Monday, May 17, 2021

John H. Burdakin was top manager at three railroads—the Pennsylvania, the Penn Central, and finally the Grand Trunk Western where he was president of the regional carrier from 1974 to 1986. Thanks Will!

He gave his nephew a job at the Grand Trunk Western, the nephew promptly derailed a train by accident, and inexperience

I bet that derailment isn't in the book... I just learned it from an old friend, who is the nephew of the nephew. 


  1. Jesse...You say, “I bet that derailment isn't in the book.” What derailment? I recall one fine summer day sometime about 1980 when the section gang for territory I worked in was into lunch, and their quad-cab Ford hi-rail was on the siding just outside the tower. The local engine crew was coming up the siding towards the truck, shoving a caboose. At the moment I observed the engine/caboose coming our way I also noticed the brakeman on the caboose ‘watching the shove,’ or so I thought. Well, Wayne wasn't watching and dropped off the caboose to handle a switch. Before I knew it the knuckle of the caboose slammed into the front end of the Ford, about knocking it into the next county. I went down to the site of the misunderstanding and quickly noticed two schools of thought on display: the train crew blamed the section gang and the section gang blamed the train crew, both sides assuming the issue would be a matter of record. It didn't have to be on record I assured everyone as the last few drops of anti freeze trickled to the ground. I called my buddy John at the boneyard adjacent to railroad property and told him what we needed and asked if he could give us a break on the price. “Come and get what you need and don’t worry about it,” was his response. Before quitting time the Ford was looking better than it did that morning and no one outside our local group was any the wiser. What accident?

    1. Well put. Especially a derailment that is linked to the head boss

    2. What derailment?