• Pranks and Horseplay on the Railroad

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Arrestmespi
 
messing with other peoples company trucks is funny too A/C in the winter and heat in the summer, changing presets, messing with seat posistion,
I've had the grease trick played on me
and stuff I don't want to talk about cause if anyone found out I did it I'd be a dead man
  by Gadfly
 
The shop guys were always doing something to somebody! Another favorite trick was, finding a shop tractor or fork lift parked, they'd "cut" the wheels all the way to one side so that, if the driver didn't notice, the machine would bang up against something while the driver was furiously twirling the steering wheel to counteract the non-intentional turn. Actually, the safety committee guy (sometimes guilty of pranks himself/herself) pointed out the potential of accidentally running over someone innocently walking along in the aisle, so this prank sort of fizzled out. Then there was the prank of turning off the LP gas valve on equipment, but people wised up pretty quickly to this, and would check to see that the gas was "on" before getting on the machine. They sent newbies for "sky hooks" when we were unloading rail, "metal stretchers" when putting sheet metal in the racks after a steel truck had left, and other assorted things. One young fellow was "shell shocked(?), or nervous, and the guys found out they could hit the side of a Tamper, or any metal object with a sledge resulting in a loud noise. This would cause this guy to jump and yell out, "HEY!!!!!!!!!!!!", sometimes startling others who were with him; kind of a sympathetic reaction. The shop supervisors threatened to take people out of service if they caught 'em doing it, and they would read the General Safety & Conduct Rule 1028 (NS) at the next morning safety meeting, lecturing us sternly about it. But, sometimes pranks were hard to resist! :P

Gadfly
  by ex Budd man
 
When bump caps were introduced at Septa some folks would leave them sitting around at lunch time. My favorite prank was to pour a little water into the hat. the resulting shower always got somebody. The electrician in my gang drilled a smallhole in his hat after several dousings so we simply placed a piece of tape over the hole! After that he never left his bump cap unattended. :P he was a slow learner :wink:
  by David Benton
 
funniest one ive ever heard of , at a technical institue , the aprrentice mechanics turned the diff over on a tutors car . ( forget what make it was but a older english brand where this was possible ) . this gave hime 1 forward gear and 4 reverse gears ....
  by Gadfly
 
Here's one I had forgotten about. When I first came to Southern RR, the shop superintendent (a VERY gruff and often unpleasant fellow in the Brosnan tradition) bought a new (1980) Volkswagen Rabbit with the diesel engine. He began to brag about his new car, so a few of the guys in Engineering (Track, Structures and MofW
machinery) began to ADD fuel to the tank of his car while the guy wasn't looking. :P
OH BOY! This just added "fuel" to the fire (pardon the pun).

"MAN," he crowed, "You boys better go out and BUY one of these things. I must be getting 90 miles to the gallon"!! :-D :-D

They added diesel to the car for about two weeks, then STOPPED their prank.
Mr ******** came in one day noticibly QUIET!!!

"OH," He mourned, "I"ve gotta take the car to the dealer, it ain't getting any mileage
anymore----must be a stuck injector!" He must've taken the car in a dozen times because, 'I ain't gettin' more than 35 miles/gal no more". :-D


Better than that was, a few weeks later it SNOWED deeply (about a foot) in Charlotte, NC and Mr ********* bragged about how well the Rabbit got around in the snow. WE noticed that he had installed CHAINS on the REAR wheels! :-D Um........in case you don't remember, a VW Rabbit was a FRONT DRIVE car!!!!! :-D
Which was soon pointed out to this individual! And when it WAS so done, the
super looked VERY foolish as the realization dawned on him he was being laughed at!
If anyone ever brought the subject up, he boomed,

"I DON'T WANNA HEAR IT" in a most threatening way!!!!!!! :P

Gadfly
  by RedLantern
 
When I was working at a car restoration shop, there were two 15 foot rails about two feet apart inside the gauge at the end of the shop tracks. There was no reason to have guide rails there, so I asked about them and was told "we do restoration work on narrow gauge cars from time to time". I was excited at the possibility that maybe I might get the chance to work on a narrow gauge car. After a few weeks I asked someone else what the last narrow gauge car they had in there was and he just stared at me. Then he said "do you see any narrow gauge tracks in here?" When I pointed at the rails he said "those were for the bumpers we used to have there, we took them out because they took up too much space."

I once heard a story of a prank (at a different shop) where somebody put a track torpedo in a vice (they explode when the pressure is taken off so they don't damage the wheel) thinking it was nothing more than a fire cracker. He figured that someone would go to use the vice and while opening it, they'd get a nice little surprise. Luckilly (not for him) the shop foreman saw him cranking down the vice and walked over and noticed the torpedo in it. After asking what the hell the guy was doing, and getting a reply, he told the guy to stand back while he used a long pole to turn the vice handle. Once he got the pressure off, the torpedo went off blowing the vice to pieces, then he said "yea, wouldn't it be funny if someone was standing right where you were?"

This last one, while not a prank per-se, I was told a story by a guy that used to work at the Boston Engine Terminal in the 40s. At the time, it was considered normal practice to bring a bottle of liquor with you to take a shot from time to time (great for masking pain from minor injuries, try that excuse with OSHA today and see where it gets you). My great grandfather was General Foreman at the time (Oliver Oster Lewis, better known as O.O.Lewis) and was firmly against drinking on the job. One day he said that if he saw anybody drinking anything besides water or Coca-Cola that they'd be fired on the spot. From that day on, the workers would mix rum with their coke and drink from their coke bottles all day. Apparently they did this right up until his retirement 20 years later without him ever finding out.
  by BR&P
 
The story about the 2-foot rails is not the only BS you've been fed. The part about torpedoes exploding when the pressure comes off is totally false. I'm not jumping on this to belittle you but would sure hate to see anybody here who has an old one lying around somewhere get hurt trying to duplicate what you were told.
  by RedLantern
 
BR&P wrote:The story about the 2-foot rails is not the only BS you've been fed. The part about torpedoes exploding when the pressure comes off is totally false. I'm not jumping on this to belittle you but would sure hate to see anybody here who has an old one lying around somewhere get hurt trying to duplicate what you were told.
If anyone on here was dumb enough to put a torpedo in a vice in the first place they would've been run over by a train years ago.
  by Gadfly
 
RedLantern wrote:
BR&P wrote:The story about the 2-foot rails is not the only BS you've been fed. The part about torpedoes exploding when the pressure comes off is totally false. I'm not jumping on this to belittle you but would sure hate to see anybody here who has an old one lying around somewhere get hurt trying to duplicate what you were told.
If anyone on here was dumb enough to put a torpedo in a vice in the first place they would've been run over by a train years ago.
No matter that, we were always told to handle torpedoes with EXTREME care (which we did) We often got them coming in in the "dash" pocket of M19 Motor cars (our shop repaired/refurbished them up to the early 90s when they switched to Hi-Rail trucks). It might not have been true, but we were to be particularly careful of them when they were old and WET because they "may" become unstable. That might not have been true.............but we took NO chances with them, gingerly plucking them out into a box where they were handed over to the shop guys for disposal. I don't know what they did with them; it wasn't our job to deal with them once they are removed from the motor car.

I don't recall ANYBODY playing a prank with a torpedo; they KNEW better. THAT would have meant summary dismissal (if you survived or recovered from the injury!) We were AFRAID of them, and I think it wise to be. They are not something to prank with!

Gadfly
  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
:P Not something to play with? Geez, if the guys from the NYSW or Conrail were here, to tell you about the fun I had with torpedos. It was a regular occurence, when working with me, to "be on your toes" all nite long, from the explosions going off, throughout the shift. I carried torpedoes by the box (they come in a box, about half the size of a shoebox) and generously dispersed them, throughout the yard. Hanging inside knuckles, to explode when making joints, wedged behind switchpoints, laying on top of the rail, where we had just travelled, and it was "known" to be safe. I could make a joint, when the guy would go in-between, I'd bolt out the door, and jump to the ground, strapping one to the rail, directly behind the wheel. Always fun, was watching the guys jump, when the explosion occured as they were walking beside the drag, or riding the bottom step. Some guys would stop me short, and walk ahead to inspect a knuckle, to see if I was there yet. As they did, out the door I slid, to hang one in the loco knuckle. Awesome fun, seeing the flash, and hearing the explosion. I laid a line of torpedos inside Bellewood Tunnel one day, as we were waiting for a meet, on top of the mountain. That was probably the most impressive use of a box, at one shot, I ever pulled. You always rode the tunnel, with the windows down, to get the cool air, in the summer time. After that trip, not so many did, anymore.....

Working at Manville yard, another awesome prank was to get carbon black, from CCC, in an empty waterbottle, or baggie. Carbon black is like talcum powder, but it's black. The particles are so fine, it will actually enter your skin, and take weeks to be worn away. A favorite prank, was to sprinkle the carbon black onto the doormats, outside of yard offices. Entering the office, you'd leave a trail of footprints, and some manager would always start yelling, about wiping your feet. Of course, wiping your feet just brought in more carbon black. We (I) also used this, on seats in locos, handrails, doorknobs/handles, and inside guys gloves. Sprinkle some inside a glove, then watching someone pull off their glove, to wipe their face, was always a cause to nearly wet your pants, from laughing so hard!!!

I worked with a conductor at North Bergen, for a 2 week hold down, and every trip, I would insert a 26 brake handle, into the bottom of his grip, in full view of everyone else, while he got paperwork, from the yardie. This very new guy, just groaned, a little bit louder, each trip, as the weight increased in his giant grip. It was weeks before he noticed, and the guys at NB "gave me up", as to the originator of the prank.I later gave him loco radios to carry, as well as EOT head-ends boxes and even knuckle pins. He never learned, and his grip was always full of strange items, from various yard offices, or roundhouses. "Helping" new guys fill out paperwork, was another place to pull pranks. Many times I "helped" a newer guy with his paperwork, by filing claims on their timetickets. A few members of this forum, will remember the times I "helped" them claim stuff like "2 hours, no recliners on locomotive", or "2 hours, no color tv, mounted in locomotive" or even "2 hours, toilet has strange odor inside it, and large floating logs". 1 member of this forum, will remember being called into the superintendents office, and being threatened with his job, if he ever complained about the "lack of color televisions" on the locomotives, again. Good times...... :P (i've got more, i'll add some, as time permits)
  by Gadfly
 
GOLDEN-ARM wrote::P Not something to play with? Geez, if the guys from the NYSW or Conrail were here, to tell you about the fun I had with torpedos. It was a regular occurence, when working with me, to "be on your toes" all nite long, from the explosions going off, throughout the shift. I carried torpedoes by the box (they come in a box, about half the size of a shoebox) and generously dispersed them, throughout the yard. Hanging inside knuckles, to explode when making joints, wedged behind switchpoints, laying on top of the rail, where we had just travelled, and it was "known" to be safe. I could make a joint, when the guy would go in-between, I'd bolt out the door, and jump to the ground, strapping one to the rail, directly behind the wheel. Always fun, was watching the guys jump, when the explosion occured as they were walking beside the drag, or riding the bottom step. Some guys would stop me short, and walk ahead to inspect a knuckle, to see if I was there yet. As they did, out the door I slid, to hang one in the loco knuckle. Awesome fun, seeing the flash, and hearing the explosion. I laid a line of torpedos inside Bellewood Tunnel one day, as we were waiting for a meet, on top of the mountain. That was probably the most impressive use of a box, at one shot, I ever pulled. You always rode the tunnel, with the windows down, to get the cool air, in the summer time. After that trip, not so many did, anymore.....

Working at Manville yard, another awesome prank was to get carbon black, from CCC, in an empty waterbottle, or baggie. Carbon black is like talcum powder, but it's black. The particles are so fine, it will actually enter your skin, and take weeks to be worn away. A favorite prank, was to sprinkle the carbon black onto the doormats, outside of yard offices. Entering the office, you'd leave a trail of footprints, and some manager would always start yelling, about wiping your feet. Of course, wiping your feet just brought in more carbon black. We (I) also used this, on seats in locos, handrails, doorknobs/handles, and inside guys gloves. Sprinkle some inside a glove, then watching someone pull off their glove, to wipe their face, was always a cause to nearly wet your pants, from laughing so hard!!!

I worked with a conductor at North Bergen, for a 2 week hold down, and every trip, I would insert a 26 brake handle, into the bottom of his grip, in full view of everyone else, while he got paperwork, from the yardie. This very new guy, just groaned, a little bit louder, each trip, as the weight increased in his giant grip. It was weeks before he noticed, and the guys at NB "gave me up", as to the originator of the prank.I later gave him loco radios to carry, as well as EOT head-ends boxes and even knuckle pins. He never learned, and his grip was always full of strange items, from various yard offices, or roundhouses. "Helping" new guys fill out paperwork, was another place to pull pranks. Many times I "helped" a newer guy with his paperwork, by filing claims on their timetickets. A few members of this forum, will remember the times I "helped" them claim stuff like "2 hours, no recliners on locomotive", or "2 hours, no color tv, mounted in locomotive" or even "2 hours, toilet has strange odor inside it, and large floating logs". 1 member of this forum, will remember being called into the superintendents office, and being threatened with his job, if he ever complained about the "lack of color televisions" on the locomotives, again. Good times...... :P (i've got more, i'll add some, as time permits)





You ain't right, boy!!!! :P :P

Gadfly
  by BR&P
 
Torpedoes were not half as unstable as some would have you believe. I've seen them thrown repeatedly at a brick wall, until the paper itself wore away and the yellow powder scattered around. Another common use for them was to weigh down waybills or envelopes thrown from a train. If the papers were thrown off by themselves the slipstream of the train would carry them on down the track, or on a windy day they could get blown all over. The answer was to take a couple torpedoes and wrap the lead weight around the bills. Some conductors would use an underhand toss which arced way up in the air and came down near the yard office a couple tracks over, and never once did any of them explode on impact.

It was not uncommon for eastbound trains working at the yard to be quite long, with the rear end west of the yard by a quarter or half mile. These trains sometimes spent a considerable time at the yard doubling up their pickup and getting air up before they departed. If you were third trick yardmaster, and needed to mark down the departure time, on some nights when the yard crew either had taken a quit or were working elsewhere, it was a pain to do nothing but sit there for 45 minutes or an hour waiting for the guy to leave so you could write the time down. Now a torpedo, placed under one of the cars standing out on the main, provided an EXCELLENT indication the guy was finally on the move, in case you were busy using your head as a paperweight on the desk! :-D
  by thebigc
 
Gadfly wrote:Here's one I had forgotten about. When I first came to Southern RR, the shop superintendent (a VERY gruff and often unpleasant fellow in the Brosnan tradition) bought a new (1980) Volkswagen Rabbit with the diesel engine. He began to brag about his new car, so a few of the guys in Engineering (Track, Structures and MofW
machinery) began to ADD fuel to the tank of his car while the guy wasn't looking. :P
OH BOY! This just added "fuel" to the fire (pardon the pun).

"MAN," he crowed, "You boys better go out and BUY one of these things. I must be getting 90 miles to the gallon"!! :-D :-D

They added diesel to the car for about two weeks, then STOPPED their prank.
Mr ******** came in one day noticibly QUIET!!!

"OH," He mourned, "I"ve gotta take the car to the dealer, it ain't getting any mileage
anymore----must be a stuck injector!" He must've taken the car in a dozen times because, 'I ain't gettin' more than 35 miles/gal no more". :-D

That's been done before except the person I know who did it first added fuel, and then started taking fuel out! But the one you told about the Buick on blocks was hilarious!!

And I love the torpedo stories. Me and a buddy must have laid out over a hundred of them for the last w/b into the yard one night. The smoke was hanging in the air like a battlefield afterwards.

Man I miss those things...
  by Tadman
 
Dave, those are some great stories.
  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
I've posted elsewhere, about being in the siding at Haverstraw, pulled up tight to the signal, and dozing off, only to be startled awake, and seeing red, and dumping the train, even though it was stopped with 20 pounds on it. it also works in my favor on occasion. Sometimes you get a conductor, who has been out all day/nite, and comes to work prepared for a 10 hour long sleep session. Some guys even carried a blanket and inflatable pillow with them. Loads like them, are a drag to carry the whole trip. (getting caught short is one thing, coming to work every trip expecting to sleep, is another) I like these guys, after they have bobbed themselves into a deep sleep. Making a meet, I'll hold down the bail, and build up the pressure. Getting close, I'll scream out as loud as I can "Holy F&#@ING* SH^%, JUMP!!!" and as the person pops awake, I'll release the bail, and pretend to dump the air. The explosion of air, along with my scrambling in the seat, and seeing the headlight facing us, has given more than one sleepyhead a near heart attack!! :P (whenever possible, I do lock the cabs doors ahead of time, "just in case")

On the Suzy-Q, we had a guy that just couldnt get the idea of switching, no matter how hard we tried to teach him. Daylight, second and nite crew all had their shots at him, but he never could pick it up. Working the night job as Little Ferry, when we pulled this guy, we'd give him a blank paper, and a switchlist holder, and tell him we needed a list of all the cars, in all of the storage tracks, in the lower end of the yard. The tracks there, were hidden in the "meadowlands" grass, that grew to well over 10 feet high. It was like elephant grass.(this is where stored, and cripple cars were kept, and they were the same cars, nite after nite, week after week....) Each track was clear for maybe 2 cars, then the wall of jungle grew right up, and even between the cars. It could take two hours, to negotiate the tracks and get the numbers. After a while, he caught on, and would be back pretty quick, probably copying the list, from the nite before. We kicked and humped cars at Little Ferry, and we would make the first move of the nite, switching Bulk/Mirrer. A single car, dropped down the lead, was always the plan. Having the lead lined for the swamp, in theory he could have traveled all the way to the tunnel at Weehawken. We'd get him on the car, tell him we needed room to drop more cars, and tell him after it stopped to tie it down and wait for the second car, tie it down too, then come meet us. Of course, there never was a second car, and we'd be kicking and humping the cars into all of the other tracks. Took him a while, ( like days) before he caught on to that one..... :P

On Conrail, We brought in a OJT train one day, with new CSX power on it. The locos had horn sequencer pedals, and of course, on my out the door, I gave the pedal a tap,and as we drove off in the Jitney, the 5 chimes were blaring away, in the EastBound Receiving Yard, at Oak Island. Same yard, different prank, was getting off a train, and securing the locos for the hostlers later. It was mid summer, and late in the morning, as I secured all of the windows, and turning on the strip heaters and blowers, to High settings. I ran into the 86A crew a few days later, and they were highly pissed about the sweltering deathtrap i left them. They claim it was so hot, it took several attempts to get the heaters shut off, and the windows opened. They also related how everything was too hot to touch in the cab, for a very long time. Me and Conlon were known as "The Heater Boys" after that one, even though he had no knowledge of the prank. (of course, they got me back. Several times in a pouring rain, I found the windows and doors propped open for me, by the 86A crew. Good times!!)

Another favorite of mine was to take my knife, and cut a tiny slit in the vinyl seat cover, on the conductors seat. Opening a water bottle, and pressing it tightly against the slit, a squeeze forced a decent amount of water, into the cushion. Tossing the bottle (or better yet, popping it over the deadmans whistle, if equipped) and wiping the seat dry, everything looked "normal" when the crew came on board. After everyone had arranged their gear, and we had made our plans for working, the guys would hit the seats. Depending who it was I wanted to get, after a few minutes, the victim would begin squirming in his seat, rubbing his legs, etc. Eventually, he would get up, and feel his butt, only to discover it was soaked!! You knew the conductor was gonna be front seat, or second unit, so it was easy to select the victim with a high degree of accuracy. They would feel a wet butt, but would see a dry seat. It was funnier, to see some guys sit back down, unaware of where the water came from. Eventually, my laughter would give me away, and I'd get hosed with a bottle, or cussed at. Good times!! :P