The "Last Run" of the WAG

(Wellsville Addison & Galeton Railroad)


Written by Ron Stafford on 11/6/99 and Reprinted here by permission of the Author.

Hi everyone:

Seeing as though it was twenty years ago tomorrow (11/7)
that the "WAG" ceased operations, I thought it only appropriate
that I send out a reminder.

I don't know if anyone else on the list was there for the last run,
but it wasn't a nice day weather-wise. The sky was a dark and dingy
grey and there were intermittent rain showers, as is traditional with
most "last runs".

Things got underway shortly after 8:30 am when Leonard "Fergie"
Ferguson , the WAG's General Superintendent and also the
"engineer of the day" strolled out of the office and across the yard
to the combined engine house and car shop. I was in the cab of the
1700 making final preparations for it's movement to Ansonia .

Unfortunately, the 2300 was the only operable unit remaining, and
although it was headed west, it was decided that it would be placed
in the lead. I've always thought that it would have been much more
appropriate to have had the 2200 in the lead, as the use of a MU
cable would have allowed it to be used as the controlling unit even if
it was shut down. Perhaps there were no longer any MU cables on
the property, I didn't think to ask at the time and I doubt now if
I'll ever know - not that it matters!

After firing up the 2300, Ferguson and the remainder of the crew,
Conductor Clifford "Jose" Miller and trainman Robert "Bob" Lehman,
began the sorrowful task of switching the remaining cars into the
proper order. The first move of the day was to double over to the
center stall of the shop and grab the 1700, which was then set over
against WAG boxcar 8009, a CR gondola of scrap and the 2200 that
were in the north stall. Two short moves was all that it took. The
2300 then cut off and ran around to the east end of the shop where
it recoupled to the train. Since both the gondola and the boxcar
needed weighing, the entire train was then pulled over to the scale
track for this procedure. After this was accomplished, the crew then
backed out of the scale track and down to the office one last time to
obtain their paperwork. After refreshing their coffee supply and a
short conversation with Trainmaster Marge Aley (Tim's mother),
Extra 2300 departed Galeton for the last time at approximately
10:00 a.m.

A group of about 20 railfans followed alongside the train as it
meandered it's way through the fields and woods towards it's
final destination. Many of the fans took photographs, and a couple
even shot home movies.

Arriving at Ansonia , the crew cut the 1700 off on the main and then
pulled past the east switch of the siding. They then reversed
direction into the siding and coupled on to the two cabooses that
had been brought down on the previous trip (October 31st). After
recoup ling to the 1700 train left on the main, the entire consist was
pulled past the east switch and then backed down to the west end of
the siding where the 1700 was cut off and left for the Lake Shore
Chapter to attend to.

Pulling forward again to the east end, the remaining cars, along with
the F's were parked. Handbrakes were applied and shortly thereafter
Mr. Ferguson pushed the fuel shutoff on the 2300. The engine alarm
bells began to ring and as the water was drained from the unit, he
pulled the battery switch on the 2300 for the last time.

And then, as my friend Don Jilson later said, there was silence......
the death of a railroad.

Ron Stafford


Copyright ©2004 Ron Stafford