Ed Koski's Tales

Ed's Stories


"Ed Koski Railroad Tales"

C.P.R., Carman & Crane Operator Retired,

Disclaimer:,

Ed wants to catagorically stress that any photo's or written submissions are solely 

to illistrate his job tasks during his career as a carman, he absolutely in no way will 

ever place blame or suspected cause related to any mishap or accident toward his 

employer Canadian Pacific Railway, or any involved 3rd party.


The Helper in the Cupbord

By Ed Koski,    9-04-2008

Hi Walter

I will try to send my stories as they occurred , one at a time, ( the best ones were 

when I was working nights in the train yard at Revelstoke B.C. ( a divisional point 

). There were 5 guy's to a shift on night's we were all around 19 to 25 years old and 

I can attest to the fact that I looked forward to going to work to see what would 

happen tonight !!!!!! My first recollection was a helper we had on nights named 

Glen Durand ( about 4' 3" tall ) nice comical guy, but he worked 2400-0800 and we 

all worked 2300-0700, anyhow there was a derailment somewhere so no trains, the 

foreman called over on the hand crank phone from the rip track and said " I don't 

care what you guy's do , but there better be at least 1 light on in that shack all 

night so when the general car Forman comes on in the morning he see's your all up 

" we all instantly grabbed our favorite chair and pillow and settled in for the 

night, ( firstly removing a bulb from a flashlight and sticking it between the coils 

of a lantern battery in the window of the ground level carknockers shack ) so 

when Glen came in an hour later there was nothing for him to sleep in or on, so we 

took him over beside the coffee pot and opened up the cupboards and slid him 

into the top shelve, he sort of had to sleep coffin style with his hands crossed over 

his chest flat on his back, it worked ! About 5.30 in the morning in stomps Bill 

Kovach general car Forman, hollering and yelling get up, clean up this pig sty, he 

starts cleaning off the tables and sorting out newspapers and the like, we are all 

sitting up , rubbing the sleep out of our eyes trying to look somewhat like we are 

ok, we think we have it handled, THEN he pours a cup of coffee and looks for the 

sugar, he opens the cupboard-##$#@# there is glen laying there --- eye to eye, 

GOOD MORNING BILL ! the coffee went flying through the air, Bill stomps out " I 

CAN" T TAKE THIS SHIT ANYMORE !!! " I loved being a carknocker in the old 

days of Revelstoke, ( its not the same anymore )      Ed


How to Scare Hoboes

By Ed Koski,    9-02-2008

I wanted to share my hobo story, I didn't actually witness this but a good friend 

pulled it off, I worked night shift and the way freight would be built on nights but 

would be sent out on the day shift. Its the spring of 1976, I coupled up the way 

freight, only 3 cars and a caboose and I heard some guy's talking in the middle 

boxcar, I am on the station side of the train and the doors are all closed so I never 

seen these guy's anyhow I talked to the day shift carman and mentioned there were 

hobo's in the middle car, they said ya ok. What took place next was incredible ! 

Greg Banks did the brake test on the way freight, he hears the hobo's inside and 

knows the door is open facing straight up main street in Revelstoke, so Greg grabs 

3 or 4 track torpedoes from the caboose and places them a couple feet apart under 

the boxcar the hobo's were in and then calls the head end and gives him the ok on 

the brake test, then he waits until the wayfreight starts to pull and then bangs his 

bar on the side of the boxcar and yells "CP POLICE " "GET OUT OR I"LL SHOOT " 

then the wheel hits the torpedoes BANG--BANG--BANG-BANG well these three 

guys bail out of that boxcar and are doing the 100 yd dash and never looked back !!


Teaching Basu To Drive In The Snow

By Ed Koski,    9-07-2008

Night shift winter of 1976, a east Indian fellow named Bazu has hired on ( about 20 

years older than any of us ) just immigrated to Canada, apparently had servants and 

worked for the Indian railway, we quickly realized we could bullshit him with 

about anything we talked about, one night he shows up to work with this about 

1962 Chevy impala pile of junk with four bald tires , we get our first snowfall of the 

winter that night, so of course he has a million question about driving in snow, he 

has never done it, well it was quite a chore for all of us to keep straight faces all the 

while explaining in detail how to do this, little things like if your car starts to slide 

simply put the gas pedal right to the floor and keep it there, it will straighten out 

no problem, so here is the scene, 7 am were all in the parking lot to watch Bazu 

pull away, there is barely a grade and he can't move, so I back my truck up in front 

of him , pass him the end of a 3/8 chain and tell him to hook it on something 

strong, he's on his knees looking underneath his car he pulls on everything he can 

reach but cannot decide what is strong enough, next we hear this rap-rap-rap he 

jumps up holding his fingers that somehow found the fan %#$@@ he yells, but 

he's ok, so I attach the chain and pull him out, we tell him to go first , he has this 

nervous smile but away he goes, when you leave the train yard , you cross the 

tracks and go down a small incline onto the main street of Revelstoke, beside that 

is the large parking lot of CO-OP grocery store, Basu must turn right after he goes 

down the incline , well as soon as he turns thats is he is into the most beautiful 

donut I have ever seen, all we can see are his arms cranking that steering wheel for 

all he is worth and a roar of black smoke straight out the back for 20 or so feet as 

the car goes around and around finally coming to stop up against the plate glass 

windows, that thankfully didn't break. loved that one !!!!!           Ed


How To Get A Reporters Attention

By Ed Koski,    Nov.-2008

Ok, enough stories when I was young and dumb, here's one from a propane 

derailment in the yard at Kamloops B.C. ( about 300 miles east of Vancouver ) 

approx summer of 1980, there is a derrick ( auxiliary crew ) stationed in Kamloops 

but need our assistance. We arrive at about daybreak, to find 7 loaded tanks of 

propane all on their side in the yard, still coupled together. Our carforeman calls 

us together to pull straws as to who gets to cut the the drawbars, naturally me 

being the junior man that trip got the stortest straw. The rail yard is two blocks 

from city centre ( 120,000 ) fair big city, anyhow the fire dept is on site and is going 

to apply foam directly to the area where I will cut, so I pull the torch down out of 

the cranes boom where the reel is mounted and start pulling the gun end to the 

first coupler, I hear a loud commotion of people yelling, but pay no attention until 

WHAM !!!! I am tackled to the ground like a bad quarter back, laying there in the 

dirt trying figure out what just happened, when I here our carforeman and several 

other rail officials pulling this newspaper reporter off my back and tell him if he 

doesn't feel safe please leave the area as we are here to do our job, so they dusted 

me off and as they backed off , assured me all was ok, with a smile and a wink said 

carry on Ed. The remainder of the derailment was without incident, all was good.    

  Ed


Pulling A Prank On "Spic"

By Ed Koski,    Nov.-2008

Summer of 1978-- I show up for work at 22:45 in the train yard at Revelstoke, as I 

am walking from the parking lot to the carknockers shack , I can hear a very loud 

motorcycle comming up the platform from the station, I know in a instant it is 

Dave Loving ( has the nickname spic,but has long blond hair like a surfer from 

california ), it is raining dark and miserable anyhow beside the carknockers shack 

is a large tin building with only lockers inside around the outer walls with a 

totally bare smooth cement floor about 30 feet by 60 feet long, Dave would park 

his bike in there when it rained. I held the door open for Dave and he drove right 

in, as he stopped I asked him " so what will this thing do ?" Dave says " watch this 

! " and does about 3 burnouts with rubber marks 20 feet long, cool I said ( 

knowing someone in the car shack had to hear this ) as we walk in the afternoon 

carforman is holding a mop and bucket and presents them to Dave and says " befor 

you leave in the morning clean all that rubber up ", a few hours later after Dave is 

out in the yard the rest of us are talking about how we could now make this better, 

out we go with Glen Durrand, myself and Gord Hollingsworth, we put Glen up on 

the motorcycle and because we have no key tell Glen " when we getter going fast 

you hammer on the rear brake " well if you have ever seen a snakes and ladder 

game with all the snakes this way and that way the whole floor was black lines ,I 

wish I had a camera when Dave opened that door and the rest of us standing there 

hooting and hollering,,,,,,,,,, I loved night shift !!!


Snow Slides At Rogers Pass

By Ed Koski,    12-28-2008


Our main line passes through the famed Rogers Pass, since the late 1800's snow and 

snow slides have been a problem with countless deaths, there are 5 avalanche zones 

that the army shoots to bring down the slides , last winter was nothing different 

than this one but myself and grant bell ( # 2 crane operator ) were traveling back 

from a small derailment at ross peak near the middle of the pass. We hear Barb ( 

rail traffic controller in Calgary ) anounce over the radio that a RED form is in 

place and all personell from zones 1,2,3,4,5, immediately go to their call in area's 

and check in as shooting will comence in zone 1 in one hour we are just inside 

zone 4 , as me and grant are in the caboose we are actually west of the sign for zone 

4 , the train crew are in front of the bunkhouse some 1/4 mile ahead of us, where 

they call in that they are clear of zone 4, me and grant kinda smile at each other , 

were not really clear, but assure each other were close enough " right" !! We hear 

section crews all calling in that their clear one at a time, till all are clear and then 

Barb asks one more time is everyone out !! 3 times, all, is quiet ( we still have that 

stupid reassuring smile ) THEN down the valley we can hear the howitsers BOOM 

BOOM and about 10 minutes later BOOM BOOM ( a tad louder ) and ten minutes 

later BOOM BOOM holy shit louder then all is quiet for a bit then we hear a loud ( 

PIK NOISE ) behind us and look back behind us and then a big really loud BOOM, 

and watch a slide come down about 300 yards behind the caboose, some people 

need drugs for a high , we somehow are able to find it without drugs ( our cranes 

and tool-cable car were put on the end of a work train to come home hence the 

1/4 mile train ) OH TO BE WORKING ON THE RAILROAD !!      Ed


If You Could Capture That Aroma

By Ed Koski,    12-31-2008


It was the winter of I think 1981 and a small slide knocked two loads of lumber and 

a caboose on their side with the Illicillewaet river below about 20 feet down, so 

the crane is blocked and the groundmen are trying to get sill hooks onto the first 

car. and we hear this rumbling noise comming from somewhere , and we hear 

people yelling SLIDE SLIDE RUN RUN !!, well I see even the fat guys doing a pretty 

good job of haulling ass out of there , I step back into the crane and pull the door 

shut and watch, accross the river there is a narow stand of tree's and the # 1 

highway and the slide is up the mountain accross the highway, I seen some snow 

go over the highway but it did not reach the trees, so when I see this I step back 

out on the deck of the crane just as the wind from the slide came up, it wasn't 

strong enough to blow me off the deck, BUT if you could capture that aroma, my 

god, the best smell you could ever imagine , the fresh smell of falling snow mixed 

with how the bush smells while loggers are falling and skidding trees , if you could 

make a cologne from that smell you would never have to work again !!!      Ed


The Lost Coupler

By Ed Koski,    Mar 1, 2009

This story took place about 1977 in Revelstoke , when I was a helper on the Rip 

Track. A carman from the rip and myself were sent to replace a broken coupler on 

a coal car that was set off near Sicamous, so we loaded up the new coupler on the 

road repair truck, and off we went. When we get close to where the siding is, we 

pull over get out of the truck and look down this 150 foot embankment, there is 

the car at the wrong end of the siding ! When you drive down to the tracks, the 

crossing is a mile away from the car, so we decide lets unload the coupler here on 

the side of the highway, and give it a big shove over the bank and then just walk 

down from the crossing with what tools we think we'll need, good idea ! over it 

goes, and we drive off to the crossing. We then grab a hammer,wreches,split key 

puller and new bolts and start walking, when we arrive at the car you can see 

where the coupler bounced down the bank, but at the bottom there is a POND you 

couldn't see from the top, about 300 yds long and about 20 yds wide, OH OH we 

start laughing now what, Ray the carman I am with, takes off his boots and rolls up 

his pant legs, and with a long stick gingerly goes in probing for this coupler, it's 

not long before he says forget it, we will never find it, so back to Revelstoke we go 

( about 50 miles ) to get another coupler, we arent going to tell anyone, but as luck 

would have it while we are loading up another coupler, carforeman Bill Kovach 

can see us from his office window, busted, a little hard explaining we LOST the 

coupler.     Ed