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5 The initial revenue operation of the new locomotives occurred on May 18th with 0362 doing the honors. I don't know why she pre-empted 0361 on this honor but the latter doesn't appear to have gone into service until a few days later. Up to this point, all the operation the locomotives had had, had been testing either at Erie or Van Nest, where a failure is embarrassing but that's about all. Now, however, the new engines were about to go out unprotected into the real world of railroading, where a failure is a minor disgrace at best. The first revenue run is always somewhat of a traumatic experience for this reason. The train was #80, a mixed bag of ten cars from Grand Central to New Haven. I believe it was an afternoon job with the usual stops at Stamford, South Norwalk and Bridgeport and it was duck soup for 0362. There were no incidents and we were either on time or ahead of time all the way. The engineer was Dick Shaft, more familiarly known as Sir Richard, a 250-pounder with an aggressive look and bulky eyebrows, whose great bulk clad in a voluminous and immaculate suit of overalls, virtually hid the entire engineer's seat upon which he was established. I think Sir Richard liked the feel of 0362, which almost certainly had more oomph than anything he previously had driven. And so the first revenue run proved to be a success even if not an impressive accomplishment. The return trip to Grand Central, however, was much more interesting. Again Dick Shaft was the engineer. The train was #59, another nondescript mixed bag of nine cars composed of several baggage cars and the rest coaches. It was an early evening train and left New Haven normally say ten or fifteen minutes after the MERCHANTS LIMITED, which was a pride-and-joy of the New Haven, being the all-Pullman, extra-fare Boston-to-New York evening flyer, running nonstop from New Haven to Grand Central while #59 made her first stop at Bridgeport. That evening, however, the MERCHANTS was late and pulled out of New Haven,pulled by old 0313, just two minutes ahead of #59. At the crest of West Haven hill, just four miles west of New Haven, #59 overhauled the MERCHANTS, traveling on the adjacent rack, and the extra-fare patrons sitting in the observation lounge reading the Wall Street JOURNAL and drinking high-proof whiskey, got a fleeting glimpse of the proletariat whizzing by and grinning at them from their day coach windows. Jim Bracken, who was also riding #0362, was tremendously agitated and remonstrated with Dick Shaft for thus brazenly affronting the clientele of the super-duper MERCHANTS. "My God," yelled Jim, "I caught hell once for passing the MERCHANTS with just a [[underlined]] test train![[/underlined]]" However, Sir Richard didn't seem unduly perturbed. Shooting down through Milford at about 75, he turned to Jim and said in a very reasonable tone of voice, "Aw, hell, Jim, I [[underlined]]had[[/underlined]] to pass him. He was late and I'd a been late too into Bridgeport if I hadn't done it." But this story got around very quickly and it was understood the new engines were "a ball of fire." The rest of the run was uneventful and 0362
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