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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Still more slang for Sunday


Date: 08/08/21 15:12
Still more slang for Sunday
Author: cewherry

Whittlin' down the list...

CAR KNOCKER---'Trainhand' and 'Searat' both mentioned this one. Freeman Hubbard said this: Car inspector
or repairer--from the early custom of tapping the wheels to detect flaws. Also called car whacker and car toad (because
he squats while inspecting), car tink and car tonk.

SHARP SHOOTER---Any railroad man who is always figuring out the best jobs based on working conditions or pay, avoiding
the undesirable ones.  It didn't take a rocket scientist to detect who these guys were. Literally volumes could be written on this subject.

WIPING THE CLOCK---Placing the train brakes in emergency. "I saw 'gine wasn't gonna stop, so I wiped her clock" 

DEADMAN PEDAL---A safety device requiring the engineer to keep constant downward pressure applied at all times while the engine
brakes are released. Failure to do so on diesel locomotives resulted in a 'penalty air brake application' of the train brakes. Again, volumes
could be written on the subject. Suffice to say any tampering or disabling of safety devices is a violation of FRA laws and will result in disciplinary action.

FIST---Telegraph operators handwriting. This script, in the days before telephones, typewriters and teletypes, was characterized by its 
bold flowing curves which connected one word with another; and its legibility. Ops, (train order operators), were proud of their penmanship. 

FOOTBOARD---The step on the rear and front ends of switch or freight engines. Many casualties were caused by switchmen or trainmen missing 
these steps while trying to get on while the engine was moving toward them. Back in their day, I've had switchmen stand, flat-footed, immediately
in front of my engine and board as I approached them! My first reaction was to stop the movement; but in doing so I would 'mess up' their timing,
which was crucial, and possibly cause them to miss their target with disastrous results. Footboards are now 'outlawed', thankfully.

HANDLE / FLAG---Assumed name. Many boomers worked under a flag when his own name was black-listed. Another use of the term handle
occurs when using additional cars to reach beyond the point on a track where locomotives are prohibited because of weight or maneuverability
issues. Such locations were shown in the special instructions portion of the employee timetable. Such 'handles' were also referred to as 'reachers'.

FLAT WHEEL / FLAT SPOT---Car wheel that has flat spots on the tread. 

COMPANY NOTCH---Forward corner of the reverse gear quadrant on a steam locomotive. I've always assumed it meant where the most
power was being produced with the least use of fuel and water. Others, more conversant with steam operations can elaborate on this.

SEASHORE / GRIT---Sand, used to prevent or control slipping-spinning of locomotive driving wheels.

Charlie


 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/21 22:59 by cewherry.



Date: 08/08/21 17:59
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: boxcar1954

More good stuff. 

Alas, last I checked AAR rules that allocate responsibility for payment have differentiated 'flat wheel' with a wheel which is 'out of round'.  Result, owner of the car pays for out of round, handling line pays for the flat since (presumably), the handling line set the brakes and flattened it. 



Date: 08/08/21 22:21
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: wa4umr

In the world of Morse Code, "Fist" also refers to the characteristics of a particular operator.  While Morse Code is pretty much straightforward, the letter "A" is always a dot and a dash, some operators have a distinctive rhythm that makes them a bit unique.  It might be the spacing between words or the difference between the dots and the dashes.  Just like we can recognize certain familiar voices, Morse operators could recognize the "fist" of other operators.

John



Date: 08/08/21 23:10
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: PHall

Santa Fe didn't allow employees to ride on footboards. Hence the "Keep Off" on the pilots of steam and diesel switchers.
Rule 810 of the Santa Fe rulebook also prohibited use of footboards too.



Date: 08/09/21 08:20
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: Searat

When I first started railroading, I worked as a brakeman/switchman. Riding the footboards of engines and the tops of freight cars had just been proscribed by rule, but many of the old heads we worked with insisted that those were the best practices to master.  The 90 day 'derail' period faced by new hires also complicated the situation as we faced immediate dismissal for rule violations.  I freely admit to being an equivocator under the circumstances. I didn't mind riding the engine footboards in trail position after 'lining behind,' a routine chore for a newbie expected to follow the engine, and I climbed up to the highest step on the car ladders so that I could see over the tops and pass the signs of the field man as he rode the tops.  Over time, I became comfortable with those practices, until an old head conductor 'tested' me by ordering me to get on top of a cupola caboose to clean the windows after lining behind on the main.  We were leaving Watsonville Jct. for Salinas on a twenty five car road switcher, and the hogger went 'straight to eight' on a pair of older jeeps.  I suddenly found myself on the caboose top, ass up in a huge cloud of diesel smoke, trying to clean windows at 50 MPH.  I eventually made it down the ladder on the leading end of that 'crummy' and exacted a small measure of revenge by holding open the door long enough to direct a sizable stream of dust and smoke inside.  He never said a word about it, and neither did I.  It was sort of my final exam as a new hire, and I guess I passed.



Date: 08/09/21 11:39
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: ln844south

Where I worked on the L&N, "Flat Wheel" also refered to an employee who walked with a limp.
Steve



Date: 08/09/21 20:16
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: cewherry

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Santa Fe didn't allow employees to ride on
> footboards.

Not true. At least the part about riding footboards was
allowed in Santa Fe's April 24, 1966 rulebook. 

Hence the "Keep Off" on the pilots of
> steam and diesel switchers.
> Rule 810 of the Santa Fe rulebook also prohibited
> use of footboards too.

The applicable rule in the 1966 edition of their book was 814 and it did have some prohibitions
regarding stepping upon and alighting from moving engines as well as how many men could
ride a leading footboard---but the practice of riding was not prohibited.


Charlie



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/21 20:18 by cewherry.



Date: 08/09/21 22:29
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: PHall

cewherry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PHall Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Santa Fe didn't allow employees to ride on
> > footboards.
>
> Not true. At least the part about riding
> footboards was
> allowed in Santa Fe's April 24, 1966 rulebook. 
>
> Hence the "Keep Off" on the pilots of
> > steam and diesel switchers.
> > Rule 810 of the Santa Fe rulebook also
> prohibited
> > use of footboards too.
>
> The applicable rule in the 1966 edition of their
> book was 814 and it did have some prohibitions
> regarding stepping upon and alighting from moving
> engines as well as how many men could
> ride a leading footboard---but the practice of
> riding was not prohibited.
>
> Charlie

I was quoting the January 5, 1975 edition.

In the Train, Engine and Yard Service Section.
810.  The use of footboards at either end of engines is prohibited.



Date: 08/10/21 05:42
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: Drknow

A Sharp Shooter or Sharp Practice is also someone who engages in creative arrival and tie-up times so they can either get ahead or behind other men on the Board or Pool.
This is usually so they can miss a shi$ job they line up for or so they can get around half the pool and get another turn in the half.
Mile Hogs and lazy asses usually make up the ends of the spectrum. Sometimes it’s a “Goldilocks” that engages in this. “ The Pool/Board is turning too fast-the Pool/Board is turning too slow….. Ahh now it’s just right” Whatever their criteria is, and it’s usually once about every four years or so that they are happy with it… For about a week.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/10/21 05:55
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: jdw3460

I'm sure rules got tighter with time, but I remember seeing switchmen on the local Santa Fe steam switch engine (1940's and early '50s) riding the footboards all the time.  In fact, some engines, when put into switcher service, had to have footboards installed to accommodate the switchmen.  In the local flat yard, I don't know how switchmen could do their job without footboards.



Date: 08/10/21 12:37
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: Trainhand

To be really good at the sharp practices or sharpshooting as Dr. Know said, you had to stay current in your roundhouse dues. The rails know what they are, but for the others, the crew clerks were given liquor, cash, here on the coast shrimp and fish, hams(pork and deer), beef, vegatables, and all sorts of other things. Moving the crew clerks to Jacksonville stopped this(thank goodness). There was one crew clerk who for a quart of good bourbon and $20.00 would take your block home with him at Christmas and bring it back December 26 or January 2, whichever you wanted. Now you would not be marked off, you just disappeared. Another kept a man marked up on jobs that were down the road, on off days,and so forth for over a year. The man didn't work at all. The crew clerk and the man got caught. The conductor by the FBI for importing an illegal commodity by the boatload. The crew clerk was mentioned in the wiretapped phone logs the FBI had and had to do a lot of explaining in an investigation.


SAM 



Date: 08/12/21 18:09
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: engineerinvirginia

Trainhand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To be really good at the sharp practices or
> sharpshooting as Dr. Know said, you had to stay
> current in your roundhouse dues. The rails know
> what they are, but for the others, the crew clerks
> were given liquor, cash, here on the coast shrimp
> and fish, hams(pork and deer), beef, vegatables,
> and all sorts of other things. Moving the crew
> clerks to Jacksonville stopped this(thank
> goodness). There was one crew clerk who for a
> quart of good bourbon and $20.00 would take your
> block home with him at Christmas and bring it back
> December 26 or January 2, whichever you wanted.
> Now you would not be marked off, you just
> disappeared. Another kept a man marked up on jobs
> that were down the road, on off days,and so forth
> for over a year. The man didn't work at all. The
> crew clerk and the man got caught. The conductor
> by the FBI for importing an illegal commodity by
> the boatload. The crew clerk was mentioned in the
> wiretapped phone logs the FBI had and had to do a
> lot of explaining in an investigation.
>
>
> SAM 

There was one caller in Jax who being from my terminal would do just about anything for you...like create some personal leave days that you didn't really have so you could be off without trouble....they wouldn't pay because the payroll algoritm knew you were actually out of days....but nobody else caught on. Now he's retired and he paid us a visit when moved back in state....



Date: 08/13/21 23:59
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: eminence_grise

"Park and Ride"...When the railway I worked for eliminated the tail end trainman in 1978, the UTU figured the train crews would want to stay together , a conductor and two trainmen.
As a result, the UTU passed a rule that when a trainman booked rest at the away from home terminal, he/she would be deadheaded home after the rest period was up.

There was bad feeling between the head end trainman and the tail end trainman, because seldom would the crew on the caboose take rest at the away from home terminal because they usually shared the lookout duties on the tail end and had the opportunity to nap.

Another UTU rule was that engine qualified trainmen had to work the head end. Because the number of set up conductors was regulated in part by the union, many qualified conductors did not get a regular crew, but got lots of spare trips.

When trainmen "parked and rode",. specially on a weekend , there was a good chance that they could pick up a spare trip as a conductor or engineer and sometimes meet their crew coming back from the away from home terminal. Before long, the old "chain gang" of pool crews started to vanish . Some crews carried on, but the conductor learned to consult with his crew before tying up at the end of the trip.



Date: 08/16/21 09:29
Re: Still more slang for Sunday
Author: Alco251

STREETCAR-ING -- the practice of collecting tickets at the door as passengers board a train.

RUN-OFF -- to fire somebody.

These are two of my favorites.

​There are a couple others I won't mention because of off-color definitions.



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