locked Re: D.W. Brosnan and SR Operations- 1966

Robert Hanson

Brosnan was both a genius and a lunatic at the same time.

He was a genius because of his many ideas and inventions that enabled the Southern - and the railroad industry in general - to mechanize and consolidate many functions in order to save money and survive the economic horror that was the late 60's and seventies prior to deregulation.

He was a lunatic because he had no people skills - absolutely none - and was blinded by the idea that whatever he did was right, even after it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was wrong.

He was also vindictive as hell.

And woe betide anyone who ever pointed out to him why he was wrong.  They were usually immediately unemployed.

I did not work for the Southern during Brosnan's administration, but I got there while there were many who had and they all had DWB stories to tell.  None of them pleasant, but all of them interesting.

I recommend the two-volume biography of Brosnan to anyone who is interested in knowing about the man.  I expected it to be a valentine to Brosnan but found that Mr. Morgret, who worked under Brosnan and knew him fairly well, presented the man pretty much as he was - warts and all.

Highly recommend this book, if you can locate a copy.

My two cents worth, and maybe a bit more.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA

-----Original Message-----
From: Rodney Shu <rodshu@...>
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Sent: Wed, Jan 1, 2020 10:23 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] D.W. Brosnan and SR Operations- 1966

Wow!   Thank you so much for your effort in finding this information. Reading this response written over 50 years ago means a great deal to me.   I doubt that it got him out of the dog house with Mr. Brosnan, but it looked like a good try to me.
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
From: George Eichelberger
Sent: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 12:34 PM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] D.W. Brosnan and SR Operations- 1966
We look forward to you (everyone on SR@groups.io, actually) making it to one of our archives work sessions. They are a combination of actual work, just looking through the archives and always include a heavy dose of simply meeting and talking to everyone.
It’s pretty much a “matter of fact” style but I’ve attached a note from your father responding to Brosnan’s comments on the August 10, 1966 Morning Report.
PS We have a bit of an “event” occurring at TVRM before the January work session (www.srha.net). NS official car No. 8 will arrive (by truck) from Gateway Rail Car at Madison, IL. Three SRHA/TVRM members donated to purchase the car from a private owner and move it to Chattanooga. The plan is to restore the car to Southern Railway official car No.5 and put it in service at TVRM. Extensive work was done on the car to bring it up to Amtrak standards. That work will be completed with new HEP, brake and mechanical systems. (Seeing an NS office car on an Interstate highway from IL to Chattanooga will be a photo worthy event. We’ll publish the exact date, tentatively Jan 6th when it’s known.)
We have located documentation dating back to when Hayne Shop converted the car from Pullman “Point Richmond” it follows the car to its disposition by NS. Assistance with donations for the restoration, technical/historical expertise and labor are certainly welcome.
On Jan 1, 2020, at 11:29 AM, Rodney Shu <rodshu@...> wrote:
Thanks for the response Ike.  I enjoy following the communications on the "Group".
Mr. Brosnan was quite a man.  I do have some stories about things that took place back then.  One quick one that comes to mind is the time that John Rust fired my father in the late '50s while he was Superintendent at Greensboro.  I guess when Mr. B found out about it, he told Rust not to do it. When he called my father their conversation was as if his firing had never happened. 
I have always wanted to attend one of the SRHS work days. Hope to see you then in Chattanooga.
From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2019 1:33 PM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] D.W. Brosnan and SR Operations- 1966
Please don’t be concerned….when you read the responses that always follow Brosnan’s margin notes, you see 99.99% of whatever the problem was, was beyond anyone’s control. “Thick skin” must have been standard issue by the Storekeeper to anyone in management. I will see if the file has a response to Brosnan's 8-29-66 missive.
Did you father tell you any DWB stories or stories from the Almon meetings? I retired from NS five years ago and at NS management meetings, people still referred to the DWB meeting style. (Although I have a hard time believing he had men stand on their chairs while he berated, and sometimes fired, them.)
If you are ever near Chattanooga, you might scan the files to see if there are more items to/from “PCS”.
On Dec 31, 2019, at 1:54 PM, Rodney Shu <rodshu@...> wrote:
The "PCS" was my father, Paul Shu, General Manager - Western Lines in 1966.  You had to be pretty thicked skinned in those days.  
Rodney Shu
From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2019 10:08 AM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Subject: [SouthernRailway] D.W. Brosnan and SR Operations- 1966
There are multiple files in SRHA archives box 612  labeled “Operating Conditions 1966”. They are in the Presidents’ files as virtually every detail of the operation of the Southern Railway was communicated to SR President DW Brosnan on a daily basis.
The files are not well organized but many reports show hand written notations by Mr. Brosnan that typically result in an “explanation” back to him from someone.
We can imagine receiving one of his notated reports would not make for a pleasant day for the recipient.
Here are two examples with Mr. Brosnan’s short (pithy?) comments….
<DWB 8-28-66.jpeg>
<DWB 8-29-66.jpeg>

Join main@SouthernRailway.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.