Lady Car Knocker

by Laura Kinsey

Lady Car Knocker

Daniel D Kinsey - 1986 - Eugene, OR

My name is Laura Kinsey, and I am a second generation railroader. My father Daniel D Kinsey worked for Southern Pacific for 40 years, as did his brothers Clarence Kinsey and Bill Kinsey. Even my mother Hellen (Cook) Kinsey worked for SP in San Francisco in the 1940s at One Market Plaza before she met my father.

My father and his brothers worked in Dallas, Oregon. A tiny town at the time located 14 miles west of Salem, Ore. My father and his brothers were born in Dallas as was I. When SP closed its Dallas operation in 1964, my father transferred and moved our family to Eugene, Ore. My father was a freight carman, and in January 1978, I started railroading with my Dad as a carman's helper. By August 1978, I had my own job in the train yard on the graveyard shift with Tuesday/Wednesday off.

When Union Pacific bought Southern Pacific it wasn't long until operations of the Eugene One Spot and train yard wound down. When I left in July 1999 and transferred and moved my family to Roseville, Calif., there were around 54 carmen in Eugene. Now with the One Spot closed and Hump removed, only six or so carmen remain there.

In 2017 I hope to retire gracefully with around 37 years of service. In Roseville, only one other woman currently works in the car department. I hope that other carmen will suggest to their daughters, as my father did, to follow in their footsteps. I am thankful to my father and for everything railroading has provided for me. I miss you Dad. RIP.

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Historical Events, Family, Working at UP
Roseville, CA
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