Summer, Sand, and Steam...
Station Stop Frontier Town
1968- Mr. Foster with his new project, Vulcan #802 upon her arrival.
Jack Foster had become superintendent of the road in 1965. He had come to the CP&LE in may 1964 to iron out it’s problems. His experience on hundreds of locomotives ranging from small logging shays to huge Southern Mallets was a important factor in the success of the CP&LE. In his early teens Jack Foster, following in his fathers footsteps, took a job as a engineer of a logging locomotive on a operation in the Smokey mountains. He advanced quickly and was soon working on the head ends of long Southern Railway freights. During the 1920’s and 30’s the Southern was affiliated with a great number of shortlines and feeder railroads. Jack was sent to many of these to keep them in proper operating condition. Among these little roads to which he was sent was the quaint and beautiful Smoky Mountain R.R. While working on the short lines he gained knowledge of car building, boiler making, track laying, overall in short all that is required to operate a railroad.
One of the engines Jack operated while on the Southern is now preserved in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. Of the many experiences which Jack often recounts was the time he was the engineer on the train which carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s body from Warm Springs, Ga. To the nation’s capitol.
When diesel replaced steam, Jack became a diesel engineer. One winter morning, just after stepping off his engine, he was stricken with a severe heart attack. For months Jack lay in the hospital recovering. Never again could he operate an engine on a common carrier road. But his railroading days were far from over. When Jack had recovered, Mr. Roose, who had met Jack on a tour of the Smoky Mountain R.R., offered him a job on the CP&LE, fortunately Jack accepted.
Within the first few months of his stay at CP, he had ironed out all of the major mechanical problems. No longer did the locomotives slip and slide as they tried to get underway. The CP&LE experienced very little down time after his arrival. His soon to be little coaches were certainly the finest riding and also the least expensive of the rolling stock. Mr. Roose had found the man to run his railroad.
Article to the Knoxville News Sentinel on Jack's Retirement
More comin' soon!~