Local Man Goes Loco Over Old Time Steam Engine


| May/June 1969



Billy M. Byrd

Billy M. Byrd, in full Steam Engineer Regalia, tools down Broadway in Relic of a bygone era.

The following newspaper article and pictures were sent to us by Billy M. Byrd, 369 S. Harrig St., Madisonville, Kentucky 42431. Permission is granted to use same by Ernest L. Clayton, Managing Editor of The Messenger newspaper of Madisonville, Kentucky. We thank Mr. Clayton for allowing us to use the article and pictures. By Laura McGrew Messenger Staff Writer

Locomotive Engineer Billy M. Byrd says they took all the 'romance and heart' out of railroading when they replaced the old steam engine with the diesel locomotive, so he has bought himself a 1922 model steam engine 'to play with.'

Byrd has the 18,000 pound coal burner parked in the middle of the bean patch in his garden at his home at 369 S. Harrig St.

Billy began his railroading career with the bridge gang and then in the roundhouse crew with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company in Nashville, in December, 1941. Except for three and one-half years in the infantry in World War II, when he served with Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army in Germany, Billy has been 'working on the railroad'.

In 1946, when he returned to civilian life, Billy began working as a locomotive fireman, when he was transferred to the Henderson Division of the L&N. He was promoted to engineer in 1960 and now makes regular runs from Madisonville Atkinson terminal to Nashville Radner terminal.

Between runs now Billy 'tinkers' with his steam engine. Billy's neighbors usually know when he is at home. He just replaced the steam whistle with the one taken off the old steam ditcher, which has now gone to where-ever old steam engines go.