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Author Topic: Interesting program  (Read 2701 times)
Woody Elmore

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« on: May 07, 2013, 10:11:01 AM »

This past weekend I was surfing through the channels when I saw the image of a guy standing in front of a locomotive. I stopped instantly and saw that I was on C-SPAN 3, a channel I'm sure many people watch (insert dripping sarcasm here.)

Anyhow the show was all about the early days of the B&O. They talked about the rebuild of the roundhouse, the various locomotivers and rolling stock that is on display at the B&O museum in Baltimore. They showed caboose #c-1775, which is the B&O oldest caboose in existence (I'm sure Jonathan has probably modeled it already.)

Of interest to me was a C&O combine which was a Jim Crow car. For those of you too young to remember, Jim Crow laws were segregation laws. There was a partition to separate black riders from white riders. I've heard of these cars on the Southern Railway but never thought of them being used on the C&O.

Check your schedules - C-SPAN # runs a lot of interesting stuff on the weekends - good stuff for your Tivo or DVR.
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 02:09:12 PM »

Of interest to me was a C&O combine which was a Jim Crow car. For those of you too young to remember, Jim Crow laws were segregation laws. There was a partition to separate black riders from white riders. I've heard of these cars on the Southern Railway but never thought of them being used on the C&O.

In films of the "General" operating under her own steam back in the early 1960s, the engine can be seen pulling an open-platform combine that has the baggage compartment in the middle of the car. I never understood what was up with that configuration until several years ago when I read a Model Railroader article about someone who models Southern railroads in the steam age building a Jim Crow car.
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richg
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 04:30:28 PM »

Thanks. I will check. I have been to the &O museum in Baltimore. twice before the roof collapse. That is were I saw the Winans Camels on the Civil War HO layout and eventually built my own Camel.

Rich
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Doneldon

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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 11:55:47 PM »

Woody-

It wasn't just southern railroads, or THE Southern Railway, which ran Jim Crow cars. My father's best friend was a dining car steward on the Rock Island and I can remember them talking about what a hassle it was for Walter because the announcements for meals and the diner itself had Jim Crow rules on some of the trains running south. The Santa Fe (where my dad was a steward) had no such cars even though they did have trains which ran into the Old South, like the Texas Chief and many local trains.
                                                                     -- D
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 11:37:02 AM »

My mom remembered seeing German POWs getting off a train and the conductor giving them little packages of cigarettes that had a thank you for riding the Southern printed on them. The blacks exiting at the front of the train, near (or maybe in) the baggage cars got nothing.

My grandparents farmed in South Carolina for 70 years. During WWII they were offered German POWs as farm help. My grandfather, having two sons serving, said he'd rather stop farming than use an enemy soldier. However one farmer took the help and basically told the African Americans (born and bred in the USA) that their help was no longer needed. It was stuff like that which convinced my dad to get out of the south.

I have never seen a picture of the SRy Jim Crow coaches. Supposedly they were regular coaches with an additional center entrance. You boarded and went left or right. The idea was that white folk could then exit the car without walking though a "colored" section. These cars might be interesting to model.
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J3a-614

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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 02:17:48 PM »

The Chesapeake & Ohio did things somewhat differently, perhaps because it ran between and through states that alternately did or did not practice segregation on trains.  My source for this is an older African-American woman who used to work with me years ago.  She was from Clifton Forge, Va., and spoke with a beautiful Virginia accent that was a joy to listen to.  She was also a wife of a veteran employee of what was then the Chessie System, and greatly enjoyed looking at my copy of "C&O Power," as she recognized a former neighbor from Clifton Forge in one of the photographs!

According to both her and her husband, the C&O didn't have Jim Crow cars as such.  What they did have was a pair of signs, one at each end of a standard coach.  These signs had three sides, and could be rotated to display one of three messages.  These messages were "Whites Only," "Coloreds Only," and "No Smoking." 

The way they were used was that if you were a black person getting on a train in Virginia, you would go to a car marked "Coloreds Only," which was usually the first one or two cars behind the head-end equipment.  Whites rode behind you in coaches with signs displaying "Whites Only."  This was in effect until the train passed into West Virginia just west of Alleghany, Va.  At the first stop in West Virginia (which was White Sulfur Springs), the conductor would come through and "flip the sign" to the "No Smoking" side, as West Virginia didn't have segregation on public transportation, although it did have it in schools at the time.  At this point, from White Sulfur Springs to Huntington or Kenova, W.Va., if you were a black person, you could then go anywhere else in the train, including the dining car. 

At Huntington or Kenova, the conductor would then have to make sure everyone was segregated again, and "flip the sign" back to "Coloreds Only" or "Whites Only" as the train was about to enter Kentucky, which did have segregation on trains.  This would get interesting again if the train or section of a train was headed for Columbus or Toledo, Ohio; after the last stop in Kentucky (Ashland), the conductor would have to "flip the sign" again as the train crossed the Limeville Bridge into Ohio.

To my former coworker, the greatest irony of this was that a black person couldn't buy a Pullman ticket or get a meal in the dining car in Virginia or Kentucky, yet the staffs of both the sleepers and the diners were very predominately black men!

She said she loved watching the trains of the WW II era; her kick was getting to see "all those good looking young men" on the troop trains while they were stopped in Clifton Forge!

Like many other people and organizations, the C&O didn't see the changes that would come in the postwar era.  That included the civil rights movement.  As a result, the C&O's postwar streamlined equipment, including that for the Chessie itself, had segregated facilities.  The road apparently took the idea of "separate but equal" seriously; the cars intended for "colored" passengers were as nice as those for "white" passengers.  This wouldn't take away the sting of segregation, but it certainly would imply that the road thought all were potential customers, and it would  solicit the business of all.

I would guess the Norfolk & Western and the Virginian may have done things similarly, for the same reasons.

Bonus:  A shot that came through a Facebook page, tracked back to its source here.  Fortunately, a sister, No. 490, survives in the B&O museum today:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=354613
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 10:09:31 AM »

All the sign changing through the states makes me dizzy. What a waste of time. As for Jim Crow laws - good riddance! Incidentally, The C&O combine pictured in the C-SPAN program has a metal bulkhead separating the two sections.

I have slides (yup - slides. Remember them!) of me climbing on the sister of that C&O engine in the B&O collection. Too bad it couldn't be restored. Has the museum ever improved on the train ride? Is there a virtual tour of all the rolling stock?

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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 02:12:11 PM »

I wouldn't call this a virtual tour, but there is this:

http://www.borail.org/Steam-Engines.aspx

There are different sections on the museum web site for different types of rolling stock.
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 02:27:37 PM »

The B&O museum tour will be broadcast again this Sunday at 3 pm on C-Span3. It is part of the "American History TV" Series. So if you are interested set your Tivo or DVR because I'm sure most of the board participants will be engaged in Mother's Day activities (not a good day to sit in the man cave and watch train stuff!)
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Ken G Price


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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 08:45:07 PM »

J3a-614,
Thank you for the story!
It was great to hear how it was. Great piece of history.
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Ken G Price N-Scale out west. 1995-1996 or so! UP, SP, MoPac.
Pictures Of My Layout, http://s567.photobucket.com/albums/ss115/kengprice/
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