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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, September 13, 1903, Image 3

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1903-09-13/ed-1/seq-3/

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No person is allowed to ride free oa
trains except as specially provided for.
For instance, in Nevada and Arizona ths
Southern Pacific Company allows In
dians to ride on freight trains as muca
as they like. There are many reasons
why this Is allowed, among them betas
that the Indians are good track walkers
and, faithfully report any damage to tha
rails when they discover them. Old
Johnson Sides, chief of the Plutes In Ne
vada, has been a friend of railroad men
ever since the Central Pacific was built.
In early days the Ptutes rendered inval
uable service to the railroad company by
informing them of washouts in winter
and helping to extinguish prairie fires ia
In order to protect themselves against
damage suits arising from accidents the
railroad company's rules are very strin
gent. No company will employ minors oa
train or yard service unless the minora
secure the written consent of their pa
rents or guardians. This Is done because
of the danger of the work. In like man
ner no person Is employed who has not
been rigidly examined by a physician of
the company to discover any defect* In
the sense of hearing, sight or color per
ception of the applicant. Many young
men are rejected on this account.
The explosion of two not more than
200 feet apart is a signal to reduce speed
and look out for a stop steal.
railroad crossings at grade.
A succession of short sounds of th«
whistle Is a warning to persons or cat
tle on the track that there la danger
ahead. It also brings the trainmen ta
The explosion of one torpedo la a sig
nal to stop.
means that the train is going u> back
up and you had better climb aboard.
Foot short blasts means that the en
gineer wants information. He is attract
ing the attention of the conductor to get
a signal repeated or wants the semaphore
dropped at the roundhouse.
Everybody has heard two long blasts,
followed by two short blasts, which in
the code reads thus: — — 0 0. This
is when a train is approaching a public
crossing and. is a warning to teams to
look lively and get across the track.
Two lortg blasts (in the code thus )
Is the ' sound . given when a tram Is ap
proaching stations and junctions and
other words, can ten to a minimum om(
by taking an average of tho dicks as th*
train runs over a few rails.
When you are seated in a train and
you hear four long blasts don't get
alarmed, it is only the engineer calling
in the flagman from the west, while five
long blasts calls him from the east.
When a train is parted and the en
gineer becomes aware of it he immedi
ately gives three long blasts. He repeats
this signal again and again until answered
by the train crew by a lamp signal, in
dicating that they are also aware of what
When an engineer sounds two • snort
blasts (0 0) It practically means "Yes" :
in answer to any signal that the con
ductor may give.
When a train is standing still and yon
hear three short blasts " thus (0 0 0) it
DID you . «ver travel oa a dark
stormy night. In the very midst
cf the accident season, when the
train came to a sudden stop with
an awful v. renching and lurching
and screeching of air brakes, and won
der, as you gased apprehensively through
the dripping windows, why you were thus
detained miles and miles from nowhere,
and why the brakeman you had seen pass
ing and repasslng through the car with a
lighted lantern under his arm was stand
ing; out In the rain swinging It In all sorts
cf fancy genuflections, instead of taking
that empty seat at the back of the car and
making himself comfortable, as every one
else was doing?
And when In answer to those self-same
lantern calisthenics the train began to be
have outrageously. , did you. ever try to
puzzle out the meaning of It all? For of
course there la a meaning, and a very dell
nit© meaning at ,that- In fact, your very
life depends upon the precise and proper !
<Jip or curve of that funny little pot-bel
lied lantern, for Its slightest fillip is regu
lated by a code ofrules,' a" code so strict
that none may deviate In even the slight
est decree frcm the letter and law of
them, and withal a code that means vol
umes to those who understand It.- This
code is the easiest thing in the world to
master, when once you are given the key
to it. Every railroad employe is obliged
to know it thoroughly, but except for
these the railroad magnates sedulously
guard the signals from the great public
et large, so that this page is of special
value, net alone because it gives you the
very latest Information regarding the op
eration of a train, but because "it is infor
mation not easilv gained.
Of course every one who travels gets a
fair smattering of the rules and regula
tions that govern a great railroad, but
with a slight study on the subject they
can become conversant with every signal
that the conductor gives with his lantern
or with every jerk he gives ort the bell
cord. The shrill whistle of the locomotive
Is now only sounded in strict accordance
with a code of signals a:;d when a train
Is racing along across the continent it Is
in this way that the conductor and the
engineer keep in touch with each other.
In fact in this way they frequently carry
en abbreviated conversations.
With the exception of a few trunk lines
operating between Chicago and New York
all railroads in the United States have
identically the Fame cede of signals. They
are issued in book form and every em
ploye connected with the operative de
partment Is given a revised edition once
a year.
In reference to engine whistles the en
gineer has to be most careful that he
makes them distinct, wi*h intensity and
duration proportionate to the distance
that the signal is conveyed. Like the
Mcrse telegraph code the signals are con
veyed with long and short dots and
For instance, *'O" stands for phort
sounds and *" — " for longer sounds. When
an engineer gives a short blast. "O." thus,
it means stop. The brakeman knows he
must immediately apply the brakes.
Two long blasts, " ," thus, means
"release brakes."
One long blast. " ." and then three
short ones mean "flagman, go back and
protect rear end of train." This signal Is
generally given the moment the train
pulls up at some point not down on the
The code of hand, flag and lamp sig
nals are thus:
When a conductor swings his lantern
across like In figure (a) a is a signal to
Raised and lowered as in figure (b) it
means proceed.
Swung vertically In a circle across the
track when the train Is standing as In
figure (c) the signal means back.
Swung vertically In a circle at arm's
length across the track when the train
Is running as In figure (d) the train has
Swung horizontally In a circle as de
noted in figure (e) means apply air
A lantern held at arm's length above
the bead when the train la standing as In
figure (f) means release air brakes.
As every one knows flags are used In
the daytime and lanterns at night, red
means stop, gTeen proceed, yellow pro
ceed with caution, green and white flag
stop. A blue flag by day or a blue light
by night means to an engineer that
workmen are about and to be cautious.
"Watches of train crews are examined
by Inspectors every night, for which they
receive a certificate, which is filed with
the superintendent of the division. Be
fore a train pulls out the conductor of
the train and the engineer must compare
time by their watches.
Possibly you have noticed flags placed
on the front part of a locomotive; you
have eeen them there, but do not know
what they mean. Two white flags placed
in front of an engine means that It is an
extra train. Besides the two white nags
two white lanterns are placed on the en
gine at night. This Is ?" ~wn in figures
1 and 2.
Two green flags on the engine running
forward by day means that there Is an
other section following behind and to
look out for it.
At night two preen lanterns are also
placed on the engine. This Is shown in
designs herewith.
Two green flags on the upper part of
the structure of the engine and two down
below near the cowcatcher, when an en
gine is running backward without cars,
or at the rear of a train pushing cars,
mean there is another section following.
At night the same meaning is signaled
by two green lights on top and two red
lights below.
The two green flags you see at the rear
end of a coach are there simply to show
the end or the base of the train.
At night two green lanterns are bung
out when the train Is running, and two
red lights when the train Is standing still,
as in figures herewith.
TR» headlight of an engine la displayed
to the front of the train by night, but is
always concealed by the engineer draw
ing a shade over it when a train turns
out to meet another and has stopped
clear of the main track or is standing to
meet trains at the end of & double track
or at a Junction.
The average trainman of any experi
ence, whether conductor or brakeman,
can tell the speed of the train by the
click of the wheels on the rails, or. in
Literary Furor?
Well Rather!
the Famous
Author of
Chimmie Fadden
Will Make His
Debut as a
Writer for
&£>e Sunday Call
Next Sunday,

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