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And when there were too many bananas for one train, there would be
section of the train with another banana attendent. This is the origin of
term "second banana".
Tom Madden wrote:
The adventure continues. Posted
this morning on Trainorders.com by
"Back in the 1950s on the U.P. there was a banana messenger out of
Los Angeles that rode in the caboose with the crew. Presumably he
accompanied the bananas at least as far as Salt Lake City. The bananas
were destined for Utah and Idaho."
I was aware of attendants riding poultry cars, but banana attendants? On
Banana messengers were common. Ripening of the banana
is quite sensitive to temperature, and the purpose of the messengers was
to respond if outside temperature changed more than expected. At stopping
points, they could go inside the cars to check inside temperature and
authorize whatever measures were needed (open or close vents, add or
remove heaters, etc.) There are records of banana messengers leaving
banana ports all over the U.S. with cuts of banana reefers.