Railroad Saga Of Jeff Keenan, The By C J Keenan HC 1975
The Railroad Saga Of Jeff Keenan By C J Keenan 152 Pages Copyright 1975 First Edition Hard Cover
Jeff Keenan writes: My odyssey into railroadiana began when I first observed the movements of New York Central and Hudson River "shunter" number 74 at Black Rock, New York, a hamlet later annexed by Buffalo. Fired with adventures from tales of Frank Sawyer (gate tender at the Dearborn Street crossing, opposite to Black Rock station) and being of a restless nature with an inquiring mind, I wanted to go places and see things.
In a day before the general use of the automobile-when radio and TV were unheard of-living in a community could be singularly provincial. But there was one aspect of Black Rock which spelled romance, far-off places, and the great beyond. That was the arrival and departure of passenger trains.
Selling newspapers on standing trains at Black Rock station during custom inspection prepared me as a trainboy at the age of 11. Employed as a brakeman at the age of 13 started my unprecedented railroad career-first as the youngest brakeman, and at the age of 15 the youngest fireman, and at 17 the youngest locomotive engineer in the history of Class 1 railroads in the United States.
During the years that followed I served various railroads in different capacities and also attended the University of Chicago for special studies. Eventually I settled down and married a wonderful woman, as of October 16, 1915.
The rule, years ago, was not to employ a person for train and engine service who was under twenty-one years of age. Nevertheless, many boys lied about their age to get on railroads and I was probably the biggest liar of all. Most of those boys were imbued with that pioneer spirit to help themselves regardless of the amount of work connected with the job. Most of them felt, as I did, that it was a privilege to work for a railroad. My adventurous spirit took me from the Coal & Coke Railway in 1906 to work-train service on the Deepwater Railway, building east to meet The Tidewater Railway building west, to form The Virginian Railway.
From the time I was a trainboy, my avocation has included plans for construction of a permanent home for enshrinement of our great railroad and locomotive builders and persons memorable in railroad history. During the past several years, token exhibits have been made in various cities. Certain cities, especially Ogden, Utah, are in hope of becoming the permanent home of the National Railroad Hall of Fame and Museum.
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