BILLY BYRD in the Ole Iron Horse'


| July/August 1976



Billy M. Byrd

We thank the Madisonville Messenger newspaper for permission to use the following article. We thank Billy M. Byrd, 369 S. Harrig Street, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431 for sending it in to the magazine. As Billy says: ''I would appreciate you printing this,

Recently while having my ears lowered at a local shop, the barber commented 'Aren't you the author of the book 'Life On A Locomotive?'

Apparently he had recognized me from the photo on the cover of the book. With an enthusiasm seldom exhibited by the men of his profession, he added, 'You just gotta meet Billy Byrd.'

'Tell me what's so special about him?' 'Man, that fella has a passion for steam locomotives that won't quit.' That was all the introduction I needed. 'How can I contact him?' Hastily the barber placed his clippers on the counter and grabbed the telephone directory. Pointing to B.M. Byrd, 369 South Harrig St., he added 'Here's his address.'

Thanks to the friendly barber, Billy and I have shared a glorious week of steam, coal smoke and cinders.

Though a comparative stranger to your city, I believe Madisonville puts on the finest parades to be found anywhere. One of the biggest attractions is always the Billy Byrd Special. Smack dab in the middle of the pageantry, his steam powered tractor chugs along, black smoke belching from its stack and at frequent intervals that lonesome whistle can be heard all over town.

'Anyone can make noise with the air horn on a diesel,' says Billy, 'but it takes practice, skill and a lot of love to play a tune on a steam whistle.'