Slow Train To Yesterday Gives Gratifying Trip,I rode the original "Slow Train to Yesterday" when I caught the Louisville, New Albany and Corydon train the other day at Corydon, Indiana. First of all, Corydon, in southern Indiana 22 miles west of Louisville, was the original capital of Indiana, and the first state house is still preserved there. My quest however, for the moment, was railroading and not politicking and so you find me being wheeled down to the LNA & C by F. E. Cannon, of the Monon Railway. At the station, which is also the head office. I was greeted by President William Buchanan per sonally.
Louisville, Albany and Coryville Railroad
Kentucky and Indiana Railroad
Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad
Published 11 June 1949
The Corydon runs 7.7 miles from Corydon town to Corydon junction, an up and down line that goes through tunnels of trees, that swipes branches off too-close bushes, and that wheels its sylvan way over 55-pound steel that loses itself in the lush rich grass. No overhead telegraph wires clutter up the scene, because there is no need to despatch anything or anybody. There is the one train, and it always knows where it is.
Solves Mother's ProblemsWhat most impressed me was the way that the railway solves mother's problems with junior. The LNA & C is the district baby sitter. Kindly conductor William Gibson is given half a dozen children each day, and he has to look after them out to the junction and back. Most of them he stows up in the cupola, and there the kiddies enjoy the half hour ride out, the easy going switching at the junction, then the downhill ride home. If the children get out of line. Conductor Gibson himself a father with all his family grown up, knows how to handle them. It is the most unusual experience then, to get aboard the Corydon, replet with squirming, giggling children, while the mothers kiss them all good bye and tell them to be good boys and girls. As if they'd be anything else on the Corydon.
President Buchanan really has to sell gas to make a living, and is district Texaco manager. But he loves that railway of his, and keeps it going somehow. The engine for instance, is an eight wheeler of considerable vintage. She's No. 9, and has just been out-shopped by the railway itself. They take their time, but turn out a handsome repair job. No. 5 is soon to get a face lifting herself. As we got rolling, I wondered where No. 9 got the powerful whistle. It turns out the whistle was secured from the Illinois Central in a trade for a tire, during the war. The engine itself was bought from the Southern, caboose was an old Erie crummy, picked up for $300. But President Buchanan and Conductor Gibson have done big things with the bouncer, and have red leatherette seats, a wash room, and awnings on the windows. This was by far the fanciest caboose I ever rode, and serves also for cash fares who want to ride over to Corydon or the Junction.
Blows DefiantlyThe train has some prodigious grades, and at one place at least snorts over a 4.7 percent grade, its 55 pound steel rails seeming toy tracks inthe deep grass. But No. 9 blows defiantly, pounds valiantly up the hills, twists again, puffs under an arboretum, and swings out beside a corn field. In all, the train climbs 750 feet during the trip to the height of land, then coasts gently down to the junction.
In all of the trips I have taken, no short line has been so completely gratifying, so utterly enchanting, so definitely a turning back of the calendar, as my soul-satisfying ride of the Louisville, New Albany, and Corydon. a line that goes neither to Louisville or New Albany, but does start out of Corydon.
My ride on the Kentucky and Indiana was not without its funny moments. When it was planned that I ride the K & I, a man went over to a pole, talked to it, and just as I thought he was crazy, he got an answer back. This efficient transfer line at Louisville has communications on phone poles, and when you talk to a pole, you get an answer. The despatcher up in the tower both heard us and saw us, and sent Kentucky and Indiana diesel down for us to ride. We tore through the busy switches to the hump yard, enjoyed the change of air, and doubled back. Two miles in all, and my 135th railway.
Rides Fast MixedNext day, in Akron, Ohio, Vice President Clifford G. Allen rode me out to Medina, so I could ride the fast mixed of the Akron, Canton and Youngstown back to Canton. This high speed freight line handles its loads as if it were passenger varnish, and runs its highball traffic over rock ballast. To ride the A C & Y is an education. It cuts nine different railways at 21 junctions, has no big sorting yards where through traffic is held up for so long, and really acts like a big time line. Running 169.3 miles from Mogadore in East Ohio to Delphos in western Ohio, it seems ideal for fast freight. Its passenger service merely lingers because, by charter, they can't drop it. But my one ride behind a high power diesel convinced me they run freight trains as fast as many rail ways run their passenger lines. Of the time they hit the under taker and spilled the corpse on the right of way, of the other time the rear cars jumped, hit a high tension line, set fire to the oil cars, blasted a house down, and blew a lady out of bed, I shall not speak, except to say that even so safe and serene a line as the AC&Y is not without its moments. Its district traffic manager, W. E. Washer, is a Nova Scotia boy.