Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Family connections with the L&N including Mrs. RoBards's father who was a Diamond Button man. The old L&N Magazine, the importance of its relation to the L&N family. The importance of the L&N to the growth of the following: industry (coal), institutions (colleges), and agriculture (South). RoBards deals with these items in great detail. Role of public relations and the L&N Magazine was to show how these industries relate: various colleges and universities, people of the South and the history of the railroad in the early years, and publicity of "The General" locomotive. Additional information of special trains include: Mammoth Cave trips, Friendly Service (safety emphasis), Kentucky Derby trains and the Bond Rollers. Various topics include: TOTE, dieselization of the railroad, the role of railroads in World War II, and the effects of trucking on the railroad system.
Curtis and Ernest Rollings trace their family history with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The interview also covers such topics as changes in technology, company policy, labor relations and Louisville's role as a rail transportation center in the state and the nation.
Early Life and education, immediate employment with the Atlantic Coast Line, description of the railroad in those early years, difficulty of building track through swamp, Florida still a very underdeveloped area. Move to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and years with the Charleston and Western Carolina railroad through the Depression years and on to Augusta, Georgia. Experience with the military railway service for 13 years. A very good description of the railroad's role in the conduct of World War II. Includes General Patton's operation and working the troop supplies across Europe. Techniques brought back to the Atlantic Coast Line. Continued innovations brought from Europe. Return to civilian life and the ACL headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina, and various positions held by Sanderson. Leadership of the ACL of Mac Davis, the Delano family, and then ALM Wiggins to consolidate some areas of operation. Historical background of the ACL and the L&N's connection with the Clinchfield railroad. Interstate Commerce Commission's stipulations concerning the lease. Clinchfield has for many years been under the influence of the Norfolk & Western railroad. Wiggins brought the railroad into its present importance. Modernization of the Clinchfield during Sanderson's years as general manager (1954-1962). Continued dieselization of the Clinchfield and descriptive passages on the people and the area covered by this railroad. Move to L&N in 1962 as General Manager. Was able to take part in the continuing modernization of the L&N. Description of the difference in the terrain and maintenance considerations on the ACL and the L&N. Positive aspects that Sanderson noted from the beginning of his experience with the L&N. The handling of chemicals as it relates historically.
Early life and college years; employment with the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway. Depression and his apprenticeship program. Maintenance of the steam locomotives, wartime measures, description of the NC&StL shops during the steam locomotive days, terrain of the NC&StL. Responsibility in Nashville shops: to develop new sources of steam for the shop boilers (burning oil), types of locomotives, instructions for car diesels and the teaching responsibility for apprentices and locomotive firemen to engineers. Merger of the NC&StL and the L&N in 1957. Mr. Sapp was assistant manager of planning and production. Comparison of the NC&StL equipment and that of the L&N. Train crews continued to operate on the same lines as before. There was a learning period for Sapp with WI Johnson in charge. This was the beginning of his experience with freight cars. Moved to the L&N on Jan 1, 1953, and appointed mechanical engineer. He describes the mechanical engineer's office and staff at that time. Large amount of travel involved. Areas of technical development that Sapp was directly involved in until his retirement: design of freight cars; split sill car underframe patented; door mechanism also patented; needed special operation (air pressure used) in Louisville South shops. Good description of the pits and conveyor belts used at the TVA plant at Bull Run; working out of the audio radio system with supplier field testing for freight cars and the American Association of Railroads called in to help. Test track set up near Frankfort that became the specification track for the AAR. Information on the Car Construction Committee of the AAR. Information on other professional organizations that Sapp felt useful during his career.
C.W. (Wes) Shores was the General Chairman of the L&N side of the SCL/L&N System Board of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks (BRAC) working at the Union headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. Main topics: background on early experiences concerning railroad yards; synopsis of Shores' union career advancements; description of the structure and present leadership of the union on the System Board and International levels; duties and responsibilities of the Louisville headquarters; grievance and claim procedures; procedure of moving BRAC employees to the Jacksonville area; benefits for employees initiated and negotiated by BRAC including activities connected with the 1955 strike against the L&N railroad; comments on merger experiences with various lines; description of the range of positions covered by the BRAC agreements; comments on equal opportunity hiring; additional personal comments on educational background.
Experience prior to working at the L&N. 1940: to Mobile and experiences in WWII effort. 1941-1942: to Louisville, chief in Engineering Department. 1942: to Corbin. Wartime; new tracks into military facilities. 1943-1944: centralized billing for coal shipments from Eastern Kentucky, DeCoursey. Preliminary study of present Osborn Yard. Birmingham, 1946: description of wartime Birmingham. Use of diesel for freight and passenger, first switch engines. Different types of locomotives, problems in change over, diesel to eastern Kentucky to mainline the Clinchfield. Human qualities of steam engine. Hearing for manpower required by diesels - GP Loco - Eisenhower Rules Commission. Bud car feasibility not related to labor considerations. 1954: most of L&N dieselized; 1956: last steam engine locomotive for L&N. Merger of NC&StL: Mr. Small conducted preliminary study on the feasibility of merger without consulting NC&StL. After merger consideration had to be made about cutbacks of duplicate lines. Small's public relation assignment to work with those opposing the cutbacks to the line. Feelings on the part of Nashville interest. Comparison of the NC&StL merger with that of L&N consolidation with Seaboard Coast Line Industries. 1950s-1960s: climate for work relationships at the L&N. Changes in technology in 1957 on-assignment to work on computerization. Increase in number and types of rolling stock. Hurricane damage and precautions: 40-42 days maximum time lost due to damage. L&N's role in communities in various states. Passenger service and Amtrak. Studies on cutting back or dropping service. Small's role in explaining these adjustments. Process of cutbacks. Early 1970s: birth of Amtrak, last L&N run renamed the Floridian. Cutback in service was for economic reasons. Future predictions. Passenger types most often using the L&N for transportation. Changes from 1971 and Mr. Kendall's retirement as president till Mr Small's retirement in 1977.
Rebecca Smith is a retired South Louisville shops employee. She was among a large group of women hired by the L&N Railroad during World War II. Main topics: early life and jobs before employment with the L&N; work experiences in Shop 13; work experiences in Shop 14; importance of the union (International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers) for women workers; reflections on race relations at the South Louisville shops; condition of the rail cars cleaned by Smith; limitation of facilities for women employees; limitation experienced by women employees that made transition to the skilled crafts difficult; work experiences at Strawberry Yard (good description of all phases of work done by women); additional work experiences after returning to the South Louisville shops; wrap up and personal items about Ms. Smith's life.
Early life in Alabama at Tuskegee High School and Miles Memorial College. Family moved to Kentucky. Contact with the L&N began through older brother Fred. Hired by EO Stocker for dining car position at 10th and Broadway location. Sent to Cincinnati to learn how to conduct Pullman service. Stewart provided all clothes except for black bow tie. Soldier specials, inspectors and meal tickets from officer in charge. Drafted in 1943. Returned to L&N after World War II. Proud of reputation for best dining car service in the United States. Friendship with important people. Businessmen's train from Birmingham to Nashville then Pullman from Louisville to New York. Stewart knew their likes and dislikes. Attendant on political specials for Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and former presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey. Procedure for preparing special trains. Special security measures for the safety of the passengers. Lady Bird Johnson special. Mr Long: head of transportation for the White House. Makeup of passengers on the trains. Insights on Alabama race relations. Race relations at the L&N and methods of adapting. Before and after unions: sleeping on floor or cots in dining car. Black coach for most black passengers; some runs, blacks not allowed on dining cars at all. Conditions of black coach and exceptions of certain blacks riding Pullman (on standby). L&N policy after the Civil Rights Law of 1964. Positive example of President Hill's actions during the segregated years in regard to Dr. Boyd of the Baptist Publishing House in Nashville. People taking advantage of the L&N's excellent dining car service. How Mr. Stewart was able not to become bitter over racial slurs, etc. Early experiences on Atlanta streetcar gave Mr. Stewart guide for handling racial slurs, etc. Personal settlements of disagreements with management. Reasons for passing up opportunity to become first black steward for the L&N. An important consideration was the loss in seniority in changing from waiter-in-charge to steward. Job security: national union salary negotiations - men drawing full salary then no work when passenger service declined. Murphy House was opened up to compensate for lack of service opportunities. Discord caused by of non-dining car duties assigned at the Murphy House. Stewart's steps to see that the national union aware of his grievances. Unsatisfactory working conditions on Amtrak plus other considerations led to Stewart's resignation from L&N. Discussion of events leading to decision to resign Jan 2, 1973. Felt there was policy of trying to turn one black against another. Deals with Louie Stewart's father HP Stewart (born 1876), who was the son of slaves. HP Stewart was one of two blacks in Alabama to hold a lifetime teaching certificate at the time Governor Patterson invited all certificate holders to a reception in Montgomery (approximately 1939). An interesting account of this man's contribution to black education in Alabama.
Early life: L&N at Middlesboro, Tennessee, L&N 1919 on. Made fuel instructor of the Cumberland Valley Division, age 20. Reasons for the improper back pressure to steam and problems it caused. Promotions through word of mouth among employees. Education by self-study. Safe method of using the air-brake on passenger and freight locomotives. Conservation engineer working on solutions to coal smoke problems concerned with hydrogen gases. Transferred to L&N in Louisville. Various innovations in smoke abatement devices on steam locomotives, boilers in the power house at Louisville shops. President Hill's years at the L&N. Importance of buying clean coal. Justice Potter Stewart's connection to coal facilities in western Kentucky. Blue Diamond Coal Mine in Eastern Kentucky provided quality of coal required.
Covers Milton Smith from 1866 on -- ran locomotive for General Sherman. History of L&N prior to Milton Smith, local fund raising. Headquarters at 9th & Broadway, 8 miles first ride to present Strawberry Yards. About 1858 L&N Louisville tracks met north of Bowling Green. The change from local ownership to New York domination; position of L&N after Civil War; New York financiers; Atlantic Coast Line connection. Leadership under William Kendall and John Tilford. Merger of NC&StL, explanation for modern mergers. Interstate Commerce Commission, reasons behind formation. Increased railroad expenses. Promotional campaigns: The General, removal from Chattanooga February 1962, history and restoration. Given to Georgia. Special cars. Career opportunities with L&N Magazine. Railfans and the Sulzer collection. Modernization of the L&N railroad. Centralized traffic control. Microwave system-signaling, telephones, computers. Development of railroad's private telephone system, two-way radio, closed circuit television. Connected regulations. Classification yards, uncoupling trains, sorting cars for new loads - types of cars and methods for shipping to proper yards and customers. Rental process and load time on various cars, adjustments for products hauled by railroad, coal market. Improve car accounting process. Press relations. Investigative reporting, change in attitude toward L&N. Positive L&N community actions. Community responsibility and public relations. Involvement with railroad and its image. Employee loyalty and the L&N Magazine. People connected to the L&N Magazine: Tom Owen, Kincaid Kerr, Martin RoBards, William Heffren and Charles Castner. Kincaid Kerr's edition of L&N History. Research and responsibility for preservation of materials. Structure of L&N under John Tilford and William Kendall. Land development, agricultural to industrial. Cybernetics and System - subsidiary now selling time to other companies. Legal structure, attorneys and doctors along the line. Railroad towns, services for employees, old railroad YMCA. Changes in personnel including minorities and women. Black firemen and switching in the southern states. Reasons behind families of railroad tradition. Reasons for male secretaries throughout most of L&N's history. Articles on minorities in first time positions. Management and labor. Change in policy of executives moving up from ranks of employment. Labor still based on seniority in relation to leadership.