HELP WANTED - MONON RR
( photos courtesy Tim Swan )
This caught my eye as I scanned the Hammond Times newspaper classifieds back in the early summer of 1962. I had spent a few years away at college and was taking some courses toward my degree at IU – Hammond, and was anxious to get out and earn some money – to the delight of my folks, since I still lived at home. I had been a railroad nut, and Monon fan, since my early years and this ad looked too good to pass up. So I grabbed my resume and headed out to the Monon’s offices just east of South Hammond yard to apply and hopefully get an interview.
The passage of time has dimmed my memory as to whom I talked to that day, but the bottom line was that they offered me a job! I was instructed to take a physical exam with their company doctor- that I passed - and was told to report to the yard office at South Hammond the next Monday to train as a clerk.
My excitement was at a high level the following Monday as I pulled up and parked behind the roundhouse at South Hammond. Being up close and personal with all these railroad “goodies” was something else. I peeked into the roundhouse as I came around and stopped to check out BL2 No. 36 inside, and on the fuel track sat a couple of the workhorse F3’s (the unit numbers escape me). “Boy, I’m gonna love this job”, I thought and proceeded to check in with my supervisor. I trained as a crew caller clerk for a couple days and then went on my own working second trick.
My luck ran out quickly, however, when just two weeks later I was notified that due to a cutback I was being laid-off. Man, and I was just getting the “hang” of it too! So that was my stint as a Monon employee. I then hired out with the New York Central as a tower operator and bridge tender on the Western District from 1962 until 1966. My only other brush with the Monon came as I worked the Hohman Street tower in Hammond a few times, off the extra board, and cleared the signals for No. 5 and No. 6 plus the transfers in and out of South Hammond across the diamonds there.
Of course, I still have a soft spot for the Hoosier Line as a member of MRRHTS and the list-serve. Oh, and I have a small HO layout with Monon equipment in the basement of my condo – so I guess I’m still kinda working for the Hoosier Line after all these years!
Bob Lennertz, Hilliard, Oh 43026
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