Re: Image of string of boxcars Chicago IL 1952

Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 08:27 AM, Bob Chaparro wrote:

On another group a person commented about this photo:

"Does the blue flag rule cover cars being loaded or unloaded? No.

Are/were blue flags used to protect cars being loaded or unloaded? Yes."

I've seen this question kicked around before. Pertinent points:

1) The railroad rule books call this "Inspection and Repair Protection". Nothing about loading and unloading.
2) It is only defined in the railroad rulebook, not generally available to the customer's dock workers.
3) The railroad had a vested interest that the blue signal not be misused, so as not to dilute its meaning. That is difficult to enforce if the people hanging the signal are not railroad employees.

On the other hand, the industry could hang any sort of sign or marker on the cars spotted at their dock that they wanted. Signs that said "HOSES CONNECTED" were common. If they happened to be blue, well so be it. However, these signs were not technically blue signals as defined by Rule 26.

The blue flags visible in the Delano photo may represent a special case. This is a railroad freight house, so the dock workers ARE railroad employees. So indeed, the IC could have decided that Rule 26 did apply to the men loading the cars at a freight house.

Dennis Storzek

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