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Railroaders' Nostalgia > What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!

Date: 02/02/20 17:55
What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!
Author: joeygooganelli

I was sitting here watching the super bowl and reading the previous story about brewery switching and it got me thinking about some of the residual physical proof that the railroad was once a much happier and lose place to work.

I hired out on the NS in 1998 in Louisville,KY. This was the former Kentucky and Indiana Terminal Railroad Youngstown yard. It was jointly owned at one point by all the roads that  traversed through town. The yard was designed during steam days and still had all the attributes of when they built it. Including lots of weird holes around the switch stands along the leads. Very strange holes.

One of the fun things of hiring when I did is that I span two generations of railroading and got to learn from all the old heads. The oldest man I worked with hired in 56'. If they liked you, they would tell you stories about how the railroad once was and you could learn a thing or two.

I started kinda asking around about these "holes" in the yard. When it rained, you were sure to get water over your boots and have wet feet. Even days after it rained, you'd still find some of these holes with coal dust and other various garbage that would hide them. That is if they weren't LITERALLY next to switch stands. Strange. Eventually you knew where to look and after a while, stopped falling in them.

I soon learned that once upon a time, it was the switchmen's jobs, or the newest guy, that your first job of the night was to take beer and ice and place a couple beers in each hole with some ice. That way you always had a beer to work with and to keep them cool. Of course, it being the late 90's, there wasn't much drinking going on. I was only 19 and couldn't buy beer anyhow!  

I laughed at another thread on TO talking about tonk and learned that lesson on the railroad too.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/20 10:11 by joeygooganelli.

Date: 02/03/20 23:10
Re: What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!
Author: Fredo

I never heard of beer being called Barley Pop until I hired on with the Union Pacific, but after the first time I heard it called that I have enjoyed everyone of them since.

Date: 02/04/20 12:57
Re: What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!
Author: hoggerdoug

I call beer "wobbly pop".  Years ago the afternoon yard job in the industrial end of the city were we worked, at "coffee time" the old timers would send me to a local cafe' and they disappeared somewhere. I found out later that they went for a tall frosty one at a local Legion while I had coffee and a donut in the coffee shop..

Date: 02/14/20 18:30
Re: What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!
Author: jtwlunch

I worked as a extra board brakeman for the Santa Fe in 1973 out of Wellington, KS.  I worked a roundtrip on the night mainline local from Wellington to Waynoka.  On the trip back we stopped at Kiowa as the sun was coming up to do some switching and as I was putting the power back against our train the Conductor went across the street to a convenience store and had procured a quart of "The Breakfast of Champions" he wanted to share with the crew.  I did turn him down, even though my fraternity brothers would have chastised me for turning down a friendly freebie.  Not the time nor place.  Lots of stories about the toilet tank coolers used around the system to keep the local beer supply cool.

Date: 02/26/20 06:22
Re: What is the new guy supposed to bring to a job? Barley pop!
Author: co614

My dad told me that when he hired out as a brakeman in 1922 his first assignment was on a local that switched industries in the Elizabeth-Bayway corridor on the CRRofNJ. He said that the regular conductor was a total drunk and that he and the flagman would help him on the caboose in the morning, make him comfortable ( stove burning well in winter, ice in the ice box etc.) do the work, fill out the paper work for him and help him down at the end of the day. He lived two blocks from the railroad and would somehow manage to stumble home. This lasted for my dads first 2 years on the job. Different times !!

   Ross Rowland 

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