Ed VanDame, Engineer North End.
Ed was one those people that took pride in his job. If you showed an interest he could teach you all you wanted to know.
One of my first trips with him on No. 70, as a Fireman, he asked me what we needed to do before we left. I looked at him like a deer in headlights. He did not put me down, or yell, or treat me like the dumb kid that I was. He took the time to explain:
We walked out to the outbound track and did a walk around inspection of the power before going down to the train.
At this time No. 70 was powered at times by the last F 3s 203 - 204 - 207 and BL2- 32. The power was usually 3 of these units. Ed used to power brake the train into Dyer for a stop and delivery to the E J & E. As he shut the throttle off as we stopped, the alarm bells would go off and all units would die. I don't know why this happened, but by that time it may be just because those engines were getting old. Back through I would go and start them one at a time. Ed did not get upset. Just part of the job.
Years after he retired we got the chance to talk and I told him about a few of the changes. I'll never forget the look on his face when I told him that the C60 locomotives have the same horse power as A-B-B-A set of F 3s. His first question was, “How do keep all that hp from spinning the wheels?” At this time Ed had been retired for more than twenty years, yet he still thought as how he would run the train with one of these units.
Great guy. One of the finest Engineers and a great God fearing person. The term “Gentleman” describes Ed perfectly.
Do you remember the two RS locos numbered SP&S in the 60 series? They had winter windows.
They more or less assigned them to the Owl, and of course was in the middle of winter. Standard equipment was two rolls of masking tape. One for the north trip and one for the south trip.
I can remember them coming south into Monon, and of course they stopped north of the diamond while the head man went in to get orders and yard instructions.
After the head man came out and gave them a high ball, Ed would come out on the throttle. It was quite a show!.. Black smoke, sparks, and the two engines would cough and fart. Soon after that they started to move. Pete Moore was a regular fireman. Pete was cussing the two engines one night. Ed looked over at him, and in an easy voice, his response was: “Don’t worry kid, these two old engines are going to build your garage this summer.”
-Mahlon Cookie Eberhard-
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