The Pennsylvania Railroad is one of the main reasons that I live in California. My grandfather, Lloyd V. Hugus worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He started working for the PRR in 1909 as a fireman and then moved up to the position of engineman which was a position he held until he retired in 1953. To the best of my knowledge, he worked exclusively on freight trains. Shown below is a small portion of his employment papers which were obtained from the Railroad Retirement Board1.
One of the perks of working for the railroad was the ability to travel cheaply. When my mother was about nineteen she road the rails from Ohio to visit her uncle in California. Uncle Vern also worked for the railroad. She fell in love with California and decided that is where she wanted to live. It didn’t hurt that the winter weather in California was nicer.
She returned to Ohio and even though she fell in love with my father, she was determined to return out west. She told my father that if he wanted to get married then he would find her in California. She got another railroad pass from her father and headed west. He graduated from Ohio State at the end of the next term and left for California in short order.
Where would I have been born if the railroad hadn’t enabled my mother to visit her uncle? But here I am in California because of the Pennsylvania Railroad even though the Pennsylvania Railroad never came this far west.
1."Genealogy Research - U.S. Railroad Retirement Board." 2005. 23 Aug. 2013 <http://www.rrb.gov/mep/genealogy.asp>