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   During my time in Vietnam some other guys and myself.....'rails' wrote some poetry from our time on the railroads before being called up....we were all in the combat engineers in Pleiku, 20th Battalion.  I had worked out of Bayshore yards in SF on the Coast Division, and penned this free verse one night.

"We sat in the shanty,...After making the drive (from 3rd and Townscend HQ); The crewmen kept busy, the trains were alive.     We walked to the platform, amidst the great glare; And sighted our units, Gliding toward us in pair.....     The yard mist hung heavy,...It was drizzly and cold; Before we had spoken, They'd coupled our load.     The Hog and I forward, With lantern and case; As Jack and Phil turned aft, And quickened their pace.     Aboard we climbed, It was nearing the hour; Our tonnage was packed on, And so was our power.     Switches were thrown, And main line came clear; That cab was damn hot, I needed a beer.     Signals turned green, Our tailmen were on; Yardmen were resting, Our consist was long.     A highball was thrown, The throttle was notched; Our engines shot fire, As all trainman watched.     Our extra was moving (TBX), With slow cautious ease; Through switches and frogs, And the brisk bayland breeze.     We entered the main, And flipped on the 'Mars'; It lit the trackside, And reached to the stars.     The radio barked "main rail", Our whole string was on; Wle twice blew the chime horn, And then we were gone............

As I remember, I was about 22 years old at the time, and had worked the Coast Division out of SF for awhile.  Our power had been a couple of modern day SD-40's, freshly painted, and we were headed for the Dumbarton cutoff and bridge, through Redwood City and junction.......Just cleaning out my old archives.....

JBRioGrande

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Comment by Steve Atnip on April 13, 2014 at 5:01pm
thanks for your service
Comment by Tommy Tommy on April 13, 2014 at 4:24pm

cool. thx for sharing.

Comment by Jelani on April 13, 2014 at 3:47pm

This is a poem found on a telephone booth in tehachipi. "upgrade slow, downgrade fast, tonnage first, safety las"

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