Interview with Ronald C. Flanary, March 19, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:02 - Interview introduction

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So this is an interview with Ron Flanary.

Segment Synopsis: Following introductions, Flanary briefly refers to attending University of Virginia at Wise and being a "lifelong" fan of the University of Kentucky--which he attributes to his birth in Kentucky.

Keywords: Clinch Valley College; University of Kentucky; University of Virginia (Wise)

00:00:52 - Family history and connection to trains

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Alright, so just to start off, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary describes his family's connection to the railroad industry, prompting a lifelong fascination with trains and the railroad industry.

Keywords: Benham (Ky.); Family history; Grandparents; Harlan County (Ky.); L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Louisville Nashville Railroad; Railroad enthusiasts; Railroad history; Railroad industry; Railroad rooming houses

Subjects: Childhood; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company

00:01:58 - Railroad photography

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, I started--I, I took my first train photo of a derailment during the strike on the L&N at Artemus, Kentucky in April '55.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary talks about his interest in photography and photographing trains. He also discusses a range of topics including passenger trains, steam engines, and the last passenger train that left Corbin in 1968. Finally, he tells a story about how getting sick prevented him from photographing the last passenger trains out of Corbin.

Keywords: Corbin (Ky.); Hobbies; Kodak Brownie; L&N 2132; Passenger trains; Photographic technologies; Photographs; Steam engines; Strike of 1955; Train derailments; Train travel; Trains; Writing

Subjects: Artemus (Ky.); Photography; Railroad accidents.; Railroad cars.; Railroads--Employees.

GPS: Link to map
Map Coordinates: 36.948551, -84.095284
00:04:54 - Beginning interest in photography

Play segment

Partial Transcript: That is quite the, quite the life, lifelong involvement.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses why and how he got involved in taking pictures and what he hopes to capture. As a teenager he had a couple pictures published.

Keywords: Imagery; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Periodicals; Published; Railroad photography

Subjects: Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Photography; Railroad cars.

00:07:47 - Digital photography

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Like you said, you know, you switched to digital, so.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses the transition from film photography to digital and some advantages of digital once he made the switch.

Keywords: Digital photographs; Film; Kodak Brownie; Technology

Subjects: Photography; Technological innovations

00:09:24 - Railroad rooming house

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, kind of a change of topic, do you mind if I go back?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses how his grandparents owned and operated a rooming house.

Keywords: Grandparents; Harlan County (Ky.); L&N 2132; Loyall (Ky.); Railroad (Industry); Railroad crews; Railroad rooming houses

Subjects: Childhood; Railroad travel.; Railroads--Employees.

00:11:02 - Family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, your, um, your family lived in Loyall and you were from Virginia.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses where his family was from and how he used the bus as transportation. He tells about the last passenger train.

Keywords: Corbin (Ky.); Family; Grandparents; Harlan County (Ky.); L&N 2132; Loyall (Ky.); Passenger trains; Train travel; Trains (Passenger)

Subjects: Railroad cars.; Railroad passenger cars; Railroad travel.

00:11:56 - Rail transportation, ticket cost, and Pullman cars

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, where would you, where would you take that passenger train from Corbin?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses travel on passenger trains throughout his teenage years and the cost to ride on a train. He describes what Pullman cars looked like.

Keywords: Articles; Charlie Castner; Cincinnati (Ohio); Corbin (Ky.); Costs; Dining cars; L&N 2132; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Louisville (Ky.); Passenger trains; Periodicals; Photographs; Pullman sleeper cars; Roomettes; Ticket prices; Train travel; Trains (Passenger)

Subjects: Childhood; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Railroad passenger cars; Railroad travel.

00:16:52 - The dining car

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You said you also, you also took advantage of the dining car.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses the dining car experience and how good the food was.

Keywords: African Americans; Breakfast; Dining cars; Feature meals; Food; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Orders; Passenger trains; Seafood platters; Trains (Passenger); Waiters

Subjects: Childhood; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Railroad passenger cars; Railroad travel.

00:19:47 - People on the train

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You talked about--

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses travel attire and the types of people who rode on trains.

Keywords: Attire; Clothes; Customs; Dining cars; Meeting people; Passenger trains; Trains (Passenger)

Subjects: Childhood; Clothing and dress.; Fashion.; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Railroad passenger cars; Railroad travel.

00:21:11 - L&N company magazine publication

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You talked about one of those first passenger rides you took was to Louisville, um, to go to the Courier-Journal.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses the article the L&N company magazine did on him.

Keywords: Articles; Charlie Castner; Collections; Grandparents; L&N 2132; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Louisville (Ky.); Louisville Nashville Railroad Company; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company Employes' Magazine; Railroad museums; Writing

Subjects: Journalism; Journalists; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company

00:22:53 - The Louisville Nashville Railroad Company

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And, what, what is it about the L&N that interests you so much over other rail lines?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses growing up around the L&N and how that started his fixation with that specific company.

Keywords: Interest; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Louisville Nashville Railroad Company

Subjects: Childhood; Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Railroads.

00:24:22 - Working on the trains

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And you said you didn't work for the L&N but you worked for another railroad, is that correct?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary tells about how he was a janitor on the Southern Railways in Andover, Virginia and how he was offered a job in Louisville. He feels if he had stayed working on the railroad he wouldn't have continued in photography.

Keywords: Army; Career paths; College students; Hats; Hobbies; Janitors; Management culture; Management training programs; Military draft; Photographs; Southern Railroad; Taboos; Uniforms

Subjects: Railroads--Employees.; Southern Railway (U.S.)

00:27:34 - From photography to writing

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So once you, um, decided to make that career change...

Segment Synopsis: Flanary tells how he made a career transition and enjoyed writing about railroad experiences and history.

Keywords: Books; Creative expression; Writing

Subjects: Hobbies.; Photography

00:28:59 - 1955 train derailment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, I have a question kind of going back.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses a labor dispute on the L&N and what led to the Artemus derailment.

Keywords: "Scabs"; Coal trains; Derailments; Diesel engines; Double tracks; Grandparents; L&N 2132; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Labor disputes; Labor strikes; Photographs; Switch keys; Trains (Freight)

Subjects: Artemus (Ky.); Childhood; Corbin (Ky.); Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Photography; Railroad accidents.; Railroads--Employees.

00:32:45 - Distinct train memories and unauthorized riding

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do, do you have any other, um, distinct memories from taking pictures or events that have happened on the railroad over the years?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses how he had friends who worked on the train, and how he would do a lot of unauthorized riding. He tells about losing a friend on the train and the cause of the crash.

Keywords: Brakeman; Casualties; Charlie Castner; Corbin (Ky.); Dangerous; Death; Derailments; Dispatchers; Earl Rosenbaum; Freight trains; Friendships; Grandparents; Hitchhiking; L&N 2132; Liability; Loyall (Ky.); Passes; Railroad crew; Signal system; Switch keys; Switches; Train travel; Trains (Freight)

Subjects: Childhood; Railroad accidents.; Railroad travel.; Railroads--Employees.

00:40:27 - Family in the rail industry / steam engines

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, and you said, um, you had family members that worked on the railroad as well.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary talks about his grandfather being a conductor, and talks about steam locomotives.

Keywords: Cabooses; Conductors; Diesel engines; Grandfathers; Railroad yards (AKA Train Yards); Railroader (Profession); Roundhouse (Train maintenance); Steam engines; Steam locomotives; Unique

Subjects: Corbin (Ky.); Families.; Railroad conductors.; Railroads--Employees.

00:42:22 - Favorite trains to photograph

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So what were some of those early, um, diesel trains that you did photograph?

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses his favorite trains to photograph (ALCO). He brought in several photographs and discusses them briefly.

Keywords: American Locomotive Company (ALCO); Diesel engines; L&N 2132; L&N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville Railroad); Photographs; Steam engines

Subjects: Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company; Photography; Railroad cars.

00:43:27 - Restoration project

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I, I saw you come in with quite a few things, um--

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses some of the items he brought that will be used in the restoration process. He discusses how he obtained these items and what their function was on a train.

Keywords: Communication; Corbin Depot (Train station); Corbin Rail Museum; Corbin Railroad Museum; Directives; Donations; L&N 2132; Operators; Parts; Register books; Restoration; Semaphores; Steam engines; Train depots

Subjects: Railroad cars.; Railroad engineering.; Railroad museums; Railroads--Employees.

00:47:05 - The railroad industry today

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You've talked about how a lot of things are different.

Segment Synopsis: Flanary discusses changes that have been made in the rail industry and some of the ways it has improved.

[Audio issues occur at the end of the interview.]

Keywords: Changes; Container traffic; Differences; Economy; Manufacturing; Railroad (Industry); Shipping; Trucks

Subjects: Railroad cars.; Railroad travel.; Railroads.; Transportation