South Hamond Rip Track Memories
The rip track worked 7 am to 3:30 pm. There were four men working here when I started. There were three tracks where bad orders were spotted with a wooden planked crossing which extended from in front of the Blacksmith Shop across the three tracks. Cars which required wheels to be replaced were spotted on either side of the crossing so that the wheels removed and replaced could be rolled in place and back in the wheel track. There were no fork lifts or yard cranes at this time; everything was done by hand. Any cars with perishables were also spotted close to the crossing to expedite any necessary repairs.
Each track would hold 10-12 cars and the loads took preference to be worked first. Every morning 6 to 8 loads would be repaired and ready for the 10:03 or 11:00 o’clock morning pull. Any empties would not be worked until all loaded cars had been repaired. Many times empty Monon cars would wait two or three days depending on how much work was necessary. South Hammond would replace broken floors in the box cars and also in the flats and stone gondolas. Later on, in the early 50’s they were also repairing steel hopper side sheets. The rip track also maintained all of the transfer cabooses assigned to South Hammond. It was a very interesting place to work
By Robert A. H. Schultz, as originally written in The Hoosier Line, Volume 14, Number 2
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