My friend John, here in Amarillo, grew up in Green River, Wyoming in the 1940's and '50's. He told me this story.

Around 1950, he was in his early teens, and was down at the Green River depot watching the trains come and go.  A well-dressed man on the depot platform asked John if he often watched trains,and he replied that he did.  They continued to converse and the man handed him a business card identifying him as Arthur E. Stoddard, President and CEO, Union Pacific Railroad.  John remarked that it must be nice to always see everything on the railroad at its best, and that's when Mr. Stoddard told him this story.

Some small agencies on the main line near Rock Springs did quite a lot of business with coal mines and sold passenger tickets, even though they were in small towns.  Mr. Stoddard was alone, traveling by automobile, and decided to stop in at Baxter on a cold Wyoming winter morning.  He entered the Ticket Office and Waiting Room, and it was uncomfortably cold.  He noticed that the coal stove was also cold.  The agent was in the telegraph office, and took his time appearing at the ticket window.  "It's cold in this room," Mr. Stoddard said.  "Would you be kind enough to put a fire in the stove?"

"I don't have any time for that," replied the Agent, obviously irritated.  "I'm too busy sending wires," and he went back to the telegraph desk.  Mr. Stoddard began to write on a Western Union telegram form, and called to the Agent, "I have a wire to send."

When the Agent reappeared at the window, he took the Western Union form which was addressed to Superintendent, UPRR, Green River, and read:

Make immediate arrangements to replace Agent Baxter and convene formal investigation for failure to perform required duties. Full details later. A E Stoddard

"I don't have time to send that wire," stated the Agent. "Why not?" inquired Mr. Stoddard. "I'm too busy building fires," replied the Agent, as he headed into the freight room to get the coal bucket.



Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

Last edited by Number 90
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Too funny. Similar in style to an anecdote I heard about Sam Walton, a Buick dealership and the guy who became one of his sales managers.

Matt Jackson
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 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

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Good story!  I spent a little time in Green River with Uncle Pete ...


Zero degrees on the thermometer in last photo.


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My cousin and I drove from Ne to California at the age of 17 a long time ago.  We traveled in a 1950 chevrolet, we made Green River in one day's drive.  We camped at the campground west of town.  The double tracks have a pretty good climb to get out of Green River there.  We hiked up the steeeep hill all the way up to the tracks to get a close up view.  Of course we heard noise all night from them.  I always take a long look at that campground whenever I go past that spot. 

I have known some conductors who would set out the work for that agent's station before they got there "in order to pull the next hill"...hehe.


Robert R Leese

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