MODELING: Memories of Lampasas, Texas

Bruce Blalock’s days attending college at Texas Tech were brought back into focus when he received a scratchbuilt model of the Lampasa depot.   The late Jim Hickey built the model from stryene based upon his visit to the site.   Jim gave the 1/4″ scale model for helping with the disposition of his collection.  recalls his college days traveling to Texas Tech.   Bruce has shared his stories of train trips in the 1960s.  He also took the photos shown in the posting.

Until I went off to Texas Tech I lived in Burnet, Texas. Lampasas was 22 miles north of Burnet and the Santa Fe grazed the North side of town. There was a wye where the line went into town, named Radio Junction, which had a passenger shelter. In older days, the passenger trains would actually go to the Lampasas station, then go back out to the main. By the 1960s it was a flag stop for the California Special, Train 75 and 76, and the few times that I rode westbound to Lubbock the nighttime drill was: point the auto east and when you saw the locomotive headlight, flash the car lights and the engineer would stop. Then you would board, pay the conductor and wake up in Brownwood where four passenger trains met, switched and go on their way. You would then wake up around Slaton to the scent of Santa Fe’s special blend of Chase & Sanborn coffee with ham and eggs cooked over charcoal. Arrival time in Lubbock was 0715 with westward train departure at 0730. The arrival time meant one could make it to an 0800 class, usually well rested.

At Brownwood, the California Special, 75 and 76 interacted with trains 77 and 78, Dallas-Fort Worth-Brownwood-San Angelo. They interchanged cars and units in the wee hours. No. 75 also picked up a T&P mail car at Sweetwater and set it out at Lubbock. Also 75 and 76 connected at Lubbock with trains 93 and 94, Lubbock to Amarillo. It was a good time to see Texas passenger trains.
It seems like there were always Houston-area Texas Tech kids on the train, especially around holidays, along with other colorful characters. One of those whom I met was Haystacks Calhoun, a professional wrestler who weighed over 600 pounds and could barely go between cars. Haystacks wore a heavy galvanized chain necklace over his overalls and wanted to play cards. My money was appreciated enough that I didn’t want to give it away, so I didn’t play.
The photograph was made by Fred Springer on May 26, 1963 (courtesy of the John McCall collection  contributed by Jay Miller ) when the name board was called a “ blind siding sign .
The wonderful model of the shelter by Jim Hickey in O Scale is complete in every way, right down to the schedule on the train bulletin. It also has the replacement telephone pole added just like it was on his visit with the fresh dirt and all.

The building was moved to ranch of Lloyd Lively near Lometa and converted to a cabin for deer hunters.  Unfortunately it was demolished in 2003.  By the way, the baggage wagon is of a “high type” that was designed for loading caskets.
For those of you who do not know Bruce, he is a lifelong lover of railroading.   He has modeled in Sn3, On3 and O scale.   At one time he organized a modelers get together called the Bull Shoot.  It drew a wide range of modelers to share ideas and techniques.
Bruce is a retired Union Pacific locomotive engineer and an occasional steam loco engineer on the Austin Steam Train.
Thank you Bruce for sharing you experiences and photos of the wonderful model.

8 thoughts on “MODELING: Memories of Lampasas, Texas

  1. Gene and Bruce, thanks for the wonderful story, especially Lubbock. I finished up my USAF pilot training at Reese AFB by Lubbock in May 1958 flying the B-25. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time for train watching or railfanning while there. I did date some coeds going to Texas Tech.

      • In 1957 while I was in Primary I flew the T-34 and T-28. At that time you could chose either Single engine or Multi Engine for Basic. I chose Multi and the B-25 while others chose Single and the T-33. After graduation I went to Tachikawa Japan and flew the C-124 for 3 years throughout the Far East, came back to a desk job at Pope AFB,NC. Desks don’t have wings and I didn’t particularly like the C-123 there so in ’61 I secretly volunteered for Special Ops and ended up flying the C-47 for next 6 years in Vietnam and with other Air Commando Squadrons. Working with the Green Berets was a hoot. The AC-47s came along in ’66 in Vietnam while I was stationed in Germany. I resigned my commission in 1966 and bought a hobby shop in Riverside, CA and spent 35 years enjoying the hobby business. Great times and no regrets.

  2. Excellent history lesson along with some very good first hand stories. Bruce thank you for sharing and Gene thank you for keeping this awesome blog going!

  3. Thank you for sharing this story and the beautiful modeling. I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Jim around 1980. Enjoyed talking trains with him and he was generous enough to share extra prints of photos he had taken from around the state. I treasure them to this day.

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