Christmas Orders
The smell of wood smoke permeates the frigid wintry air and wispy curls of smoke rise from chimneys, as families settle into the warm comfort of their homes. Above the silent town, the stars are sprinkled like diamonds across the sky. Suddenly the silence is broken by the wail of a locomotive whistle. Around the curve comes a Chicago and North Western R-1 Ten Wheeler with an eastbound freight. The agent leaves the warmth of the depot to “hoop up” orders to the engineer. In this way, the agent can communicate important information to the engineer without stopping the train. Normally these orders are given to the agent by the dispatcher and relate to the movement of the train across the system. Tonight however, the agent is hooping up a brief but special order. “To Extra 1385 East. Have a Merry Christmas!”
            © Stewart S. Buck