John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid

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Running Trains on the River Subdivision

In April of 2006 Rod Smith related on the Yahoo G&D Group website how in

1963 passenger and freight trains were run between Great Divide and Port

on the River Subdivision of the Gorre & Daphetid RR. At the time Great

Divide connected to the east, presumably via the Southern Pacific RR, and

traffic west was by water out of Port. Freight and passengers came into and

left the region through Port and a connection to the east via the Southern

Pacific RR at Great Divide.

Yahoo G&D Group website #3197

Running Trains on the G&D

April 5, 2006

“On occasion in 1963-64 I had the chance to run the through trains. There

were two: the through freight and the passenger. The freight ran to a

scheduled departure time and started in Great Divide at Austin Street

station where the yardmaster had assembled the cars and attached a

caboose. I would pick up my locomotive on the departure track from the

roundhouse, pull

through the throat and

back down on the cars.

Once coupled, I would

proceed to the "bypass"

and enter the tunnel

behind Great Divide

yard. I had to whistle

for the crossing at

Cross Junction (first

train to whistle got the

right-of- way) and

would run into Gorre.

There, I would drop

any cars destined for

the branch to Daphetid,

and cars for the local as

well. I would pick up any cars left by the branch or local and destined for

Port or points west. John often ran the branch trains.

“From Gorre, I owned the railroad to Port. The local would be somewhere

along the line, but he had to be out of my way. I usually found him tucked

away at Squawbottom, but sometimes he would clear me at Port, making

for a real busy time there.

“It was normal for the hostler to assign sufficient power to the train to pull

the hill from Squawbottom to Cross Junction. It might be a double header,

but usually only a single loco. If a double header, I ran both locos, and

never had them coupled going down the hill from Gorre to Squawbottom, as

they would often buck against each other when the slack between the gears

and worms ran in and out of synch. These were the days before DCC! After

passing CJ (another whistle), I would alert the Port operator with his

whistle signal. When he cleared me, I would enter his small yard and

uncouple the train. My freight loco proceeded around the balloon loop.

“The Port operator had been busy and usually had the eastbound through

freight ready to depart. I could couple to those cars and depart, heading

back to Great Divide. Again, if double headed, I ran them separately down

to Squawbottom. At that time, the freight train did not go up the line

toward Andrews, as there was no Andrews up there! The track did go to the

entrance and over the bridges to Cold Shoulder, but since I would have to

back down we didn't test the wheels and couplers backing that far. A

runaway would have been dangerous when it reached Port. It was downhill

all the way!

“On returning, I often met the local again along the line, and would run all

the way to Gorre. There, I only dropped cars for the branch, as the local

got his in Port, and picked up any cars the branch or local had left for Great

Divide and points east. Then it was on to Great Divide where I left the cars

on the passing siding and ran the loco to the inbound track of the

roundhouse where I stopped over the ash pit as related previously."

Rod Smith Yardmaster, Great Divide 1963-64

Yahoo G&D Group website #3452

Running the Passenger Train

April 21, 2006

“I promised a story about the experience running the passenger train, so

here goes. As I recall, the passenger run was the only train that had a

schedule for departures and arrivals at the stations along the G&D. The

freight run departed at a set time from Great Divide, but ran as an extra.

The passenger, on the other hand, had to follow a schedule of departures

from each station. Of course, it could be running late, but it was not

allowed to depart early.

“As I recall, it departed Great Divide at 7:00 AM. We normally ran a consist

of green heavyweights including four cars; a baggage, an express reefer, a

combine and a coach. Once I ran the red streamliner, but John discouraged

its use, preferring the heavyweights or the gas electric. Number 49 was the

normal power; sometimes we ran #50.

“Because all trains left via the “cutoff”, the train would be pulled from the

Great Divide passenger terminal by the yard switcher and delivered to

Austin Street for loading. The road engine would come from the turntable,

run through the throat of the yard, and back down on the cars. Since this

was an `out and back' operation, the lead car could be either the baggage

or the coach. The

engines were turned;

the cars were not

rearranged between

runs. I think that may

have had some bearing

on John’s hesitancy to

use the streamliner,

which would require

shuffling and turning of

the observation on the

turntable. In my roll as

yardmaster I can

appreciate that since

there was precious little time to do all the freight shuffling and car delivery

between through trains!

“The passenger run would proceed to Gorre, Squawbottom, Cross Junction,

and Port. If the gas electric was used, an additional stop would be at

Sowbelly, and the car would run beyond Port to Corsa and up to Akin and

Eagles Nest. We didn’t run the train to Akin because it had to back down to

Port and any derailment would have been catastrophic. Rails hadn’t

reached Andrews in 1965.

“In accordance with the schedule, the train left Port station, running

westbound through Cross Junction, Squawbottom, Gorre and back to Great

Divide. A stop was made at Austin Street, and the road power would back

the train into the Great Divide Passenger Terminal. There the road power

was uncoupled and pulled forward to the engine terminal where the hostler

took control. The yard switcher had to clear the road power and not block

its path to the engine terminal. This sometimes resulted in holding a string

of cars out on the passing siding, since the switching lead passed through

the throat.

“What about passengers for Daphetid, you ask? To serve them, the shorty

combine would occasionally be attached to the through freight, which

would run as a mixed train from Great Divide to Gorre. There the combine,

which ran behind the caboose, would be left at the station. The branch

train would take the combine up to Daphetid and back to Gorre in time for

the returning freight to pick it up for delivery back to Great Divide. The

shorty combine never ran to Port.”

Rod Smith Occasional Mainline Engineer, 1963-64


Original by Rod Smith used with permission


A fast freight with a consist of only boxcars is

westbound to Squawbottom and Gorre

(Click to enlarge)


A passenger train departs Austin Street station

en route to Gorre via the cutoff.

(Click to enlarge)