Personnel Snippets

Items added: November 25, 2002


Most of the freight trains running out of Topeka were annulled yesterday, in order that the trainmen might have an opportunity to spend the day with their families.

TOPEKA DAILY STATE JOURNAL Thurs. Eve. 11/15/1906.

New monthly sheet to be distributed to 55,000 Santa Fe men. "THE RAILWAY EMPLOYEE'S MAGAZINE'.

Topeka Daily State Journal 12/18/06 New Santa Fe Magazine. Issued free to all employees. The first number of a magazine for the employees has just made its appearance. Published at Chicago, Mr. Albert MacRae is managing editor.

Topeka Daily State Journal 1/15/07 The second number of the magazine has been received at Topeka. This is a much better number than the first---which had 36 pages, this one has 60 pages.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 7/28/1882 p. 458.:

Long two-column article (excerpted here) discussing the dangers of using 'Dead Blocks' between freight cars.

"Dead Blocks' have been so named because so many men have been killed by them. They are also called 'man-killers'.--hundreds of thousands maimed by them. The question will therefore naturally be raised "why are they then in use?"----pointed out the danger of coupling cars is much increased by the fact that dead blocks, used by some lines are not like those used by others, they are often so constructed that it is almost impossible for a man to reach the link or pin while coupling, without great danger of having his arm or other part of his body crushed when the cars come together..." (article continued)


So numerous have become the hoboes on the new Rio Grande Division of the A.T.& S.F. and so serious are their depredations that the company in now taking extra precautions to protect the employees and passengers from the effects of the lawless tramps. A large number of south end trainmen were sworn in yesterday as deputy sheriffs, and will be armed. They will then be able to handle the riff-raff when occasion requires. The hoboes were never so numerous and so offensive along the Rio Grande Division, or, in fact, along any other Division of the System. Many of them are desperate men who will stop at no crime, but most of them are men who live by sneak thievery and petty misdemeanors; common thugs and toughs. The assault on Mr. F. T. Mudge, Yard Master at San Marcial, which occurred a few days ago, and numerous other overt acts by the hoboes have caused the officers and employees of the road to feel some alarm. Most come from the east end and from Denver, and were shipped to the Belin cut-off to work. Some of them make no pretense at working; they travel in bunches and pilfer and steal from the settlers along the railroad. At night there is one continuous string of fires along the railroad from Belen to El Paso, and the railway will put on a number of armed guards to protect their trains and right-of-way if the depredations continue. Isleta is the grand rendezvous of the great unwashed, although Belen is a close second, and they are scattered thick all along the line. Charlie Mainz, the special officer who leads the strenuous life along the junction keeps them moving pretty fast through that point, but it takes pretty fierce work.The railroad is being carefully watched and the company is making special effort to insure the company and passengers against trouble at the hands of the knights of the road. Recent cutting of air hoses on the cars is an example of the depredations committed by the hoboes.


Mudge Dies of Injuries

F.T. Mudge, who was yard master of the A.T.& S.F. at San Marcial died in the hospital yesterday, as a result of fracture of the skull sustained by him Thursday night when he was beaten on the head with a rock in the hands of a tramp. A fellow giving his name as John Gedie, has been locked up in the Socorro jail, and is charged with the murder of Mr. Mudge. No motive for the crime has been given. There is reason to believe that Gedie had been drinking heavily and that Mr. Mudge had ordered him to leave the grounds. He retaliated by knocking Mudge down, then pounding his head with a brick. At time of previous dispatch, it was stated that he was a relative of H. U. Mudge, 2nd Vice President of the Rock Island. This is incorrect, Barton Mudge, Chief Clerk of Superintendent of the Southwest District of the Rock Island, and the son of H. U. Mudge, says his father has a brother named F.H. Mudge, who is a Civil Engineer working in the southwest but F. T. Mudge was not related to the family.


A Clever Fireman.
He Didn't Want Promotion, And Took A Sure Way Of Avoiding It.

It hasn't been a great while since there was an examination of firemen in this city with a view to getting them up to be engineers, says the Dennison "Herald". among the lot was one fireman who did not care to be 'set up', for he has a passenger run he considers better than being an engineer on the extra list in dull times, so he did not desire to pass the examination. When asked the question, "Now, Mr. (blank), suppose you were pulling an engine drawing an excursion train loaded with a picnic crowd, and starting out from town, getting about five miles out, your engine should break down in such manner that it would be impossible for you to proceeded further, what course would you pursue?" The fireman scratched his head for a moment and then replied: "Well, under the circumstances, I should go back to the passengers on the excursion train and say: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, the engine has broken down, and you had better turn out and have your picnic right here, this is probably as good a place for you as you will find". The examiners let him stay on the passenger run.


Switchmen On The Railroad.

In the first place it is well to bear in mind that the average life of a switchman in service, according to figures compiled not long ago, is only eight years. Before 1890 he had only five years to live in accordance with the death rate of his fellow workers. Very few switchmen after a few years of service are able to show you a perfect body. There is always a finger, hand, foot, arm, or a leg gone to pay the price for that hazardous undertaking. The railroads of the country turn out hundreds of men every year, men who endured the strictest physical test at their entrance to the railroad work, and who left their railroad work unable to be of any use to the world. --- They are the lowest paid men in the operative end.


President Ripley of the Santa Fe is so proud of the way it is being operated he is having the entire board of directors make a tour of the entire system. This is the first time the entire board has ever made an inspection trip of Santa Fe's lines. Part have made an inspection of part of the line, but this is the first, as far as can be learned, for the entire board to tour the entire system for inspection.

TOPEKA JOURNAL 11/20/1899:

Time Card Curiosity

Engineer Snyder has a time card of 1878, the first time card issued to him by the Santa Fe when he entered its employ over 21 years ago. It is #18, dated May 12, 1878, and is quite a curiosity now. It is a system card covering every mile operated by the road, and has all the rules and regulations for the government of the employees. It has only four pages, about the size of the cards now in use. The present system card has 50 pages of schedules, while the division cards have 28 pages of rules now in force. The card went into effect 5:50 a.m., whereas all cards now go into effect at 12:05 a.m. The mileage of the road was 785 miles, yet there were seven divisions: ATCHISON, Atchison to Topeka; KANSAS CITY, Kansas City to Emporia; COTTONWOOD VALLEY, Emporia to Wichita; ARKANSAS VALLEY, Newton to Lakin; COLORADO, Lakin to Pueblo; WALNUT VALLEY, Florence to El Dorado; PLEASANT HILL, Pleasant Hill to De Soto Jct. The last two are simply branches of 29 and 44 miles in length, with only one train a day each way. The trains were numbered in a peculiar way, for example: the train out of Atchison was #1; on the next division, #11; then #21, 10 being added to the number on each division. Pueblo was then the eastern terminus of the road. Railroaders will note with curiosity the 'form' in the movement of trains. Rule 31 on the old card reads: "Westbound trains will wait for the delayed eastbound trains of the same class until 30 minutes after leaving time of westbound trains and will then proceed, allowing 5 minutes for variations of watches, keeping 35 minutes behind their card time at each succeeding station until their expected train is met and passed." The same rule applied to eastbound trains, with the exception that the time was 5 minutes instead of 35. Inferior trains had no rights at all, and were little better than handcars when a passenger train was in sight.

TOPEKA JOURNAL 7/7/1907, portion of long article telling how E.P. Ripley changed the water situation in the Topeka shops.

They used to take water directly out of a well located close to the nearby river (the Kaw - my note), run it into the pipes and ice cooler for men to drink. Now they have a large 5,000 gal. tank. Every morning water for this tank is boiled---(long article)---absence of men due to sickness has dropped perceptably with new arrangement---.


The class in English, which is being talked of for the benefit of the Russians and Germans employed in the Santa Fe shops here, will be organized tonight at 8:00 o'clock in the rooms of the Y.M.C.A. This class will be under the direction of Mr. M.F. Gamlowski of North Topeka. Many of these men are unable to speak English at all, and this fact greatly decreases their value as workmen.


William B. Strong, president of the Santa Fe receives $25,000 per annum salary.


(Emporia Ks. dateline) D.C. Holliman, fireman on a switch engine in yards here was burned to death in the yards in a head-on collision with through freight #34. Holliman was thrown head-first into the firebox.

Ft. Madison, Iowa DEMOCRAT, 9/21/1892:

"It is reported that a sub-contractor on the Santa Fe has posted up notices to the effect that he will discharge any man heard swearing while on the work, and that yesterday morning a teamster got his walking papers for swearing at his team. The contractor is said to be a member of the Salvation Army, and it is said now that when the boys want to swear, they just write it down and read it after working hours."


Railway commissioner coffin of Iowa, publishes a death roll of railway employees killed in the state of Iowa by the link and pin couplers---during the single month of December, 1887. The total is simply appalliing. 54 were killed, and 12 more crippled for life. If small casualties, like the loss of fingers, etc., had been chronicled, the list would have been doubled. Such facts as these speak very loudly, and the continuation of such a state of affairs is utterly without justification---."

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