The coldest I have ever been in my life was working the ground one dark and windy night on the P&LE Railroad back in the 60s. We were taking headroom with a 70-car cut over the Center Street Interlocking in Youngstown, OH. This was long before hand-held radios. We were just three guys on the ground using lanterns to pass signals. I was the "head man" on the crew this night. Now...that doesn't mean I was the guy in charge. I was way too young at the time to be a promoted conductor. That term means that I was working the "head end" of the train on the crew. When we spread out along the train to pass signals, I was the guy closest to the engine.
This move was going to put our train across the B&O main for a few minutes, fouling that main for any movements. The operator at Center Street said he would give us the railroad, but he needed us to make the move quickly because he had two B&O westbounds getting close.
It was 12 below zero and the wind was blowing about 30 mph in snow. It was a NASTY night! Because of the cold, the switches in the interlocking weren't cooperating. I stood there in that howling wind for almost 20 minutes as he tried every trick in the book to get two uncooperative switches to throw. I was too far away from the engine to go back there to get out of the cold. Plus, I had to be in position to signal the engineer as soon as the interlocking was lined up for us. FINALLY he got the switches to throw and we began our move. Because of the way our yard was set up, we had to pull almost 50 of the cars over the interlocking before the rear end cleared the switch we needed back in our yard. That's 50 cars, at night, on a curve, at yard speeds of less than 10 mph, with only hand signals to tell the engineer what to do. It seemed like that move took forever!
When we finally finished the move and I was able to get back in the engine, I had been out in that windy cold for almost an hour. I was so cold couldn't talk! My face was so frozen that my mouth wouldn't work right! It took about a half-hour in the warmth of the engine before my mouth would work OK again and I could speak.
That night was over 50 years ago and I STILL remember it like it was yesterday.