March 10, 1877.
THE FREIGHT-TRAIN BRAKEMAN.
[From a Drawing by O. V. Schubert.]
The position of a freight-train brakeman
is one of peculiar hardship and peril, especially in
winter, when he must stand, without shelter, exposed to
wind, rain, or snow, ready to obey the sharp warning of
the engineer's whistle. For this duty young men of hardy
frame, strong nerve, and steady habits are selected; for
it requires all these qualities to perform the duties of
the post. No one whose nerves are unstrung by drinking
could be trusted where a slip of hand or foot, or
unsteadiness of sight, might plunge him headlong to
destruction. Our sketch, true to life, gives a graphic
idea of what he must endure on a stormy winter night,
when the brake handles chill through his heavy gloves,
and the steps and car roofs are as slippery as the
surface of a skating rink.