There was a war on that bright May day in 1943, but the teenager had other things on his mind.
As he waited at the Centerville stop for a Bamberger car to take him to the arsenal near the Ogden Defense Depot, Gordon Cardall was thinking how much he wanted a job, and he knew the railroad business was booming.But as the youth waited for the northbound car, along came one going south. The train foreman recognized Cardall, found out where he was going, then suggested: "Why don't you come with me."
The foreman had known that Cardall liked to build models of transport vehicles, first airplanes from balsa wood and later models of railroad cars. He knew Cardall had earlier built a model of a Bamberger line car.
Without much hesitation, Cardall hopped the line car with the foreman and rode to the Bamberger Railroad's shops in North Salt Lake. They went straight to the superintendent's office, where the foreman put in a glowing recommendation for Cardall - even though Cardall had not yet turned 16.
Cardall was hired. After receiving a book of passes, he worked that night as a trolley boy in Ogden and thereafter he could be found working in the Ogden yards after school.
At the time, the Bamberger was enjoying unprecedented prosperity.
"I did everything," Cardall says of his 111/2-year stint with the Bamberger, interrupted only by 11/2-year hiatus while he was in the Army during World War II. He worked as a bus driver when buses filled some runs after depot fires sharply reduced the number of available interurban cars. He also acted as a freight operator, passenger motorman, brakeman and relief dispatcher.
During the war, Cardall said, the arsenal station was the major source of freight business. Artillery powder was manufactured there, he said, and 40 to 50 cars moved from there daily, each with an 80-ton load. "We didn't think much about it then, but now it's scary," Cardall said.
When passenger operations ended Sept. 7, 1952, Cardall was ready. Much of the newspaper coverage of the final run centered on the Salt Lake City-Ogden trip, but Cardall was the operator on the last train from Ogden to Salt Lake City. He took a movie camera with him during the last weeks of operations, shooting track scenes throughout. His wife, Nedra, accompanied him and operated the camera on the last run.