Re: The guy in the classification yard


Notice that laying down toward the camera is another handle exactly like the one on which he's resting his hand, and the silhouette of the keeper for it is in line and away from the camera. My guess is that he's resting his hand on a lever / rod that controls moveable parts within that puzzle switch that won't affect the car in the picture. He'll flop the one he's holding likely after that car rolls past. Since those are not standard switch-stand handles and not near the points of the switch, my guess is that these throw the moveable-point frogs in that switch.

It's not a safe procedure to hold a handle outside of its keepers as parts of a switch under load can move those levers with great force as a car rolls over them. And notice that he's not fouling the potential path of that lever. But this guy has been at that job for at least hours, and possibly years, so he knows how that switch reacts to railcars in any direction.

Great series of pictures. The photo that looks down on the ladder shows that the location is definitely SP's Taylor Yard, and that overpass should be what became today's Pepper Avenue bridge, or a railroad structure just ahead of it. That little mountain in the distance today was just about been quarried out of existence when I last saw it in the mid-1990s. Note that the picture of the man riding the brake platform shows him holding the "dog" of the ratchet mechanism open with his foot, allowing him to easily regulate the brakes as he drifts into his lined track. The geared power brake mechanisms that replaced the stemwinders did away with this necessity as trainmen could spin the wheel in either direction as needed while also gaining him a much bigger mechanical advantage while protecting him anything that might pull against him.

I interviewed a trainmaster once who hired out as a brakeman in 1908. He said the only time he got hurt in his career was when he was riding on a roof of a reefer. His crew with a switcher was sorting and spotting a cut of cars and they kicked him into a customer's siding in Hoboken, a normal procedure. As he was winding down his brake to spot the car, he felt a tug, so he pulled harder on his club to stop the car. The chain at the bottom of the stemwinder broke, and he went sailing off the side of the car in reaction.

....Mike Del Vecchio

(DL&W milepost 38)

In a message dated 12/28/08 07:56:05 Eastern Standard Time, oscale48@... writes:
This guy might just be old and unable to stand all day long.
I enlarged and lightened the photo. It looks like the "lever splits
toward the bottom and is controlling two rods / mechanisms.

Sincerely, Rich Yoder
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing PA 19610-1913
610-678-2834 after 6:00PM est until 10:00PM

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
David Wiggs
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 6:33 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] The guy in the classification yard

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don't believe the guy is holding on to
a "big handle to throw the switch", but is resting his hand on a
control box for the double-slip. He would need two levers (one for
each of the six points) and the it would have be much longer to provide
leverage to throw them. One other point; he wouldn't be sitting down
either; he'd constantly be jumping up. Just my opinion.

David in Orlando

-----Original Message-----

Just a BIG handle to throw the switch.

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