Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Wondering About Gandy Dancers.

After my second year of college studying engineering at Penn State, money got tight, so I went looking for a job.  I got a job as chicken cooker at a burger joint and restaurant in town.  My very good friend, Rodney from high school, stopped at our house one night and told me to be at the personnel office at Pullman Standard and I would have a job working for his Uncle.  He said it was only a labor gang job but at least it paid well.

As you may guess, Pullman Standard made railroad cars.  Their specialty at the Butler plant was covered hopper cars and flat cars (trailer train cars).  Here is a picture I found on the web of a trailer train car:

And here is a picture from the web of a covered hopper car:

They made other types of cars, also, but these two were the most produced by Pullman at Butler.

After working almost two year in the Labor Gang, some of the time as a gandy dancer, a fellow worker found out I had a couple years of college and suggested I put in an application at the engineering departments.  So, I did and that put an end to my gandy dancing.  Much later in life after moving to Texas, I became best friends with Jimmy Gandy, and no, he did not know what a gandy dancer was.

A gandy dancer is a person who lays track for railroads.  Since Pullman built lots of railroad cars, it had to have a lot of tracks that needed maintained.  Jacking up the rails and replacing old rotten ties was one of the jobs that needed done.  During my first couple of years, before I moved to the engineering department, I worked as a gandy dancer among a lot of other jobs.

OK, enough about work, it is wearing me out.  So, you all have great evening, you hear?


  1. Like a lot of terms I know, that's one that will be extinct in a few years.

  2. Interesting post, I had no idea what a Gandy Dancer was. Thank you for enlighting your readers.

  3. What an interesting start to you career. Thanks for letting us know what a "gandy dancer" is. Saves me from having to Google it.

    1. Yes, I have had an interesting career, especially when I worked for myself.

  4. Some of the things we did during our working days to make a living, always interesting history. And here I thought you had a dancing career, lol...

    1. No dancing career. I don't have two left feet, but I do have two right feet and that is just as bad if not worse (grin).

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