Train Refrains for Nerdish Brains

I took my liddle wagon,
I pumped it very hard,
And then my tail was draggin’,
‘Cause handcar work is hard.

***

My Uncle Bill helped start the first train museum in Illinois. He loved trains, and so do I.
 
I remember my first train ride, when I was two. The clackety-clack sounds and the rocking motion were so relaxing. I saw an elevated subway train out the window of our real train that day, and was amazed that another train could be up so high in the air.
 

Elevated Traing Collision With Building 1960

Imagine If I’d Seen THIS That Day (In 1960, This One Oopsed and Hit a Building)


 
Do children still put pennies on train tracks to see them get squished?
Pennies Squished By Train

Fun.


 
One time we got to ride back from Chicago in a Pullman: A sleeper car. We kids loved it. We each had a tiny bed with a curtain. The porter kept pulling on our curtains to ask if we were all right, but really he just liked kids, and was making us laugh.

My parents didn’t like the ride so much. If you have never seen an old-style Pullman, the beds are really tiny. A grownup would have had to keep their knees bent all night.
 

Pullman Blanket

Pullman Blanket–See the Adult’s Feet At Top Left? Tiny Blanket, Tiny Beds.


 
The best train-y thing that ever happened to me is when my sisters and brother and I got to ride on a real handcar: One of those little cars you push up and down on a handle to make go (they’re also called Kalamazoos–did you know that?).
 
Sheffield Handcar or Kalamazoo Replica

How It Looked At Day’s Start

Sheffield Handcar or Kalamazoo Original 1910

After WE Got Through With It

Someone we visited had an old length of abandoned track behind their property, and there was an abandoned Kalamazoo, too.

I had always wanted to use one–Didn’t you, when you saw them in the cartoons and movies? They look so fun!
 
They are! It was hard work, but we kids did have tremendous fun pumping our way up and down that short piece of track.
 
 
The funniest thing that ever happened to me on a train happened at my uncle’s train museum. We were touring a very posh velvet-seated private car.

My brother was still little, and when he saw the handsome mahogany toilet, all he could think about was wondering what happened to the “stuff” when you flushed. (He didn’t remember that Pullman ride.) I was more than happy to educate him:

“It falls right down under the train onto the tracks, where it sits all STINKY! (A small preview of my future teaching strengths!)

Paul thought I was pulling his leg–possibly, despite his tender age, I had already been guilty of doing so repeatedly. He wanted to look for himself.

Macy Girl lifted the beautiful golden lid. Our three older heads of molasses, cinnamon, and shiny butter leaned over Paul’s smaller sugar-white one as we all four stared down.
 
At the bottom of that fancy toilet, the museum people had thoughtfully placed an official museum label card with one neatly-typed word at its very center:
 
 
Poo.
 
***
 
All these decades since that Pullman ride when I was a single digit old, I had remembered our funny porter’s name: George.

But I recently learned, to my dismay:

ALL train porters were named George. Porters, all black men, were required to set aside their own identities while on the job and answer as one to “George”. One, big, happy interchangeable set of Steppin Fetchits [think Jar-Jar Binks], as far as white people at the time were concerned.

When railroads first began using porters, they didn’t even pay them–it was tips only.

White bosses were so convinced that blacks were “no-account” that they tried entrapment: Female “passengers”–disguised railroad employees–tried to seduce porters, or “accidentally” left expensive jewelry behind to tempt black maids and waitresses to steal.

I learned this and other really interesting-to-nerds train facts from The Iron Road: An Illustrated History of the Railroad, by Christian Wolmar.

Trains were first drawn by horses.
 
Horse-Drawn Train Then and Not-Now
 
I’d known mine-mules drew mine cars, but hadn’t known about full-sized above-ground horsey-trains, on tracks, with freight or passengers. Had you? ALL of Austria’s trains were originally horse-drawn.

How did the horses manage walking over the spaced-out ties (the wooden boards) without stumbles? Was the distance between ties decided only by rail support, or by fewest hoof-trips per train-trip?

Germany’s first railroad existed because of classism and racism.
 

Snobbery

Snoot-snoot! Toot-toot!


 
For centuries, Nurenberg, in Hitler’s homeland, Bavaria, had not allowed mere laborers or foreigners to live inside the town. Such lower forms of life had to commute from a town miles away. A train in 1835 finally cut their commute time.

The Jews had to buy TICKETS to ride the trains carrying them to their deaths. (I was unable to type that without crying.) And this was a major source of revenue for the Nazis. It generated around 240 million Reutchmarks–201 million dollars.

Ashamed

I wonder, seriously, if the humorous expression “It’s like buying a ticket to your own funeral.” originated from knowledge of this horrible fact.

Using trucks would have “damaged the German war effort”. I guess trucks were needed for moving battle materiel and troops.
 
I’m also guessing that masses of stumbling women, children, and elderly travelling along open roads would have let the walking dead cats out of the bag. Possibly made killing them harder, although Armenians might disagree. So trains fit the tic…you know.

In the 21st century, several railroads have apologized.

Just like with the internet, the freedoms offered by railroads brought out Government Overlord syndrome. No one-way tickets were sold–you had to buy return tickets. Children under twelve (12) were not allowed to travel. All passengers were locked inside their compartments.

Governments wanted you to come home again–They didn’t want their citizens leaving permanently for greener stations in other nations.
 

Fish Leaving Bowl or Country For Greener Grass

“If He Asks Me One More Time Where His Socks Are…”


 
The locked-compartment policy changed after some horrific collision accidents in which entire trainloads of passengers, unable to leave their locked compartments, were suffocated or incinerated inside tunnel fires.

India and Russia protected their nations by train track widths. The world eventually settled down to tracks (rails) the same width apart–the same “gauge” [rhymes with cage]–4′ 8″. India and Russia, though, chose 5′ apart. They thought they’d be harder to invade if outsiders’ trains couldn’t cross their borders.

Prussian Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck quietly bought up shares in the railroads he was about to have nationalized. Tsk! Not what he Otto have done.

There was a Railroad Robin Hood!, Redpath (so aptly and artfully appelled! [named]) stole beaucoup [boo-coo–lots of] bucks from the railroads while he worked for them, by, for example, just adding the digit 1 in front of the amount on stock certificates (to increase their value).
 

Working On the Railroad and Robin Hood

Record Title: “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad–And Robin Hood”–Ha ha ha! And Redpath!


 
Redpath lived very well, but he also donated very well to the poor. These are his words in a ballad sung about him after his death:

I have one consolation, perhaps I’ve more,
All the days of my life / ne’er injured the poor.
I procured for the widow and orphan their bread,
The naked I clothed, and the hungry I fed…

Leopold (for that was his disappointingly non-alliterative first name) was finally caught and banished to a penal colony. Some of you Aussie readers may be descendants of this pioneering economist-slash-socialist who devised his own 1%-to-99% trickle-down distribution system. Be proud!

Thomas the Tank Engine not only WAS real–he still IS!
 

The Real Thomas the Tank Engine in India

Say Hello to Thomas 🙂


 
The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway (DHR) is a specially-built narrow gauge (skinny track) railway made smaller to allow it to make smaller, tighter turns so that it can climb around and around the mountains it travels. The DHR’s tracks are only two feet wide, and they make tight loops for climbing.

Train Track Loop

The DHR’s Loops Are Teensy-Weensier


 
It is a very famous train line, traversing difficult, crumbling passes, and most of its engines from 1881 are still in use today (!). The Toy Train puffs and toots and thinks it can, and it does.

Thomas the Train in India

Am I Not a Thing of Beauty? Do You Not Wish You Could Ride Me Right Now?


 
1%-ers have disdained we lesser folk from WAY back. During World War II, railroads had gained expertise in rapid movement of people and materials. They learned that moving freight yielded more profit than people.
 
As soon as the war was over, they RUSHED to close most passenger routes–even in the middle of a day. Passengers who’d travelled 400 miles by train in the morning were left stranded 400 miles from home with no way to return that night. Niiiice.
 
EVERYTHING-KALAMAZOO ADDENDUM

If you are an absolute handcar NUT, you will love this fellow’s post, in which he shows an actual for really-real handcar he built as a KID, back in 1958!
 

Teen-Built Handcar Wheel 1958

He Did This Wooden Center With Hand Tools! (and…weeks… of… pa…tience…)



and another he built more recently.
 
Home-Built Handcar Replica

Do You Feel Like a Slacker? Or Do You Think SOMEone Still Has Too Much Time On His Hands?


 
Here’s a little (very poor-quality) youtube of him sailing along on it with a friend:

And if you know anything about Kalamazoos, you know there’s a famous one in Michigan, made even more famous by a song:

Which Came First: The Kalamazoo, or Kalamazoo?

The handcar was named for the town. The town was named for the river. The river was PROBABLY named after an Ojibwe (Indian) word. Or phrase. But no one agrees what that is, or what it meant. Perhaps “bubbling or boiling”, perhaps “smoky or smoking”, or perhaps “runs quickly” (like a fast river).

The Kalamazoo
Was the place where the who
Put the pot on to brew?
The Ojibwe,
That’s who!

Or the Kalamazoo,
Was when smoky fires grew,
And you heard “Ah-ah-choo!”
“Pardon me.”
“God bless you.”

Or the Kalamazoo,
Was the place where the crew,
Needn’t paddle canoe,
Because man,
Those boats flew.

This is not a Kalamazoo. This is a Kala Mazooka:

Kala from Jungle Book

The Hungry Half

Mazooka

The “Pam! Pam-Pam!” Half





 
 
 
 
 
 
GET OUT YOUR PENCILS:
WORD PROBLEM

If Kala fires his bazooka
at a moving handcar car,
And his marshmallow-projectiles
travel forty feet (so far)
And the handcar’s moving 20
miles an hour, pumped by bar,
If the car begins in Boise,
when will marshmallow meet car?

If a little boy in Illinois
does number two by train,
And the package sent, when it is spent,
drops down beneath the drain,
When do you think now a passing cow
will slip and ankle-sprain,
And be thus up-scooped;

Because of —,
a blameless beast is slain!
* * *
(Please don’t let it be,
Themes rectally,
Have become my blog’s refrain!)
 
Rest assured that modern trains have modern toilets.
 

 

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43 Comments

  1. Entertraining and educational all tied together and kept on track. Nice ride. You have trained us well O.B.wan. It seems the force was with you to move that Kalamazoo.
    As a child the only railroad I rode was the Reading, in Monopoly. thus never experienced a Pullman. Thank gawd. Sadly we can’t fault trains in the history of the holocaust but it sure takes the shine off. 😦 At least there was Redpath. Well now I think I’m out of steam, so better check my thoughts before they go poopy and derail. Your rhymes are sublime and as always will prevail.

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    • You can always be counted on for fun, my punning friend. Sadly, tonight I am too fatigued and feverish to match my half-wit to your own. (feeble bwa-ah-ah…) Perhaps my fever-dreams will provide the creativity I currently lack, as I lie here off track.

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  2. I was a child of the subway and Long Island Rail Road in my youth, Babe, brought up to be deathly afraid of the electrified third rail below ground and then getting caught in a stalled car in the middle of a railroad crossing above ground. We rode both unafraid, though, and in crowded style, I might add. Never once did I think of poo spilling onto the track because bathroom breaks were not taken on those trips New York train commuting trips.

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    • Actually, the great part about those old toilets was that you could watch the track racing by at great speed underneath by looking down through that hole : )

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      • That would have gotten me ill, like sitting backward in the station wagon. 😦

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        • Ah. Well, whenever I’d go downtown, I was scared sick of walking along the edge of the subway platform, and hopping on and off the cars. I always thought the car doors would slam on me, and I always thought someone would elbow me over the edge of the platform.

          I guess we were each in our proper element : )

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          • Yes, the pushed-from-the-platform phobia is widespread, I’m afraid. Sorry to hear you had it, as well as the door-jaws and car-hopping. 😦 Weren’t subways fun when we were young and carefree, Babe?

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            • The subway itself WAS fun. Still a TRAIN!! Yay!!!!

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            • I liked taking it from Brooklyn to Shea Stadium, with my grandfather, when it would go from underground to above ground in Queens. I loved that transition.

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            • I’d forgotten about that magical feeling, when you come out from underground into the light. That is pretty special, isn’t it? I don’t remember where I’ve done it–Chicago somewhere, probably.

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            • A few times in my adult years I’ve taken the train from Syracuse to Manhattan for business, and the bloom was off the rose. The ease of not driving was outweighed by too many long stops at too many stations. Ah, well.

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            • Yes, I can see that. Do you remember when NY used to have CLEAN bus lines (it really did!) and you could take the Shortline around upstate? (I did this while in college sometimes.) If you got stuck on a not-express–yikes.

              For me, the bloom left the train rose when the price went up to–at one point–more than FOUR times the price of flying. Was years ago, but I’d wanted to train it with my boys up to San Francisco. I was able to buy four discount air RT for 1 train ticket.

              There is a sweet deal, though, for we po’ folk which I assume the Canadian tourism helps underwrite: You get a 30-day rail pass in the US and Canada for cheap, and must just make 1 stop north of the US border. If one doesn’t mind sleeping on trains and having no set schedule…

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            • That is a good deal for Canadian tourism, I take it. Vancouver, B.C., would be a blast to visit someday. By rail or airport. 🙂

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            • Yes. Although I would love to drive up the CA coast again. Great drive. I love road trips! (The stupid GF diet has made these way trickier–can’t just pull over for fast food. Do you know how sick you can get of apples and bananas and salads–Oh, my! : )

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            • Oy. The rabbit fare sigh.

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  3. Another fabulous post, O.Babe! I have a love affair for trains, always have. Living in Germany for my early years must have got that started; that’s how we rolled, so to speak. I love the bustle of train stations, getting on board, the slow rocking of the train, and then the heaven of just relaxing and getting to read or zone out with not a care in the world. Idyllic? Yes, but sometimes it really IS that way. Even today, I try to take the train up to DC or New York when possible. I love seeing the backdoor of America, so to speak. Abandoned farmhouses, old cars, you name it, there is a different landscape from a train. We went on a high-speed train in China once which was satisfactorily terrifying. Jammed in like sardines, man, oh man, did that thing fly across the tracks. What else did I want to tell you? You’re probably thinking “is she ever going to shut up?” My husband fondly remembers placing pennies on the tracks. And there is the most wonderful model train set which gets set up every Christmas season right around the corner in Blackstone, VA. I think you would love it. OK, sorry, blathering on as usual. You bring that out in me for some reason!

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    • Just listening to you put me right back in a seat leaning against the window looking out, remembering–thank you so much, Barbara! Blather away! Now my mind is remembering not only scenes from train windows, but car windows in the Ozarks of old: People sitting on their front porches, waving as we drove by. Different times, but I’m not sad–I’m smiling, looking back.

      Your love of the backside of America is why I go off-the-beaten when I drive. I haven’t travelled (I insist on those double ll’s) often, but when I have, I have always discovered odd and wonderful side journeys, and the beauty in the byways.

      Do you remember sitting at crossings, your parent(s) exasperated, while you happily wished for a longer wait–because longer trains meant more cars to count? Those were obviously better. We always wanted trains with more than 100 cars : ) And so many interesting names and pictures on the sides!

      Did you ever stand RIGHT up next to the track when a fast train passed? Scary as all get-out!! It still frightened me the last time I tried it…must have been in my twenties…I don’t think I’d be up to it now.

      I hope I passed on the train gene to my children (they don’t speak to me, so I do not know). Halloweens, I took them to Folsom, where they rode a steam engine train to a pumpkin patch. At Christmas, I took them at night to Griffith Park to ride a miniature steam train through a fairyland of lights to see Santa. Despite our non-relationship now, I am able to look back on these memories with pleasure, remembering their pleasure and mine.

      There. Now I think we can call the blathering a draw : )

      Germany, huh? How fortunate a childhood! What a blessing. So you’re a military brat?

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      • Yes, Babe, US Army father and German mother. So you see, almost from infancy I felt the strange pull of both sides. You didn’t escape the war and its effects in 1960s Germany and I was aware as a child that my father’s army had fought my grandfather’s. How could that be? They were both…..good. It’s complicatd and worthy of a blog post or two if I ever wanted to work hard enough to do it. I’ve written about my German heritage in a two posts, if you’re interested. If not, no problemo.
        Yes, to the back roads. I despise the homogenization of America and enjoy tremendously eating in the authentic places and driving through the old towns. Have you read ‘Travels with Charley” by STeinbeck?

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        • Yes. I’m very interested–please send the links. I wish you would try those challenging posts, too. I suspect, as with my cathartic posts, you would be glad you did, and I know your readers would learn something we could know no other way.

          I’ve not read Travels with Charley. (Should I be embarrassed that my only Steinbeck is The Pearl, Of Mice and Men, and Grapes of Wrath?) I’ll add it to my lengthening list. Right now I’m finishing Zealot, which I may want to make a post of, in which case, I’ll have to reread it.

          Did you read my Tiny Town? Not a brilliant post, but it’s about a stop of mine in one of those non-homogenized places that yet remain in America. A small pearl on the string of those I treasure and pull out from time to time.

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      • And I don’t ignore your remarks about your children. It is simply too painful to leave a trite remark so just know my heart hurts for you.

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    • Good grief, I did it again! Thank you for the “Another fabulous post”! A double compliment, entirely ignored by me. Gaw.

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  4. Excellent post OB-wan (love that – Ha!). Fascinating and informative in your best story-telling manner. Here in Ottawa we have an old working steam engine that does a tourist run from Hull Quebec (just across the river) to Wakefield – a tourist destination some 64 kms (about 40 miles) round trip. The engine is from Sweden and was built in the early 1900’s. It was in use there until about 1945 when Sweden built an electric train system. The Swedes were afraid that another world war could destroy their electric system so they put the old steam engines in moth balls inside a mountain and kept them working as a back up until early 1990’s. They were then sold to Canada for tourism.

    Anyway, my Mum visited from Vancouver a few years ago and I took her for a Mothers Day brunch ( a special run for that day)on the Wakefield train. We had a wondeful time dining in early 1900’s eloquence while watching the scenery roll by at about 15 mph. The rail line is from about the same time period and all the cars were as well – all renovated to be like the originals.

    The trip was great and we spent about 2 hours shoping at the boutiqes in Wakefield before returning. They had a history lecture part way back and live local music the rest of the way. There were some really interesting stories icluding one aout caterpillars. Wakefield is much higher in elevation – being in a range of moutains – so the rail line goes uphill going and downhill returning. One year they had a huge influx of catepillars and the train had to be shut down while they cleaned the tracks with high pressure steam. The caterpillars were attracted to the shiny warm tracks and when the trains squished them it formed a slimy covering that made the trains slide down hill and they couldn’t stop. They had to clean the tracks beofre there was a bad accident.

    Anyway, I too love trains but we don’t have many passenger trains left here in Canada. We do have a tourist trian in teh wets called the Rocky Mountaineer that runs only on a summer schedule. It is rather sad as trains pretty much built this country and now they are only used for freight and in a few specialized areas (there is a high speed passenger train from Quebec city to Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto and beyond).

    Great post OB -wan .Thank you.

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    • Thank you for the high praise, Paul : )

      Dismayingly, I think I detected a whiff of sexism arising off me–sexism against women!–or at least, toward men–in that I believe I was, just momentarily, somewhat more pleased that my boy-readers-who-comment (that would be…drumroll…you and Mark) enjoyed the post, than that my girl-readers-who-have-so-far-comment did.

      (I can use ALMOST all my fingers for my total female blog-friends, and because this is such a L(Y)AWNG post, and I have been so absent so often, before then inadvertently flooding the airwaves with teaching posts, I don’t expect a flood of comments from them. Many blessings to you few who plowed through! –try saying that 10 times fast)

      I think my momentary maybe-sexism was based on that whole “man’s world” thing: “Ooh! Ooh! It’s THEIR territory (planes, trains, and automobiles) but I made the club! (temporarily).” Jeez, have I been conditioned from birth.

      Should I have just admitted all this? Perhaps not. Ha ha ha! Too late!

      That business about Sweden’s trains hidden under a mountain–could you GET any more Scandanavian than THAT? Was there a dragon perched atop? WONderful!! One might say…Precious! Ha ha! Great story!

      And caterpillars bringing a train down–HA ha ha!! I’m am LOLing typing this, because: CATERPILLAR TREADS!!! I mean–come ON!! The opposite of non-slip grip! Too funny!

      Being a geographically-disabled Amurrican, I finally looked at a map. Ottawa! Good heavens! I could have waved to you my semester in Oswego. You can wave to Mark now. How did you wind up so far away from your Mom? Or was it she from you? I mean, I had REASONS to put an entire country between me and mine.

      Thank you for reading, Paul–and for commenting. : )

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      • Paul

         /  2015/01/26

        I do enjoy trains OB. There is something very wanderlust about them. they pass through and while you sleep or eat or work they are moving, touch it here now and tomorrow it may be 1,000 miles away.

        Anyway, my family is from the east coast – Halifax to be exact. my parents divorced and my Mum went to study and work in Toronto. She had some health probems and her doctors told her she would be better off in Vancouver’s warmer climate. So she got a job there, loved it, and stayed when she retired. Meanwhile, I got involved with a woman in New Brunswick and she got promoted to her Head Office in Ottawa and I followed. We have since separated (after about 12 years together) and I stayed here as it is a nice city with lots of museums and parks and good services. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and as such our federal gov’t spends a lot of money here to impress visiting diplomats and heads of state. We all get the benefits of this largesse with no extra cost. in fact i sometimes feel guilty because all these people paying federal taxes in small towns and communities are supporting things here like bike paths, exhibitions, museums, etc. that I get to enjoy and they don’t. then i go = Oh Well, they can come here too if they like. And then i don’t feel guilty anymore – Ha!

        Thanks for the geat post OB

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  5. Thank you for filling me in. The city sounds like somewhere I would love–warmer! I could go on all night about train-y stuff–got to go up Pike’s Peak in 2012, and that was a great thing for me : ) –and what about all the train songs? those sounds trains make at night…ya’ know what? I feel another post comin’ on…–but I’m so tired. Have a peaceful and yet interesting night, Paul–interesting in a good way ; )

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  6. RR

     /  2015/01/29

    Thanks for the ride! Until I met my hubby I didn’t give much thought to trains (beyond the whistles the I vaguely remember hearing during the slumbers of my teenage yers). Meeting hubby eventually led to my moving to a borough built on a locomotive foundantion; his grandfather left Birmingham (England) to come to the area to work on the trains. And now, well, because of my little one, I am very well versed in all thing Thomas!

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    • Oh, yes. Mine were too old by the time Thomas was the thing, but I enjoyed Thomas, myself. Heading over to your recent post, now–read it last night but was too exhausted to comment.

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  7. And so I discover that the Kalamazoo Stationary Company came form Kalamazoo. Their stationary was used by the doctors’ surgery I worked for, before they changed to colour coded folders and they mus thave move don to computers by now, too. 😀 I’ll have to leave now, gotta go to work. Back later.

    Enjoying your series. You can’t trust ANY of them not to treat us like mushrooms. Strictly on a needs to know basis.

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    • Christine, if I had the authority to canonize, you would now be St. Christine for plowing through all those posts at one go–esp. winding up with the 100-car train one!

      I’m glad you got that little reward at the end, learning that your surgical office stationary was derived by placing wooden nickels on train tracks.
      😉

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  8. As a fellow train lover, thanks for a very interesting post with much to talk about — it must have taken you longer than a slow train ride to Kalamazoo to research and write it (speaking of which, I didn’t have a gal in Kalamazoo when that song came out, but I’m old enough to have been playing with my Lionel model train at the time).

    The book you mention (THE IRON ROAD: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE RAILROAD) sounds fascinating. I own a similar book titled HIGH IRON (sub-titled A BOOK OF TRAINS) by Lucius Beebe which contains a glossary of “Railroad Terms, Slang and Usage.” Examples include the following:

    AIR MONKEY: Air-brake repairman
    BRAIN PLATE: Trainman’s badge
    BRASS-POUNDER (also LIGHTNING SLINGER): Telegrapher
    CAGE (also CLOWN WAGON, HUT, MONKEY HOUSE, PARLOR and SHANTY): Caboose
    COCK LOFT: Cupola of a caboose
    DRONE CAGE: Private car
    GRABBER: The conductor of a passenger train
    MUD CHICKEN: Surveyor
    SMOKER: Locomotive
    SNOOZER: Pullman car
    WISDOM BOX: Yardmaster’s office

    HIGH IRON (the book’s title),btw, refers to a main line or high-speed track, which I shall now take out of here while blowing you a farewell kiss from the clown wagon). 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing those terms! 🙂 I like thinking of a train from front to back using them:
      Smoker, Snoozer, Clown Wagon.
      (where’s the coal car, and passenger car? surely these had terms for them, too?)
      Grabber makes a lot of sense for the ticket-grabbing conductor, and Mud Chicken is hysterical for a surveyor. I’d heard Lightning Slinger before but forgotten it, and am glad you reminded me, for like it very much. Makes the tapper sound very brilliant and brave, doesn’t it?

      While I am proud of the post, you give me too much credit for research. I researched a little. Almost all the info came directly from the book I cite. Its author has written other books about them.

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  9. Ask and ye shall receive 🙂 —
    HOPPER: Coal car with hinged bottom for speedy dumping
    VARNISH: Passenger cars
    DEADHEAD: Empty passenger car

    P.S. You should indeed be proud of the post. I enjoyed it immensely!

    Liked by 1 person

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