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Old 10-04-2007, 04:50 AM   #15
CPwingMan
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3
Default Coke and a Smile?

All of this talk about drink bottles reminds me of a story...
This is off track from the original intent of this thread but what the hey.
I will omit the date as to protect those involved, this was over ten years ago now.
I had a friend of mine from England in town and we decided to go to CSX's Sand Patch grade. Did the usual trip from Sand Patch down the hill to Cumberland hitting all of the railfan photo locations for morning light. Once in Cumberland I headed for the Helper Shack.
A good source of information about what was running on the mountain was the "helper shack" at Baltimore Street just up from the Amtrak station.
If you were lucky, a friendly on call helper crew would be at the small shack waiting to hear from the dispatcher on what train(s) they would need to help going up the hill. Many of them would share what was running and where the trains were at.
Well I stumbled across two very nice gentlemen who had a bit of a wait till they were needed. We struck up a conversation just like Andrew B. has mentioned above.
Where you from... Well with my British friend there the crew was intrigued that some one would travel around the world to come to Cumberland Maryland just to watch trains.
During the conversation, on that hot day, I casually pulled money from my pocket and told my friend to cross the street and buy four sodas.
Well... "Have a Coke and a smile" turned into have a Coke and a cab ride.
We hopped on a three unit set of EMD's around 3:00 PM and two round trips over Sand Patch later, we didn't get off till almost midnight.
We got some great pics, learned a lot about what it takes to get a train over a mountain, and had an experience very few non railroaders ever get.
I'm sure with good reason now a days a foreigner would not be offered such a random trip, especially one with a camera in tow.
As a side note, at the time many of the towers were still active and we had to duck into the nose of the units every time we passed a tower so that the tower operators would not see a "four" man crew on board.
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