, 
without reading a line like this : " Send some 
thing to the Potter Monument Fund." I do 
not know that he ever got the monument, but 
I know he got its equivalent, a monument of 
devotion which can only be built on the foun 
dation prepared for it in life. It proves that 
in the average railroad employee there is a pay- 
streak of gratitude ; and that ought to make up 
for a multitude of short-comings. But it is not 



192 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

necessary to die in order to receive his respect. 
During the hard times in the West, caused 
mainly by the closing of the silver mines, a 
very conscientious general manager called a 
number of employees together to discuss the 
matter of a reduction of wages. There were 
present representatives from the various brother 
hoods and labor organizations who had been 
sent to head-quarters instructed to submit to 
no reduction of wages. The manager made his 
case so clear showing the delegates the utter 
impossibility of keeping all the trains then on 
the time-card running, and the folly of sup 
posing that the owners of the road would retain 
him as manager unless he made some effort to 
reduce operating expenses to fit in a measure 
the decrease and still decreasing earnings 
that he at once won the respect of the dele 
gation. When these poor fellows returned to 
their several homes and made the result of 
their deliberations known, there was a great 
row. Some of the more ignorant and unscru 
pulous employees openly accused the delegates 
of selling their constituency to the railroad. 
The manager heard all this in due time, and, 



RE LA TIONS OF EMPL O YEE TO RAILROAD 193 

having faith in the justice of his cause and 
the humanity of man, he submitted the ques 
tion to a vote of all employees, with the 
promise that wages should be restored at the 
beginning of the following year. The men 
voted to submit to the proposed reduction ; but 
few of them ever knew what want and misery 
they saved by so doing, for, if the manager 
had been beaten, the force was to have been 
reduced, and thus many of them would have 
been thrown out of work entirely at the begin 
ning of a hard winter, when all the railroads in 
the country were discharging men. 

A less thoughtful, a less humane manager, 
would have ordered the reduction in wages 
which circumstances certainly made necessary, 
and created a strike, won in the end, at the 
expense both of the employees and of the stock 
holders. It is well to observe these things and 
the way they work. They all show that a 
straightforward, open, and honest policy will 
often save money for the people who have been 
enterprising enough to build railroads, and pre 
vent the less-learned employees the fretful 
children of the rail from running blindly into 
danger. 
I _*- 3 

fJ^/VLP-v 



194 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

I happened to be in San Francisco when Mr. 
Stanford died, and I want to say a word for 
him. If you ask me how he managed to save 
twenty millions in twenty years, I cannot an 
swer ; but there was something good and gentle 
in his nature. Poor Mr. Stanford ! Surrounded 
as he was with his miserable millions, with all his 
wretched riches, his going away was as peaceful 
and pathetic as the death of a nun. He knew, 
it seems, that he was going, and had selected 
his pall-bearers. They were the six oldest loco 
motive-engineers in the employ of the company. 
Many times he had placed his life in their 
hands, and now at the end he wanted these 
strong, brave fellows to " handle his train " on 
the last sad run. As usual, they did their work 
well, walking upright with a firm step. Their 
eyes were tearless, their faces calm ; but if you 
looked closely, you would see them trying to 
swallow something. It was that hurt in the 
throat that comes to men unfortunate men 
who are not weak enough to weep. 

At the other end of the procession another 
band of employees walked, with bowed heads 
and tear-wet eyes, yellow men, whose homes 



RELATIONS OF EMPLOYEE TO RAILROAD 195 

and gods were at the other end of the earth, 
who found the paths at the Occident slippery 
ways; but they had taken something of the 
tenderness of their gentle master, and so walked 
in his wake and wept. 



jfrom tty Comffela to tty Cab 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 



T^VERY boy, arrived at a certain age, wishes 
to take part in the work of the world 
which he sees going on about him. Many 
desire to become locomotive-engineers, but few 
of these understand how hard and long is the 
way to gratification of that ambition. My ex 
perience is like the experience of many a man 
who has worked his way from the corn-field to 
the cab of a locomotive. 

My first railroading was in the humble capa 
city of a water-carrier for the graders on the 
Vandalia road, in Illinois, where my father had 
a small contract. Finally, the grade was com 
pleted, and the construction train came along 
behind the first locomotive I had ever seen. 

Of course I was deeply impressed with its 
grandeur. Every boy gazes at a locomotive 
with rapture, partly compounded of fear. If 



20O TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

boys playing football hear the whistle of an 
engine, they will stop and look. A boy swim 
ming, who is supposed to forget everything, 
will turn and swim on his back and watch the 
train go by. 

Our farm lay near the railroad, just at the 
end of a hard pull. From the field where I 
worked during my youthful years I could see 
the fireman at his furnace, while the great black 
steed toiled slowly up the hill with a half a mile 
of cars behind her. I never looked with envy 
at the engineer. If I could be a fireman, 
I thought, my cup of happiness would be 
full. 

It is not an easy matter, without influential 
friends, to get employment on a railroad, espe 
cially if the applicant happens to have hayseed 
in his hair, or milk on his shoes. When the 
brakeman, who is the paid elocutionist of the 
train crew, wishes to humiliate a feiiow-work- 
man, he invariably calls him a farmer. No 
greater insult can be offered to a brakeman. 

I had lived a quarter of a century, and failed 
in half a dozen business ventures, when I de 
cided to go railroading, being prepared to 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 2OI 

accept the humblest position, so long as it was 
in the path that led to the throttle. 

I presented some strong letters to the Master 
Mechanic of the Denver and Rio Grande at 
Salida, Colorado ; a clerk wrote my name and 
address in a large book, saying that he would 
call me when I was wanted. I began to think 
I should not be wanted ; for I had waited a 
month or more when the caller came one 
evening and told me to report to the night 
foreman. 

First I joined the wipers, a gang of half a 
dozen men, whose business it is to clean the 
engines up when they come in from the road. 
This gang is made up of three classes, old men 
who are not strong enough to perform heavier 
work ; young and delicate youths ; strong young 
men who expect to become firemen when their 
names are reached. 

The wiper s work is not arduous, except for the 
long and dreary hours, from six in the even 
ing to six in the morning. But it is disagree 
able work. You have to get down in the pit 
under the locomotive reeking with oil, and wipe 
the machinery clean and dry with bunches of 






2O2 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

waste. All this time you are obliged to inhale 
the awful fumes of the torch you carry. 

If you are faithful and patient, you may be 
promoted to the day shift in six months. Here 
you perform the same work, but without the 
torch, and you sleep of nights. By and by you 
are promoted again to the position of engine 
watchman. 

There are from twenty to fifty locomotives in 
the round-house, and it is the watchman s duty 
to keep water in the boilers, and enough steam 
up to move the engines in case one is wanted 
in a hurry. Before long the foreman, if he 
thinks you deserve to be encouraged, will put 
you on a yard- engine as fireman. This will 
take you back to night-work, but it is one step 
forward, and the work is light. 

When there is a vacancy you will be given a 
day engine, and again you feel thankful : you 
see the sunlight ; it gives you courage ; you are 
glad to be free of night-work. I do not know 
of anything that will embitter a man s life and 
sour his disposition so swiftly and surely as 
working week after week through the hours of 
darkness. 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 203 

From the day yard- engine you go out on the 
road, and now you are a real fireman. You 
are assigned a regular locomotive, and you are 
expected to keep everything clean and in order ; 
that is, everything above the running-board, 
that board which you will see on all locomotives, 
extending from the cab along the side of the 
boiler to the front end. 

On mountain roads, ten years ago, wipers, 
watchmen, and all round-house helpers were 
paid one dollar and seventy-five cents a day, 
firemen on yard- engines two dollars, and engi 
neers three. Firemen on road engines received 
two dollars and forty cents a day, and engineers 
four dollars; but Eastern roads do not pay 
nearly so well. I know of a half-dozen railroad 
presidents who began at less than fifty cents a 
day. 

Another great advantage the men of the West 
had at that time was that they served, as a rule, 
less than three years as firemen, though now on 
Eastern roads men commonly fire from five to 
ten years. But the West was- then developing 
rapidly, and new roads were being built every 
year. 



204 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

At the end, say, of three years, the fireman 
may be promoted to be hostler. The hostler 
takes the engines from the coal-track, side 
track, or wherever the engineers leave them. 
He has them coaled up, the fire cleaned, and 
then runs them into the stalls in the round 
house. In this work he becomes familiar with 
each and every engine on the division, and if 
he be observing, he will retain this knowledge 
and use it when he becomes an engineer. 

The next promotion takes the hostler back 
to the night yard-engine : this time as engineer. 
His pay is now three dollars a day, or ninety 
dollars a month; but he was making over a 
hundred dollars a month at two dollars and 
forty cents a day as fireman. 

Road engine-men are paid by the mile, 
forty-four mountain miles or eighty-five valley 
miles being a day s work. Thus, when busi 
ness is good, the engine crew make forty and 
fifty, and once in a while sixty, days in a month, 

The man on the night yard-engine goes 
through the same stages of promotion that the 
fireman went through, until at last he finds him 
self at the throttle of a road engine, with another 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 205 

increase in pay and a corresponding increase in 
responsibility, but with less real hard work to 
perform. 

On some roads a man must, I believe, serve 
a time in the shops as helper and machinist 
before he can hope to be promoted to the posi 
tion of engineer. This is not absolutely neces 
sary, for the reason that the engineer is not 
required to keep the engine in repair. Most 
master mechanics will tell you that the machin 
ist is not always the best " runner." 

There is a book called the work-book, where 
the engineer whose engine needs repair writes 
its number, what he wants done, and his name. 
If he is not quite sure about the disease, he 
may make a report like this : " Examine right 
steam-chest." The foreman will set a machinist 
to work, who, nine times out of ten, will locate 
the trouble in a very short time. 

Even where promotion comes rapidly, it takes 
from four to six years to work from the wiping 
tHesTyears, are jiot wasted . 
and every hour you become more 
and more acquainted with the various parts of 
the great iron horse, till at last the knowledge 




206 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

picked up in these years of toil serves to make 
up the sum of your education as a locomotive 
engineer. The years seem surprisingly short, 
for there is always the hope that springs eternal 
to lure you on. 

The life of an engineer is fascinating, espe 
cially where the road lies along the banks of a 
beautiful stream, or over grand mountains. 
Here at every curve a new picture is spread 
before him. 

To reach the summit of some high mountain 
at sunrise ; to look down the winding trail 
which he must travel, and see the blue-jay 
cloud lying across the track ; to dash through 
the cloud and out into the glad sunlight again, 
the verdant valley stretching away below, the 
high hills lifting their hoary crests above, is 
apt to impress one with the awful grandeur of 
God s world, so that he will carry that impres 
sion through life. 

A very small percentage of locomotive-en 
gineers become railway officials. If promotion 
comes to the engineer, he is usually promoted 
to the office of travelling engineer^ The duty 
of this officer is to go about over the road to 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 207 

see that the engines are made to work to their 
full capacity, and to see that the engine-men do 
not abuse the engines or waste the supplies. 

The travelling engineer usually recommends 
firemen for promotion. While railway rules 
permit the promotion of firemen in accordance 
with the length of time they have served in that 
capacity, the rule is not always applied ; and it 
should not be. One man will learn as much in 
a year as another will in ten, and all men do 
not make good engineers. Then, again, if a 
man is given to dissipation, he is not, and 
should not, be promoted in his turn. 

There is a vast improvement from year to 
year in railway employees as a class, morally 
and intellectually. It is no longer considered 
necessary for a man to be " real tough "to be 
a good train or engine man. As a class, the 
men who now enter the railway service are 
more intelligent than those who sought such 
employment fifteen or twenty years ago. 

The travelling engineer is often promoted to 
the position of master mechanic ; from that 
place to superintendent of motive power ; and 
sometimes he becomes superintendent of the 
road, or general manager. 



208 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Among the boys who read this, there may be 
some who desire to become locomotive-engi 
neers. To such I would offer one bit of advice, 
do whatever you are assigned to do cheer 
fully ; and do it well. 

Never leave a piece of work half done. Try 
to be the best wiper in the gang ; the best fire 
man on the road ; but do not say you are so. 
The officials will find it out, if you are really 
deserving of recognition. 

Do not rely upon a grievance committee to 
hold your job ; take care of that yourself. 
Remember that it is easy to "kick" yourself 
out of a good place, but never into a better 
one. The official who promotes you is in a 
measure responsible for you ; see that he does 
not have to apologize to his superior for your 
failure. 

The moment you become dissatisfied with 
your position, quit. Think it over first, and see 
whether you can better your condition ; but do 
not drag others into your troubles ; learn to rely 
upon yourself. 

If you succeed in reaching the right-hand 
side of a locomotive, you will then be in a posi- 



FROM THE CORNFIELD TO THE CAB 2 09 

tion to show your fellow-workmen that a man 
may be a smooth runner without the excessive 
use of tobacco, liquor, or profanity. 

By pursuing this course, you may be regarded 
as a curiosity by some of the fraternity, but you 
will be respected by the men and the manage 
ment, you will live longer, and you will be hap 
pier while you live. 



of rtje Hail 



a tjje General passenger Igente 

/ dedicate these simple lays 
To the jolly, joyous G. P. A?s 
Of America, whose "paper-talk" 
Has saved me many a weary walk. 

CY WARMAN. 



THE FLIGHT OF THE FLYER 

TVT EAR where the hill-girt Hudson lay, 

Up the steel track the engineer 
Reined his swift steed at close of day, 

As, leaping like a frightened deer, 
At each wild surge she seemed to say : 
Away ! Away ! Away ! Away ! 

The slow team toiling up the hill, 

The light boat drifting with the breeze, 

The swiftest trains seemed standing still ; 
Red vines were twining round the trees, 

Whose leaves, made golden by the frost, 

Gained more of lustre than they lost. 

The trackman, tamping up the rail, 
Felt the perfume of dying flowers ; 

The shadows lengthened in the vale, 

And watchmen watched from out the towers 

The little cloud of dust behind, 

As we went whistling down the wind. 



214 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Night s curtain falls ; and here and there 
The housewife lights the evening lamp ; 

And where the fields are cold and bare, 
His fire is kindled by the tramp. 

Down throught the midnight, dark and deep, 

The world goes by us, fast asleep. 

Up through the morning, on and on ! 

The red sun, rising from the sea, 
As we go quivering through the dawn, 

Lights up the earth, reveals to me 
In the first ruddy flush of morn, 
The golden pumpkins in the corn. 

From east to west, from shore to shore, 

The black steed trembles through the night, 

And with a mighty rush and roar 

Breaks through the dawn ; and in their flight, 

Wild birds, bewildered by the train, 

Dash dead against the window pane. 

"Be swift," I cried, "oh, matchless steed; 

The world is watching, do your best ! " 
With quick and ever-quickening speed, 

The hot fire burning in her breast, 
With flowing mane and proud neck bent, 
She laughed across the continent. 



FROM BUDAPEST TO BELGRADE 

"DOUND for the Orient, I strayed 

Down by the Danube near Belgrade, 
The Servian capital. 

I had, 

For guide that day, a Servian lad, 
A rider ; but you d never guess 
He rode the Orient Express 

From Budapest to Belgrade, then, 
From Belgrade back to Buda gain. 

He had the softest, sunny hair ! 

His eyes were like the Danube, blue ; 
And, looking on him, one would swear 

Whatever tale he told was true. 
So young and fair, you d never guess 
He rode the Orient Express 

From Budapest to Belgrade, then, 

From Belgrade back to Buda gain. 



2l6 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

His story was not new to me, 

For strange things happen on the rail, 

And we have heard a wilder tale, 
Of sea-men rising from the sea 

Who had been dead a week, whom men 

Had not a hope to see again. 

" See there, where treads the watchman s trail," 
Said he. " One night, as I came down, 
Just while I whistled for the town, 

The head-light shimmered o er the rail 
And showed a woman running there 

Like some wild wingless bird of night, 

And, rippling o er her robe of white, 
A sable cataract of hair : 
I thought a ghost was running there. 

" She turned I saw her < God, Clairette ! 
I gasped, reversed and set the air, 
With naught of time nor space to spare. 

I saw her death-white face, and let 
The sand fall, threw the throttle wide, 
And cried, O Heaven ! how I cried 

To her. 

" We stopped ; I saw her fall 

Beneath the wheels. And when she fell 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 2l*J 

I sprang to rescue her, and well 
She disappeared ; I tried to call 

To her. 

" Three times I called her name 
And listened ; but no answer came, 

Although I stood just where she fell. 

" Remembering that her father s cot, 
Beyond the bridge, was near the track, 

I turned, and hurried toward the spot, 
And saw the river running black 

Just where I stopped and trembled on 

The brink, for lo, the bridge was gone ! 

" The Angel slept ; but love had found 

A way to warn me in her sleep, 

God bless her. 

At another bound 

I must have gone down in the deep 
Dark Danube ; in that awful flood 
Whose mere remembrance chills my blood." 

The same man rides the night express ; 
The self same man who rode it then, 

Rides twice a week to Budapest, 
From Budapest to Belgrade, then, 
From Belgrade back to Buda gain. 



AT THE ENGINEER S GRAVE 

T T OW often, at night, when I m rocked o er 
^ the rail, 

When the little stars shine overhead, 
My mind wanders back over memory s trail, 

And I think of the days that are dead. 
The red locomotives we had for our toys, 

The coaches so gaudy and gay, 
How we played together, Bill, when we were 

boys, 

And again I can hear you say : 
" Chu-chu, chu-chu, here comes the railroad, 

" You 11 be the brakeman and open the bars." 
Big bell a-ringing, somebody singing, 

" Chu-chu, chu-chu, here come the cars." 

And now, where your sleep is so dreamless and 
still, 

In this silent city I stroll ; 
Oh, send me some signal, or speak to me, Bill ; 

How is it, old friend, with the soul ? 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 219 

How is it up there on your heavenly railroad? 
The moon for a headlight, for white lights 

the stars ; 

Glad bells a-ringing, angels a-singing, 
" Chu-chu, chu-chu, here come the cars." 



THE FREIGHT TRAIN 

T T OW I love to watch the local winding up 

around the hill, 
In the sunrise of the morning, when the autumn 

air is still, 
And the smoke, like loosened tresses, floats away 

above her back, 
And to listen to the measured Choo-ka, Choo-ka, 

of the stack. 

The man who rides these mountains, whose 
fiery steed of steel 

Drinks of Nature s flowing fountains, must inev 
itably feel 

A divine and peerless painter spread the scenes 
along the track 

As he listens to the Choo-ka, Choo-ka, Choo-ka, 
of the stack. 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 221 

111 the peaceful hush of midnight, when his 

pilot ploughs the gloom, 
From a hundred hills wild- roses send their subtle 

sweet perfume 
To the wary, weary watcher, whose lamps light 

up the track, 
And a hundred hills give back the Choo-ka, 

Choo-ka, of the stack. 

Ah, how I miss the music of the whistle and 

the bell, 
And the breathing of the air-pump, more than 

any tongue can tell ; 
And the mighty, massive Mogul seems to try to 

call me back, 
With her Choo-ka, Choo-ka, Choo-ka, Choo-ka, 

Choo-ka of the stack. 



CHIPETA 



"\7t 7 HEN Uncompahgre 1 s vale I view, 

From mountains high and hoary, 
I seem to dream love s dream anew, 

And hear the old, old story. 
Chipeta, blest queen of my breast, 

When here mine eyes first saw you, 
The Poncho perfumed wind caressed 
Your sun-kissed Wahatoya. 

O er Alamos a hills we strolled, 

Whose shadows seemed to beg us 
Pause where gentle Lomas rolled, 

Above the Verdi Vegas. 
The soft wind shook the Arboles, 

And song-birds in La Jara 
Make music dulce on the breeze 

From Elko to Cuchara. 

1 Italics are names of stations on the Denver and 
Rio Grande Railway. 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 22 3 

Oft in these Cimarron ranges grand, 

The walks of Escalante, 
Have I caressed your sun-browned hand 

With kisses Caliente. 
Dear, good Alcalde, bring her back ; 

No monte is Bonifa, 
O er whose rough Piedras there s no track 

Made by my lost Chip eta. 

Or take me to Thee, Manitou, 

My Santa Fe will guide me, 
And some day I shall be with you, 

And walk with her beside me 
Upon that blest Hermosa shore, 

So sunny zn&florida, 
Mine anima shall mourn no more, 

I see the soul s Salida. 



OUR HEROES 

\7( 7 HEN we have scattered the flowers of May 
Over the graves of the Blue and Gray, 
Over the graves where the women weep, 
Over the mounds where the heroes sleep, 
Then let us turn to the graves of those 
Who have lived and died in their over-clothes. 

Are they not heroes? have they not died 
Under their engines, side by side? 
Have they not stood at the throttle and brake, 
And gone down to death for their passengers 

sake? 

Calm, undisturbed, be the peaceful repose 
Of the men who have died in their over-clothes. 

I would not take from the soldier s grave 
Not even the blades of grass that wave ; 
Nor do I ask you to hand me down 
A single star from the soldier s crown ; 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 22$ 

All honor to him : but forget not those 

Who have lived and died in their over-clothes. 

T would be sweet to know, when they re laid 

to rest, 

With hands folded silently over their breast, 
That a woman would come to their graves once 

a year, 

Bringing wreaths of flowers ; that a woman s tear 
Would dampen the dust on the graves of those 
Who have lived and died in their over-clothes. 



THE TRAMP S LAST RIDE 

E brakeman pulled his double-breasted 
vest, and threw himself astride 
The brake-wheel; then he said he guessed as 
how the road warn t justified 

In totin people on their gall 
Who had no travellin card at all. 

Then to the sunset, far away, the poor tramp 

looked with tearful eyes ; 

He viewed the distant dying day, turned to the 
shack with some surprise : 

"Then you won t tote me?" "No," he 

said; 
" I 11 never tote you, less you re dead." 

The tramp was bound to have a ride ; and from 

his torn and tattered coat 
A flask of Leadville-suicide he pulled, and tipped 
it down his throat ; 

Then, to the brakeman turned, and said : 
" Git ready, pard, I 11 soon be dead." 



THE NELLIE BLY 

A MAIDEN to Chicago bound, 
*^ Cried, " Bissell, do not tarry, 
And I 11 give thee a golden crown 

To fly me o er the prairie ! " 
"And who be ye this trip would try, 

And who s his jags, the flunkey? " 
" Oh, I m the girdler, Nellie Ely, 

And this, my Indian monkey." 

" Then look well to thy wardrobe, lass, 

There 11 be some lightning changes 
From California s field of grass 

To Raton s rocky ranges ; 
From Glorietta s polished peaks 

To th warm Arkansas valley, 
We 11 do in days what once took weeks." 

" I understand," said Nellie. 

Then o er the track the special sped, 
And o er the wire the warning ; 

The mile-posts from her pathway fled, 
Like dew-drops in the morning ; 



228 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Across the hill and down the dell, 

Past station after station, 
The muffled music of the bell 

Gave voice to each vibration. 

Swift speeds the steed of steel and steam ; 

And where the road lies level, 
The train sweeps like a running stream, 

Past palace and past hovel. 
And o er the prairie, cold and gray, 

There falls a flood of fire, 
While orders flash for miles away : 

"Take siding for the Flyer." 

The engine seems to fairly float, 

Her iron sinews quiver, 
While swift, beneath her throbbing throat, 

The rails rush like a river. 
Upon the seat the engineer, 

Who knows her speed and power, 
Sits silently without a fear, 

At sixty miles an hour. 



NOBODY KNOWS 



XT OBODY knows when the song-birds sing, 

In the first glad flush of the summer sun, 
The want and the woe that time will bring, 
When the season has changed, when the 

summer is done ; 
When the flowers and ferns sleep under the 

snows, 
What will the winter bring, nobody knows. 

Nobody knows, when we say "good-by" 

To our wives and our babies, and hurry away 

O er the glistening rail, neath a sunny sky, 
How we 11 return at the close of the day, 

Hearty and hale, or shall we repose 
Cold in a casket : nobody knows. 



THE OPEN SWITCH 

A LL the summer, early and late, 

And in the autumn drear, 
A maiden stood at the orchard gate 

And waved at the engineer. 
He liked to look at her face so fair, 

And her homely country dress j 

She liked to look at the man up there 

At the front of the fast express. 

There s only a flash of the maiden s eye, 

As the engine rocks and reels ; 
And then she hears in the distance die 

The clinkety-clink of wheels. 
Clinkety-clink, so far apart 

That nothing she can hear, 
Save the clink of her happy heart 

To the heart of the engineer. 

Over the river and down the dell, 

Beside the running stream, 
She hears the sound of the engine-bell, 

And the whistle s madd ning scream. 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 231 

Clinkety-clink ; there s an open switch, 

Kind angels, hide her eyes ! 
Clinkety-clink : they re in the ditch, 

Oh, hear the moans and cries ! 



Clinkety clink, and down the track 

The train will dash to-day ; 
But what are the ribbons of white and black 

The engine wears away? 
Clinkety-clink ! Oh, worlds apart, 

The fireman hangs his head ; 
There is no clink in the maiden s heart : 

The engineer is dead. 



^ 




THE ORIENT EXPRESS 

A BOLD Bulgarian shepherd-boy, who looked 

so like a sheep, 

So gentle, yet so sportive in his showy shep 
herd s dress, 
Lay down upon the railroad track and played he 

was asleep, 

To fool the engine-driver on the Orient Ex 
press. 

The driver, who disdained to slay the ram upon 

the rail, 
Put on the brakes, reversed the wheels, and 

turned his face away. 
The stoker stood beside him, for it seemed his 

heart would fail, 

Whereat the shepherd-boy stood up, and 
laughed, and ran away. 

Then came the Irish section Boss, the day the 

train came back, 

And poured about a barrel o tar between the 
ties that day ; 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 233 

So, when the shepherd-boy lay down, the tar 

upon the track 

Trick d through the whiskers of his robe, 
and held him where he lay. 

The driver could not hear the cry that swept the 

right of way, 
The death-cry of the shepherd, and his 

soul was filled with mirth. 
He opened up the throttle-valve, and turned his 

face away : 

The train bore down upon the boy, and swept 
him from he earth. 



THE FELLOWS UP AHEAD 

T7ORTY miles an hour when you re sailing 

through the air, 
When you read the daily papers in a soft reclin- 

ing-chair ; 
Forty miles an hour when you slumber in your 

bed: 
Do you ever give a thought to the poor fellows 

up ahead? 

When the road is rough and saggy, and the 

snow, and sleet, and rain 
Falls, and freezes on the headlight, while their 

eager eyes they strain 
Just to catch a little glimmer of the trail the 

wheels must tread, 
While the storm beats on the faces of the fellows 

up ahead ; 

When the lightning leaps and flashes through 
the spires and splintered crags, 






RHYMES OF THE RAIL 235 

And the engine shrieks and dashes o er the hills 
and through the sags, 

When in secret with your conscience, your even 
ing prayers you ve said, 

Make a little requisition for the fellows up 
ahead. 



AN OLD STORY 



/ T S HIS morning I read an old story, 

I d read it before, long ago ; 
T was one of those painfully hoary, 
But touching old chestnuts, you know. 

I knew when I read the first stanza, 

When the " mad train was dashing along," 

And the passengers " peered from the windows," 
I knew then that something was wrong. 

When the mile-posts, a million a minute, 

Were flitting and fluttering by, 
I knew that our poet was in it, 

I knew he was going to lie. 

When the stoker said, " Stay at your post, Jack," 
And the sun sank away in the west ; 

When "a grim face appeared on the pilot." 
I anticipated the rest. 



RHYMES OF THE RAIL 237 

Then the glad mother rolled in the rag-weeds, 
" Me boy, oh, me baby ! " she cried, 

And the train went away in the twilight, 
And the creative poet had lied. 




DEAD 

" IpvEAD ! my queen," said the engineer, 
^^^ And something stole silently over his 
face, 

And left in its travels the trace of a tear. 

" Dead ! " he said, bending over her bier ; 
" Dead ! and the world is an empty place. 



I 

te Only this morning she bounded away, 
Radiant, beautiful, tossing the snow, 

Brushing the drifts from her path away ; 

It seemed so selfish in me to stay, 

And slumber and say that I could n t go. 



" Dead ! and oh, such a little while 

Ago so bright ; " and he bowed his head, 
And his face wore a sort of a bitter smile, 
As he leaned o er the wreck in the old scrap 

pile 

And murmured : " My little McQueen is 
dead ! " 



THE COUNTRY EDITOR 

"PHE dear good country editor sits in his 
dingy den, 

And writes of needed railroad laws for the ben 
efit of men 

Who owe six years subscription to his patent 
inside sheet, 

Who shun the starving scribbler when they see 
him on the street ; 

Who sing their psalms in Sunday-school with 
accent soft as silk, 

Who mingle saw-dust with their bran, and water 
with their milk ; 

"What time s the 2.10 train depart," the edi 
tor inquires, 

Remembering that on New Year s eve his annual 
expires. 

He dons his silken bell-top tile, and takes him 

to the town ; 
He tints the city for a while, and then he 

journeys down 



240 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Among the great monopolies whose slaves op 
press the poor, 

And with a gall immaculate he pauses at the 
door. 

His faith now seems to falter, there s moisture 

in his eye ; 
But with a conscience ballasted with the Rock 

that s in the Rye, 

He enters and announces, as chipper as a lass, 
" I m Boils, the Blue Creek Blubber man, 

just please renew my pass." 




STANDING HIS HAND 



A STEER stood on the railroad track, 
** Whence all but him had fled ; 
The flames from out the engine stack 
Shone round his curly head. 

Yet beautiful and bright he stood, 
And held the right of way, 

A beast of royal Durham blood, 
A terra-cotta bay. 

" Ring off, ring off," the driver cried, 

" You offspring of a gun ; " 
And but the bounding wheels replied, 

And fast the train rolled on. 

The train rolled on, he would not go 
And join the common^erd ; 

The farmer heard the steam-cars blow, 
The while the steer demurred. 
16 



242 TALES OF AN ENGINEER 

Then came the train at sixty miles. 

The steer, oh, where s he gone ? 
Ask of the section boss, who smiles, 

And sips his beef bouillon. 



THE OLD ENGINEER 

T T 7 HEN years after years are gone and for 
gotten ; 

When soft silvery ringlets your temples adorn, 
And fall round your forehead like fragments of 

cotton ; 

When the last breath of youth s scented sum 
mer is gone, 

Keep this unpretentious poetic epistle j 

Twill bring back the mem ry of days that 
were dear; 

Think of me kindly, then, list for my whistle, 
And say, " Tis my friend the old engineer." 



WHEN YOU ARE GONE 
To S. T. S. 

T T OW strange the place will seem 

When you are gone ; 
When, doubting my ability to hide 

My sincere sorrow, gazing on 
The face of your successor, I shall chide 

Me for the little good I ve done, 

When you are gone. 

Think not that I engage 

Your manly mind 
With worthless words and idle flattery ; 

I d only have you know you leave behind 
A faithful friend, whose swerveless constancy, 

Esteem and loyalty live on 

When you are gone. 



LOCH IVANHOE 

T T P near the mountain s craggy crest, 

The mighty moguls, strong and proud, 
The snow-drifts beating gainst their breast, 

With pointed pilots pierce the cloud. 
High mountains, seeming little hills, 

Emboss the spreading plain below, 
And rivers look like laughing rills 

As down the distant vale they flow. 

Here in a weird cold wintry grave, 

Wrapped in a marble shroud of snow, 
With not a ripple, not a wave, 

Calmly sleeps Loch Ivanhoe. 
But with the coming of the spring 

The little flowers will bud and blow, 
And gladsome songs the birds will sing 

Along the banks of Ivanhoe.