BRT Film

Post date: Jan 4, 2016 12:32:59 AM

Gentlemen of the Santa Fe:

When you have some spare time, look on YouTube for a video entitled

"Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Documentary 'Railroad Man' ". This

movie was likely produced before 1969 the year the BRT was merged

into the UTU and the Amtrak inception of 1971. Notice the scene with

BRT and UTU President Charlie Luna conducting a town hall meeting.

Ron Welch and I looked at this video and we were able to recognize several

of our now departed Santa Fe co-workers. Several segments were filmed in

and around Gallup. The Red Rocks and El Paso NG Refinery at Zuni appear

in the video. The Quirk Turn, the predecessor to the Thoreau Turn and Grants

Local is shown being powered by old 700 class GP9 locomotives and 1200 class

GP30 (later renumbered into the 3200s) locomotives.

Ron and I were able to recognize Conductor Hershel Wingfield, Rob Koscis lines

the split point derail at Zuni and runs for the caboose. Len Costello is seen

boarding his caboose on the rear of an Extra East. I was able to recognize Colorado

Division Conductor Fred Nelson collecting and pouching tickets in a Hi-Level chair

car which was likely on the El Capitan. Mr. Nelson approved my chair car attendant

student trip form on that very train thus allowing me to mark up for my first railroad

job in 1971.

The best film segment features Conductor Tommy Gentry and Brakeman

A.J. "Ace" Woolf conversing in the cupola of the caboose on the tail end of an

Extra East. Ace spots smoke that turns out to be a hot box on a friction bearing.

While they were going over their train orders they discuss a slow order and bridge

construction at MP 73. Tommy talks to the engineer Howard on the radio. He

must have been talking to Howard Wall, patriarch of a multi-generation railroad

family. That is the location where I-40 crosses over the railroad.

I will never forget braking for Ace one day on a work train at Dalies. While stopped

there for the Burro crane right next to a mobile unit, we were able to hear the telephone

conversation between Superintendent Merritt and RFE Bailey from Clovis discussing

how a crew on the 308 Train bled off several cars toward the rear of their train and

proceeded toward Belen rather than set out a defective car with a broken train line.

This resulted in a fiery derailment that turned Abo Canyon into Dante's Inferno. I could

hardly believe what I was hearing. Since this wreck stopped all traffic Ace and I were

able to get the work done on our train with no interruption and tie up at a decent hour.

I hope you all enjoy the video.

David Wiegand