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Lind: Great memories of Great Northern

A painting of a Great Northern at the depot in Karlsruhe, N.D. Heritage Railroad Editions

This painting of a Great Northern freight at the depot in Karlsruhe, N.D., was painted by North Dakota native Larry Fisher, now of Las Vegas.

It caught the attention of Liz Wurzbacher of Fargo, who found it reproduced on a note card, because her father, Vince Greenheck, used to be the agent at this depot.

Vince and his family lived a block from the depot. Often, Vince would send hobos who'd hitched rides on freights to his house for food and water, Liz says.

Liz's family is really into railroading. Her uncles also worked for the railroad, and her brother Jeff currently is an engineer working out of Dilworth.

On top of that, her husband, Mike, and both his father and brother worked for the railroad.

And Liz? She used to be a brake person.

And the Goose

Many people have nice memories of the Galloping Goose branchline trains. But Francis Lauber of Mandan, N.D., perhaps has mixed emotions about them. He used to inspect and repair them.

Francis, who grew up in Jamestown, N.D., worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad for more than 46 years, starting in 1944.

"The last few years, we had problems with water leaks on the engine liners," he writes. "It seems we could not get the proper 'O' rings to seal the liners."

One time, the Goose that went to Streeter, N.D., broke something called a "spring hammer."

Francis went to Streeter on a cold winter day to replace it. To get under the train, he had to crawl through snow, which got under his clothing. It was a miserable job, but he got it done.

Another time he rode a Goose to Minnewaukan, N.D., to repair another Goose that had broken down. Then the Goose that had taken him there broke down a mile out of town. It backed into Minnewaukan, and Francis wound up repairing it, too.

"I had many experiences with the Goose," Francis says, and previous columns about the train "brought many memories." Including those above.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail