I come from a railroading family. Both my grandfathers worked on the railroad. My mother's dad worked as an engineer on the PRR, (or Pennsy) and my dad's dad worked as a conductor on the B&O (or Beefsteak and Onions). I also had uncles that worked on the railroad, and my maternal grandma's sisters husband and some of their family. My grandfather worked through the Great Depression because some of the trains still were running. To see a picture of my grandpa and his steam engine on the day he retired, go back and see my old blog:
What I want to talk about today is how dangerous the old railroad was to work on. I had five relatives that were injured while working on the railroad. My paternal grandpa lost some fingers in a coupler. My uncle Jim had a tea cup of brains knocked out when he stepped out of the "dog house" stood up and turned around just in time to be hit by a bridge (he had to learn to talk all over again). My maternal grandma's sister's husband had the same thing happen. His name was Jack Mix, and yes, he was a full cousin of Tom Mix. For you non railroaders out there, a doghouse was a small enclosure on the rear of the tender were the head brakeman used to get out of the wind and bad weather when he was not needed. Needless to say, back in "the day", railroading was a dangerous profession.
I was not immune to being hurt on the railroad. I never worked for any railroad, but I did work for a railroad manufacturer, Pullman Standard. The first couple of years I worked various jobs in the labor gang and as a brakeman on their railroad system that serviced the plant and moved all the new cars around and which brought into the shop the cars off the main line that contained supplies to be unloaded. I received a head injury and spend a couple of days in the hospital. (Now, you see, I do have an excuse to act the way I do - grin). After seventeen years at Pullman as a die, tool, jig and fixture design engineer (I did move up to the office from brakeman to engineer after the first two years - no not a RR engineer), I also worked a time at Whitehead and Kales in Detroit converting Pullman built flat cars into automotive car carriers by adding the structure above the RR car to hold the autos. Then, I moved to Texas to work for Richmond Tank Car Company until they slowed way down and I was laid off. Getting laid off was a new experience for me, but I managed to live through it.
I will pretend to be a brakeman again, and will give you a high ball signal to have a great day, you hear?