Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Riding the Rails on a 1946 Dodge

An anonymous person submits the following story of riding the railroad tracks on a 1946 Dodge through Orange and Tustin, then having the engine go out, and hearing a train coming down the tracks...

Once again! I find myself strolling through the pages of OCthen, what a really neat site! This came to mind and thought you would get a chuckle out of it, I do not advise anyone to try this adventure as it is dangerous and could cause some serious problems!

Anyway, lets look back to a late summer evening, warm air, clear sky and a six pack of guys cruising around in this old forty six Dodge four door sedan. Time frame, 1961!

We had made a left turn onto Esplenade Ave and were heading to Dodge Ave. When we got to Dodge we made a right turn and proceeded over the railroad tracks. The driver stopped and asked, "whats the chance of us riding the rails this evening?" As I recall there wasn't a moments notice and the car was backed onto the railroad heading towards Tustin which was about six miles away! A small amount of air was dumped from the front tires to insure the front wheels would stay on the rails. We all piled back in and we started for Tustin!

As we approached 17th street the driver laid on the horn, cross traffic was very light that time of night, however we could see the really surprised look on those drivers faces as we went across their path! Needless to say, the laughter was just too much, the radio was turned up and we were "rail fans"! The track ran pretty much next to Newport Avenue and we were cruising about twenty to twenty five MPH.

The orange packing house was right in Tustin so when we were almost into the switching we stopped and backed off onto a surfaced loading area, turned the car around and headed back! What fun! This should have been enough but "NOT"! As we proceeded into the night heading to the city of Orange we were in the middle of some lemon groves and it was very dark to say the least! As luck would have it, the motor quit!

So, here we are in the middle of some huge lemon grove, on the railroad in a beat up old Dodge car, basicly, stuck! "What, me worry? The hood was up or to the side and we were teaming up on the most basic of machines, trying to find out what the problem could be. It was late, perhaps even closer to early morning, maybe 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. Finally the problem is resolved, a small wire going to the coil is found to be broken.

One Zippo lighter running short on fuel is providing the light, another set of hands is franticly trying to twist the broken wire into service, "did you hear that"? "Hear what"? "listen" I didnt hear anything to speak of, yet the banter kept on, finally the repair is made and the engine is tried. "Gads, the battery is just about dead"! Again, "listen you guys"! Yep! sure enough, some where up ahead, a clanging sound, a bell sound! "Oh no, just great, its gotta be a train"! "Its coming this way for sure"!

So! we begain pushing the Dodge backwards, the driver yells he is going to pop the clutch. First try doesnt get er done! We push some more, finally the engine roars to life! We are exhausted to say the least! Doors are slammed shut and we are in reverse heading back the way we came! After so many miles in reverse we came to a crossing of sorts and went to work trying to get the car off of the tracks. Anyhow, I got dropped off at my house shortly thereafter, it was about 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. My folks were still asleep, I clammered into my bed, another adventure for sure!


  1. LOVED this post. I felt I was right there in the car with all the guys. Could that be done nowadays? No way! Everyone is too uptight.

  2. I grew up 2 blocks east of those tracks (Southern Pacific Tustin Branch)and know right where you're talking about. Spent alot of time walking there but never drove on them!


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