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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Practical Jokes - 1

Date: 04/01/20 18:13
Practical Jokes - 1
Author: TAW

We all know that practical jokes are against the rules. That never bothered some folks. I’m guessing that contraband practical jokes are not nearly as common as they were 40 years ago or more. Some were inventive; some not so much.
A lot of operators on the B&O Baltimore Terminal absolutely hated one train dispatcher. That’s pretty much because he hated operators and made life miserable for them. I never understood guys like that. They were promoted from operators and hated operators? The operators would constantly harass him by using the headset earpiece as a microphone to taunt him. Putting the earpiece right up to your mouth and yelling loud would cause the earpiece to be a microphone, but the sound would be barely audible and indistinct.
They also had a way of getting to him because he would bark out Really Stupid orders that the operators would follow to the letter, which would set him off. One night, a train had to double through the Howard Street Tunnel from North Avenue to Carroll. The dispatcher got the initials and number of the last car of the first cut from the operator at North Avenue so he could determine that the train was complete passing Carroll. When the first cut left North Avenue, the dispatcher called the operator at Carroll (who was listening and knew what was going on) and barked an order:
Pay attention. I don’t want you to screw this up. When that train goes by, give me the last goddam number on the last goddam car that goes by. Can you handle that? When the first cut got by, the operator got the initials and number and OSed the train. The dispatcher barked back, Did you get me that number or did you screw it up? The operator replied The last goddam number on the last goddam car is three. He let the dispatcher go ballistic for a while before he said Did you want the initials and car number? After the dispatcher spent several more minutes going ballistic while several operators using the headset earpiece were taunting him, he gave the dispatcher the initial and number of the last car.

The Baltimore Terminal operators also had a couple of colleagues who were the target of practical jokes, usually a light bulb between the lever and the latch handle or a torpedo at the end of the quadrant on the floor where the latch dog engaged the quadrant. Torpedoes going off in the tower are loud.


Date: 04/06/20 17:16
Re: Practical Jokes - 1
Author: sandpoint1979

I worked on the Baltimore Division in 1972 - this sounds like the "Buffalo Bob" show!  

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