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Member Since 02 Dec 2007
Offline Last Active Aug 20 2011 10:39 AM

#45858 Old FW Telephone Number Prefixes

Posted by Giraffe on 26 April 2008 - 08:42 PM

Some of you may remember the days when telephone numbers began with two letters. I think this died out by the end of the 1960s. Wedgwood (southwest side of Fort Worth) had a lot of telephone numbers that began with AX2-. When the alphabetizing died out, their associated numbers simply took over with little trouble, and so AX2- numbers simply became 292-. I recall an outdoor nursery near Wedgmont Circle and Old Grandbury Road had this green triangular sign on a signpost that still held their AX2- phone number until at least the late '70s.

The alphabetizing of telephone numbers was widespread across the country, and even in a city the size of Fort Worth, there were bound to be different exchanges. To help jog people's memories, these exchanges were (I think) named after some local landmark.

Anyhow, what I'm asking is, does anyone know the mnemonic for "AX"? In other words, was it short for AXelrod, AXis, AXle, or what? And how many other such telephone number prefixes and mnemonics were in use around Fort Worth?

(Aside: Our family doctor, C. B. Bruner, who recently retired, set up his practice on South Hulen, very close to Old Grandbury Road, in the early 1960s when there was practically nothing else out there. He had an ariel photograph of that part of town back then hanging on the wall of his office for years. It was a freaking PRAIRIE! Dr. Bruner's office number was very easy to remember, especially if you were sick or injured: 292-5000. Years later he told my father that he was able to get that particular phone number because way back in the day, one of his patients was a big shot at the telephone company and got that number for him.)


#45435 The "Bomber" Railroad Spur

Posted by Giraffe on 13 April 2008 - 09:18 AM

Thanks to a great website called www.abandonedrails.com, I've finally solved a minor mystery that's been plaguing me for decades. It has to do with a railroad on the west side of Fort Worth.

You may recall that the southwestern quadrant of Loop 820 was the last chunk of the loop to be completed, and throughout the '70s and early '80s the only way to get from the Hulen Mall area to the western part of town was via State Highway 183. That SH183 sorta became a busy street once you got west of Vickery, with plenty of houses and businesses right on the shoulder as you got closer to the Traffic Circle. And a railroad crossed the roadbed! You don't see that on Interstates. smile.gif I do recall having to wait for a train to pass a few times long ago, but as the years passed I saw less and less activity on that line. I always wondered what that rail line was for, who used it, etc. Then a few years ago I discovered that the rails had been totally removed! I had seen those rails getting twisted and uneven with time, telling me that they had not been maintained of late and probably had not seen a train for ages.

A guy I used to work with grew up in that neighborhood and he told me that he actually hitched a ride on a train on that line when he was barely five years old. It went right past his backyard and it was moving slowly enough that he could just climb on a boxcar and have a fun ride. As you may guess, the train sped up a little and he was too scared to jump off, so he just hung on for dear life and waited. The train, he said, was a supply train for Carswell Air Force Base and he rode that thing all the way into it. It didn't take long for the military police guys to see him and grab him. Gary, of course, was frightened to death as it was. But it got even better because his father was a supply sergeant at Carswell!!!! Gary, little kid that he was, gave them his name as well as that of his father, some phone calls were made, and Gary said they threw him into a cell until his father could take him home. (Gary said later that the cops had done so at his father's behest, in order to purposely scare the fecal matter out of him.) I'm sure Sergeant Dad had some fine words to live by for him later that day, too! smile.gif

Gary has since passed away, but when he told me this story I wasn't quite sure he was telling me the 100% truth. I had no idea where that rail line really went, as I didn't live in that neighborhood. But after just casually looking through abandonedrails.com, I found out that Gary was right! It really was a supply line for both Carswell and General Dynamics! It was a five-mile spur that came off a major rail line that ran next to Vickery, and the spur was built around World War II to provide raw materials to the bomber plant at G.D., as well as fuel for the airplanes at the Air Force base. But as the years went by, more material was shipped into the plant by truck, and a pipeline was installed for providing jet fuel. That led to the decline of the rail spur (which was actually called "Bomber," according to signs posted along that route). Gary said it was sorta/kinda kept as an emergency "derail" line in case of a runaway train, but I don't know if it ever had to be used that way.

Even though the rails have been removed, you can still easily see the right of way for this spur today on satellite photographs. After peeling off at Vickery, it crossed 183, Camp Bowie, I-30, and right into Carswell/G.D. You can see where some of the overpasses were. This website has some good photographs of this route, as well as other abandoned rail lines elsewhere in Fort Worth and all over the rest of the country.

I don't think the site covers this, but I do remember a short line crossing over I-30 on its own bridge, ending next to the Ben Hogan plant at Montgomery Street (behind the Botanic Gardens). That line has since been totally removed, and so has that bridge. The Ben Hogan building is now an antique fair.