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Famous Train Conductors · 2005-09-05

by Sam

          In 1853 the man children looked up to was Frederick “Earl” Caleworth. Frederick Caleworth was the first of the so-called Super Conductors of the mid 1850s. Known for his wry wit and saucy moustache, Mr. Caleworth had hundreds of adoring fans. In the early days, fellow conductors would call him Early Bird Caleworth. It was common knowledge among the train staff, but not so among the public, that Caleworth liked to keep ahead of schedule in order to meet up with various trollops throughout the country. In 1868, after fathering 43 illegitimate children in 30 states, Frederick Caleworth fled the country. It’s rumored he settled in Ontario, Canada on the Magpie River so as to be able to hear the Canadian Pacific Railway passing in the night.

          Fat-Trap Baker was a train conductor few could relate to. In 1923, when Fat-Trap asked Chicken-Nose Jim McGraw to fill in for him on the B&M line while he recovered from a bout with the gout, legend has it that Fat-Trap stood up from his lunch and blubbered for 18-minutes straight about France. When he finished, Chicken-Nose Jim was so perplexed, he couldn’t do anything but agree to the job. During his recuperation, Fat-Trap spent most of his time thumbing through the Sears Catalog and developed a taste for fine jewelry. He was also apparently incubating an infatuation with Chicken Jim. Upon his recovery, Fat-Trap met Chicken Jim in Boston and showered him with costume jewelry right there on the platform. Jim, again dumbstruck, didn’t know how to react to this precipitous outpouring of emotion and plastic, punched Fat-Trap in the neck. An onlooker reported Chicken Jim to the police. Chicken Jim was put away and Fat-Trap became a local celebrity and a poster boy for spousal abuse.

Steff via pinhole Justine and Just Earl