Southern Pacific Railroad History Center



As an assistant superintendent in Texas, I had heard about Lacy’s raiders but had never conducted a division audit with him as he was the Western Lines general manager at the time. My first experience with a “general manager’s audit” was in 1974 when I was San Antonio asst. supt. at Ennis. For a week we had been out testing and letting folks know that an audit was coming up soon. With most crews that was very effective and almost all crews responded well to the questions from the testing team. Almost. The team had been out testing all night and we set up for one last test on the top end of the Ennis subdivision. It consisted simply of a yellow flag not covered by train order two miles in advance of a red flag. The crew performed perfectly responding to the unattended flags and stopped their train just short of Richardson, TX, between T&P Jct. and Plano. The locomotive engineer was a lanky man with many years of service (he was in his 70’s) who stayed on the west pool jobs which worked north of Ennis so that he would not be under pressure to operate trains such as the BSM at 70 mph. When we boarded the locomotive, we exchanged pleasantries, and I asked Roscoe if I could see his train orders. “Oh, I was afraid you were going to ask me that.” I then asked if he knew where his orders were. Same reply. “I was afraid you were going to ask me that.” Why, Roscoe? “Because we set out the lead engine at Miller Yard and I left the orders on the engine.” OK, then where is your running order for this engine? He just shook his head and said that the dispatcher did not know he had set out the lead engine instead of the rear unit as instructed and that he didn’t think of that until he saw the clear train order signal at T&P Jct. By then he thought he should just simply continue on to Denison, but as soon as he saw the brand new unattended yellow flag, he knew he was facing some time off.

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