Telegrapher for the Clinchfield Railroad. Tried Southern Railroad, then L&N at 17. Yard assignment, the road in April 1918. Types of engines fired, description of engines, pay from Cincinnati to Louisville. Routes worked ditching machines. Types of L&N engines. Engines made at the South Louisville Shops. How nickname was acquired. Individuals along the route that watch for the train. Saw-by term explained and example of close call with head on collision. People killed or hurt by trains. Family relationship with railroad. Anecdote about flood. Poems, language, railroad slang. "General" story. Personalized engines. Phasing out steam engines. Use of telegraph skills. Biggest changes in railroad procedures; electric blocks. Names attached to areas along the route, railroad men's stop along the way, ordering lunches for passengers. Famous passengers: General Pershing, John L. Lewis, President FD Roosevelt. Comparison of salaries over the years. 1955 strike, scabs. L&N presidents served under. Emphasis on growth of the railroad. Runs served on and favorite engineers. Modernization of process by which engineers received orders. Process of becoming an engineer.
Introduction: Narrator's family background and its long connection with the coal fields and the railroads of the eastern United States. Main topics: background on the Clinchfield Railroad and its role in industrial development in the Atlantic coast areas; importance of coal traffic to the L&N Railroad; history of the three major coal reserves: eastern Kentucky; western Kentucky; and northern Alabama; coal routes and changes in both railroad and mining technology; description of the major coal types and the uses of each.