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The Night Operator

Frank L. Packard

Book Overview: 

A collection of ten railroad short stories: "And so these are the stories of the Hill Division and of the men who wrought upon it; the stories of those days when it was young and in the making; the stories of the days when Carleton, 'Royal' Carleton, was superintendent, when gruff, big-hearted, big-paunched Tommy Regan was master mechanic, when the grizzled, gray-streaked Harvey was division engineer, and little Doctor McTurk was the Company surgeon, and Riley was the trainmaster, and Spence was the chief despatcher; the stories of men who have done brave duty and come to honor and glory and their reward—and the stories of some who have gone into Division for the last time on orders from the Great Trainmaster, and who will never railroad any more."

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Book Excerpt: 
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McCann lost some time. He could have made a short cut over to the main line and the station; but, instead, thinking Owsley might have run up the track beside the camp toward the front-end of the construction train and the engine, he kept along past the string of cars. There was no Owsley; and the only result he obtained from shouting at the top of his lungs was to have the wind slap his voice back in his teeth. McCann headed then for the station. He took the west-end arm of the Y, that being the nearer to his destination. Halfway across, he heard the engine backing up on the main line, and, a moment later, saw her headlight and the red tail lights of the caboose as she coupled on.

Of course, it was against the rules—but rules are broken sometimes, aren't they? It was a wicked night, and the station, diminutive and makeshift as it was, looked mighty hospitable and inviting by comparison. The engine crew, Matt Duggan and Greene, his fir. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Interesting to learn more about this sector from a contemporary voice.

Absolutely loved this! The stories were all very engaging and Packard's writing was a brilliant mix of humor, detailed descriptions of the men, and engaging narrative. Loved all the railroad-related descriptions applied to the men, too. I could almost feel how it was to be involved in such harsh, gr

I read a lot of books, but very, very few have "staying power," meaning I think about them for a long time after I've finished them. This is one special book, which appeals to my love of storytelling, adventure, bravery, and pulls on my emotions as I am reading. It's a keeper. I love this book with

It probably helps if you're a railroad buff.

If you didn't know who the author was for this collection of short stories then you'd never connect this book to the hugely influential Gray Seal series which also written by Frank. L. Packard. None of these stories are set in New York and most of them spo

Interesting railroad saga

Although the dialects can be troublesome, the story told is a good one! Beautiful insights as to what early railroading must have been like. Stay with the story, you won't regret it!!