His­tory Mys­tery

Kayak (Canada) - - CONTENTS -

Rail­ways and the peo­ple who work on them have a lan­guage of their own. Which of th­ese train-re­lated jobs are real and which do you think we made up?

Navvy >>

This ti­tle is some­times used to re­fer to the peo­ple who cleared trees and rocks away from the place the tracks would go. Some­times it refers to the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally laid the wooden ties and pounded in the metal rails. Ei­ther way, they did un­be­liev­ably hard work, day af­ter day.

Wiper >>

This job was of­ten done by teenage boys. While a lo­co­mo­tive was out of ser­vice, wipers cleaned it and kept a fire go­ing in its en­gine.

<< Cooler

This per­son made sure a steam en­gine ran at the right tem­per­a­ture. If the en­gine got too hot, the cooler would close the air in­take pipes and throw wa­ter on the coals.

Gandy Dancers >>

Th­ese work­ers, also known as sec­tion­men, kept the rail­way in good shape, pack­ing down gravel and fix­ing dam­aged rails. The name comes from the tools they used, which were made by the Gandy Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany.

Hog­ger >>

Also called a hog­head or hog jockey, this is a term for an en­gi­neer. It comes from the word hog, which means en­gine or lo­co­mo­tive.

<< Puncher

Al­though this sounds like kind of a vi­o­lent job, it’s ac­tu­ally just the name for the per­son who took pas­sen­gers’ tick­ets. Punch­ers were also some­times called click­ers, af­ter the sound their lit­tle hand­held tools made when they punched a hole in the tick­ets.

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