The Sunny Side of the Track.

Little Rifts in the Cloud of Locomotive and Shop Smoke
Through Which the Bright Sun of Humor Shines Free for All.


ONE of the features of the Fourth of July celebration at Brighton Beach, on the outskirts of the only Coney, was a prearranged collision between two shop-worn locomotives. The staff poet of the New York American was so overcome by the sight that when he sat down at his rough-and-ready typewriter he found himself perpetrating the following rhymed reproduction of the wreck:

  • On July 4, at Brighton Beach,
    with clanging bell and horrific screech,
    two railroad engines - count 'em, two
    - both bent on victory, to die or do,
    to give a crowd a holiday,
    for which, of course, they had to pay,
    with throttles open and steam a-hiss,
    started on a single track ...

LIKE THIS             siht ekil

  • Like armored knights in tournament,
    the engines at each other went.
    The thousands watching held their breath;
    plainly it was a fight to death.
    Increasing speed at ev'ry turn,
    wheels seem'd the very rails to spurn.
    Of course they could not go amiss,
    and locked in death-embrace ...

L I s K i E h T t H e I k S i l

  • When the crowd had gone its way,
    At the close of that sad day,
    the junk-man came and brought his cart,
    and tried to pry the dead apart,
    but, despite all efforts, they stayed locked fast,
    and the foreman called for giant blast,
    and if he had gotten his,
    he would have blown them up ...

IS s
H      i
E  T        h e k
K             t    i
L I                   l

  • "I'll be blasted if you do,"
    the junk-man said, and he said true.
    "The races are coming soon, you say,
    and these engines stand in the way;
    we'll bury them here, just where they fell,
    but -

               - well, Bill,


(Not shown in Book of Rules.)

PUNCH - A nickel-plated instrument of torture designed for inflicting holes in harmless pasteboards.

BADGE - A resplendent ornament which serves the double purpose of decorating the conductor's cap and enabling the passenger to jot down some figures.

TICKET - That which entitles the holder to four seats and a hat-rack, but no meals.

CLAIM - A statement of facts or fancies which, like a snow-ball, gathers as it rolls.

CONDUCTOR - The man who, like the policeman, must hear the troubles of all and have none of his own. Sometimes rises to the position of railroad commissioner.

CARPET - A floor covering much used in superintendents' offices.

PAY-CAR - A vehicle which carries joy, but not enough of it.

- G.E.V. Osborne, in Railroad Men.


Every trade has its own peculiar vernacular. It is told of a railroad man's recent conversion that when the pastor of his church called on him for a public prayer, he prayed as follows:

"Now that I have flagged Thee, lift up my feet from the road of life and plant them safely on the deck of the train of salvation. Let me use the safety-lamp of prudence, make all couplings with the link of love, let my hand-lamp be the Bible, and keep all switches closed that lead off the main line into the sidings with blind ends. Have every semaphore white along the line of hope, that I may make the run of life without stopping. Give me the Ten Commandments as a working-card, and when I have finished the run on schedule-time and pulled into the terminal, may Thou, superintendent of the universe, say, Well done, good and faithful servant; come into the general office to sign the pay-roll and receive your check for happiness.'"

- Topeka State Journal.


The old farmer went to one end of the swaying coach to wash his hands. He could find only a few remnants of soap. "Boy," he drawled, 'there don't seem to be much soap here?"

"No, sah," chuckled the porter; 'you know dis is de limited. Ebrything abohd am limited."

Then the old man tried to fill a glass from the water-cooler. He could force out only a few drops.

"Where's the water, boy?"

"Not much water, sah. Dat am limited, too."

"Presently the porter brushed the old farmer down, and the latter handed him nine coppers.

"Why, boss," protested the porter, "yo' gib de porter on de udder train a quarter."

"I know that," chuckled the old farmer, "but you know this is the limited, and everything should be limited."

- Chicago News.


"I saw a man run down by a locomotive once," said a melancholy stranger. I was on the road from Carbondale to Seigel. At Richland one man decided to get off the train and walk. He had proceeded about fifteen miles when the train overtook him. He was knocked down, and the train, in a leisurely sort of fashion, proceeded to run over him. The man spoke a few words and expressed the wish that the five thousand dollars accident insurance that he carried be given to his sweetheart. But the poor girl never got the money. Before the engine got up to the man's knees, rheumatism set in, and the poor fellow died a natural death. It being an accident policy, the girl couldn't collect the money."

- The Maverick.


"Such railroading," said President Baer of the Reading line, apropos of reckless running, "reminds me of an Irish brakeman. This brakeman, who was employed on a railway in the neighborhood of Cook, was annoyed one morning to find the train stopping in a desolate place miles away from any station. He ran to the cab and shouted to the engineer: 'Hi, ye omadhoun, what are ye stoppin' here fur?'

"The engineer retorted angrily: 'Don't ye see the signal's a'gin' us, ye gossoon?'

"'Musha,' said the brakeman, 'how mighty particular ye're gettin'.'"

- Minneapolis Journal.


In the early forties there was an accident on the Fitchburg Railroad near Prison Point, and the engine and one coach went overboard. Among the injured was Timothy Batts, of Charlestown, the commodore's runner on the receiving ship Columbus.

The officials of the road wanted to settle with him, and asked him what he wanted. He asked how far he fell, and was told it was twenty feet. Then he said he thought it was worth one dollar a foot.

- Mrs. A.A. Barker, in Boston Herald.


Bridegroom (to conductor, whom he has just tipped) - The country we're passing through is so deadly dull that my wife and I wish to take a nap. When it becomes more interesting, wake us.

Bride (half an hour later, to conductor, who has just roused them) - The neighborhood is still uninteresting: why did you wake us?

Conductor (apologetically) - Pardon, lady, I only wanted to say that we are approaching a beautiful tunnel two miles long.

- Fliegenda Blätter.

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