Ashley, Drew & Northern
With all my father's O Scale rolling stock now in my care, I decided to liquidate my modest HO items and focus on this website, photography, and curating the O Scale collection. I sold of some surplus, but my daughter and I decided to surprise my nephew with an HO layout for Christmas. I found a nice oval track plan in a planning book and over the course of 6 months she and I built a nice little shortline layout. One of the HO pieces dad had picked up for me years ago was a nice Athearn CF7 model -- Ashley, Drew & Northern #1513. I know why he grabbed it off the table at some train meet somewhere: We were both fond of anything wearing Tedder Green, grateful for so many great NRHS memories on Georgia Pacific railroads thanks to the hospitality of our good friend Russell Tedder. And dad and I were in a minority of railfans who found the CF7s to be good looking little movers, all things considered. So when it was decided that the 1513 would be suitable power for my nephew's new pike, there was only one thing to do: send a letter to Mr. Tedder and let him know that his purchase still labors on in shortline service. Always the gentleman, he wrote back to me and my nephew and played right along. So much fun. Both notes are below.
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
Nov 2013 / RWH
TO: Mr. Russell Tedder (President — Ashley, Drew & Northern RR)
FR: Mr. Ralph Hawkins (Master Mechanic — Samuel, Willie & Southern RR)
RE: unit #1513 recently acquired
Greetings, sir. On behalf of all the employees of the newly formed Samuel, Willie & Southern RR (a wholly-owned shortline subsidiary of Hankins/Hawkins Railroad Industries), I write to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.
The SW&S recently began operations in the playroom of its newly-hired Traffic Manager and first-shift Engineer ... my nephew, who recently turned 6 and has a budding love of steel rails. (See attached photos.) He is known to ask his mom to linger just a bit at the station in their town just to see if any Norfolk Southern movements are tied up in the yard. As a surprise for his birthday, his uncle and cousin (my daughter) spent the better part of 2013 building a 10’ x 5’ HO pike for his enjoyment and locomotive handling training. This week, the railroad was carefully moved from my home in western Pennsylvania to Tennessee, by covered trailer, and the SW&S began interchange service just in time for the holiday. His father ... is the railroad’s onsite General Superintendent, while grandfather ... served as principal investor for construction and now as Chairman of the Board at the HHRI corporate offices in Virginia.
With interchange service from the beloved Southern Railway, the SW&S now offers three-times-an-hour local service to the town of Lillyville, named for his 4 year old sister. (See the attached Official Guide ad for route and officers.) SW&S crews switch the road’s major industrial partner, Willanda Wonderful Widgets (makers of wonderful washable and wearable widgets, shipped world-wide), as well as other online shippers: Breanna’s Brines, Necessary Cement (a subsidiary of Chippophf-Theold Concrete Block Company), JWH Tool Company, and GiGi’s Feed & Seed. Although MoW crews have been called out for a few frog and point adjustments in the first days of operation, the SW&S has begun commercial service without major incident.
The reason for this correspondence is to offer you a report on the road’s current motive power. As the former president of Arkansas’ most beloved fallen flag shortline, the Ashley, Drew & Northern, we here in Bristol thought you would be pleased that the SW&S has acquired second-hand ex AD&N CF7 #1513. Thanks to the fine maintenance performed by the Crossett shops over the years, the 1513 has entered service here on the SW&S without downtime for repair and with great pulling power. Although some rail fans around Lillyville refer to her as an "Ugly Duckling", SW&S crews appreciate the good visibility, the great head room in the cab, and the well-maintained 567 prime mover. Indeed, after service on the famous roller coaster grades of the AD&N, no doubt 1513 is delighted to labor on the relatively flat profile of the SW&S.
Furthermore, as the inspiration for the well-attested green and white Georgia Pacific locomotive scheme, we here at the SW&S thought you would be pleased to know that your corporate colors live on in the foothills of Tennessee. Although the SW&S will likely acquire newer power in its own company scheme in seasons yet to come, our crews are most pleased with the looks and performance of your former mover, and residents of Lillyville (“Population 4 … but growing!”) have already grown fond of the forest green with white stripes passing through their community.
If ever your travels bring you to the area, we trust you will stop by the SW&S for an inspection of 1513 and a tour of our operations. As Master Mechanic of the road, I’d be glad to arrange an inspection excursion. Perhaps a Gloster Southern boxcar could be fitted with benches for viewing, and a caboose added to the consist behind the CF7. Something tells me that would be a most familiar arrangement to you.
All the best to you and your family this season. As at least one railfan in tiny Lillyville has been heard to say, so I repeat here: "Long live the AD&N — Serving Southern Forests"
Mr. Ralph Hawkins
Master Mechanic and uncle to the Engineer
Samuel, Willie & Southern Railroad
“Shipper Friendly and Always On Time"
TO: MR. Ralph Hawkins, Master Mechanic, Samuel, Willie & Southern RR
FROM: Mr. Russell Tedder, President, Ashley Drew & Northern Railway
SUBJECT: SW&S's Recent Acquisition of ADN 1513
Dear Mr. Hawkins:
First, I send warm greetings to you and the entire staff of the new Samuel, Willie & Southern Railroad. I do hope that the Hawkins family had a blessed Thanksgiving as well. You have a great heritage from your father, the late Mr. John Hawkins, who was so kind to paint and letter LOP&G GE 70-tonner No. 300 for another one of my railroad enterprises. I am pleased to report that this locomotive is functioning well on the Tedder County Railroad, a shortline connection to the Charleston & Chattanooga, which happens to have a Saluda Branch as well. With encouragement from our Class 1 Connection, the C&C, we have generated new business and are keeping the ADN "Tedder Green" boxcar well utilized in hauling furniture from a new furniture plant that we enticed to locate on the Tedder County. Unfortunately, other responsibilities prevent my being on site on the Tedder County as much as I would wish, but it is in good hands with local management.
I want to congratulate the entire organization on the recent formation and construction of the Samuel, Willie & Southern RR. Please give my special word of encouragement to young Master Samuel who is working in truly efficient shortline mode as traffic manager and first-shift engineer. I know of no better combination of crafts or skills than these two which will contribute immensely to the success of the new SW&S road. First, you have to have loaded cars to haul, and I am sure that with a definitely attractive service to sell, that young Samuel will be successful in keeping the engineer and conductor far apart, separated by numerous cars, the objective of any well-run railroad. Master Samuel shows just the right degree of enthusiasm when he wants to wait to see if any Norfolk Southern movements are tied up in the yard. Who knows, they may have brought revenue producing carloads for interchange to the SW&S. The icing on the cake would be the necessity of running an extra to handle the additional tonnage, a very nice problem for railroad managers to have.
It also appears that you have a very enthusiastic cadre of officers and employees in all departments of the new line. This speaks well to the probable success of any enterprise, but especially a shortline railroad. I am sure the enthusiasm of Master Samuel will be contagious to each of them. Please convey my encourage to each and best wishes to everyone of them for well-deserved success.
I am very impressed with the industrial traffic base that reflects the good judgment and foresight of the founders of the SW&S and results in excellent possibilities of a good traffic base. For the enthusiastic engineer and other train and switch crew members, it will be exciting to be placing and pulling cars, knowing that each one makes its own contribution to the financial success of the line and generate a good return on Chairman Jim's investment in the property. I am also impressed with your Official Guide entry. This shows that the officers and employees have truly "hit the ground running," in getting down to business. On second thought, my choice of metaphors about hitting the ground must surely be taken in the abstract because I know that under the capable direction of Mr. John Hawkins, Chief Engineer, that the SW&S is and will be maintained to the highest standards to ensure safe operations and reliable service to the road's customers.
I am extremely gratified to know that our original investment in ADN 1513, along with three other like units, one more for the ADN and two for the Gloster Southern continues to pay dividends to the SW&S, the current operator of the unit in its resplendent "Tedder Green" paint scheme. It was a fine day to go shopping back in 1986 when the AD&N's master mechanic, along with the road's general manager, accompanied me to the Santa Fe shops at Cleburne, Texas to "shop" for locomotives. Luis Munoz, Shop superintendent, who had supervised the conversion of the original F units to CF7 road switcher type locomotives, pointed with pride to a line of about 100 such units, any of which could be bought for $20,000 each, less than what you would have to pay for many second hand pickup trucks. We originally were looking for only two to press into service on the then new Gloster Southern Railroad. However, at the low price, and the relatively good condition of the ones that our master mechanic picked out, I could not resist buying two for the AD&N. To my knowledge that are still "going and going," just like the proverbial battery powered bunny rabbit.
Please don't let anyone discourage you by calling the 1513 an "ugly duckling." It is a solid locomotive whose lines will never be confused with a GP7 or other model locomotive, a unique, one of a kind, workhorse that the SW&S and its personnel can be justly proud of. Perhaps in the not too distant future, the SW&S can afford a mate for the ADN 1513. Another CF7, operated back to back makes a very nice appearance. Even a switcher, such as an SW1200 or SW1500, also coupled back to back, makes a very attractive combination. Or, a GP type locomotive, likewise operated back to back, which is the key to bringing out the best in the appearance of the duo, will also look like a well-matched combination of units.
Your generous invitation to visit the SW&S is highly appreciated, and I look forward to a day when I can take advantage of your offer of a special guided tour. Perhaps in could be in conjunction with a railfan special in the manner of the Gloster Southern boxcar that you mentioned and that I well recall. In fact, I may possibly have a picture of that trip but not sure. In the meantime, I hope that, as time permits, that I may receive updates on progress on the SW&S line, including the hoped for news that Lillieville is growing in population. With a railroad, the little town is now poised for growth.
And finally, reciprocating your best wishes for the special Christmas season, I wish for the entire Hawkins clan a wonderful and joyous celebration of this blessed event. And I am pleased to join with all of the SW&S people in saying, "Long Live the AD&N, including ADN 1513 -- Serving Southern Forests."
Mr. Russell Tedder, President
Ashley Drew & Northern Railway
Live Oak, Perry & Gulf Railroad
and assorted other Fallen Flags