To view the employees
This is a railroad sage, not of a vast trans-continental network, but of a colorful 52 year old Cadiz Railroad company that operates over the 10.33 miles of track between the western Kentucky towns of Cadiz and Gracey.
Across the tobacco fields and grazing lands, Gracey is no more than eight miles away from the Trigg county seat but, back in 1901 when the line was organized, a company had to have more than 10 miles of tracks to be classified officially as a railroad. So William Cleland White, the founder, constructed two extra miles of curves to get the line over the 10-mile-long minimum. He didn't want anyone to say that Cadiz didn't have a railroad.
Two of White's grandchildren today manager the railroad, which is one of the shortest of the short-line railroads in the nation. Neither counts the hours that he spends working on the railroad, but both have other jobs.
William Cleland White II, officially listed as general manager and general freight and passenger agent, runs the business end. He is also owner of a lumber yard in Cadiz. Henry Stanley White Jr; is superintendent of operations. In addition, he finds time to manager the mill for the Cadiz Milling company.
Though the line was founded primarily for passenger service, it is now operated entirely for freight hauling. The station is still maintained in Cadiz, however, with Miss Birdie Shaw serving as station agent, just as she has for 48 years. The station is as clean and well kept, too, as it was when before 1920, the railroad did more then $10,000 a year in passenger business alone. The train stops for an occasional farmer now, but these are rare occasions.
Miss Birdie's father, Thomas S Shaw, was the first engineer for the railroad. Before settling in Cadiz, he had boomed his way across the country and had been an engineer on a work train that helped build the Central Pacific. He was at Promontory Point, Utah when the gold splen was drive there to commemorate the meeting of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. A railroad for 52 years, he retired as engineer on the Cadiz line in 1912, but stayed on for another eight years as conductor. He died in 1920.
Most of the business of the line now is hauling out lumber and cross-ties and bringing in coal, fertilizer, cement, gas, oil products and the general run of commodities required in a farming community. The train operates every day except Saturday and Sunday, leaving Cadiz at 7:00 in the morning and returning at 10:30.
Lloyd Allen has been engineer for the past eight years. Other members of the crew and their length of service are Henry Atwood, conductor, 30 years; Robert Mayes, brakeman 15 years; and Fay Allen, fireman, six years. Mayes was on the section crew before becoming brakeman.
In case of sickness, Stanley White doubles in brass as engineer. A 29 year old Navy veteran of World War II, Stanley practically grew up in the cab of an engine, began firing when he was 16 and advanced rapidly to taking over the throttle.
"Operating expenses are on the increase." he says, "and it is getting increasingly harder to make ends meet." He is on the industrial committee of the Cadiz Chamber of Commerce and has a double-barreled reason for wanting industry to come to Cadiz: for the progress of the town and to increase business for the railroad.
In addition to the four-man train crew, the railroad employs a five-man section crew and one man to do shop work at night. Major repair work is usually done by Illinois Central mechanics who come to Cadiz from Princeton and Paducah on their off hours.
One of the unusual things about this short railroad is the amount of maintenance work done on the line. It is one of the very few short-lines in the entire country that clears its right of way every year and which uses treated cross ties and limestone ballast on which the tracks are laid. An average of 1000 treated cross ties are purchased each year. Cadiz, indicentally, is a leading cross tie center and the railroad sometimes loads three or four cars ot them.
Short lines are inspected regularly and are subject to the same regulations as the longer lines. The Cadiz road always has rated well on inspections.
When the railroad was organized (it was financed entirely with the Cadiz capital) it was about the only satisfactory way to get into Cadiz. The roads were so bad that they discouraged all but the heartiest travelers. Before the railroad came, most freight for the county was brought down-- or up, the Cumberland river to Canton by boat and hauled over by wagons to Cadiz, nine miles away.
The railroad at first had two trains a day operating over to gracey and back. It connected at gracey with both the Illinois Central and the Louisville & Nashville line (now abandoned) from Clarksville, Tenn. The line also handled the mail from Cadiz and Trigg county. A gasoline rail bus was put into service before World War I and it made four round trips a day between Cadiz and Gracey for several years. By 1920 the automobile and improved highways combined to cut deeply into the passenger business. But freight hauling remained good. In 1941, the mail contract was canceled, leaving the line to depend entirely on freight. There has been no passenger service through Gracey since that year.
The line owns two locomotives, which is another unusual accomplishment for a short line. The work-horse of the line is now an 0-6-0 switch engine, which was bought at scrap iron prices from the East Tennesse & Western North Carolina railroad, a short line oeprated from Johnson City, Tenn. It cost $4,500 to put it in service on the Cadiz line
The other locomotive, a 4-6-0 road engine that once belonged to the Missouri Pacific, is in the shops. Stanley White, who was graduated from the University of Kentucky after coming out of the navy in 1946, recently wrote Trains & Travel magazine about the difficulties short lines have in getting locomoties. "Because of our light 60-pound rail and sharp curves: he explained, "we have to use engines no heavier than 80 tons and with no more than three drivers to a side."
About 40 bushels of coal a day are required to keep the fire in the engine burning and keep the steam up in the boiler. The line has no turn-table at either terminal, so the locomotive is turned around by a series of Y-shaped switches. The only rolling stock that makes every run is the locomotive and an old passenger coach that has been converted into a baggage car and caboose. Three or four 50-ton freight cars may be coupled on at either end of the line.
The converted baggage car once was used on Henry Ford's Detroit, Toledo and Ironton line. When it was hauled into Cadiz in 1932, it still had 50 fancy plush seats, the brass lamp holders, the elaborate water cooler and other conveniences that made it a top grade passenger coach right after the turn of the century.
STANLEY WHITE gained much of his railroad experience from the two-lone time employees of the line: Floyd bush, machinist and engineer who put in 35 years service before his death in 1946, and Dickie Mitchell who had worked 45 years for the railroad when he retired in 1946, two years before his death. Mitchell was originally employed to buy ties but later became engineer. Stanley White recalls that Dickie Mitchell was a man "who didn't mind calling on a locomotive."
Stanley likes to tell about the time Mitchell was taking old NO. 10 to the sprawling Illinois Central shops in Paducah for an overhauling. Coming off the Hopkinsville branch at Princeton, he got out on the main line 15 minutes ahead of 101, the dialy passenger train from Louisville. He raced it the 42 miles to Paducah and arrived there long before 101 was due.
Mitchell's widow lives with rock pegging distance of the Cadiz station in an old passenger coach converted into a home. When the coach was retired by the railroad in 1938, 150 yeards of track were laid to its present site, a locomotive pushed it up the hill and it was then jacked up so the wheels could be remoed. Additional rooms were constructed on either side at the rear of the coach, but the front part still has the seats and lights which it had originaally. It makes a very comfortable home and even has hardwood floors.
Only two persons have been killed on the railroad line. A Negro brakeman fell of the rear of the coach and was killed in 1912. In 1948, there was an accident near Montgomery store, one of the places where the line crosses U.S. 68, which resulted in a woman's death and the serious injury of several others. All of them were passengers in an automobile which struck the locomotive. A law suit for $65,000 was brought in Federal court at Paducah, but the railroad was absolved of any liability when the case was thrown out of court. "It would hav ruined us if we had been liable," Stanley White said. The Caiz Railroad company is a corporation, with members of the White family being the principal stockholders.
Several years ago, an automobile ran into
a switch and knocked it out of line. When the train came barreling along
next morning the engine jumped the tracks and two cars of gravel were overturned.
A wrecking train from Princeton had to be called to get the cars back on
the track. There have been several other derailments but when no cars are
overturned the crew members of the railroad usually get the train back
on the track with track jacks and frogs. It's back breaking work, of course,
but all a part of running a railroad over a 10-mile stretch of track.
(*THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN MAGAZINE JAN 3, 1954)
Betty Sellers/Mt. Vernon, Ind.