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Railroaders' Nostalgia > White hardhat vs yellow hardhats


Date: 07/07/19 13:29
White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: Copy19

MDO's post below about the suit at a derailment reminded me of a little contest I had over my hardhat.  I was on the UP go team aka the  "Sudden Flyers Club" for many years that was sent to major derailments, or least derailments that would attract a lot of media attention.  I never wore a suit to a derailment, but I always took my go kit including my white hard hat, gloves, boots, hearing protection and a safety vest along with a shaving kit and a change of clothes.

Somewhere along the line it was decided that everybody would wear yellow hardhats, making the suits "one of the boys".  I refused to do that, not because of my 'lofty' position, but because I felt it would be easier to find me at a wreck.  I pointed out to my bosses if I was the only one with a white hardhat, it would make it easier for the media folks to find me amid the sea of men wearing yellow hardhats and  red vests.  

"Yeah, the PR guy is Bromley.  He's over there wearing the white hardhat."   It worked fine.

John Bromley - Omaha




Date: 07/07/19 14:53
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: Railbaron

We had a manager in Eugene who always wore black cowboy hats. Along comes UP and they demanded all managers wear hardhats to derailments and things like that. Wally wasn't going to give up his cowboy hat so he simply found a fully compliant hardhat shaped like a cowboy hat (yellow), added a UP sticker to make it "official", and off he went. That lasted for a while but eventually the people above him took exception because it wasn't compliant with UP standards so they made him get rid of it - right before he gave up his manager job and returned to train service. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/19 08:54 by Railbaron.



Date: 07/07/19 16:42
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: TAW

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We had a manager in Eugene who always wore cowboy
> hats. Along comes UP and they demanded all
> managers wear hardhats to derailments and things
> like that. Wally wasn't going to give up his
> cowboy hat so he simply found a fully compliant
> hardhat shaped like a cowboy hat (yellow), added a
> UP sticker to make it "official", and off he went.

I worked a safety gig for a railroad "back east" that specifically prohibited "cowboy-style" hardhats. Word must have gotten around.

TAW



Date: 07/07/19 17:44
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: ERAD




Date: 07/07/19 21:07
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: roustabout

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We had a manager in Eugene who always wore cowboy
> hats. Along comes UP and they demanded all
> managers wear hardhats to derailments and things
> like that. Wally wasn't going to give up his
> cowboy hat so he simply found a fully compliant
> hardhat shaped like a cowboy hat (yellow), added a
> UP sticker to make it "official", and off he went.
> That lasted for a while but eventually the people
> above him took exception because it wasn't
> compliant with UP standards so they made him get
> rid of it - right before he gave up his manager
> job and returned to train service. 

Wally Tabenkraw (or however you spell it) - I had the fortune to get qualified on the Willamette & Pacific Eugene Hauler while he was there (and Izzy, too, up in the east tower).  I don't remember all that transpired but I thought he got sideways with an FRA official and that caused or accelerated his demotion.  I remember that he went back on his seniority but I lost track of him.  Good guy, in my book.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/19 21:08 by roustabout.



Date: 07/07/19 21:46
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: tomstp

Good guys ware white hats don't they !



Date: 07/07/19 22:19
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: Railbaron

I hadn't heard the story of Wally getting into it with an FRA guy, although I could see it happening. I do know he, like pretty much all SP managers, were having "conflicts" with higher UP management and how they wanted things done. Wally was never out to hurt anybody and I had always been under the impression he and higher UP management felt it was better he went back to seniority. He worked for a number of years as a conductor before retiring; always fun to work with - and he always wore his black cowboy hat.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/19 22:20 by Railbaron.



Date: 07/08/19 05:37
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: LocoPilot750

I was firing on Amtrak #3 when Santa Fe still provided crews. We made our stop at Newton, KS. Before we could even pick up out grips and get off, the RFE climbed into the cab wearing a brand new white hard hat. The engineer said "Where'd you get that hat, at a Tupperware party"? He thought it looked pretty official, but it embarrassed him, and we never saw him wear it again.

Posted from Android



Date: 07/13/19 05:44
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: Bob3985

In Cheyenne we had a road foreman who never wore the hard hat but definitely stood out in the crowd. Charlie Lynn was fairly tall and wore a suit jacket that had extra large pockets and he had a walrus style mustache. When folks would ask about his location we would affectionately say "Oh, Cap'n Kangaroo is over there". Yes, he resembled Bob Keeshan aka. Captain Kangaroo.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 07/13/19 11:13
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: wpamtk

Bob Ballestrini (aka "Bouffant Bob" or "Elvis") was the SP West Oakland day roundhouse foreman back around 1990. He had a pompador hairdo that looked like it was made of cast iron, not conducive to wearing a hard hat. Nonetheless, he always had it in his hand as he scurried to and fro like the little silver ball in a pinball machine, exhorting everyone to hurry up.  



Date: 07/14/19 10:26
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: trainjunkie

Back in the day we used to shudder at the sight of a bunch of "white hats". Today it's clean hi-viz. LOL



Date: 07/29/19 00:23
Re: White hardhat vs yellow hardhats
Author: Seventyfive

White hard hats can work wonders.  Decades ago I had one without any RR logo, and used to wear it when hitting dozens of
yards for a little photography.  Also wore safety shoes and decent clothes, not blue jeans.  It was all like a free pass.  Just act
like you belong there and no one wants to bother with you.  Worked every time. 



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