Mail Tribune 100
Dec. 10, 1914
CHICAGO, Dec. 10. — C.R.D. Jones of Ashland, Ore., the hardships and peril of whose run have made him one of the most widely known locomotive engineers in the country, was a witness today in the railroad wage arbitration hearing.
He is on a Southern Pacific run on the route between Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, where a number of tunnels pierce portions of the Siskiyou mountains. In negotiating these tunnels engine crews wear respirators over their faces. the masks, as they are more commonly called, are fed by compressed air, filtered to the nostrils through a sponge saturated with water. Heat in an engine cab in one of these tunnels reaches a temperature of 160 degrees, and six engines are required to handle a freight train through them.
Some time ago Jones told the arbitrators he was engineer on one of five engines pulling a train through tunnel No. 13, which is 3,120 feet long.
He said the tunnel became blocked, and knowing that the men could not stand the deadly fumes for long, he took the desperate chance of abandoning his respirator in an attempt to arrange for the backing out of the tunnel. He became asphyxiated almost immediately and other engineers backed the train out without him, he having fallen into a gutter by the side of the track. He was missed and three attempts were made by rescuers before they were able to recover his unconscious form.
He was thought to be dead, but good fortune in the near presence of a physician saved his life, though he lingered in delirium and convalescence for several weeks before leaving his bed.
"And I was 'docked' for the time," added the witness.
The testimony of the witness was designed by the men to illustrate previous assertions that the perils and hardships of their work are a factor which should be considered in their request for more pay.
Other witnesses were John C. Goulding of Chicago, switch engineer in transfer service, and A. Skoog of Minneapolis, engaged in similar service between Minneapolis and St. Paul.