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Nostalgia & History > Three step protection...1965 style.


Date: 04/01/24 04:41
Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: Roadjob

Railroads have always preached safety, but many times in the past it surely was to a wink and a nod. Most assuredly the prime mover was just get the job done. Looking at todays safety measures, driven by liability insurance as much as concern for employees, the past and now are unrecognizable. Fifty plus years ago, I personally saw many crazy things that railroaders did. Showing up drunk, jumping from top to top on moving cars, exceeding speed limits by wide margins, using the tape that recorded speeds as confetti when going over bridges, breaking radios on purpose, jamming dead man pedals, etc. etc. Fortunately I would be certain in this day and age that it is in the past. Railroading remains a dangerous occupation, and the monster trains run today have their own new set of operating challenges.

So why the preaching?? I found this image I took in 1965 of a brakeman working on a stuck piece of braking. The power is two cars to his right. The three step protection he is employing was unique... left loafer secured tightly, left arm with firm grasp on freight car, and...right knee implanted on knuckle. Actually a fourth step: Engineer would not move until brakeman firmly replanted on ground and in sight. My have things changed!

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD




Date: 04/01/24 05:30
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: robj

Well I was short term in the early 70's.  We used hand signals.  There was a cut-in-theairsignal.  Can't remember exactly but think it was a mid to low curve. 
But with hand signal, train never moved if you could not see ground man(there was a little leeway on a tight curve.

Anyway, never saw anyone do something like that or dress like that.  Could not start work without solid shoes.  Never saw anyone crawl on top of knucles or underneath.
Sometimes it was tough and embarrassing to make a tough joint but never stood between cars or guided couplers.

Bob



Date: 04/01/24 06:59
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: hoggerdoug

Maybe ought to be a "caption this" thread. A supervisior setting a good example of safety first.....
Doug



Date: 04/01/24 07:56
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: AndyBrown

Oh boy that's great!  I got a good laugh, and your caption is good too.  Those shoes!

Andy



Date: 04/01/24 08:00
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: RNP47

Classic!



Date: 04/01/24 08:29
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: wabash2800

What is he doing up there that couldn't be done from the ground?

Victor Baird



Date: 04/01/24 08:46
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: wp1801

Great, thanks!



Date: 04/01/24 09:16
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: HotWater

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is he doing up there that couldn't be done
> from the ground?
>
> Victor Baird

Maybe he is reaching over to the other angle-cock.



Date: 04/01/24 09:29
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: Ritzville

Those were the Get It Done days!

Larry



Date: 04/01/24 11:22
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: ClubCar

Well, I never officially worked for any railroad; however I was around the local railroad yards of both the B&O and the Western Maryland when I was helping the folks, who were some friends of mine, from the group that owned passenger cars in the late 1960's and into the 1990's called Railroad Passenger Cars (reporting marks RRP).  I had the privilege of not only riding around the yards with the passenger cars, but I also spent some time, once I got to know these railroaders, with some of the switching crews.  I have ridden on engines and I have been on the ground holding the lanterns and railroad flashlights for the brakemen for coupling and uncoupling of all kinds of cars, passenger and freight.  I never saw any railroader do what is shown in that photo.  Trust me, Safety was preached all the time and it was practiced where I ventured.  Doing what that guy is doing in the photo is a complete violation of the rules on the railroad.  He was really risking his life, especially if for some reason that train jerked or he just plain fell as he could have landed on his head for sure or broken bones at the least.  No way should that have been done for any reason.
John in White Marsh, Maryland



Date: 04/01/24 13:30
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: santafe199

I get a severe case of the Willies just thinking how many ways this scenario could go wrong...

Wow, not good...



Date: 04/01/24 14:12
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: EL833

Yikes ! I saw a lot of things done 'wrong" in my years, especially by, but not limited to, old heads who were used to getting it done quickly. Also, in today's RR working world, there would to be a boss somewhere pouring over the on-line foamer pages and trying to find out if he can write this worker up,staple it to his casket, and take him OOS for 30 days....

Roger Durfee
Akron, OH



Date: 04/01/24 14:45
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: RetiredHogger

And all with no gloves on.

I wonder if he stepped on the rail on the way up there?



Date: 04/01/24 15:24
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: engineerinvirginia

If you are are tall...I am, you can just reach over and get that other angle cock....I done it all the time, no it's not  legal even so....but if you are short there is no way to reach but to either climb over the knuckles or the safe way....crossover via the grab irons and work from the other side.  And then there was a day, when getting the job done was the main rule...and as long as you did, and didn't get hurt, and didn't tear nothing up it was all good. That mantra can still apply sometimes. 



Date: 04/01/24 16:46
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: wabash2800

A Wabash railroader friend (who has passed on) was short. He told me that he had learned to use his foot for something or another when coupling cars. But I didn't get enough detail on that. Maybe it is what you are referring to. He was originally passed over for hire after they said he wasn't a "raw hider "(a nice way of saying he was too short.) But his dad was a good railroader so the super demanded he be hired. He told me he was 5 ft. 2 in., but that might have been in his boots!

Clarence was a safe but feisty railroader, eventually promoted to conductor and retiring at a ripe old age.

The only incident that he ever had, that I know of, was riding a boxcar during a flying switch maneuver. The engineer didn't allow enough distance btw the rolling car and the engine and the guy on the ground wisely didn't throw the switch. The car slammed into the engine, almost knocking Clarence off the brake platform. (He said it did knock the air out of him.)

Victor Baird

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you are are tall...I am, you can just reach
> over and get that other angle cock....I done it
> all the time, no it's not  legal even so....but
> if you are short there is no way to reach but to
> either climb over the knuckles or the safe
> way....crossover via the grab irons and work from
> the other side.  And then there was a day, when
> getting the job done was the main rule...and as
> long as you did, and didn't get hurt, and didn't
> tear nothing up it was all good. That mantra can
> still apply sometimes. 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/24 16:50 by wabash2800.



Date: 04/01/24 19:39
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: RetiredHogger

Regarding the above photo, I would like to add:

I've seen worse. And I hate to admit it (and don't like thinking about it), but I remember...when I was very young...doing worse.



Date: 04/01/24 21:11
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: willobi

I have seen much worse.  Hell, I have done much worse!  I remember climbing on top of many a moving GP7s and GP9s at 3am to unstick snow packed horns.  Brakemen did a little of everything in my day. I started my career in 1975 with one of the finest, The Southern.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/24 21:12 by willobi.



Date: 04/02/24 10:31
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: TAW

Ritzville Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those were the Get It Done days!
>

Back in 1968, I was working B&OCT Western Ave tower. There was a strike on CNW. The C&O afternoon CNW job showed up with two trainmasters working the job. One running and the other conductoring. They took their train around the wye into the yard. After a while, the conductoring trainmaster called from the phone box over Western Ave asking to double out. I got permission from Spatch and told them to get started. When the came out with the first track, they were in a position about like in the picture. The engineer pulled it out and stopped in apparently the right place because the stop was only long enough to throw the switch. He shoved back about 10 cars and came to an easy stop. After a bit, he whistled off and away he went.

A few years later, one of the trainmasters was B&OCT Superintendent and I was 2d trick Chief. One day during a lull, I asked him how they did that. He told be that was the way they worked in the coal fields, passing signs with the train line - one: stop, two: ahead, three: back.

The train was pre-1970 reefers. No crossover platform. I'll leave it up to imagination to visualize the gymnastics of doing that (nope, not using a tail hose for distance from the angle cock).

TAW

 




Date: 04/02/24 14:03
Re: Three step protection...1965 style.
Author: Drknow

I think everyone is kind of in a self induced tizzy on this. Is this a cut sitting on a siding? Why would someone be in this position? Is there power on this cut/train?

If something is wrong, then it need’s to be fixed, you can’t just stare at it from the clear and wish things to happen. This guy wouldn’t be in this position unless he had to be. Bet on that.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



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