Personal favorites - A Life Chasing Trains



Cumbres turns were often accompanied by a fair number of photographers and just curious tourists, and for the crews it was almost like a public performance. The brakeman smiles for my camera as a family watches one of the engines emerge from the snow shed, while two more photographers do their thing on the right.
 
Retired Alamosa railroader Woody Woodward wrote me, "The brakeman by the switchstand is George Andriko. He was probably the conductor on that trip. He was around so long I think he gave Casey Jones his student trips. When I was in the 1st grade his wife was the Principal of the school and George was the 'old head' when I started on the RR at Alamosa in 1967. He started as a newspaper boy on the trains when he was about 15. His trainman date was around 1917 if I recall correctly." Jimmy Blouch, another retired Rio Grande employee followed up with, "Conductor seniority roster for July 1, 1966 shows: 1. Andriko, G. J. Date entered: 10-12-16 Date promoted: 12-22-22". So we're looking at a trainman with 48 years of experience under his hat. Here is a guy who is number one on the Alamosa trainman's seniority list. He could hold any job in the district that he wanted. Most of the senior guys at Alamosa worked the standard gauge where they didn't have to deal with the cranky old narrow gauge equipment, long hours over slow track, damn steam engines, and so on. But interestingly George apparently must have liked the narrow gauge and its old fashioned ways. I'm sure George never would have thought of himself as a railfan, but...
 
Thanks Woody and Jimmy. Information like that brings an image to life.

Cumbres turns were often accompanied by a fair number of photographers and just curious tourists, and for the crews it was almost like a public performance. The brakeman smiles for my camera as a family watches one of the engines emerge from the snow shed, while two more photographers do their thing on the right.

Retired Alamosa railroader Woody Woodward wrote me, "The brakeman by the switchstand is George Andriko. He was probably the conductor on that trip. He was around so long I think he gave Casey Jones his student trips. When I was in the 1st grade his wife was the Principal of the school and George was the 'old head' when I started on the RR at Alamosa in 1967. He started as a newspaper boy on the trains when he was about 15. His trainman date was around 1917 if I recall correctly." Jimmy Blouch, another retired Rio Grande employee followed up with, "Conductor seniority roster for July 1, 1966 shows: 1. Andriko, G. J. Date entered: 10-12-16 Date promoted: 12-22-22". So we're looking at a trainman with 48 years of experience under his hat. Here is a guy who is number one on the Alamosa trainman's seniority list. He could hold any job in the district that he wanted. Most of the senior guys at Alamosa worked the standard gauge where they didn't have to deal with the cranky old narrow gauge equipment, long hours over slow track, damn steam engines, and so on. But interestingly George apparently must have liked the narrow gauge and its old fashioned ways. I'm sure George never would have thought of himself as a railfan, but...

Thanks Woody and Jimmy. Information like that brings an image to life.