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Down at the Depot - SCREAMING EAGLES
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Down at the Depot
the Superintendent's Perspective

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Fredonia, Kansas depot - a neat little structure with a blue buzzsaw. - © photo Craig Meador

Down at the Depot
The Superintendent's Perspective

Materials are currently being gathered for this new feature. If you have any stories or photos that you would like to contribute to this effort, please feel more than welcome to contact me. Hopefully we will have some interesting examples to share here soon.

Stories we hope to share here may be about an particular event, co-workers, the things former Missouri Pacific employees remember from their own experiences on the railroad. The more down to earth and descriptive of the personal side of their job, the better.

A side benefit we would like to see is if posting these stories can in some way help put former Missouri Pacific employees get in touch with each other.

We will always continue to add more stories as told by former employees of the Missouri Pacific, and any interesting information we come across.




The Job

First in order - a short description of the depot duties.

Superintendent - A chief executive officer, who supervises and directs operations over an entire division. He is responsible for the supply and maintenance of rolling stock, equipment, the right of way, and for the prompt handling of traffic.

The Station Agent - was the man in charge of the railroad station. This job also may include being the ticket agent, baggage handler and telegraph operator.

Telegrapher - The telegraph oeprator's job was to keep the trains on schedule, notifying the train crews of any problems or unexpected trains that may be ahead of them.

Ticket Agent - the agent's job was obviously to sell the tickets.

Clerk -

Express Agent - Not actually an employee of the railroad, they were employed by the "Railway Express Agency," and usually had an office in the depot. Their job was to ship packages.

More names:

Brass Hat - A railway executive, usually a division manager or higher.

Bull - A special agent, patrolman or railroad policeman.

Ham - A student telegrapher.

Lighting Slinger - A railroad telegraph operator.

Number Dummies - Clerks who worked as yard checkers.

Old Head - Someone who does his job well.

Trainmaster - An executive officer who supervises train service operations on one or more divisions or on part of a division. He also supervises the operation of trains at terminals and in yard service.


More terms:

Demurrage - Tariff charges assessed against consigned for detaining freight cars beyond their specified time limit.

Division - A geographical unit of operation in charge of a superintendent under whose direction the three essential functions coming under "operations" are carried out. These functions are the maintenance of way and structures, maintenance of equipment, and transportation of freight and passengers.

Peeps - Passengers

Tariff - A published schedule showing rates, fares, charges, classification of freight, rules, and regulations applying to various kinds of transportation and incidental services.

Flimsy - Train order


Down at the Depot

In the early days of railroading, the local depot usually was little more than a shack. Inside was the agent's bunk, his telegraph key, a pot-bellied stove and an iron safe.

"I worked out of Atchison as a telegrapher-clerk for MoPac from May 1973 until Jan. 1987. I worked on the Omaha and Concordia Subs as a Telegrapher-clerk, Customer Service Clerk and Agent at Atchison, Kansas, Falls City, Nebraska, Frankfort, Kansas, Palmer-Linn, Kansas and Downs, Kansas. Falls City and Concordia almost became second homes. I met a lot of great people at both places. At one time myself, my oldest sister, my brother-in-law, and two of his brothers all worked for the MOP. My brother-in-law and his brother still work for the UP today."

"For the most part, this was one of the best parts of my life." (Former-MoPac employee James Blagg - Concordia and Omaha Sub's)


Rail Employee Slanguage

Book of Rules - Set of rules which govern the standard procedure by which employees are required to perform their assigned duties.

Brownie - A demerit for violation of rules. (See Book of Rules.)

Bump - To displace a junior employee by the exercise of seniority rights.

Canned - Discharged or dismissed from service.

Rule G - Railroad work rule against the use of intoxicants.

Run-Around - If an employee is not called for work in turn, he/she may claim pay for the run which he/she missed. In such cases, it is said he has been given a "run-around."

Whiskers - Age or seniority.


Laredo, Texas - Missouri Pacific station (night-w/InterAmerican)), Jan 78 - © Gary Morris Photo

San Antonio, Texas - MP 2311 works switching duties at San Fernando yard in San Antonio in 1983. It passes by the old International Great Northern Depot. Compare to the shot at the top - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

This Site is Dedicated to those who ran the MoPac
and made her one of the greatest roads in the Nation.

MPRR Employee Feature Pages - Input from all former-MPRR Employees welcome!

Special Thanks to All the Former Missouri Pacific RR Engineers and Employees
who have contributed their lives to the Railroad and their unique knowledge to this site:

James Blagg MPRR Telegrapher-clerk, Concordia and Omaha Sub's, 1973-1987

Bob Currie MPRR Engineer DeQuincy Division, 1972-1990 (engineer 1973-1990)

Daryl W. Favignano MPRR Mechanical Engineering Dept. at St Louis, 1974-1986

Jay Glenewinkel MPRR/UPRR Crew Van Driver, 1992-1997

Nathan Griffin MPRR/UPRR, Hoskins Junction, Clute, Texas, 1975-Today

JD "Tuch" Santucci MPRR Engineer, Dolton and Villa Grove, IL , 1978-1985

Recommended Websites operated by former MPRR Employees:
Bob Currie's MISSOURI PACIFIC DeQuincy Division - MP Engineer
Hot Times on the High Iron by "Tuch" Santucci - MP Engineer
Missouri Pacific Railroad Memories by C.E. "Cliff" Satterfield - MP Superintendent
B.M.W.E. Union, Lodge # 0455/Missouri Pacific System Federation

MPRR Employees Service Forum - Devoted to sharing information of former MoPac employees. Feel free to post names or information of those who worked on the railroad -- former MP Employees are Welcome!

Help Save Lives
Operation Lifesaver


Railroad Clipart courtesy of
The Ultimate Railroad Clip Art Library


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 l Last Update to this page: 24 April, 2008
          All images & text 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.