That's my grandfather, Don Paxton, working on the railroad. He first got hired on the Newark, Ohio division of the B&O Railroad in March of 1950, and retired in 1989. He's been enjoying retirement ever since, but sometimes he still thinks about his railroad days with a proud sense of nostalgia. He's certainly a good man, and I'm very proud to have him as my grandfather.
He has told me a lot about his time on the railroad, and he even gave me his Conductor's watch to pass on to future generations.
Here is what my grandfather said, in his own words, about working on the railroad:
I am aware the B&O was the first passenger hauling railroad in the United States. Two things I have been grateful for, was I hired out when Steam Engines were used, and also seven passenger trains on Newark Division, of the Baltimore and Ohio RR. Diesel Engines replaced Steam just a few years after I hired. Passenger trains were also replaced with freight hauling trains. Newark, Ohio was our Division Terminal. We had sub-divisions that ran to Wheeling, WVa, Willard, and Cinn. Also had branches out of Zanesville to Marietta, Newark to Shawnee, Willard to Sandusky. Total of 600 miles of trackage, plus many yard tracks.
In Willard (Chicago Jct) we stayed overnight at a large Railroad YMCA, in Benwood, WVa, another large Y was our overnight lodging. In Cinn, we stayed at the Stockyards Hotel. Sometimes at outlying points, we slept in the Caboose. I really preferred working in Newark Yards because I could stay at home.
My first promotion was being qualified to work as Flagman. Second promotion was a Yard Foreman, and last was a Road Conductor. Hired in March 1950, worked until drafted for the Army in 1951 until 1953, then returned to railroad. Retired in 1989 with early pension, due to buyout.
Only requirement for hiring was a high school education and purchase of a railroad standard watch. I was able to buy the watch from Penn Jewelers in Wheeling, WVa, and the cost was extracted from my first paycheck. My Brother in Law, Cliff Jinks was also a Conductor, hiring in 1941. It was through his recommendation that I was hired. Before, I had worked at a local tile plant for two years. Hindsight shows railroading was a much better job. I always seemed to have the physical and mental capacity to be comfortable in this line of work.