• Railroad Terms

  • 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 BR&P

Think I know your term for throwing out the anchor - shall we say "cavorting with the canine"? :wink:

I don't recall how many men were on the clerk's roster when I started with NYC but we had 6 on the day shift alone, on the second floor alone. Probably that many more on the first floor, plus a caller, engine house clerk, van site clerk, Depot clerk I think....all first trick alone. By about 1985 there was not a single one in the whole city.

You didn't say whether working that train crew job - which the griever said would finish you as a clerk - would then make your date as a brakeman or not. It's possible the BRT would not have taken you and you'd be out altogether. The unions were a mixed blessing. They certainly saved my posterior - and my job - many times when we had a moron for a Trainmaster. (Hell, with only about two exceptions I can think of, when DIDN'T we have a moron for a Trainmaster? :P ) But there was sometimes some horsetrading between the local chairman and local supervision and things didn't always get resolved as the agreements said.

As for nicknames, I think we have a thread working on here already, but there were a lot of them. )Edit - here it is http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... es#p576694 ) Motormouth, Milkbone (imitated a poodle barking over the radio), Gator Bait (came from down south) Tip Toes Tommy (a short conductor, but he was a VERY old-timer and it was NEVER to his face). Had a young kid from Texas come up named Gonzales, so of course he became known as "Speedy" (darn good worker and a nice guy, too). SO many more I can't recall.
  by Desertdweller
Yep. That's the one. We used to say, "I can hear ole Lassie howlin'."

I don't know if I would have gotten a seniority date on the brakeman's roster. It really didn't occur to me that I might not.

The unions were a mixed blessing at best. They did absolutely nothing to help me when I needed help. The final straw for me was the Rock Island strike, when all unions had reached agreement with the railroad except the BRAC. A lot of people who would like to have returned to work were not allowed to because BRAC would not take down their picket lines. I think this is what finally pushed the Rock over the cliff.

As I recall, there seemed to be no middle ground on Trainmasters. They were either very good or very bad. All the good ones had come up through the ranks.

  by Gadfly

Your comment reminds me of the time we were in a strained contract negotiation with NS (clerks and machinists/carmen). We had not as yet struck, but it was imminent. We arrived one morning at 7 AM to find the gates LOCKED, and the boss telling us to go back home. (Lockout) Congress convened a "mediation board" and ruled that the carrier had acted "unilaterally and with malice", and had violated the contract. We got two days off, but the carrier had to PAY us for those 2 days! Talk about pissed off!!! BOY! Were they EVER! ;) It actually did US a favor in that the carrier then settled more quickly because they themselves had been their own undoing! The whole thing made them look BAD in the media and was most embarrassing! It was FUNNY!

  by Desertdweller

Yeah, sometimes they trip themselves up. It is hard for me to understand why the railroad would want to lock out the union, especially if they want to break the strike on the basis that the union workers are necessary to the operation of the railroad. Not a well thought-out strategy.

  by kevin.brackney
The railroad is a furtile breeding ground for nicknames. "Bucket Head, "Jesus Finger," " and "Bitter Beer Face," are three of my most recent encounters. At one location there was an employee charged with the theft of an expensive bicycle frame that had either fallen from, or was removed from an open boxcar. Either before, or upon his return to work after getting time off for his offense, he had aquired the nickname of "Ten Speed." On one of the handrails on the steps leading up to the hump someone penned, "Ten Speed (INSERT SURNAME HERE): - 'I was framed!"
  by Cowford
Just curious... bicycle frames being carried in boxcars??? And why wasn't he fired for theft?
  by kevin.brackney
Not sure if it was a boxcar or not; it happened before I got there, and some of the details are a little unclear; but I guess the individual responsible was technically "fired," but the Union got him his job back after about a year on the street, as I recall the story.
  by BR&P
The job he was working was probably a peddler! :wink:
  by kevin.brackney
Good one! I like that.
  by Desertdweller
In 1986, when I helped start-up the DM&E Railroad, I was assigned as the freight agent in Pierre, SD. My territory extended from Highmore to Rapid City at the time.
Our local base of operations was the ex-C&NW office in Pierre. This was a rather small metal structure that sat alongside the rail yard. It replaced the grand C&NW station that used to stand downtown, a short walk from the capitol building.

I shared the station with the Roadmaster for the west end of the railroad. When I got there, the east end of the building, which would later be divided into offices and a lobby, was just one big room.

The west half consisted of a crew locker room; a room with shower and a toilet; and a storage room with an ice machine.

I had never worked for the C&NW and was unfamiliar with their names for things.

Above the inside doorway to the locker room was hung a metal sign, "Welfare Room."

I looked at the sign and began to chuckle. The Roadmaster (who was ex-C&NW) said something to the effect that crew's facilities were designated "welfare rooms" under some union agreement, and had to be labeled as such.

I answered," I always thought a welfare room was a room in the county courthouse, full of pregnant women!"

  by kevin.brackney
I heard the term "wellfare" used while working at Proviso (CNW), and thought it to be a curious term; now I know where it originated from.
  by Engineer Spike
Eastern railroads tend to call bad order cars "cripples". The rip track is called the cripple track. My uncle was an engineer. In his golden years, he had trouble walking, and got a handicap permit. One day we were headed somewhere, b
Ut he needed to stop at the bank. He told me to spot up in the cripple track.

My conductor had his father living with him. Tha dad was retired from the railroad. He asked my conductor about all that had gone on. As we had a long day, my conductor said that he couldn't tell any more railroad storries since he was outlawed.
  by rovetherr
Stickman-The engineer, usually used in a derogatory manner towards an engineer who likes to tell the conductor what to do, derived from conductor telling said engineer to shut the @#*! up and play with your sticks.
Drumming-when a yard crew gets into a quick, steady groove, and completes a lot of work in minimal time, with no unnecessary moves or communication.

We have tons of nicknames, most will get me banned from this site if I type them out!

edited for another term
  by Thunder
Batting them out for kicking out a lot of cars at a good clip, Scorching the ballast= fast running. Beans ( how did we all forget goin to beans??)Skin em back! I was told on the commuter railroad I work for now " Gotta get past the next junction in about 10 minutes, better start spilling their coffee."

Nicknames!! Oh goodness the nicknames. I got mine for the huge beard I have, we had a guy with a Czech sounding last name that we just called Snuffy. then the Pokey,gimpy and my favorite....Kitty litter.