Iron Man Of The Month


| March/April 1973


From plow-boy and steam thresher-man to trolley car conductor and locomotive engineer Ray Jones epitomizes the true lover of steam and the American ideal.

The proverbial country boy who someday dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer Jones remembers plowing behind horses on his father's farm, serving as water boy for the threshing ring at fourteen, entering partnership in a steam rig at eighteen, punching tickets as conductor on the town trolley and throttling the big ones as engineer on the mighty 'Pennsy.'

'Yes, I dreamed of someday becoming a locomotive engineer when I used to plow with Dad's horses and I'd hear the trains whistling in the distance,' reminisces Ray Jones with that far away look in his eye. 'I fired those big old freight engines on the Pennsylvania Railroad, starting when I was twenty-four. They were all hand-fired in those days-the H-6's and H-10's.' (They were known as the 'Consolidations' with the 2-8-0 wheel arrangement.)

'I also fired some of the big E-6's, which were the fast passenger 4-4-2 Atlantic-types,' continued Jones, his eyes thrilling to the memories. 'Later, when I became engineer, I ran the larger M-1's and I-1's (both freight and passenger types), and the mighty K-4's'.

'Ran many a fast passenger train behind the K-4's. They were the best locomotives that ever stood on steel,' 'minds Ray. 'That's what all us Pennsylvania men claimed.'