Re: IC Service on the Iowa Division

Steven Delibert <STEVDEL@...>

Judging by old (1930's) Railroad Magazine stories, it was certainly
common for engineers and head brakemen to give firemen a break on
"hand-bombers", especially on demanding jobs with big engines, heavy grades,
and/or high speed. In terms of "doctrine", just as a measure of humanity,
and as a bit of "labor solidarity" for a "brother" that was at least as
important as "labor solidarity" in terms of protecting job titles and
It also seems to have been almost a part of the job description --
though I haven't seen it written down -- that a head brakeman would go into
the back end of the coal compartment and shove coal forward where the
fireman could reach it, unless they picked up a couple of hobos who earned
their transportation that way.
And in modern times, I know of some CURRENT engineers on big eastern
roads (names and affiliations omitted to protect the innocent) who care
enough about getting the job over the road that they will get down out of
their engine to touch a switch, let a (qualified) conductor touch the
throttle, and actually have been seen on good authority to RUN to get a
switch and make a move and save some time . . . ! Some people are still
proud of the craft and the profession.
[On-topic Steam Era Freight Car Modeling Corollary: At least one of
your engines has to have a fat guy who obviously spends most of his life on
the right-hand side, down in the deck shovelling, and a skinny guy who earns
his living shovelling 20 tons of coal a day at the throttle; and one of your
tanks needs a couple of guys in need of a shave perched on the back of the
coal pile with shovels . . ]
Steve Delibert

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