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4 People Reviewed This Product
  • By Marc Frattasio
    Oct 1, 2009
    "Head Pin and Wash Up" Donald Forbes' "Head Pin and Wash Up" presents an interesting first-person account of what it was like to work as an operating employee for the New Haven Railroad, Penn Central, and CONRAIL during the period between the early 1950s and the mid 1990s. Though primarily written for Forbes' children, grandchildren, and other family members, and consequently containing what might be construed by some readers as personal and extraneous material, the railroad related content (which comprises about half of the book) should be of substantial interest to anybody interested in Boston area railroading. For the record, the book proved sufficiently interesting to me that that I ended up ordering another copy to give to a friend. Forbes should be applauded for committing his railroad memoirs to print and hopefully his action will inspire some of his colleagues to do the same thing. Marc J. Frattasio Author, "The New Haven Railroad in the McGinnis... More > Era" and "Dining on the Shore Line Route"< Less
  • By Ronald High
    Dec 30, 2008
    "Head Pin and Wash Up" My copy arrived Tuesday. I read it and am rereading it again. About 2/3 of the book are about railroading on the former Old Colony lines. .Most of the railroad subject is in New Haven times ,some in PC and Conrail. reading the railroad parts are like you had a chance to sit in on a storytelling and bull session in a railroad yard office on a slow day .Don tells some fantastic stories .If you are interested in the east end Boston Terminal Co. the South Boston Freight Terminal and Old Colony operations in the 1950`s to the 1990s. Places like South Bay tower, Dover street, Framinham ,Fall River, New Bedford, South Braintree ,Cotley Jct, Myricks ,Whittenton, Buzzards Bay ,Lowell, etc. you will want this book. This is not about stocks and bonds how many yards of rail were laid it is about the every day job of the railroad trainmen that worked thes places . New Haven RR freights like LB-1,BL-2,FC-1,UN-1.NU-2,KN-1,NK-2 are all talked about here. He also tells... More > some stories in PC and Conrail days that shed some light on changes after the New Haven ended I think the book is well worth the price. I don`t want to get into political stuff on this forum ,but As Don mentioned he does lean to the left for sure. I consider myself a Massachusetts ,union dues paying liberal Democrat and Don is definitely to the left of that. . If you are a New Haven east end fan I think you should get the book. If the politics bother you you will have to decide. Reading the books tells me Don definitely knows the meaning of Unions and Brotherhood for that I admire him and am proud to think of him as a union brother! Enjoy the stories of railroading in those days they are great!< Less
  • By alexnforbes
    Sep 21, 2008
    "Very enjoyable, educational and revealing" Disclaimer: I am Don Forbes' youngest son. I wasn't even aware my father was writing a book until a week or so before it was published, but it did fill me with a sense of pride. I had some pretty decent history teachers during my HS and college years, but there's something inherently more interesting learning about the past from your own father's frame of reference, and what he was doing 12+ hours a day for most of his life. I was impressed with his story telling abilities, as if he kept a working journal while on the job from his teens up until retirement. I have a better understanding of what it meant to work for the railroad, its inherent dangers, the political strife between worker and corporation in an industry where unions are so important in protecting the rights and well-being of the employee, and how some railroading men weren't afraid to try and make a difference at the risk of losing a decent steady income. The... More > references to politics, religion and family may have some people skimming over about a third of the book, but for those who appreciate having a deeper understanding of who the author is, and enjoy real-life accounts of recent history from ordinary people, will appreciate the forthrightness. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." I believe my father has done both in his lifetime. Thank you for leaving me something besides my good looks, Dad.< Less
  • By chuckaluck69
    Dec 24, 2006
    "head pin and wash up" i had the pleasure to work as don's brakeman on fr-10, a conrail local from framingham to leominster in the summer of 1994. we used to have lunch up in leominster,and i remember having great political conversations. my time on conrail was short,but don made it much more bearable. as for the book, it was a good fill in about life on the lines in days past. when i was young some would say that guys on the railroad were overpaid. thats a crock. try spending 12-16 hrs. a day doing this work. i am currently working on commuter rail in boston as a conductor,and this is a book every union brother and sister should .....especially our union officials.
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Product Details

first trade paperback edition
Donald H. Forbes
February 7, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.58 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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