Always a Gentleman!
I took this photo in 1988. It was Jimmy at his finest, flirting with the
gals. I honestly don't know what he had to say to the lovely gal but from
the look on her face, she was quite impressed (or shocked) with what he had
That was his way.....Always a true gentleman.
Jimmy was one of those guys who never had a bad word to say about anybody,
unless of course he really couldn't stand the person, and even then, he'd
never say anything real bad. Usually something like, "he's a bit of a
screwball, isn't he?" or "Oh he's a poor fella so let's let him be.....
That's his way."
Them New Haven Screw Balls...........We could
never for the likes of us figure this one out, because the Boston crew base
had it's fair share of wackos and screwballs, but Jimmy always thought the
entire New Haven Crew Base were "a bunch of screwballs."
He'd ask, "why do you think they're all so screwy down there? Do you think
it could be because of the overhead wire? Do you think that electricity up
there screws up their a brain a bit?" Jimmy knew there were a lot of good
guys in New Haven and he didn't harbor any bad feelings towards them, it was
just his way of carrying the torch for past generations of railroaders who
had a love-hate relationship with their Brothers in a rival crew base.
One of the First Street Fellas........Jimmy was
one of the last "First Street Yard" fellas to retire from the railroad.
During it's heyday, the New Haven Railroad ran hundreds of freight trains a
week in and out of the First Street Yard. First Street Yard was located just
across the Summer Street Bridge in South Boston, a five minute walk from
Old timers would tell great stories of "First Street" legends and lore, and
among them legends were the likes of Billy Flaherty, Harry Swain (the master
of the 1st Street Puzzle Switch!), Fred Leighton, Davey Fowkes and all of
the others we all came to love and adore.
My favorite "Jim" story was his tale of how crews would go out of their way
to drag the empty Mr. Boston tank cars over to the rip track, and shake the
car with the switcher locomotive and simultaneously collect the remnants of
the Mr. Boston whiskey from the tank car with plastic buckets. Rumor has it
some Conductors were given $2.00 from the bartender at "William's" for each
bucket of "Mr. Boston" they brought in.
Jimmy would say......"Imagine those screwballs spending all that time
shaking up them tanks cars for a little leftover booze!! I would have just
brought them over to William's and bought them a drink!!!!"
Always a Gentleman........We all know the railroad
is now full of self centered, one way, don't-give-a-damn-about-anyone no
good for nothings. They are everywhere nowadays. Not just on the railroad
but all over, but when you're used to knowing the likes of Jimmy Flannery,
seeing other fellow railroaders behaving badly is disappointing indeed. They
have no respect for their coworkers, the passengers or just the human race
in general. Jimmy was the total opposite. He loved people. Cared about
people, and prayed for everyone, even the people he didn't particularly care
Besides being a sharply dressed trainman, he was also very considerate
of the passengers, especially the senior citizens, the families and how
could we forgot all those beautiful women? Truth is, yes Jimmy was a flirt,
but he was just as much a gentleman to the little ol' lady traveling to see
her grandkids as he was to all of them college and business gals.
Jimmy was the last of a special breed. He embodied
everything a railroader should be and was expected to be, by the railroad,
it's passengers and his coworkers. The high standards the New Haven Railroad
expected from it's PASSENGER Trainmen and Conductors was more than met by the likes of
Jimmy and the men of his era. But besides being a real railroader, Jimmy was
a plain ol' wonderful guy, adored and loved by many, just for being himself.
Nothing phony about him. An honest, hard working man with true integrity who
loved life, his family and the railroad.....That Flannery Fella.
Rest in peace Jimmy Flannery.
"He was a good fella!"
"Even when the
loss of his presence gives us pain,
still a certain
pleasure arises in our mourning and lamentation;
for pain is felt
at the loss of the beloved,
but pleasure in
and, as it were,
seeing him as he lived and moved."
"A passage from the Rhetoric of Aristotle"