My Railroad Family

I am one of the lucky few who actually grew up on the railroad during what I call the glory days of the railroad in the 1940’s and 1950’s. I remember those days fondly and still remember the sights and sounds of those gigantic trains that came by every day. I experienced daily the majestic beauty and power of those old trains. Of course, back then, they weren’t so old!

I came from a family of railroad men. My grandfather was a Section Foreman for the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) railroad in Bolling, Alabama. He was responsible for the track maintenance between Greenville, AL and Brewton, AL.

His two sons, Wilton (my father) and Cecil (my uncle) followed in their father’s footsteps and made the railroad their career. His daughter, my Aunt Mamie, married a district manager of the L&N railroad. The family mixture of labor and management made for some lively conversations.

My Dad became a station agent, working for several different lines from 1920 until 1938. At one point, he left Alabama and was stationed in several cities in California, such as Stockton and Fresno. In the late 1930’s, he returned to Alabama to work for the West Point route. The West Point route was a combination of the Atlanta and West Point and the Western Railway of Alabama railroads. The combined lines stretched from Atlanta, GA to Selma, AL.

Uncle Cecil became a fireman / Brakeman for the L&N Railroad and worked for the railroad for his entire career .
Since my Dad was a station agent, there were times we actually lived in the railroad station house. So my encounters with the old trains and the men who ran them and the passengers who rode them was a daily occurrence.

I hope that by sharing my memories of those days of old trains and life on the railroad, I can share a part of railroad history as seen through the eyes of a child growing up on the railroad and a way of life that is gone forever.


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