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Model Railroad Humor - stories, anecdotes, jokes

John Udics (EMail: [email protected]) from Philadelphia PA USA on Jan 12 2001, 13:56 GMT
asked: Model Railroad Humor - stories, anecdotes, jokes
Aside from the discussion on the Alien in the cab of the SOO locomotive on the cover of July, 1999 MR, I thought there could possibly be a place for humor here. If I'm wrong, John Oxlade - please delete this post.

I received my shipment of HO beer cars from Philibert in Strasbourg - beautiful 1940/50 era cars and earlier...

On the side of each Sachsenmodelle box was a sticker which reads: (my translation) 'The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for the health - consume with moderation.'

I apologize for thinking it funny that HO scale beer would bring anyone to alcoholism.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 12 2001, 14:28 GMT
responded: No, no, you carry on. Far too many people take life too seriously.
John Bruce (EMail:[email protected]) from Los Angeles on Jan 12 2001, 15:36 GMT
responded: Well -- is this "model railroad humor" or "model railroading can be funny" -- or are they the same? There's been a thread going on in the Prototype Modelers egroups list covering taking models on planes in carryon luggage. In the US, for those elsewhere, the internal security checks for boarding passengers are becoming increasingly intrusive and humiliating (I recently had a female security guard ask me to show her what was behind my belt buckle).

In one case, a security guard went through my carryon and found my X-Acto knife (by normal regulations, covered under the maximum blade length allowed, and OK to carry on). The security doofus told me I couldn't take it on. I said the regulations said it was OK. He said they had a special rule, and I needed to show him my business card in order to carry it on (!!!). It so happened that I had run out of cards and didn't have any that day, but the light blinked on: I realized the blade of the knife was dull anyhow, and I had refills with me. So I took the blade out of the handle, gallantly presented it (with a fluorish) to the security doofus, and said he could keep it. Without the blade in the handle, he had to let me get on the plane -- I didn't say anything about my refills.

I think this is in the spirit of the alcoholic beverage warning on the model refrigerator cars. However, after too many episodes like the above, I now simply put all models in my checked baggage. Too bad I can't check my belt buckle.
Pierre (EMail:) from France on Jan 12 2001, 16:25 GMT
responded: John, you obviously don't know about "Breakfast in London, Lunch in New York (Baggage in Los Angeles)"...

Yes, I know a few more airline jokes than railway ones; I do realise that you probably wouldn't object to baggage in Los Angeles, but that's besides the point.

Actually the comment on the side of the beer wagon box is very serious. It might have been much worse as model beer wagons were almost banned in France, and putting the warning on the box is the only way to get around the problem.
I get the impression from the decrease in the number of model beer wagons available that other countries may have the same problem.
Peter "Jun" Juventud (EMail:) from Manila, Phillippines on Jan 12 2001, 16:26 GMT
responded: I've been "lurking" here for a while, and I have to say that some of the humor here and elsewhere is unintentional. I was looking for the thread this morning on Mantua and Bowser, where the guy was saying he really thought his Bachmann train set GP40 was better than the other locos, and then complained about how he didn't feel welcome on this site. I dokn't know what happened to that thread, but a lot of the stuff in it had me laughing. We don't always get the latest P2K stuff or whatever out here, but I think I saw the humor in that situation.
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Jan 12 2001, 17:15 GMT

This is a serious website. Those wishing for frivolity could log on at:
There is, afterall, a time and place for everything. Thank you.


Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm on Jan 12 2001, 17:19 GMT
responded: As Pierre points out there is a lot of hypocrisy involved with BWB (Beer, Wine & Booze) - it is certainly the duty of every serious model RRer to ridicule this!!! I already told the following here about a year ago, in coonection with the Alien Engineer, I think, but a Repeat Performance may be called for:

Forty years ago there was a quite nice and large HO layout in Stockholm with a lot of well-made buildings on it. One was was a rickety little shack on the outskirts of town with a sign saying, in Swedish: "O. Nykter, Hembr�nneri & L�nnkrog" (U/n/. Sober, Home-made Booze & Speakeasy). One of the station depots on that layout was also adorned with a WANTED poster requesting the whereabouts of "a crazy, wild locomotive engineer". together with a perfectly sharp photo, size about 4 x 7 mm, of one of the society members... /Kurt
Rogier (EMail:[email protected]) from US on Jan 12 2001, 17:46 GMT
You tell'em Clinton! :-)

Pierre: I for one am glad that John deleted that B/M thread.....know somebody else that is glad too...
Rogier (EMail:[email protected]) from US on Jan 12 2001, 17:49 GMT
Oops , meant "Peter" above,not "Pierre"! Sorry about that!
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow - I got bored with London as everyone knows that on Jan 12 2001, 18:33 GMT
responded: One piece of humour that appealed to me is on John Ahern's Madder Valley layout. One of the buildings has the board outside, "Quibble & Cuss, Commissioners for Oaths".

Tim (EMail:) from UK on Jan 12 2001, 21:32 GMT
responded: Puns are always a rich source of mirth, the worse the better. eg.

Why do you always know what is behind the tender in a French train?

Because it is a fourgon conclusion-groan.

Steve Skinner (EMail:[email protected]) from Buckinghamshire,UK. on Jan 12 2001, 23:18 GMT
responded: Why is the postal always a "she"?
Because "she" always carries the male sorry, mail!
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 12 2001, 23:23 GMT
responded: There's also something like "why do steam locos have a sore bottom? Because they have a tender behind". I never did think it was very good, and now I type it out it sounds even worse!
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 13 2001, 1:14 GMT
responded: In what kind of railroad car would you expect to find:
1. A rabbit
2. Othello
3. A deflated tire
4. An armored vehicle
5. Marijuana
6. A broker
7. Vince Lombardi
8. A chiropractor
9. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolf, and Olive

1. Hopper car
2. Gondola
3. Flat car
4. Tank car
5. Reefer
6. Stock car
7. Coach
8. Spine car
9. Tende(e)r

John Udics (EMail:[email protected]) from Philadelphia PA USA on Jan 13 2001, 4:21 GMT
responded: What's a spine car?
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm on Jan 13 2001, 15:07 GMT
responded: Bob N., you�re a genius! Did you devise any of these all by yourself??!! THANKS! /Kurt
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 13 2001, 16:06 GMT
responded: John, a spine car is a special type of US flatcar where the floor does not run the entire length of the car. If a highway trailer never has wheels say less than 15 feet from the hitch, why have a floor there? As far as I know, spine cars are always articulated, though a "Front Runner" is, I suppose a spine car, though is always called a "Front Runner". Interestingly enough, "Front Runners" and "Four Runners" are some of the only 2-axle US vehicles.
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 14 2001, 15:27 GMT
responded: John, Jeff Wilson's "Intermodal Equipment & Operation" seems to say that the term "spine car" originated in 1987 for NTTX cars that carried only containers but it seems to have been applied since then to "all-purpose" cars and, apparently, retroactively to all similar cars.
I have never seen a 4-runner and have not seen a front runner in some time. They were generally found at the end of the train. I once heard an engineer who had lost some of his power decline a shove from a following train because he had a front runner on his tail end. He did not know what to call it and took some time on the radio to describe it to the other engineer.
Kurt, yes, all of them. I am gratified but amazed that you like them so much. Thanks.
Kurt M. (EMail:) from Stockholm on Jan 14 2001, 15:41 GMT
responded: Er.. this is obviously off-topic, but... "Spine car" - how would you distinguish this from a "depressed (center) flat car" then...? I e the ones for moving objects such as heavy transformers. /Kurt
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 14 2001, 16:12 GMT
responded: Well, they look very different; but I guess the essential difference is that the spine car has a single narrow longitudinal member or sill (Should this be called a vertebra?) down the middle to connect its trucks together, with whatever vestigial floor parts it has cantilevered out from the center and at the same height as the sill, whereas the flat car has sills on both sides and a full floor, even when that is depressed in the center. Since spine cars never try to carry a double stack, they have no need for any floor depression.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 14 2001, 18:14 GMT
responded: Poor flat car. :-(( Why is it so depressed? - Sorry, couldn't resist, this thread is about humour afterall.
Steve P (EMail:) from Dallas, TX on Jan 14 2001, 20:00 GMT
responded: I wonder if one might expect to find a "Sprinter" on a runner wagon?

- "Runner wagon" is the term used in New Zealand - and maybe eslewhere - to describe a freight car used to separate head end locomotives, usually for the purpose of minimizing bridge loadings.
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm on Jan 14 2001, 22:31 GMT
responded: Steve, please note also that "runner wagon" was/is used to designate an unloaded wagon (mostly a flat/open w.) coupled next to another vehicle, the load of which is protruding over its end(s). Er.. now that we are off-topic anyway, I mean. /KM
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 15 2001, 8:42 GMT
responded: *Eyes the sticker, ponders* Uhm.. okay.. I will be careful in the consumption of the beer vans. Can somebody tell me already what's the taste of them?
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 15 2001, 13:51 GMT
responded: A few weeks ago, we traveled from Chicago back to Austin on Amtrak with a European friend, who was taking his first American train trip. He remarked that the Superliners on the Texas Eagle were as luxurious and comfortable as anything in Europe. As we finished our first meal in the diner, 2 1/2 hours into the trip, he had to agree also that the ride could not have been smoother, with virtually no sensation of motion. Then we left the station.

Why is a stopped Amtrak train not as good as a broken watch? Because the watch is right twice a day and the train is on schedule only half as often.
Petr Barch�nek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on Jan 16 2001, 13:35 GMT
responded: I know a lot of railway jokes.
The best are caused by railwaymen speech heared by normal passenger. Once I heared this:

Bumblebee with ti*s will hide himself between dwarfs.

to translate it:
Bumblebee - Co�Co� shunter class 771 - export type is marked as CHMe by Russian railways and bumbleebee in Czech is chmelak.
ti*s - part between hook and Scharfenberg coupling, used to tow broken EMUs.
dwarf - small shunting signal.
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 16 2001, 14:56 GMT
responded: In our club we had a certain locomotive which we wanted to get operatinal again. It's outward looks were not really good, though (okay, it was a mess...). A friend of mine and I were just busy to fix up some fittings which had been leaking when the engine had its trial run. So there were two guys working under the frames, when a third club member joined us, and looked us over, asking: "Will this engine get a major overhaul finally?" Grunted answer from me: "This _is_ the major overhaul!"

It was on an excursion train. And we got stuck on an uphill grade. We let backed down and tried again, failed. Backed down once more, tried again. There was a woman on an evenning stroll. She yelled up at as: "Do you plan to come by here some more times?"

On another line, the same situation, and no sand on the engine anymore. A passenger asked the conductor: "Seems you have some problems." The conductor replied: "Yes, but we already sent a person to find the manager of the goods store, so that we can get some sand." "Hmm.. I do not think you will find the manager..." "Why not?" "Because I am the manager..."

I was busy in the server-cellar at work. The phone rings and the marketing guy of our club is on the line: "Our engine driver for tomorrow just called me. There is no coal on the engine and the coal wagon did not arrive. We have to try and call all the goods-stores to get some coal, doesn't matter what kind only matters that it is burning."

Night on the cab. The fireman hurls shovel after shovel into the box, and the fire dies more and more. "Dang stuff just doesn't burn!" We had the coal just in a heap beside our shed. Closer investigation showed that the driver of the excavator who had been loading the 'coal' on the tender had not noticed that he was dumping gravel and dirt onto the tender.

Need more? But I suppose these things make it fun to run a train.
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Jan 17 2001, 13:29 GMT
The Manchester & Franklin layout by master modelmaker George Selios is open for scheduled visitors during the summer months in Peabody, Massachusetts. There is so much detail (too much?) that Mr. Selios' humor is often missed. There is more than one sidewalk or alleyway scene that will never see publication.

It is well worth the reservation. Not only is the modeling on a scale rarely seen, but the host is gracious and more than willing to share his wisdom. One caveat: do not expect to see brass steam engines running during the tour... only a sole plastic diesel and a small string of cars wends its way through the layout.


Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague on Jan 17 2001, 15:02 GMT
responded: Especially for Ewald: Once we runned completely out of coal. We called to one member to take his car and to drive some for us (we have only a small shunter). When he came, his car was comletely full of coal. He wasnt able to lend some trolley and couple it behind the car so he put coal itno luggage room. He told us, he gave a lift to one Japanese tourist, who was hurring to the airport. Try to guess what has this Japanese tourist thought about Czechs, when he saw a new Ford Sierra car full of coal.
Franco Piccardo (EMail:[email protected]) from Italy on Jan 19 2001, 12:49 GMT
responded: Ewald, Petr, please, some more! Still have to dry the laugh-tears!
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 19 2001, 14:30 GMT
responded: The 'Ghost station':
You all have heard about ghost trains and such, perhaps. But ever had a passenger in your train who claimed to have boarded at a station your train did not even run through? Thus happened on an X-mas excursion with our steam train, where we ran our train from munich-east-station, via the freight line to munich-shunting-yard-north, then munich-moosach and munich-laim and bypassing munich-main-station in a circle back to munich-east, where we started and ended at the commuter-train platform. The commuter trians run from munich main station through a tunnel to munich east station, much like a subway, with stations and all. One of the tunnel-stations is Marienplatz.
Business of the day was finished, and we wanted to return to our depot. A conductor checked the train, and indeed found a woman sitting in one compartment, slightly cross eyed. He asked the person kindly to leave the train, as we are going into the depot. The woman refused, claiming she has a ticket for the commuter train, and intends to go to Giesing. The conductor tried to explain that neither is this the commuter train (electric rail cars) nor are we going to Giesing. The woman refused still, stating she boarded this train at Marienplatz. Well, none of the train crew, and none of the engine crew, had noticed that we had used the tunnel. We still wonder how drunk this person was... and whether an official of the german railways would realise what we are planning to do if we actually asked for permission to use this route, and whether they would acutally allow it?

A Single Ticket through the car cleaning plant, 1st class, please:
We were quite new in the business, and we had used the automatic-car-cleaning-plant in munich. Our CEO phoned the owners (DB) about the amount we have to pay for it. He started at 'travel and tourism', which are in charge of the main lines, and we had payed to them for allowance to use the line. He was referred to 'real estates department', as these are the owner of the plant. The guy there asked him to call 'commuter department', as these are the regular users of the plant. Finally he ended up at the ticket office. And the guy there said: "Sorry, sir, but I only sell tickets." Utterly frustrated our CEO replied: "Well then, how much is a ticket for a ride through the washing-plant?" We never got an invoice...
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 19 2001, 14:43 GMT
responded: Two more:
Can you give me a lift to the next station?
A barriers at a railroad crossing was broke, so the train guard had to flag the train across the street. The train would stop once across, the guard would climb in, and signal to the engine driver that he could go on. One day the engine driver was a bit preoccupied, and the train was late, too. In the next station the engine driver was rather confused, to see the train guard on the platform already, before the train had even entered the station. The brave guy had hitchhiked to the station. And as our train was slow, he had arrived earlier.

Non-Smoker's plight:
What do you need to start a steam loco? Water, oil, coal, wood to get the coal burning, and.... A new fireman had his first duty assigned. The locomotive was cold, and in a station about ten miles from the depot, where the fireman stayed overnight. He had prepared his baby already, piled up wood in the firebox, to be ready the next day. All was pretty well and he was really excited. At 4am he left the depot, and drove to the station where his engine waited to be fired up. At 4:20 the phone inthe depot rang. It was the fireman: "Can somebody bring me matches?"
Frits Osterthun (EMail:[email protected]) from NL on Jan 19 2001, 21:16 GMT
responded: As a student, I went home by train with a girlfriend of mine (not my wife today!), also a student. That day, we had been at the wedding of our mutual friend in Rhenen (Utrecht).
With the 'Hondekop' (see another isue on this side, Klaas Zondervan knows a lot asbout it) we went back to Utrecht Centraal, still with our 'wedding-corsage' (a flower) on our jackets.
After some ten minutes the conductor enters our cabine, and while asking for our tickets - while seeing our flowers and suits - inmediately askes us:
"May I congratualte you hartely with this joyfull day of your wedding, mr. and mrs... errr....?!"

Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on Jan 23 2001, 14:52 GMT
responded: A friend of mine, Dr. Ing Ivo Myslivec is an author of patented system for automatical train control, eginedriver is needed only to open/close the door and to control horn on the road crossing. This system is used by 8 EMUs class 470 and 471 on line Prague - Kolin as prototype.

It was in summer 1996. It was wery wery hot weather. One of those units left Prague. Ivo was in the enginedrivers cab to watch his system. It was too hot and both men opened all windows and put their T-shirts off. But it was too hot, so they had to put their throusers off as well as T-shirts. Suddenly they met a faster train. A turbulence wind caused by high speed of both trains and opened windows copmletely cleaned the drivers cab from any things which were not screwed down or fixed, including both T-shirts and jeans. It was wery bad. Key, identfycard, money, driving licence - ewerythig was blowed out. When the train stopped on a small stop "Dolni Pocernice" Ivo run back to find all things they left and the driver went allmost naked to Kolin with his train. An hour later Ivo and enginedrivers clothing happilly bordered next train. The dispatcher recieved, and than replied this message: "Message for enginedriver Mr. X.Y. Your throusers are following you in train xxxx"

More silly than Montypythons, isnt it?
Geoff Money (EMail:[email protected]) from Winnipeg on Jan 23 2001, 19:46 GMT
responded: Would a cat or a mouse on top of the layout be looked on as a faux pas? I write my own material as nobody else will.
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Jan 23 2001, 20:53 GMT
responded: During the 1960's the neighboring MIT model railroad club was a maze of cables, conduit and wall-mounted breakers that snapped open and shut with a deafening drumming roar. Oscilloscopes, generators and electric meters were rack-mounted and trackside. Well-used pre-calculator-era slide rules poked from every member's shirt pocket. The fast clock on the wall, which resembled today's digital" clock, was made from large Bell Labs red readout number tubes. That trains could be seen at all running automatically amidst the maze of electronics from the overhead cabs was astounding. Needless to say, this was a club, not for train engineers, but for future electronic and electrical engineers that would save the nation from the space-race winning Soviets. Yessiree.

The trains which ran at breakneck speeds were mostly Athearn and Tyco models... locomotives and cars of little cost or concern with one notable exception. Periodically, Charles "Jet" Penner, ultra-rich kid from New York City, would arrive holding between his arms several dark green Japanese foam-protected boxes laden with a Pacific Fast Mail ATS&F; Blue Goose Pacific and more than half a dozen fully painted ATS&F; brass streamlined passenger cars from United. Painfully and with great deliberation Penner would survey the track for smoothness and, perhaps, for cleanliness, as it was rumored that his megabuck set had never touched railhead. At the end of his inspection Penner would invariably pronounce the trackwork and/or its accompanying clutter "unfit" for his beauties and would leave.

Pranks at MIT are still legendary and the one played on "poor" Penner was only a modest gesture in comparison to the annual likes of hoisting full-scale cow models atop the dome, kidnaping statues from Harvard Yard, etc. Nonetheless, as a participant, this one is remembered with the most insidious relish: On the day Penner deemed the layout to be finally fit for his "model" as opposed to the MIT "toys" a collection of absolute frazzled, but shiny, junk was assembled out of sight of Penner, who loomed overhead in one of the dual control towers. To say that the initial speed around the loop was slow would be an understatement. But, as everyone present was amazed at the scale fidelity, the fact that the consist moved at all before the members' eyes was a revelation. Gradually Penner increased the throttle, (which was a full-sized steam lever replica). When the entire consist had entered the rear tunnels for the third time the power to the track was remotely disconnected. As Penner stood on his tiptoes to await the emergence of his treasure from the plaster hills... with great anxiety, mind you.... the collection of junk was dashed to the hard floor for full impact and effect. The audible crash was horrific. All one could see from the control tower was silver shrapnel strewn about the floor. All one could hear from the control tower was the shrieking and pounding from the prank's target.

Rather childish, really, despite its ability to raise a chuckle some thirty years hence.


Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 23 2001, 21:26 GMT
responded: Well, I don't remember TMRC quite the way Clinton does. But it was heavy on elaborate electrics and actually running trains was a rarity. During my time there, I owned only one cheap RDC, modified to run as fast as possible.
A prominent schematic track diagram on one wall showed, among other things, whether each track block was occupied, by a small red light at the middle of the white stripe that represented the block. False occupancies were a frequent problem. I obtained a piece of red fluorescent paper, which was very new technology and a rare commodity in the early sixties, cut out a small circle the size of the lights, and glued it over the cap of one occupancy light. From any distance at all, it looked like the light was lit; and you couldn't easily get close enough to tell otherwise because of the intervening layout. I thus managed to inspire a heroic troubleshooting effort. Only after many hours of work did anyone think to turn the power off--it normally remained on continuously whenever the clubroom was occupied--and discover what I had done.
This practical joke was what was called in TMRC jargon a "hack". In those days, that word did not at all connote computers; and it was very bad form to bear any animosity, but only what admiration might have been deserved, toward the successful hacker.
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 23 2001, 21:42 GMT
responded: At TMRC, it was routine to remove a beginner's train from the track inside the mountain during his first operating session. The system was sufficiently automatic that he most likely had lost what airplane people now call "situational awareness" and hadn't a clue where on the layout the train was that he was driving. An experienced operator would also have gotten a hint from his cab's ammeter that something wasn't quite right when his locomotive ceased to draw any current, but the neophyte usually didn't notice. The fun was in seeing just how long it took for him to realize that anything at all was wrong!
John Bruce (EMail:) from LA on Jan 23 2001, 21:54 GMT
responded: There was a book on MIT during this period titled "Hackers", in fact, and it did mention the TMRC as a hotbed of early computer techies. "Hacker" in the town I grew up in (Northern New Jersey) was a general term for one class of social undesirables in the high school. If you were distinctively undesirable, you were a "hood" (i.e., dressed like James Dean); a "skag" (i.e., a trashy girl); or a "hacker" (i.e., someone who didn't take things very seriously, displayed some degree of social immaturity, and was fond of practical jokes). I was a hacker. It wasn't until much later that I became a techie, though.
Roger marsh (EMail:[email protected]) from Eagle Heights, Queensland, Australia on Jan 23 2001, 22:21 GMT
responded: Greetings all after my change of address. Some railway humour is unintentional and dependent on the perspective of a different culture. For example, when an Australian sees the term "Thunderbox". In Australia 'Thunderbox' has often been used to refer to an outdoor toilet, and when I saw that term on this sight, it is what I first thought about. Now there's a prototype to model, an outdoor toilet on a four-wheel underframe!
Michael Carlsson (EMail:[email protected]) from Nyn�shamn, Sweden on Jan 24 2001, 9:54 GMT
responded: Can't stay off this thread any longer now... The preservation scene can often be a true goldmine for strange and silly anecdotes, or what do you think, Ewald?
The education of railway staff here in Sweden seems to be based on a large amount of "true life stories", some of those often drop off to us RPS volunteers, when we get our education in simpler things of life. A favourite is the one explaining why, oh why you really should take the instruction "The user of any signalling gear is self responsible for, that it is working properly and isn't damaged" seriously.

When the shunter is giving the engine signal to push uncoupled wagons away for a drop, he moves his hand diagonally from lower left to upper right. Through time and exercise, the habit of showing just how much "push" there's need for, is shown by the "spirit" and enthusiasm the shunter shows when he's doing the signal. Some guys threw their cap away, to signal out they wanted "the mother of all pushes", right here and now. At night, this signal is shown by a white light in the hand signalling lamp, from low left to high right.

Imagine a dark and foggy night, natrium lights on high poles above a huge marshalling yard. (Hagalund, for those familiar to Sweden) A consist of 17 or 18 passenger coaches is about to be shunted in to a depot track in the other end of the yard. The standard operation were to push and drop them down to the depot tracks. The guy riding on the last wagon of this +400 meter train, signalled "halt", the guy up front at the engine unhooked, and the leading character in this story, the shunter in the rear, gave signal for a push. The routine were, that when he decided the speed was enough, he would signal "halt" to the engine.
He wanted a huge push, as this was a heavy consist, and had perhaps two kilometres or more to go before halt, so he showed "push", for king and country, with the result, that the battery box on the bottom of the signalling lamp flew away over the wagon roofs! Panic! The engine crew knew this was the push of their lifes, so they didn't feel there was something wrong with the fact, that the "halt" signal didn't turn up sooner, the gave their whole heart into accelerating the set, until they zoomed by a running, yelling, waving signal man in deep trouble... The braked, but of course there was nothing to do. The train rolled down the yard at an astonishing speed, until visual contact were lost in the misty night...




Seconds and seconds, every single one long as a lifetime, before the sound of the expected impact to the buffer stops could be heared, like lightning, or an artillery duel somewhere far, far away...


Always check the stuff before using it.
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on Jan 24 2001, 10:25 GMT
responded: Two Germans are sitting in train, the train brakes in some station.

First German: "Wo sind wir, ist das schon Karlsbad?"
Second one (opens the window and reads letters on building): "Nein das ist STAVEDLO"

Stavedlo (Czech) = Stellwerk (Deutsch) = Switch tower (Eng.)
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 24 2001, 12:32 GMT
responded: I don't know how many of you have been to San Francisco, but as real rail enthusiasts, any such visit must be accompanied by a trip on the cable cars.

I was over there enjoying a ride a few years back when one of the other tourists on board asked the brakeman what actually powered the cars. The guy said without even batting an eye-lid: "Well Ma'am, we've got all of these specially trained mice running round below the streets and well I pull on this lever they drag the car along".

The really amazing bit was she seemed to believe every word he said!
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jan 24 2001, 14:21 GMT
responded: Does everyone know that San Francisco is a good place to see two unusual gauges, both wide and narrow? The cable cars have 3'6 (1067 mm) and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) uses 5'6 (1676 mm).
arthur norris (EMail:) from london, canada on Jan 24 2001, 15:06 GMT

petr's tale above reminds me of a WWII-era cartoon I saw,
which makes reference to the fact that english station
name-boards were removed to make difficulty for expected
german invaders... so the cartoon shows 2 men standing
on a platform under the sign 'gentlemen', and the caption says,
'I can't find this place anywhere on the map.'

Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 25 2001, 7:30 GMT
responded: You are right, Michael C. As we have a saying: "If there is an exception in the operation instructions, you can be sure it applies to our trains." Which means that our staff has to know all the exceptions, and much better than the 'official'-railroad guys.

As much as we regret it, steam locomotives are an anachronism, at least to most people. Maybe this is one of the reasons for the fascination. But less and less people understand what is needed to get the iron horse running.

Just some water:
Thus it happened that in a small country station DB50 622 stopped to take water. They had informed the local firefighters to provide the water. The train had barely stopped when the firefighter's commander yelled at the engine driver: "How much water do you need? Two cuibic-meters we have here already." The driver shrugged and said with a light smirk: "Give me twenty..." The firefighter's face was fun to see.

The Drought:
Bischofshofen, a small town in scenic Austria. Some stupid rail freaks indeed had run a train to this town, and they had not used one locomotive, not two, no, they had used three. Two pacifics (01 and 03) and an austrian 78 tank-loco. By the way: Your's truly was one of these freaks...
Upon arrival the locomotives went into the depot, and hoses were attached to the hydrants used by he firefighters, to top off the water. Half and hour later a car sped into the yard. Brakes were slammed down and scattering gravel everywhere the vehicle skidded to a halt. Out jumped a man, and waving his arms he yelled: "Stop that! Stop that immediately! There is no water left anywhere in town!"
We had actually emptied the town's water reservoir.

The fountain:
Ever seen a steam locomotive with water spraying from the stack? No? Come to our club. Sounds strange? But is not, in fact. The boiler was emptied after the last service. So now we attached the firehose, closed all the valves to the tender, and started filling the boiler. To allow the air to escape we had opened the blower valve. You see where this is going? Experiments had proven that it lasts three quarters of an hour to have the level rise through the glass in the cab, from the lower nut to the top nut. So we checked in these intervals. Seems that this special day the water pressure was a bit high, and the level rose much faster. Nobody had seen it in the glass. It must have risen through the full length in less than half an hour, and a more experienced person would not have been fooled. Whatever. When the water spray come from the stack there were a few moments of astonishment, and then mutual agreement: "Doubtful we can get more water in..."

Overheard in Salzburg main station: The class 01 pacific comes to a standstill, and the fireman jumps out of the cab, running to the next phone and dials the dispatcher: "From platform number one to the water! Quick! Or you are in the newspaper tomorrow!"

There are these nifty detectors for hot boxes along the track. The bad thing is that they detect anything which is warmer than perhaps the luke-warm coffee on my desk, like steam-cylinders, ash-pans and the like. The driver of our pacific got an 'emergency-stop' via train radio. When the train had come to a standstill he asked: ""hat's the matter?" "You have got a hot box at the 6th axle." Grunted reply: "There would be a real problem if this spot would NOT be hot..."

John O.: What about take this thread to a special place on the site? "Railway-humour?"
Michael Carlsson (EMail:[email protected]) from Nyn�shamn, Sweden on Jan 25 2001, 9:35 GMT
responded: This thread tends to leave the "Model" aspect rapidly every now and then, hope it's OK with everyone? Can we all have a seat in the 1st class department of this expresstrain to true enjoyment?

Ewald, experienced those hot box detectors too... and fire departments! Strange guys sometimes ;)! We use to ask them for help too. Every brigade is quite different. At the town Nyk�ping, they are willing to promise help, but never shows up unless we call them and reminds them about an hour before arrival, and then, they once had some fire fighting foam liquid left in the front pump, imagine the look of a tender with foam spurting out of the water tank..!

Oh well, once when we were about to take water in Nyk�ping, and the usual call to the fire brigade were made, there were some misunderstandings. The guy who phoned from the staff compartment of the train, were very tired after more than 3 hard days of preparations, so he wasn't making himself clear enough. The following conversation occured:

Staff member: Hello, it's the steam train, we just want to tell you, were in Nyk�ping according to the schedule.

Fire brigade alarm operator: What?

S: We want water to our locomotive, we have an agreement...

F: Hold on, hold on a minute. Is there a fire in the train?

S: (very tired, trying to make a joke) Yes, of course, there's a fire burning in the locomotive...

F: We'll send someone down to the station.

Thankfully, they only sent a fire engineer, not the whole of the brigade. They thought something was weird about the call. Of course, they had forgotten all about the water, and didn't even know they were supposed to help us out. (As usual...) The fire engineer called for a water truck, and so we got what we needed, not much delayed at all, in the end..!

We use a coal fired train(steam)heating wagon in winter sometimes, don't know how many times people have called the police to stop the train, because they saw smoke from one of the wagon's roof, and thought there was a fire.

We also sometimes get the comment from passengers who thinks the heating wagon is the "real" locomotive, if the steam locomotive is just pushed in front of the train to give it the right look, or if it's really working..?

Ever tried to drive your steam engine on compressed air? We use this method to blow out remaining water from gauges and cylinders, especially before the winter comes. Fill the boiler to about 4-5kg:s, and then a few short runs out of the shed to the turntable and back. First time we tried this, we weren't aware of the whole width of the pressure fall when steam is cooling, compared to air.
Ready to roll, tried the steam operated brakes, all working fine, and take off......and she wouldn't stop! The air didn't lose pressure the way steam does in the cylinders, she just struggled on, no matter how much brakes, steam or hand operated tender brakes, we used! Opposite side of the turntable had no tracks, we came to a halt only 20 centimeters before the wheels would step down from the rails! Phewwww! There were two very anxious and lighthanded locomotive operators, who reversed the machinery and went back into the shed... With a shed track of 20 meter, and an engine of 19,9 meter length, it's always tricky, but this time... Scary!

Ewald, Petr, love to hear more of your stories, and from all other guys as well, Clinton's "accident" was a laugh, not just a chuckle to me...

Petr (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on Jan 25 2001, 21:43 GMT
responded: In the middle of 1980s CSD recieved new locos class E 499.3 (today 162 and 163) They are equipped by thyristor regulation and coputer control. When those locos were new, they had serious problemes with this computer. Locos often accelerated faster than older rheostatic ones, but sometimes the comp. failed and the loco stopped among fileds or mountains. The enginedrivers call them therefore "Pershings" - Fast start and middle range - like a famous (due to our kommunists propaganda) american "imperialist" missle.

Once this message was heared on Prague main station : "Pershing for Moscow, Persing for Moscow: road clear, go!" - Moscow was probably fast train Prague - Moscow and Pershing was its loco 163.

This was the funny part of that story. The sad one was, that in 15 minutes was already that dispatcher sitting in StB office (equivalent to Stasi or KGB) and trying to explain that it was only a joke.
Michael Carlsson (EMail:[email protected]) from Sorunda, Sweden on Jan 25 2001, 22:29 GMT
responded: After the Kuwait war, some EMU's in Sweden got the nickname "Scud" after the missiles used by Iraqi forces, you'll never know where they drop down, or breaks down, in the EMU case.
Picture of a Scud, or X21 as the proper designation is; http://www.sjk.se/tag/lokbild/tgoj_x21r.jpg
Michael Carlsson (EMail:[email protected]) from Sorunda, Sweden on Jan 26 2001, 11:28 GMT
responded: Really can't promise this one is a true story, but it might be a fun thing to model in an German era IV layout...

This story is supposed to have been told by a driver (now living in M�nchen) at the Stockholm-Saltsj�n Railway, SSnJ, a small local company going eastward out of the city. At Augustendal, the Mercedes-Benz agent had a sort of "recieving point" for new cars arriving from Stuttgart. In the end of the seventies, they came by railway, and two-decked auto transport wagons. The first time such an auto transport train were sent to the station Saltsj�-J�rla close to Augustendal, a kind of silly accident happened.
The line out from Stockholm starts with a quite long tunnel, built in 1893, some 20 years before the line was electrified. The tunnel profile, as this was a small private company with almost no traffic exchange with other lines, weren't widened according to newer profile regulations, and so the catenary wire is hanging very low inside the tunnel. So, all the cars of the upper deck of this first auto train, you've already guessed, got some really nice burn marks on their roofs from the 1500V DC live wire not enough high above them... The loco in head of the train was a diesel, so the driver didn't notice anything, but the guys from the MB dealer sure noticed something when they unloaded the cars!!!

Don't know if they changed type of transport wagons, or just turned the catenary off, when auto trains were passing in the future. I'd guess the first alternative, or both, is right, according to the storyteller the catenary actually touched the roofs of the cars... Long scratches from front to the rear of all the brand new MB's then!

The cars were probably repainted here in Sweden, but you'll never know, perhaps they were sent back to Stuttgart for repairs..? How about a model of a train loaded with "destroyed" MB cars? Any model of a MB body type 123 will do...
Pierre (EMail:) from France on Jan 26 2001, 12:10 GMT
responded: I remember seeing pictures a few months ago of an accident caused by the rear door of a new car not being shut properly. With the vibrations of the train journey the door opened upwards and touched the catenary (25 kV, 50Hz). All the cars and the wagon where they were burned and the cars were totally destroyed (maybe they had a small amount of fuel in the tanks to move them on and off the train).
Trains (including the one I took to work) were delayed considerably, and normal service only returned the next day.

Not exactly humour, but an anecdote anyway.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 26 2001, 14:03 GMT
responded: In previous years, Model Railroader magazine used to run an "April Fools" article in each April issue. One of these somewhat fits in with what Michael says above...

US modellers are big in to prototypical operation, and one method of identifying car destinations was to drill a small hole in the roof of a freight car and use different colour thumb-tacks to identify the car. MR'a April Fool article suggested that a cretain prototype railroad was doing the same thing, and that they had installed a machine to automatically drill the holes for fitting of the thumb-tacks (rather large in 1:1 !). Anyway, a car-transporter came through the machine and the railroad was now putting up for sale a whole load of new cars all with holes neatly drilled in their roofs.

All a load of tosh mind you, but it was amusing.

Thomas Eckhardt (EMail:[email protected]) from New Windsor NY USA on Jan 26 2001, 17:48 GMT
responded: Some of the above mishap stories reminded of a story that appeared (with picture) in one of the B&O; Natl.Hist.Society publications. Its seems that tank cars (in this case a 55000 gal. tank car) are build to withstand considerable inside pressure, but are rather weak if the outside pressure increases. Apparently, after steam cleaning an empty tank car, the worker went to lunch without opening the pressure equalizing valves. Returning from lunch he found that the tank had completely collapsed (looked in the picture like an empty toothpaste tube) as the steam cooled down sufficiently to create a vaccuum. Not really humerous, but quite funny, for outsiders at least.

Michael Carlsson (EMail:[email protected]) from Sorunda, Sweden on Jan 27 2001, 1:30 GMT
responded: I have always enjoyed reading about heroic photo excursions behind the iron curtain, when east was east, and west was west. One of the most amusing stories were about the photographer, entering a station office somewhere in Poland, and asks for permission to take a few pictures of passing steam engines. The officer at the desk tells him, that there is no steam engines in use at this particular railway line. The very minute he said this, a pair of Ty52's is roaring by with a coal train outside the window! The photographer says "but, but..", the officer shakes his head and states; that wasn't steamers! Immediately, a Ty2 rushes by in the other direction outside! They look at each other a long period of time, then the officer takes his coat and cap, and says; "Shall we go out then, so you can take your pictures?"

What about the railfan, who travelled through DDR and Poland for a whole week, seeing as much steam as possible, with his head outside the window as much as possible, without even once getting any cinders in his eyes? On his way home, not even 10 minutes back on Swedish soil, he catches a small piece of carbon falling from the (stromabnehmer?) "current pick-up" of the electric loco supposed to take him home... He had to find a hospital to help him clean out his eye... Poor guy, what a lousy end to such a wonderful vacation. But ridiculous enough to be remembered! ;-)
Tim Hale (EMail:) from UK on Jan 27 2001, 15:55 GMT
responded: Unfortunately my anecdote is not in the best possible taste, John should remove it if it offends. However......

British passenger coaches, until recent years, did not store their waste, instead the effluent would cascade from the coach onto the line. Hence the well-known sign "Do not use the lavatory when the train is standing in the station" Unfortunately this system did not make provision for overnight halts by sleeping cars-however the only patrons of this arrangement were members of our beloved Royal family. The Royal train was frequently employed as an overnight secure home at various discrete locations especially during World War Two.....

To ease embarrassment and eleviate unpleasant odours, a catch-all was positioned immediately below the Royal abort during long and overnight stops. It was usually the duty of a member of the train crew, not the Royal household to position and remove the aforementioned item. A distant relative was oveseeing just such a procedure when the inevitable happened and the unfortunate employee received a severe soaking. Despite the stench, the recepient of the Royal blessing did not curse as he emerged from 'neath the vehicle instead he exclaimed that at least it proved one thing...."That they (sic) were just the same as us after all"

Alan Crance (EMail:[email protected]) from Calgary on Jan 28 2001, 1:42 GMT
responded: I suspect this is an old one, but this is the way I heard it. Back in steam days there was a friendly rivalry between the running crews of the C.N.(leaky teapots) and the C.P.(wooden axles)in Winnipeg. As the story goes, a distinguished gentleman was sitting in the club car of the Continental, C.N.'s crack passenger train, with his nose buried in his newspaper, as the train sped through the prairie west of Winnipeg. Suddenly the ride became very rough, with the cars swaying from side to side, then the ride smoothed out again. A short time later the conductor entered the club car. The gentleman lowered his newspaper and asked, "Pretty rough back there, what happened?" The conductor replied, "Nothing to be concerned about, sir, we merely hit a C.P. truck." "Was it on the crossing," queried the gentleman. "No," said the conductor, "it was going down the highway, but we got it anyway."
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching / Germany on Jan 29 2001, 9:23 GMT
responded: And he is even whistling!!!

The line from the SKW-plant in Hart starts with a 10 promille ascent, right out of the station. During the war trains of carbide wagons were quite long. Carbide can be used to produce everything you can make from oil, btw. And thus germany had a huge demand for carbide. Ten or more wagons were not rare. The haulers of these trains were three 0-6-0 switchers, looking similar to a prussian T3. Usuallay there was one such teapot pulling, and the other one shoving. The third was either in repair or in the plant of Trostberg if the loco there was under repair or it was needed for the shunting in the plant. Coal was in short supply and what was used on the locomotives was not of good quality. On many a day the train's speed was crawling, with the water low and the pressure gauge running counter-clockwise. Snails would just zoom by... Farming roads cross the line every few hunded yards. Dutifully the driver whistled, as he approached one of these crossings. This made the fireman who struggled with the pressure in the boiler, grunt: "Now he is even whistling and we dun have any steam to waste..."

Even today the words "Now he is even whistling..." bring a grin to the faces of the older guys on the tiny road.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Jan 29 2001, 9:33 GMT
responded: Not sure where I saw it, but Thomas' story about a tank car reminded me that I once saw a photo of what happens if you try to empty the oil out of a tank car without opening the top valve. The weight of the oil will certainly drain the oil out, but there is no inlet for air to fill the space. Tank cars are indeed designed to withstand internal pressure, but ever seen what a 2 litre plastic Coke bottle looks like when you suck the air out? Now imagine it with a trucks and couplers at each end and you'll have a pretty good idea what the tank car looked like.
Rupert Langham (EMail:[email protected]) from London, UK on Jan 29 2001, 10:31 GMT
responded: Never seen what John describes happen to a railway tanker, but did see it happen to a truck at Yalumba winery in South Australia, with the cab and the rear axles in the air.
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Jan 29 2001, 11:52 GMT
responded: Tank cars:

I saw it happen to railway tankers. Working in the cheimcal's plant there are lots of tankers around. One guy told me that there is a chance to stop the accident: "When you see the tank collapsing, close the valves and get compressed air immediately." Well.... uhm... a quite rough way to get it reshaped, I would say. 'PFLOOMP!!!!'
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow, London on Jan 29 2001, 12:29 GMT
responded: Sheep(and rats) spelt the end of Brunel's Atmospheric railway. The seal to the top of the tube was by a leather flap and to stop the leather from drying and becoming brittle it was coated with grease. Sheep licked the grease off, the rats were not so discerning and just ate all of it. It either disappeared or became brittle, either way it meant the next train departing.....wasn't.

Sheep also proved the downfall of coal trains in south Wales. In the days of grease axle boxes, the sheep learned how to use their head and lift the axlebox lid. They could then lick the grease out. If a wagon was not checked immediately before departure there was every likelihood that it would have to be stopped with a hot box. For anyone who has never seen the old Welsh coal mines (and there is virtually nothing left of them now), sheep were an integral part and wandered wherever they pleased.
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow on Jan 30 2001, 7:17 GMT
responded: To return to Tim's comments of a few days ago about the Royal Train.

Adrian Vaughan writes in one of his books that often, if the Royal train was due to arrive back in London at a late hour they would stable it on the Faringdon branch overnight so that the top hats could greet the Royals in the morning.

One particular morning, Vaughan was in the signal box eating his breakfast when in walked Prince Philip. After some conversation, the Prince left and the breakfast had got cold. A year or so later the same thing happened with the Prince walking in on him whilst he was having breakfast. Prince Philip asked, "Haven't you finished that yet?"
Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Feb 3 2001, 19:22 GMT
responded: How about some American reporting marks:
Is the ride particularly uncomfortable on the Ouachita Railroad (OUCH)?
Do potato shipments get any priority on the St. Paul Union Depot (SPUD)?
Everything's just fine on the Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad (AOK).
England and Holland seem to be well represented in America by Bradford Industrial Rail (BR) and the Norfolk Southern (NS).
There are probably more, like the East Texas Central (ETC).
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on Feb 4 2001, 22:44 GMT
responded: Yes there are more, i.e. Portuguese and Canadian railways, both CP but only one CP is a member of UIC. Try to guess which.
Kenny S Ericson (EMail:[email protected]) from Huddinge Sweden on Feb 5 2001, 0:27 GMT
responded: The mentioning in an other thread
( http://www.worldrailfans.org/Forum/2001/Jan/30224739.shtml )
about the use of green marker lights on engines, reminds me of the young fireman who was told to fill the lanterns with green light oil.
Kenny S Ericson (EMail:[email protected]) from Huddinge Sweden on Feb 5 2001, 0:40 GMT
responded: Earlier was mentioned that removal of stationsigns should prevent an invading enemy to use the RR.
A better way was suggested by the old station master who told the military that he was prepared for the worst.
"If they come I'll burn the tickets!"
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow on Feb 5 2001, 7:33 GMT
responded: I saw a cartoon several years back of a man standing on a platform waiting for a train. A railway employee joins him and says, "You are the first person I have sold a ticket to since this station closed".

One station name I have always found amusing is Turnham Green. Unless you abuse the English language you will probably not understand it.
Alan (EMail:[email protected]) from Calgary on Feb 7 2001, 16:15 GMT
responded: You will have to judge the credibility of this one for yourselves. A few years ago, the C.P. locomotive engineers went out on strike due to a labour dispute. Since no trains were running, maintainence of way crews quickly took advantage of the situation to attend to some necessary track work. One such crew was working on a grade in the mountains south of Revelstoke, B.C.,which is about 260 miles west of Calgary. In the woods at the top of the hill, close to the tracks lived a hermit. He long had the desire to relocate beside a lake in the valley at the bottom of the hill, and this was his golden opportunity. As luck would have it, there was a siding with one lone flat car on it close to where he lived. With considerable effort, he managed to load all his belongings on to the flat car,including his most valued possession, an old, out-of-tune piano, that was his only means of entertainment in that remote area. He broke the switch lock, threw the switch, released the brake, and to his joy, the flat car eased out onto the main. It quickly gained momentum, and try as he might, the hermit could not slow it down. Then, to his horror, he saw the track gang ahead of him, oblivious as to what was bearing down on them. He hollared as loud as he could, but to no avail. In desperation, he yelled, and began pounding on the piano keyboard. Just in the nick of time, the workers saw what was coming, and jumped clear, as the flat car went flying past. Imagine the look of astonishment on the worker's faces, to be in the middle of nowhere, and to see a flat car racing towards you, with a man standing on it, singing at the top of his lungs, and playing a piano! Rumour has it that the hermit spent some time incarcerated in penal servitude.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Feb 7 2001, 16:22 GMT
responded: Grafitti seen scribbled on a London Underground map. Right alongside the name of a famous London railway station:

KINGS CROSS (printed neatly on map)
So's the Queen! (hand written)
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Feb 7 2001, 16:29 GMT
responded: Just remembered a good one...

I have the book "Silver San Juan" at home - really good, thoroughly recommended even if you are not too interested in Colorado narrow gauge.

Anyway, there's a story in there about a couple of brothers who lived up in the mountains quietly mining gold. Once a month or so they'd come down in to town to sell their gold, get drunk, etc. After one particularly lively session, one of them ended up in the local jail to sober up. The other brother found a steam loco nearby and a long length of chain. He tied the chain round the bars of the cell and hooked the other end on the loco. Getting the loco going, instead of pulling the bars out it toppled the entire jail block over!!!

Apparently, the imprisoned brother was freed and they both fled in to the mountains never to be seen again.
David Williams (EMail:[email protected]) from Sydney, Australia on Feb 8 2001, 8:01 GMT
responded: The comments about the collapsed tank cars were particularly interesting. I have always been somewhat fascinated by that sort of thing ever since I found the photo of the EVA tank car on Viktor Schiffer's Wagon Photos page (http://home.wtal.de/gueterwagen/bilder2/k307-23.jpg).
Bob Nelsn (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Feb 8 2001, 17:23 GMT
responded: There is a new, prefabricated crossing waiting to be installed at McNeil, Texas, near here. It must have been manufactured to astonishing accuracy. The angle of the crossing is written on it in several places: 54 degrees, 59 minutes, 18 seconds.
Roger Marsh (EMail:[email protected]) from Eagle Heights, Australia on Feb 9 2001, 1:35 GMT
responded: There is an English modeller, who has a fine scal model of an actual location set in the early 20th century, with many scratch built models, nhand built track and other such refinements. However, to keep the rivet counters at bay he has a motorised mouse hidden on a track behind the engine shed, to activate if somebody decides to get a bit picky about certain details. Now to catch myself a mouse .....
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Feb 9 2001, 7:29 GMT
responded: Hello again.

Before I go for this one let me explain to those of you who never saw it what the interior of a german steam loco cab looks like. Uhm... in the unlikely case one has not seen it. Anyway. 1st: The reverse crank is a heavy, spoked wheel, looking similar to a truck's steering wheel with a crank attached. 2nd: We had an engine driver in our club who was good for a prank always.

One day a not so well informed train enthusiast asked this very driver for a ride in the cab and the driver allowed it. The guy looked around amazed, and spotting the reverse crank he asked utterly baffled: "Do you have to steer that thing along the tracks?" In his funny mood the driver said "Yes." Now, to emphasize his statement he actually mimicked steering when the train started out on the line. He turned the wheel left and right according to the curves. The locomotive, a powerful 2,000 hp (yes, a reconstructed class 50 can do this!) 2-10-0 did not mind the few percent cut off more or less. With the throttle only partly opened the chuff did not even change much. The brave rail fan got a complete new idea how railways function. But his jaw dropped when the engine was to run round the train, and the engine driver turned the wheel rapidly! Comment of the driver: "Now I have to swivel the axles ..."
Jan Frelin (EMail:[email protected]) from Stockholm, Sweden on Feb 9 2001, 13:06 GMT
responded: Thank you Ewald! That is just *so* *mean*! :-)
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Feb 12 2001, 9:11 GMT
responded: I just received this as an email:

Two small-town men were visiting New York City for the first time to attend a conference for work.

There was a large party thrown, with lots of food and drink. At the end of the party, both men staggered outside. One guy crossed the street, while the other stumbled into a subway entrance.

When the first guy reached the other side of the street, he noticed the other emerging from the subway stairs. "Where ya been?" he asked.

"I don't know," gushed the other guy, "but you should see the train set that guy has in his basement!"
Greg Mashiah (EMail:[email protected]) from Brunswick Heads, NSW, Australia on Feb 13 2001, 11:49 GMT
Retired New South Wales Ken Groves, who has authored many articles in the Australian Railway Historical Society's Bulletin on driving steam locomotives in NSW and is also author or co-author of several books on NSW steam classes, relates some amusing prototype stories in his articles.

Two of my favourites which were originally from an ARHS article and are reproduced in Ken's book "The Big Engines" are:
"Practically every time one signed on duty in the steam era, you were handed a fist full of what we called 'bungs'. These were written demands for an explanation of various things such as excessive use of oils on a previous trip, items of kits missing, time lost on the road etc......I heard the story of a driver who received a 'blister' for alleged mismanagement. The 'bung' said 'When did you first experience trouble?' He replied 'When I signed the call note advising me of the train I was to work'"
(Most NSW Drivers at that time worked a rouseabout system, and were "called" to work with a note delivered by a "call boy", which was the junior most grade and the route most drivers commenced their careers.)

Another tale relates to drivers discussion runaways:
"On one occasion in a barrack's dining room, a number of enginemen were discussing what they would do if by chance their train got out of control. One chap said he knew of a soft spot to jump out on, another knew of a tree beside the line to swing into, others had ideas of their own but one driver remained silent. 'What would you do?', someone asked. 'Well', he replied, 'Me and my mate would jump out and as the guards van passed we would yell out sheet please'; the 'sheet' referred to is the driver's working sheet which was kept by the guard and was used as a basis for calculating salary. At least they would retrieve something from the wreckage."
Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Feb 13 2001, 13:11 GMT
responded: Bavaria never had much high quality coal. I suppose this is one of the reasons Pacific-type locomotives were introduced early. They had huge grates. The firebox has slanting sides (almost a Wootten-type, for our american readers). The famous S 3/6 you can see silhouetted as the background of this valuable page, btw. This made them really amazing steamers.

The story was related by our 'mean' driver (See his train-driving-lessons above). I don't recall the station name anymore. Anyway, having arrived safely he parked our S 3/6 on some siding, as instructed by the stationmaster who sat high in his signal tower. The fire was damped, and water pumped into the boiler to the highest possible mark. Pressure was down to perhaps 20 psi. Before retiring to his hotel room the brave engineer left the phone number with the dispatcher, jsut in case something would be wrong. Of course, shortly after midnight the phone rang. It was the stationmaster and he sounded frantic: "Mr. B., Mr. B., please come quick!" And in the background the unmistakable sound of the saftey-valves blowing! The driver returned to the station, as fast as he could, and there he saw why the dispatcher's nerves were quite a bit shaken: Accidentally one of the safety-valve's exhausts aimed right for the stationmaster's window in the signal tower.
Erik Meltzer (EMail:[email protected]) from Braunschweig, Germany on Feb 27 2001, 13:39 GMT
responded: Ah, railway humour.

During my first visit in Bournemouth, England, I spotted a staircase leading down from the sidewalk, marked SUBWAY. Hey cool, I thought, "eine U-Bahn!" I hadn't thought Bournemouth would have one, but I was pleased to find that it did. Imagine my face when I found that a subway in Britain is merely a passage under the street, and that what Americans call subway is the Underground there, which Bournemouth of course hasn't.

And then I've one to tell from a model railway club layout. We had an emergency power cutoff system on all the main lines, to prevent accidents from happening or at least from resulting in more accidents due to lines blocked by derailed vehicles. It was common practice to yell "Not-Aus!" at the top of one's lungs if one wasn't close to one of the cutoff switches when spotting a would-be accident. Now, this pal of mine spotted such a thing, a Roco V 200 with an express train going straight for a dead end rail in a station. All he'd have needed to do would be to turn its voltage to zero, since Not-Aus didn't even work in stations -- yet in considerable shock he yelled not even "Not-Aus!", but "Ruhe!": "Quiet!". Which we became. And which enabled every person present to satisfactorally witness the *CRUNCH* of the impact, followed by the sound of new Roco express coaches shattering on the floor, and the long, dead, and somewhat dangerous silence that set upon the scene.

Broken by one single, quietly uttered word from the train's owner:


On a related note, I used to have a Roco VT 11.5 TEE. I changed it from AC to DC operation, fitted a flywheel and the interior lighting, and proudly brought it to the club for its virgin run. Now, the coaches of this train had eight-point current pickups, to avoid flickering. That meant that the current could run from one bogie through the coach to the other one. That, and the flywheel, enabled the train to run red lights, er, signals. Which it did. Which stopped everyone, including yours truly, dead in our tracks, so to speak. We were literally to shocked to react. And when finally someone pressed the Not-Aus switch, there was a nice, long spinning down sound (hey, it had a V 200 flywheel, I'd even had the chassis machined to make room for it) to be heard from somewhere beneath the layout: surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*CRUNCH*clatterclatter*crack*.


Me: "Er... which train was in front of it?"
They: "The 'Rollende Landstra�e'." (Flat cars loaded with trucks and trailers. 15 of them.)
Me: "Oh, that's somewhat unfortunate."

I was unable to retrieve all of the truck models, even though I tried for hours...
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Feb 27 2001, 14:04 GMT
responded: Which reminds me...

Many years ago I went to a model railway exhibition. At this show they had there was a layout with a long (2m?) traverser in the fiddle-yard. You know, push gently and it slides from side to side. Well, this small British 0-6-0 loco with a lovely long train of about 20 short British 2-axle coal wagons came in and stopped on the traverser. The operator goes to move it and for some reason the traverser is a bit "sticky" and doesn't move easily. After applying slightly too much effort, the loco toppled off the side of the traverser towards the floor. And the first wagon followed it. And so did the second. And the third. And the fourth. And so on. The old-fashioned Hornby tension-lock coouplers held everything together and pulled every last wagon on to the exhibition hall floor. Extremely graceful to watch, a perfect cascade.

I can't quite recall what the operator said, but if my memory serves it was not very polite!
Kevin Brady (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston,Ma. on Feb 27 2001, 16:45 GMT
responded: John,
Watch it!Code of conduct you know,..... :-)

Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow on Feb 27 2001, 20:39 GMT
responded: John you have reminded me of something which I hesitate to call humour.

At the Model Railway Club's Easter exhibition they used to have a Guage One layout. On this particular day, there was a live steam Gresley A4 Pacific (like Mallard in case anyone doesn't recognise it) at the head of about half a dozen coaches. The owner opened the regulator and loco and train exited the sidings majestically snaking through the point work. It had completed a lap of the rather large layout and said owner reached across to close the regulator. He missed. The train continued gaining speed until it had completed another lap of the circuit. By this time there was no way the owner could have closed it.

As it approached the station there was no way it would take the curve and the loco went up on the platform with the coaches following.

I have no doubt the owner could see pound notes (that dates me) floating in front of his eyes.

Bob Mackay (EMail:[email protected]) from Cambs.UK on Mar 11 2001, 18:37 GMT
responded: Small grand-daughter aged six is listening to Nain (grandma) and her Mummy talking "....Grampa (me) is getting more and more eccentric every day!" she hears.(Of course I didn't find this out till later).
Grand-daughter, (who loves telling Grampa off,like "You shouldn't put your knife in your mouth Grampa" sort of thing), rushes to shed.....where Grampa has his ELECTRIC trains!
"Grampa you're getting too much.....the next word was a curious combination of
eccentricity and electricity (which I can't quite re-capture)".....Just about sums up railway modelling though, not bad for six years old!

Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching, Germany on Mar 31 2001, 18:47 GMT
responded: One more length...

We had rented a shed from a track-construction contractor. We were entitled to use two stalls of the five in total. One stall was for the engine, the other housed our train (4 DB Umbauwagen, 6 wheelers). On this stall the track workers had stored some strange contraption, looking like the banister for stairs. Well, we did not bother about it, as they had placed it behind our train.
In the mroning we left, and in the evenning after returning we ran the engine round the train to push the coaches into the shed. The shunter was somewhere in the middle of the train, and as the consist approached the banister contraption, the brave guy walked to the end of the train to see better. 18 meters were left. So he lifted his arm one time, signaling to the driver "1 car length to go". The driver was somewhere else with his thoughts and in his mind calculated for a 8-wheeler coach length.. 26.4m. *Woop choof woop choof woop choof screach crackle crunch*... and the shunter's jaw dropping.
Side note: We were rather worried about the mess we had created for if the banister was to fit now, then it would have to be a very odd stairwell. But nobody ever mentioned the mishap. Only years later we learnt that the workers had built the banister for somebody and the boss must not know about it... Bad luck for them, and good luck for us...
Tim Hale (EMail:[email protected]) from Sherborne, UK on Apr 1 2001, 15:32 GMT
responded: The following was found in a copy of the Evening Standard, I apologise for the content however I have toned down the language:

During an outward journey to Harold Hill, a young couple (aged 22 and 20) entered a coach largely occupied by old age pensioners. The couple had difficulty find two seats together, consequently the female sat on the lap of her male companion. After a few minutes the couple started to kiss at first, as passions rose, they became more intimate with each other, much to the horror and consternation of the remaining passengers (most of whom were returning from a SAGA* cruise)

After reaching a point of mutual satisfaction, the couple began to relax and the male partner proceeded to smoke. It was at this point that the guard was called by one of onlookers, Ernest Unsworth (Aged 89). "We didn't mind what they (sic) got up to but smoking in a non-smoking coach is an offence under the Railway by-law"

The couple were fined �25 with �105 costs.

Bob Mackay (EMail:[email protected]) from Cambs.UK on Apr 28 2001, 7:49 GMT
responded: A WINTERS TALE

Getting to my Railway Shed's
like getting out of jail!
Attepts to slip out quiet-ly
Inevitably fail.......

"You've been coughing and you're sneezing
like you're comming down with flu
if yo go and make it worse
then I'm not looking after you!"

Replies must be immediate
Forthright, convincing, bold......
"I'b goin' to my railway
an' I habben godda code!"

John Batt (EMail:) from NZ on May 3 2001, 11:37 GMT
responded: Conversation between two railway modellers:
"I had trouble getting G scale figures, so I bought these toy space crew members from my local toy shop and modified them"
"But this passenger is wearing a space helmet and carrying a ray gun"
"Yes, but he could have just been to a fancy dress party"

Well, on second thought it is a bit weak, but the best I could do on the spur of the moment
Roger Marsh (EMail:) from Queensland, Australia on May 3 2001, 23:53 GMT
responded: At the 1996 Australian Model Railway Association exhibition in Brisbane (remembered also for lots of rain causing flooding), a very large N-scale layout with a fiddle yard of mammoth proportions was quite happily entertaining the public, when CRASSSSSSSSHHHHHHH, an operator (I think from a neighbouring layout) stumbled into the fiddle yard boards, de-railing, and de-layouting much stock. Numerous expressions of extreme verbal anxiety ensued, followed by low muttering as the n-scal stock was replaced on the layout.
John Batt (EMail:) from NZ on May 6 2001, 22:27 GMT
responded: Saw a "Thomas the Tank Engine' episode where an exprsss train takes off from a terminal station with the station pilot tank loco still attached at the rear. Does anyone have a real life recollection of this actually happening. I wonder what the solution would be, would the express have to stop secifically to detatch the rear loco
Moritz G. (EMail:) from Munich on May 7 2001, 8:15 GMT
Shunting loco forgotten at the rear end of the train:
Normally this would be detected during the brake test being prescribed before a train coupled to a new locomotive departs. But nevertheless, it happens indeed from time to time.
I remember hearing of an unwanted "high speed test run" of a class 218 diesel loco (actually not a shunter, but a diesel loco restricted to 120 km/h) here in Germany a few years ago: The 218 had hauled the Interregio Bad Harzburg - Flensburg on the first non-electrified part of the route and was simply forgotten at the end when a class 103 or 101 electric loco took the train over at Hildesheim. The mistake was detected at Hamburg, after the 218 must have been pulled at speeds up to 200 km/h behind the train. But it had not been was not seriously damaged, after a few days of inspection of the gearboxes it was back to service again.
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on May 7 2001, 14:13 GMT
responded: Re Shunting loco...

This story I was told by an old fireman.
Once upon a time the Berlin - Prague express stopped in border station Decin. Two coaches were added at the rear end of the train by a wery old shunter class 414.0 (Austrian 73).
It was an old goods loco built in 1880s equipped with vaacuum brake for tender only. Highest speed was 35 kph. The crew forgot to discouple it. It was first (and last) time, when those almost 80 years old loco run more as twice higher speed as it had restricted. There was no way haow to stop those train than in the clostest station. The express stopped after about 15 kilometres. The loco survived this ride without any damage and shunted about 10 years. Withdravn and fired off was in 1969.

Cameron Smith (EMail:[email protected]) from Los Angeles on May 8 2001, 5:15 GMT
responded: Speaking of drags--an engineer acquaintance told us this story at a club night in New Orleans several years ago.

A loco pulled a short switching job through the outlying community of Chalmette (which is notorious for the odd behavior of its locals). Lots of grade crossings, and the train had just barely cleared one and stopped to wait for a signal.

Around a corner wove a beat-up auto. It veered toward the crossing, skidded, and slammed into the coupler knuckle on the tail end of the train. No one at the head end of the train noticed, and when the signal went green a minute or two later, off went the engine, the whole cut of cars, and the hapless auto bouncing along with them.
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, CZ on May 8 2001, 20:27 GMT
responded: Pragues city transport.

Trams are often crowded. Its polite to let sit down old passangers and pregnant women.

A wery crowded tram stops on some stop and an old lady gets on. A young man stand up and tells something like "Sit down, please".
The old lady was in a bad mood and she answeres "I hate warm seats. I will not sit down on a warm chair."
The boy gets angry "Well madam, if you want to sit down on some cold thing you should sit down on some icebears d*ck!"
Lady (to the driver) "Did you heared this rude boy?"
Driver (smiles) "Yes"
Lady "What are you going to do with this problem?"
Driver "Nothing. Its up to you. Should I turn her to Alaska?"
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on May 8 2001, 20:37 GMT
responded: Now, now, that's enough of that. Rather funny though :-)
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Plaistow on May 9 2001, 7:33 GMT
responded: I'd like to return to John's comment about Thomas the Tank engine videos. I don't know if anyone has ever noticed but at the beginning of the tape there is a copyright message forbidding the video from being shown in various communal places including on oil rigs. I can just imagine a room for of heavily built men all sitting down wanting to watch the videos.

I now expect a campaign from all oil rig workers demanding equal rights with the rest of industry.

Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on May 9 2001, 13:14 GMT

Man says to the clerk behind the counter, �I would like to see what you have in HO DR BR55's, please.� The clerk nods. The man continues, �And while you are at it, I would like to purchase the new Brawa DR BR65.10 in Epoch III livery.� The clerk looks straight ahead. The man thinks for a moment and then adds, �as long as your digging for locos, how about seeing what you have in DR BR44's, my layout could use another.�

The clerk smiles and says, �I bet you are a model railroader. Am I right?�

The man replies, �Well, duuhhh, how did you guess?�

The clerk responds, �Because you are in a hardware store.�

Ewald (EMail:[email protected]) from Garching on May 9 2001, 13:39 GMT
responded: *perks* Where is that hardware store? I mean, apart from the scale, it sounds really interesting. And yes, hardware stores are big fun: There was that DIY who had acquired fireman-shovels somehow. Club member spotted them there, and they were $15 each. Too much, he thought, and waited some weeks. Went to look again, and see, now they were on special offer, $1 each. After all, who needs longish, narrow shovels with a relatively short handle? *wink* Well, he took the whole bunch of them, to the cashier's utter amazement.

DIY had battery chargers on special offer, for 12 V or 12 V / 24 V. The coach lighting system is 24 V. Unfortunately the DIY was out of the 24V varian by the time we arrived. We asked the clerk, and he was really sorry. "Well, you need it for a small truck perhaps..." The railroaders look at each other and although they did not say a word it was written into their faces: "No. We are _not_ going to explain what we need it for."
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm on May 10 2001, 21:03 GMT
responded: Question: Why do Y6's not swim?

Answer: How could you get a 2-8-8-2 into a bathing suit?
Ewald (EMail:ewald_r) from Garching, Germany on May 16 2001, 7:25 GMT
responded: From Lokreport:

Aus der Betriebslage der DB AG - kein Witz
051 D�sseldorf-Unterrath (12.05/9) 04:50 - 04:50
S 97932 (EDO-KD) meldete �ber Notruf, da� an Zug 80840 starke Rauchentwicklung am Tfz vorliegen w�rde, zus�tzlich Funkenflug. Nachfrage bei Tf 80840 ergab, da� es sich um einen mit einer Dampflok bespannten Sonderzug handelte.
Die BZ empfiehlt dem GB Regio, ihren jungen Triebfahrzeugf�hrern Bilder und Filme von alten Dampflokomotiven vorzuf�hren, um Wiederholungsf�lle auszuschlie�en.
Verursacher: DB Regio AG
S Gruppe Versp. Min. Uml Ausf Teilausf
T Gesamt 1 2

Current disposition of DB-AG. It's not a joke.
051 Duesseldorf-Unterrath (12.05/9) 04:50 - 04:50
S 97932 (EDO-KD) reports via emergency call that the locomotive of train 80840 develops a lot of smoke, together with severe sparking. Office of Train Operation request confirmation by engine driver of 80840. Results that the locomotive is a steamer. Office of Train Operation advises the business unit Regional Traffic to show movies about old fashioned steam locomotives to their young drivers in order to prevent further false alarms.

Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Jul 5 2001, 20:34 GMT
responded: Last night, at the annual fireworks display put on by the Austin Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the disagreement that we had with John Oxlade's country 225 years ago, they seemed to be paying a well-deserved and long-overdue tribute to railroading through the music that was played at the climax of the show.
(Austin is the location of the University of Texas. The school song, "The Eyes of Texas", is sung to the tune known everywhere else in the US as "I've Been Working on the Railroad".)
John Batt (EMail:[email protected]) from NZ on Jul 28 2001, 1:56 GMT
responded: An old NZR joke:
My uncle is an engineer on the Railways..........he welds the crusts on to the meat pies in the buffet car. He has been with them a long time......remembers when they put fresh tea in the urn.
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Aug 22 2001, 13:13 GMT

My father works in a ship yard and picks up ashes.

Clinton (tongue-tied)

John Batt (EMail:) from NZ on Aug 23 2001, 19:48 GMT
responded: My mate has a mundane job at the Railways, he sweeps the platforms, but he tells me that one day he is going to buy a small section of platform and go into busness for himself.
John Batt (EMail:) from NZ on Aug 23 2001, 23:13 GMT
responded: Did you hear about the workshop apprentice who was sent to the stores for a left handed screwdriver, a radiator hose for a Volkswagen Beetle, and a long weight. He hasn't been seen since last smoko.
Charles Spencer (EMail:[email protected]) from Ottawa, Canada on Aug 24 2001, 15:51 GMT
responded: Alberta is the beef capital of Canada. There used to be a butcher's shop in the concourse at Calgary Station, but it closed down after the butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his orders.

Bob Nelson (EMail:[email protected]) from Austin, TX, USA on Aug 24 2001, 15:56 GMT
responded: I just solved the Chandra Levy case! I saw in the news this morning that the congressional intern (who was having an affair with California congressman Gary Condit and misteriously disappeared many weeks ago) had planned to return to California from Washington--by Amtrak. Well, duh, that's where she is, on the train!
Rogier (EMail:) from USA on Aug 24 2001, 23:23 GMT
:-), :-D ,:-) (But really not nice and kind of insensitive,no? :-) ,:-D Dang!



Robert S Logan (Bob) (EMail:[email protected]) from Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand on Aug 25 2001, 8:03 GMT
responded: and I worked for NZGR, before retiring, now I hold my sides
as I laugh, Keep it up fellows. One day, I'll tell you
about the Morris Minor Tram. Am I allowed?
John Batt (EMail:) from NZ on Aug 25 2001, 8:52 GMT
responded: Of course you know what happened to the workshop cat who licked some calcium carbide from a lamp that was left lying around........she had acetylene (a set of lean) kittens.
Rogier Donker (EMail:[email protected]) from USA on Aug 25 2001, 16:45 GMT

"MMT" ??? Of course Robert, bring it on!
Train Guy (EMail:) from Henderson, NC on Sep 8 2001, 3:41 GMT
responded: Does Any One Have Any Funnier Train Jokes?
David Manders (EMail:[email protected]) from Camberley, Surrey, UK on Sep 8 2001, 9:56 GMT
responded: Reported reason for late departure of a train from Guildford (True - about 10 days ago)

"Driver sitting on the AWS magnet"

One for the cartoonists methinks...

Explanation provided on request (doubtful).

Amnesius (EMail:) from Nowhere on Sep 8 2001, 22:23 GMT
responded: This one is to the Train Guy, the one track minded, who apparently need a simple story to get the punch line:

A bum enters the local pub, sits down and talks to his friends:
-You don't know what's happened to me yesterday! I found a girl tied to the railway tracks, just like in a western movie! I let her loose and took her over to my place. She was really something! Soon enough we went on, and she let me do just anything I wanted! You bet I'm pretty exhausted today...

-Lucky guy! Was she pretty?

-I don't know, I never found her head.

-end of story-

Staffan Lindeberg (EMail:[email protected]) from Stockholm, Sweden on Sep 9 2001, 9:54 GMT
responded: This is funny but not a joke.
8th of september I went with the Swedish so called highspeedtrain
X2000 from Stockholm to Gavle. The ride takes 1h 21m but after 1h one of the axels broke. So I had to take a local train back 5 Km and then wait for a bus to Gavle. When arriving to Gavle I was 3h late. At 4 pm the train was going back to Stockholm. It was replaced with a bus. 1h late to Stockholm.
Here comes the funny part: I travelled to Gavle to visit the Rail Road Museum and the Rail Road Day.
Cheers, Staffan
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Sep 28 2001, 11:18 GMT
responded: So I said to this train driver "I want to go to Paris".
He said "Eurostar?".
I said "I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin".
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Oct 9 2001, 14:01 GMT
responded: The following is an exchange of correspondence between a customer and Irish Rail:


I have been riding trains daily for the last two years, and the service on your line seems to be getting worse every day. I am tired of standing in the aisle all the time on a 14-mile trip. I think the transportation system is worse than that enjoyed by people 2,000 years ago.

Yours truly,
A Commuter


Dear Sir,

We received your letter with reference to the shortcomings of our service and believe you are somewhat confused in your history. The only mode of transportation 2,000 years ago was by foot.

Iarnrod Eireann



I am in receipt of your letter, and I think you are the ones who are confused in your history. If you will refer to the Bible, Book of David, 9th Chapter, you will find that Balaam rode to town on his ass. That, gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years.

Yours truly,
A Commuter
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Oct 10 2001, 14:10 GMT
responded: When Microsoft enters the model-train realm - part 1
by Mike Fischer

Thank you for purchasing your new Microsoft Train product! Please fill out and send in the enclosed warranty registration card. This enables you to receive 24-hour toll-free assistance with MS Train products (in other words, you'll be on hold for 24 hours waiting to speak to a specialist), and ensures that you will be notified when MS Train upgrades are announced.

When you remove the plastic lid of your MS Train product, you agree to abide by all the terms and restrictions of the MS Train User Agreement. If you do not agree to the terms of this agreement, return the MS Train to your hobby vendor, unopened.

This agreement gives you, the modeler, a license to run your MS Train only on your own personal layout. If you own more than one layout, you must purchase one MS Train for each layout. Microsoft considers modular layouts to constitute more than one layout. Site licenses are available for those who wish to run MS Train on a modular or club layout.

If you use a standard control system, place the MS Train on the tracks. Set the directional switch for the desired direction of travel, and turn the throttle knob until the desired speed is attained. If you cannot achieve the desired speed, the fault most likely lies with your throttle. The problem is not with the MS product. It's never our fault! It's your fault! IT HAS TO BE YOUR FAULT!!!

If you wish to use your MS Train product on a layout equipped with DCC, you must contact your Microsoft vendor for an MS DCC-Receiver upgrade. Note that this upgrade will work only if you have installed Microsoft DCC on your layout. It will not work with other brands of command control. Modifying the MS DCC-Receiver to work on other DCC systems will void its warranty.

If the MS Train fails to start, you probably made an error in the installation procedure. Make sure all the wheels are on the rails and that all wire connections are tight. If the train still fails to start, the problem is most likely in your power pack. Upgrading to MS Power Pack will probably solve these compatibility issues.

Because model trains are complicated devices, it is inevitable from time to time that your MS Train will stop running for no apparent reason. If this happens, turn off your power pack and reboot it. If this fails to solve the problem, remove the MS Train from the track and reinstall it. If the train still will not run, contact your power-supply vendor.

MS Train products are certified to run on the following brands of track: MS Track, Bachmann EZ-Track, AHM/IHC brass flex track on fiber ties. If you use another brand of track, the MS Train may not run, and you may void your Microsoft warranty. Microsoft cannot be held responsible for any derailments, even those that occur on MS Track.

The MS Train product line includes a range of products that will meet the needs of any model railroader. You can purchase each MS Train product separately, or you can buy one of the integrated suites:

> MS Freight Train Standard - includes MS Engine, MS Boxcar, MS Hopper and MS Caboose.

> MS Freight Train Professional - includes all the products in MS Freight Train Standard, plus MS Gondola.

> MS Freight Train Developer's Edition - includes all the products in MS Freight Train Standard, plus MS Stack Car, the MS Track Cleaning Block and the MS Wheel Gauge.

> MS Freight Train Small Layout Edition - includes MS Engine, MS Ore Car, MS Flatcar, and MS Caboose.

Other freight cars may be made available at a later date.

Note that MS Stack Car may require you to upgrade your tunnel portals if they are not tall enough. We recommend using MS Portal, a product specially designed to accommodate MS Stack Car, and which is scheduled for release in the spring of next year.

All MS Train products are lettered only for Northern Pacific, SP&S;, and other railroads that serviced the area near Redmond, WA. Relettering or repainting an MS Train product is forbidden according to the terms of the User Agreement.

It is a violation of Microsoft's copyrights to couple an MS Train product to an engine or car not made by Microsoft. If you presently use model train products not made by Microsoft, and wish to switch to MS Train, competitive upgrades are available. Contact your train vendor for details.

Our research shows that the F7 diesel can be used on a greater percentage of user layouts than any other engine. For this reason, the F7 is the only version of MS Engine we will make. There will be no steam engines, as backward compatibility is not a Microsoft goal. If you go to our Web site at
www.ms-uber-alles.com/products/hobbies/trains/engine.html, you will find a list of reasons why the F7 is good enough for you and why you don't need any other engines.

When the original MS Train was released, the MS Engine product was an Alco C-415. This engine does not run at the same speed as the new MS Engine. You must upgrade to the new MS Engine if you wish to run multiple engines together.

MS Engine requires a minimum radius of 27" in HO, or 14" in the N scale version. If your curves are too tight for MS Engine, you will need to upgrade your layout. Future releases of MS Engine will almost certainly require larger minimum radii, in order to make room for new features that most model railroaders will never use.

O scale, which was supported in MS Train v 3.1, is no longer supported. HO and N are the only scales that are supported. Microsoft makes an MS Train Migration Kit for those who use other scales and wish to change to MS Train. The N scale version will no longer be supported when MS Train 2000 is released. We encourage all users to switch to the HO version as soon as possible.

When Microsoft releases MS Train 2000, it will be equipped with the new MS Coupler. Your existing MS Train products will not couple to the new MS Train 2000 cars; nor will cars from any other maker. You will need to upgrade your couplers to maintain compatibility.
William G. Gates (EMail:[email protected]) from Richmond, WA on Oct 10 2001, 16:44 GMT

[Your application has performed a fatal error and will be shut down, sucker.]

Kenny S Ericson (EMail:[email protected]) from Huddinge Sweden on Oct 10 2001, 18:59 GMT
responded: only one comment:

Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm on Oct 10 2001, 22:05 GMT
responded: One more:

- This is the Pope�s answering service. You have herewith been blessed.

Jens Wulf (EMail:[email protected]) from NJ, USA on Nov 9 2001, 12:33 GMT
responded: the Onion article about MRR
Martin Silz (EMail:[email protected]) from Essen / Germany on May 8 2002, 8:55 GMT
responded: May be I'm blind or my computer does not work properly, but I am always redirected to the initial Onion-page and cannot find the article.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on May 8 2002, 9:31 GMT
responded: I don't even get that far... "Blocked by content rating". Mind you that has happened on quite a few sites with nothing "naughty" in them so I think there is a bug.
Peter Cooper (EMail:[email protected]) from Morecambe, Lancashire, England on Jul 12 2002, 18:17 GMT
responded: Why am I a trainspotter?

When I was a child and still in my pushchair, my parents used to take me to Morecambe Promenade Railway Station. They used to go into the Refreshment Room for a drink and leave me on the platform to watch the trains.

A spark off a steam loco landed in my pushchair and set alight to the blanket!

My father, on seeing this, came rushing out of the bar and threw his beer on the blanket to put the fire out!

I have been interested in trains and beer ever since!
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Isle of Dogs on Jul 16 2002, 7:14 GMT
responded: Peter, I am sorry but I think your Father's behaviour was terrible - wasting a good pint like that. Tipping you into a large puddle would have had exactly the same effect and would not have been so wasteful.

You are equally remiss as I suspect you did not get the number of the loco.

As a baby I was rocked off to sleep with my Father making train noises and I did the same with my daughter. Unfortunately, the girl is clearly disturbed and doesn't follow the same passion for railways that I have. It just shows that despite trying to bring your children up properly, buying her trainsets etc, they can still turn out badly.

tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 17 2002, 12:24 GMT
responded: For those who haven't discovered it yet try the Amtrek satire....

tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 17 2002, 12:26 GMT
responded: www.amtrek.net
tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 17 2002, 13:54 GMT
responded: Should be a link if this works:


Peter Cooper (EMail:[email protected]) from Morecambe, Lancashire, England on Jul 19 2002, 16:41 GMT
responded: Dave,

Unfortunately, he couldn't tip me in to a large puddle because as you know the sun always shines in Morecambe!!!

But you are quite right about wasting the pint - my father never forgave me for that and never bought me a train set for Christmas or my birthday!
Tim (EMail:) from UK on Jul 19 2002, 17:33 GMT
responded: Peter,

Agreed, the sun shines in Morecombe just as much as it does in Manchester.

tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 23 2002, 0:50 GMT
responded: Jens, I have checked 'the Onion' thoroughly (using a web spider) and they have now deleted the satire about the Model Railroad - maybe because it was true and therefore not satirical enough ?

Here's another good site....

Toy Trunk Railroad

Tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 23 2002, 0:56 GMT
responded: And another cartoon

Jens Wulf (EMail:[email protected]) from NJ, USA on Jul 23 2002, 3:19 GMT
responded: http://www.zu-den-zuegen.de/Seiten/Wetter/wetter3.htm

(simplified logo)
tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 23 2002, 4:07 GMT
Is the sun shining in Morecambe ?
tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Jul 23 2002, 4:08 GMT
responded: www.morecambe-weather.info
Peter Cooper (EMail:[email protected]) from Not so Sunny Morecambe on Aug 2 2002, 16:58 GMT
responded: I am afraid we must have had our ration of sunshine for this year because its done nowt but rain since I sent my last EMail. Still the steam wont set fire to the countryside!
Roger Marsh (EMail:) from Queensland, Australia on Aug 6 2002, 23:47 GMT
responded: A bit of off beat humour here. Not too long ago I emailed a shop in Germany seeking some Model railway items. I was not sure if they would understand my English email, but a reply came back in English saying that they had an email translator. I think it worked too well, as the email started with "DEar Herr Sumpf .....". Now I feel very wet and soggy.
Doug Howard (EMail:[email protected]) from Brookings, Oregon, USA on Aug 11 2002, 22:26 GMT
responded: Back in 1980, I was a member of the Willamette-Cascade Model Railroad Club in Eugene, Oregon, USA. My pride and joy at that time was my shiny-new Lima TGV in the classic Sud-Est (orange) paint scheme. It was full-length: 10 cars.

At one of our periodic module shows in a local shopping center, I brought my treasured "Fifi" with me. The club members and I had previously discovered that my TGV could race around the modules at a full 12 volts. Quite a sight!

I was understandably proud of "Fifi's" quickness. So you can imagine how I felt when a young boy, watching her gracefully undulating through our trackage, turned around to his youthful companions and shouted:

Rogier Donker (EMail:[email protected]) from USA on Aug 12 2002, 1:42 GMT
responded: Doug! :-)

Funny how young minds think alike : Earlier this year I refurbished an old Lima TGV Sud-Est. (I'm sending you pictures of the process ,just for the heck of it)
First time eleven year old Brock ran it : "Man, that is so cool! It looks like an orange snake!".....
Jens Wulf (EMail:[email protected]) from NJ, USA on Aug 19 2002, 6:48 GMT
responded: picked up in the Atlas forum, found by Alan Gartner:
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/304-16060: 1:87 roadkill
Jens Wulf (EMail:[email protected]) from NJ, USA on Aug 19 2002, 10:25 GMT
responded: anybody here reads AW Nuts self-proclaimed "FUNNEST Model Railroad Magazine"
Tigerli (EMail:) from Switzerland on Aug 19 2002, 12:17 GMT
responded: Here's an old joke which I remember, but worth recycling:

A Scotsman wanted to travel to Istanbul. He went to Tyndrum upper station and found it was closed that day and the sign said 'use ticket office in lower station'. So he walked to Tyndrum lower station and asked for a single to Istanbul. The ticket clerk said that was impossible, but he could have a ticket to Glasgow. So he bought a single to Glasgow and travelled there. At Glasgow Queen Street he asked for a ticket to Istanbul. We don't do tickets to Istanbul, you can walk to Glasgow Central or have a ticket from here to London via Edinburgh. At Glasgow Central it was the same story, so he bought a ticket from there to London. At London Euston they told him to go by Underground to Victoria international booking office where he finally got a single ticket to Istanbul.

After several weeks in Istanbul, it was time to return. He was dreading the hassle. At the ticket office he asked if it was even possible to buy single to Tyndrum and the prompt reply came 'Yes indeed, sir, upper or lower ?'

(Some may ask why he didn't buy return tickets ? a Scotsman never gives out more money than he needs to)
Jens Wulf (EMail:[email protected]) from NJ, USA on Sep 6 2002, 6:01 GMT
responded: rec.models.railroad, via google: Subject: New Flash - Rampage at Train Show or as thread
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Sep 14 2002, 10:36 GMT
responded: *--- snip ---*

After being prompted to have a good read of this, I have pruned out some of the non-humour as this discussion is supposed to be humour and anecdotes etc. Seeing as the Fairlie discussion was started afresh anyway....

Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm, Sweden on Sep 14 2002, 19:02 GMT
responded: Thanks... /Kurt
Alan Rees (EMail:) from Switzerland on Sep 14 2002, 19:25 GMT
Kurt M. (EMail:) from Stockholm, Sweden on Sep 15 2002, 18:43 GMT
responded: It is a pity the Ffestiniog Ry. (note that their loading gauge is JUST A LITTLE narrower than the clearance gauge!!) wasn�t allowed to retain those No-Trespassing signs which they set upp a number of years ago, reading:

"NO TRESPASSING. Survivors will be prosecuted."

Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, Czech rep. on Sep 18 2002, 18:40 GMT
responded: This is not a joke, its true. I saw on transsiberian railway level crossings signs like "Here died ten people including two children during last five years"
Alan Rees (EMail:tigerli@worldrailfans) from Switzerland on Sep 22 2002, 23:32 GMT
responded: Two Morons are at a railway station. The 1st Moron asks the clerk:
"Can I take this train to Highbury?" "No," answers the Railwayman.
"Can I?" asks the other.

Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Isle of Dogs on Sep 23 2002, 7:12 GMT
responded: Alan, by the destination you would not be implying that they are Arsenal fans by any chance?

I saw a cartoon many years back where a passenger was waiting on the platform and the man comes out of the ticket office and says, "You're the first person I've sold a ticket to since this station closed."
Alan Rees (EMail:) from Switzerland on Sep 23 2002, 8:54 GMT
responded: Dave, I didn't know Arsenal had any fans. Sorry if I offended them !

Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Nov 2 2002, 22:06 GMT

A tramp, who obviously has seen more than his share of hard times, approaches a well

dressed gentleman on the street. "Hey mate, can you spare two quid?"

The well-dressed gentleman replied, "You're not going to spend it on alcohol, are you?"

"No, sir, I don't drink!" retorts the tramp.

"You're not going to throw it away on cigarettes, are you?" asks the gentleman.

"No way, I don't smoke!" answers the tramp.

"You wouldn't waste the money on your model railway, would you?" asks the man.

"No, never," says the tramp, "I don't have a model railway!"

The gentleman then asks the tramp if he would like to come back to his house for a home

cooked meal. The tramp accepts eagerly. While they're heading for the man's house, the

tramp's curiosity gets the better of him.

The tramp asks: "Isn't your wife going to be angry when she sees me at your table?"

"Probably, but it will be worth it." says the man, "I want her to see what happens to a man

who doesn't drink, smoke or play with trains."

edward tierney (EMail:[email protected]) from Belfast UK. on Nov 16 2002, 20:09 GMT
responded: If anyone is interested. A long time ago was chatting with Walter (a co-worker) and he told me of an laughable experience. One fine sunny day Walter was directed to attend a trial run of an old decommissioned steamer locomotive and to assist the engineer. No carriages, just the loco itself. The loco leaves the station with Walter being briefed on "steam and all the workings" by the oldtimer engineer. Having run out into the bright and sunny countryside the loco was stopped for a while until the return trip on the same track and back to the same station. You can picture the scene. Two relaxed and happy guys exchanging yarns but in an open sided locomotive. What could go wrong?

Arriving back within the station area and unknownst to Walter and the oldtimer the loco was switched onto a parallel track. This track routed into and through a modern automatic carriage washing plant. When the water hit and the two guys knocked off their feet and covered in black grime and the two just roared and roared with laughter. Both guys unfortunately long gone now but not forgotten.
Mark Austin (EMail:[email protected]) from London, UK on Nov 17 2002, 9:26 GMT
responded: These are in the category of inappropriate messages (unintentionally funny).

Yesterday I was at Clapham Junction waiting for a Feltham train when an express crawled into the platform. Knowing this was not supposed to stop here I ignored it, but just as it ground to a halt, someone pressed the button on the station announcements computer, and out came the the standard message "Stand well clear of the platform. Fast train approaching". There was a gale of laughter along the platform.

A few years ago I was coming back from Canterbury to Chastham by train when the train ground to a halt at Sittingbourne. There we stood, until an announcement came that a lorry had run into a bridge. We had to wait until the bridge inspector had checked the damage and allowed traffic to resume. This took about 45 minutes. As we finally set off, the guard, surely on autopilot gave the standard announcement: "...this is a fast train to Chatham, Bromley South and Victoria". A whole trainload of passengers fell apart in laughter

Mark Austin
bob.g.mackay (EMail:bob.g@ntl) from Cambs.UK on Nov 18 2002, 22:46 GMT
responded: Many years ago there was a spoof program on TV that did stunts like free wheeling a car into a garage (with the engine removed) and asking the attendant to check the oil.....but the one I enjoyed most had the cameras on a faurly crowded London Terminus The station announcement came on.........
About half the people registered it and had a good giggle the rest looked bewidered at what everybody was laughing at.


edward tierney (EMail:[email protected]) from Belfast UK. on Nov 19 2002, 22:34 GMT
responded: Ireland again! where else!!
Always so very easy to write up "someone elses" laughable mistake. So being guilty of that (about 3 messages up) Feel that I ought to restore the balance. So for this time round it's a mea culpa.

With any railway workshop it usually happens that items of work are set aside, ready to be used as either spares or replacement units. All very well. But on occasion as a worker leaves the workshop for his annual vacation it happens that part completed work remains on his workbench as unfinished. The particular item on this occasion being an inter carriage electrical jumper lead.

Rolling stock Engineer rushes in to the workshop with a "Eddy we need that jumper real fast. Not your job, but would you complete the connections one for one but cross #28 and #29 (forward/reverse drive)... and fast" Job done with the jumper sent to the platform and hooked up on the train set.

Unknownst to me but the following happened. Passengers all aboard ... the green flag waved ... and the whistle blown ..... The driver releases the brake and selects notch #1. nothing happens, notch #2 nothing happens, notch #3 but still the train does not move off. Guess what? that freak (moi) did not take time to check the circuitry ... for I should have realised that the connections #28 and #29 were ALREADY crossed !!! Resulting in both end of the train set were now pulling in opposite directions. With red faces all round, mine in particular.
So Walter, wherever you are now please do take a grin.
Erik Meltzer (EMail:[email protected]) from Braunschweig, Germany on Nov 26 2002, 11:44 GMT
responded: Witnessed by me in an ICE Munich-Berlin:

Passenger kept talking into his cell phone, repeatedly, loudly and annoyingly, both making calls and receiving them. Mr. Important at work. He made his third or fourth call in a row, and though I really couldn't have cared less, I couldn't help but notice he phoned his wife or some such significant person. After the usual mindless chatter, which he shared with everyone in the car, he then said something like, "yes honey, I'm still at work, it'll be later tonight" -- at which point the rest of the exchange got drowned out by loud laughter from his unwilling audience.

I think Mr. Important had a bit of explaining to do "later tonight" ...
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, Czech rep. on Nov 27 2002, 13:02 GMT
responded: Almost the same situation two weeks ago in bus between Prague and Karlsbad. People are the same worldwide.
Edward Tierney. (EMail:[email protected]) from Belfast. UK. on Dec 31 2002, 20:24 GMT
responded: As there seems to be a dearth of stories coming onto these pages .........
Then may I offer this little morsel? Picture the scene. A diesel running shed with three power car carriages undergoing part overhaul. Engines partway removed etc with fitters kneeing in real close in their various undertakings. Shed sliding doors all closed, bar one ... slightly open. Myself standing alone amid the seats in the leading carriage. With one fitter just strolling across the gap in the doors ahead. To my amazement saw him throw him forward and flat on the ground with his head turned towards us and his mouth wide open ... I was doing a series of quick double takes from the man lying on the ground back to the doors and back again trying to figure out the problem.

Next instant BANG with the familiar yellow and black diagonal stripes "transformed" becoming the front end of an incoming train and on our very track. Bursting through and coming right at us. And guess what? Just on collision I simlpy jumped midair as my carriage got shunted ... landing neatly on my feet a few seats further on. Luckily no one was injured as the men scattered just in time. All caused by a runaway carriage once sitting innocously parked someways up the track and from an unnoticed incline. With buffers and wall damaged yet again. Could the same happen again where you work? Think safety spur... safety spur.
edward tierney (EMail:[email protected]) from Belfast. uk. on Dec 31 2002, 21:04 GMT
responded: Engrossed in my reflections (above) omitted "Happy and prosperous New Year" ....Note the time, past and present yes, but most of all think pensions lads, think pensions! Do something about it NOW! for as you know although the "incline" is slow ... there is a most certain and unforgiving buffer ahead, so do something about it ... or there may be an old man ahead (you) "looking back" at no one but yourself.
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Dec 31 2002, 21:07 GMT
responded: Edward, I am very glad no one was hurt.

From our offices on the 2nd floor I can see the main line between Zug and Lucerne. Now you have awakened me to the potential danger of a train accidentally derailling, crossing the road and approx. 1 km of open fields before smashing into the ground floor. :-)

Doug Howard (EMail:[email protected]) from Brookings, Oregon, USA on Jan 1 2003, 2:04 GMT
responded: Listed below are some actual complaints from locomotive engineers (E) and their responses by the repair shops (S). These were taken from actual paperwork of North American railroads:

(E) Thin flanges on #3 wheelset almost need replacement.
(S) Almost replaced #3 wheelset

(E) Dynamic brake very rough at any speed.
(S) This locomotive not equipped with dynamic brake

(E) #2 traction motor seeping oil.
(S) #2 traction motor seepage normal - #1 #3 and #4 motors lack normal seepage

(E) Something loose in cab.
(S) Something tightened in cab

(E) Evidence of leak in crankcase.
(S) Evidence removed

(E) Alerter volume unbelievably loud.
(S) Volume set to a more believable level

(E) Locomotive dances up and down when brake applied at up to 89 m.p.h.
(S) Could not reproduce problem in enginehouse

(E) Dead bugs on windshield.
(S) Live bugs on order

(E) Parking brake causes throttle lever to stick.
(S) That's what it's there for

(E) Engine missing.
(S) Engine found under hood after a brief search

(E) Locomotive handles funny.
(S) Locomotive given verbal warning to be serious

(E) Radio hums.
(S) Reprogrammed radio with the words

And below is my all-time favorite:

(E) Engine makes noise.
(S) Engine is supposed to make noise

Happy New Year 2003, everyone!

Doug :-)
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Jan 4 2003, 21:03 GMT
responded: Doug, I'm still laughing at those after 3 days!

I just found out the truth about how the 4' 8.5" gauge came to be.

Its the average length between the neck and ankles, of a damsel in distress !

Cheers, Alan
Eric Kirkland (EMail:[email protected]) from Wales UK on Jan 5 2003, 15:31 GMT
responded: Railway humour is often borne from necessity, since we all know that memo's never seem to work. In the Days of good old (?) British Rail, I was working as a ticket clerk in a remote one man station in Lincolnshire and was enjoying one of the regular audits by the internal auditors. As they monotously completed their number crunching and peered into every nook and cranny, they finally got around to testing the ticket office alarm system. A fairly new auditor asked for the alarm system to be tested. By this time I was game for anything, so I told him that first I would have to pop outside to see that no passengers were about in case they were deafened by the alarm. Then I returned to the ticket office, and asked if the auditors were ready for he test. When they said they were, I opened the flap on the ticket window and at the top of my voice yelled "HELP!!". Oddly enough a few weeks later the most up to date burgular and attack alarm system was installed!
Doug Howard (EMail:) from Brookings, Oregon, USA on Jan 5 2003, 17:53 GMT
responded: Hi, Alan...

Glad you enjoyed the humor. I still chuckle myself-and that was months ago!

These came from North America, of course. I find myself wondering if there have been similar entries in railroads overseas...

Eric, re: your alarm story - ROTFLMAO!

Doug :-)
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm, Sw. on Jan 6 2003, 13:35 GMT
responded: >...These came from North America, of course. I find myself wondering if there have been similar entries in railroads overseas...

Of course. If a driver/engineer should complain abt. screw hand brakes being too stiff, the no. 1 standard reply from fitters/repairmen all over the world would of course be: - Eat more porridge!

Now, a little New Year�s Contest:

Scenario: A steam loco driver has written the following in the engine failure report:

- Engine keeps throwing huge flames into the cab as soon as firedoor is opened!

What would the best and wittiest answer to that be?

Erik Meltzer (EMail:[email protected]) from Braunschweig, Germany on Jan 6 2003, 14:16 GMT
responded: Hi,

> Engine keeps throwing huge flames into the cab as soon as firedoor is opened!

Suggested reaction: throw huge amounts of coal back at engine to teach it who's the boss.
Petr Barchanek (EMail:[email protected]) from Prague, Czech rep. on Jan 6 2003, 18:38 GMT
responded: Doug,

It is funny, but it is a railway modified version of these widely known aeroplane jokes.

But this I really saw on my own eyes

Request for repair:
Change ewerything between front and rear buffers.

Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Jan 6 2003, 23:03 GMT
responded: We regret to announce that the train arrived at platforms 1,2,3,4 and 5 was delayed by a derailment.

Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Jan 6 2003, 23:14 GMT
responded: Kurt,

How about....

> Engine keeps throwing huge flames into the cab as soon as firedoor is opened!

(Service) Use coal only, engine not yet converted to burning oil.

Richard Cacciato (EMail:[email protected]) from New York on Jan 6 2003, 23:36 GMT
responded: How's this?

> Engine keeps throwing huge flames into the cab as soon as firedoor is opened!

Pet dragons should face forward when kept in firebox.

Michael Carlsson (EMail:) from Nyn�shamn, Sweden on Jan 8 2003, 17:51 GMT
responded: Do not open firedoors...

Notation: "Drivers seat is loose and wiggling"

Repairmen: "Eat spaghetti sideways"

Driver again: "Do it yourself, you *X%&!! so youll get the strength to fasten the seat!!!"

From the workshops at the Stockholm commuter trains depot in �lvsj�, 1984.

"Norwegian Reset": Turn everything off, then turn everything on again. Working? Repeat. Only thing that helps sometimes on the SJ X2000. Nobody knows why.

Kurt (EMail:) from S-holm on Jan 8 2003, 19:24 GMT
responded: I like the Dragon bit, yes... /Kurt
Erik Meltzer (EMail:[email protected]) from Braunschweig, Germany on Jan 9 2003, 8:32 GMT
responded: Hi,

> "Norwegian Reset": Turn everything off, then turn everything on again. Working?
> Repeat. Only thing that helps sometimes on the SJ X2000. Nobody knows why.

We'll see more of this behaviour with more complex machinery. It's also known as the "Microsoft Commit". And while we're at it, what will a Microsoft locomotive systems engineer suggest after the train could only just be halted in time before crashing, due to a bluescreen in the main controller's operating system?

"Let's go back and see if it does it again."

Yours, Erik.
Andy Hayter (EMail:) from MZ on Jan 9 2003, 11:49 GMT
responded: Eric,
You missed out the second half of the sentence...
"Let's go back and see if it does it again, but this time I want you to press the reset button while you have one hand on the door handle and the other on the bottom of the leading 25kV insualtor."
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Isle of Dogs on Jan 9 2003, 12:15 GMT
responded: Something which I read somewhere and is supposed to be true:

The American aircraft industry has some sort of gun that is used to fire dead chickens at windscreens to ensure they do not break with a bird strike. One of the British builders supposedly borrowed this and fired said bird which completely destroyed the windshield.

They submitted their results and sought guidance from the manufacturer who came back with the answer, "defrost the chicken first."

A friend of mine works for a local rail company C2C and they have had problems with their trains being taken out of service. The first occurs when the water level falls in one of the toilets and a sensor de-commissions the train - answer adjust the sensor.

The more serious problem was that some trains came to a stop with the computer shutting down and they did not know why. Re-boot the computer and everything was fine although this takes several minutes. The answer was that some of the freight locos on the line draw more current than the multiple units below which the computer was programmed for. Every time a freight train went by a passenger train shut down. again, adjust the senor levels. Isn't technology wonderful?
Michael Carlsson (EMail:) from Nyn�shamn, Sweden on Apr 3 2003, 8:03 GMT
responded: At work I drive a remote controlled shunting locomotive, built at about the same time as the Rainhill races took place. Of course this rod-driven electric beast never fails, except when... the PC-unit that works with the radio controls are cold!

The PC are placed in a heated, insulated box which is bolted so close to the outer wall of the cab that it actually is working more like a fridge, keeping any cold climate safely within. The heating element only works when the engine is already started. To be sure of it's ineffectiveness, a small fan at the top of the box (Intended for hot summer days... Doh!) ventilates off any heat produced by this element.

Every winter morning starts with a 30-45 minute heating-of-computer session, before any driving can be done. Below -20*C, the record so far is 3 hours to raise the temperature for the PC to a pleasant +5*C where it wakes up from it's winter sleep!

Thank God the pantograph and main switch isn't computer controlled!
Tibor Weidner (EMail:[email protected]) from Aachen, Germany on Apr 26 2003, 16:01 GMT
responded: Hi all,

while searching for Zp9 signals I found the following:
Horrific pictures of a railway accident and causality research.

Esp. you fathers (and mothers) - have fun!
Rupert Langham (EMail:[email protected]) from Devizes UK on Jul 11 2003, 13:37 GMT
responded: British rail traveller anecdotes http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3057141.stm
11tghhkklll,,,,xxccvvvbbnnn;;;mnnjjjjjjjhhhhggff3780o655eety (EMail:uuuueee) from csxyeffffff on Aug 25 2003, 0:34 GMT
responded: htyyyhuiiii[[[[[[[[[oijjjjjkjjjjjjhggderttufjfjjujkiookkgfdfdrurejhfkijkpot
Roger Marsh (EMail:) from Kingaroy, Australia on Aug 25 2003, 2:25 GMT
responded: OK very funny, now what was the joke?
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Aug 29 2003, 13:36 GMT

"Exit with honor" ?

Roger Marsh (EMail:) from Kingaroy, Australia on Aug 29 2003, 23:27 GMT
responded: Clinton, your powers of translation astound me. I thought we might have a variant reading of an ancient Akkadian text relating to the epic of Gargamel, a Sumerian railway modeller and philosopher of the fifth millenium BCE.
Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Aug 30 2003, 13:31 GMT

Correct again, Roger! John, what do we have for our winner? (Besides the home game version...) Gad! One is humbled daily.

Clinton (lifer)

John McCarthy (EMail:[email protected]) from New Brunswick, Canada on Sep 28 2003, 17:25 GMT
responded: My girlfriend read a short Story (by a Canadian Author) in University entitled "Engine No. 9". It was, apparently, the most humerous story in the history of english literature. Does anyone know the authors name, or where I might find a copy of this jem? Thanks. -JRM
Bryan Benn (EMail:[email protected]) from West Malling, UK on Sep 28 2003, 18:11 GMT
responded: John,

Like you probably did, I have done a GOOGLE search for "Engine No.9."

Just 2.5 million results from that search to investigate. I'll come back if I find the story in there, but I may not be that sober as the Engine no. 9 that I shall probably keep re-visiting is a pub & brewery in the USA!

Our Welsh Wizard Alan is the most likely to come up with some good links on this one.

Bryan B

PS, didn't the great Gareth Edwards once wear a number 9 shirt? And visit the odd pub from time to time?
Alan Rees (EMail:) from Switzerland on Sep 28 2003, 18:52 GMT
responded: Bryan,
Thankyou for volunteering me to read through 2.5 Million sites. In the meantime do sit back and enjoy some Holsten Pils. It'll be a long wait.

Alan :-)
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Sep 28 2003, 19:13 GMT
responded: There'd be less occurences of "Engine No.9" if it weren't the name of a thrash metal band in Sweden. (Whatever thrash metal is?). And something to do with the Deftones.

In fact it seems that "Engine No.9" has been used for all sorts of things. What is wrong with 1-8 or 10 upwards that's what I'd like to know?! :-)
Tim (EMail:) from Dorset on Sep 28 2003, 19:32 GMT
responded: 2.5million? What parameters are you using for Google? I counted just 2,650.

Richard Cacciato (EMail:[email protected]) from New York on Sep 28 2003, 20:09 GMT
responded: Attempt to close the open HREF tag.
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Sep 28 2003, 20:33 GMT
responded: After wading through several thousand search results I found that an 'Engine no 9' figured in the book ''The Cat Who Blew the Whistle' by Lilian Jackson Braun
who has written at least 12 books with titles beginning with 'The cat who.....'

Saddened by this discovery, I have decided to discontinue further research.

John McCarthy, Please ask your girlfriend for more details.

Alan :-(
Bryan Benn (EMail:[email protected]) from West Malling, Uk on Sep 28 2003, 21:11 GMT
responded: Alan, good news. It isn't 2.5 million results, just as Tim thought it might not be.

Just searched again and it came up with a paltry 2,480,000.

So, that makes your job so much easier now doesn't it?

You may just finish checking them all before Wales win the Rugby World Cup next. And I did try Engine no. 9 with and without the full stop after the "no" Tim. Result was the same both times with my version of GOOGLE.

Alan, it's nearly October and you suggest I'm still drinking Holsten Pils. Oktoberfestbier is here! But of course back in Hamburg I will only drink the local brew, from Engine no. 01 1100.

A final point. What on earth is Alan doing linking us to books with "cat" in the title. Maybe it was one of our little darlings that won him round a few weeks ago! Or maybe not.

Bryan B

PS Anyone shut the HREF tag yet?

Tim Hale (EMail:[email protected]) from Dorset, UK on Sep 28 2003, 21:50 GMT
responded: I make no apologies for cutting and pasting from Dorset Reichsbahn Group I thought that whilst I was away for a few weeks you might like something to smile about.

Does anyone know this person?

Exhibition stereotypes-The Sheep Dip

It had been a while since I last met one of these, then at the Warley Show, there it was -the rancid, festering odour of the truly socially inept sad act that is the Sheepdip: those who seem to find the simple process of washing, bathing or personal cleanliness in the realm of theoretical physics. The aforesaid person was not readily apparent on this occasion, these was merely a brief pause as the nostrils received a severe kicking and then the pleasant, refreshing influx of clean air.�

Normally the Sheepdip will be dressed in a similarly dishevelled manner: a mix of dingy browns and greys, frayed cuffs, unpolished shoes, holed trousers, generally ill-fitting garb. It is not as if water is particularly expensive in this country, let's face it, enough of it falls out of the sky for free or that internal bathrooms are rare treats only for the privileged. So, just what is the problem? The Beano/Dandy stereotype of scruffy pre-teen oik loathing water is not appropriate on this occasion. One is tempted to suggest that enough soil could be scraped off said person (NBCD suit advisable here) one might find a 'mature' person under there. That's mature as in well developed blue cheese.
It is precisely this sort of social ineptness that gives us all a bad name, reinforcing the view that railways are only for the terminally sad. Looking around, one has to wonder what is it about railways that makes them such idiot magnets?�

One has to feel sorry for traders. Just where has that suspiciously warm 2p piece been? Why is it so polished? How long has it been there?
Just what is the earthly purpose of these people? It's not as if they are any use in clearing space around the exhibits (unlike one gentlemen's reputed ability to fart upon request) They smell like a sheepdip and could do with being put through a sheepdip.

One feels like forming a (long stick) pressure group to rid the hobby of such people. Moreover, some exhibitors can be like this. One crew, according to rumour, only used to take one change of clothes for an entire weekend and were supposedly capable of finding six ways of wearing underwear. I can only think of four (normal, back to front, inside out and inside out back to front) but have only tried one.

With thanks to the editor of The Oily Rag


Alan Rees (EMail:) from Switzerland on Oct 5 2003, 20:35 GMT
responded: Man who sleep on railway track, wake up with split personality.

Tiger Li
Herbert Fackeldey (EMail:[email protected]) from Aachen, Germany on Oct 6 2003, 13:43 GMT
responded: That's what happened on the Appenzell-Wei�bad-Wasserauen in Switzerland in the 1920's. After that, the line was called "Vagabunden-Guillotine"!


Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Isle of Dogs on Oct 15 2003, 14:40 GMT
responded: Whilst at the Bluebell Railway on Sunday I heard a comment from a fellow passenger. I do not know if he was being ironic or thick.

"They have four locos in steam. The Watercress Line had only one and that was a diesel."

Without wishing to be pedantic, they actually had five in steam and not one was a diesel.

For those interested, Green Arrow was there and will be for three weeks. I was told that it is nearing the end of it's boiler certificate and once it has expired it will not steam again as there are too many problems.

However, the Dukedog will be making an appearance around 2 November.
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm, Sw. on Oct 16 2003, 11:10 GMT
responded: Sad news - GREEN ARROW must definitely be one of the very best "standard" engines ever built. What kind of problems does he/she have? /kurt
Dave Howell (EMail:[email protected]) from Isle of Dogs on Oct 16 2003, 12:17 GMT
responded: Sorry, Kurt but I did not ask. Mainly because even if I had been told I probably would not have understood.
John DeMelas (EMail:[email protected]) from Tennessee, USA on Oct 19 2003, 5:12 GMT
responded: Refering back to Mr. Nelson's comment, I once purchased several frieght cars at a swap meet. Among these were several boxcars (Vans for you Brits) and a single refrigerator car. Upon arriving home these new additions were put to the test and "tuned-up" for use on my pike. I soon found that the refrigerator car seemed unbalanced, and wobbled about, almost as if it were a little tipsy, or perhaps even inebriated. Obviously, an investigation into the cause of the wayward car's erratic behavior was warranted.

Removal of the car's body quickly revealed the cause of its strange, intoxicated behavior...
The car was filled with a bag of Marijhuna!

Now THATS a Reefer!

John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Oct 19 2003, 7:12 GMT
responded: One things for sure, you wouldn't want to try smoking the sort of grass you normally get on a model railway! Poooo, burning rubber.
Greg.Procter (EMail:[email protected]) from Takaka, New Zealand on Oct 19 2003, 12:20 GMT
responded: Hi,

Scene: 1967 - student flat - 5am there was a knock at the door.
Doopy flatmate opens the door to five burly men in raincoats.
"May we come in?"
"Err yes" says doopy flatmate. Apparently this is legally
sufficient for the drug squad to do an entire search of the
house without recourse to obtaining a search warrent!
The search of my room turned up a strange carton with various
model railway items.
Now I'm not one who lets these sorts of things happen without
enquiring about the extent of my rights and the nice policemen
were getting irritated. At the bottom of the carton was a
tinplate tin intended for posting portions of wedding cake. It
had a nice tight fitting lid and was ideal for holding open
plastic bags of grass.
"AHHAHH, what have we here?" said the nice policeman.
After I had inspected the find and considered my answer, I
responded with utter honesty and truthfulness and with a slightly
doleful look "That's my grass".
The nice policemen left at that point, apparently in an improved
frame of mind.
The following evening, the senior officer personally returned
my tin of grass with an apology for "Sir" and some mumbled
comment that the missing portion was due to their having
carried out lab tests.
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Oct 25 2003, 22:51 GMT
responded: Roy is applying for a high paying executive job at the railroad and during the interview, an inspector asks him, "What would you do if you saw two trains were heading towards each other on the same track?"

Roy says, "I would switch one train to another track."

"What if the lever broke?" asks the inspector.

"Then I�d use the manual lever." answers Roy.

"What if that had been struck by lightning?" asks the inspector.

"I�d use the phone to call the next signal box."

"What if the phone was busy?"

"I�d use the public phone near the station."

"What if that had been vandalized?"

"If that happened," Roy answers, " I'd run home and get Carla. "

The inspector asked, "Why would you do that?"

"Because Carla has never seen a train crash."
Kenny S Ericson (EMail:) from Segeltorp Sweden on Oct 27 2003, 19:57 GMT

This was mailed to me from a friend who found it somewhere:

Thomas was late for the station. He was very cross with the new tilting trains, which had held him
up because they could not tilt properly, and now he was running along the track, trying to make up
for lost time. "Oh come along We're rather late. Oh, come along! We're rather late," he sang to
Annie and Clarabel, his two coaches. But Thomas could not seem to go faster than 100 miles per hour,
no matter how hard he puffed.

"Why am I unable to exceed these silly speed restrictions?" whistled
Thomas impatiently. Annie and Clarabel laughed, because the high-speed
line had recently been upgraded to include Automatic Train Protection (ATP), which intervenes
automatically to ensure naughty engines comply with set speed limits. "Bother! Something must be
wrong with my firebox," said Thomas. By the time he got to the station, the Slim Controller was
already waiting for him.

"Thomas, you are 47 minutes late, well within our performance targets
for this month," said the Slim Controller, who was looking very young
and fit for a man his age. "Congratulations."

"Thank you, Sir," said Thomas. He noticed that the platform was crowded with schoolchildren, many of
whom were shaking and crying.

"These children need to go to the seaside for the day," said the Slim
Controller, "but they are afraid to ride on a train, because they think it might crash. I need you
to show them how safe rail travel can be."

Suddenly, much to Thomas's surprise, competent rail workers in
high-visibility clothing began to uncouple Annie and Clarabel.

"Help, Thomas! Help!" shouted Clarabel.

"Where are we going?" cried Annie.

"I'm afraid that Annie and Clarabel are Mark I rolling stock," said the Slim Controller, "creaky old
slam-door coaches from the 1960s. We'll be replacing them with newer stock immediately."

Thomas was sad to see Annie and Clarabel being towed away, but he was
soon smiling again when he saw his two shiny new carriages, Helga and

"We come from Sweden," they sang in lovely soft voices, as the competent railway workers finally
managed to get the doors to open. As the frightened children were forced on to Thomas's two new
coaches, he got a very naughty idea.

"I'll show them just how much FUN trains can be!" he peeped.

"Be a good little engine, Thomas," said the Slim Controller. "Remember
that my pay incentives are directly linked to your performance." As he
pulled out of the station, Thomas soon forgot the Slim Controller's
warning. Instead of going directly to the seaside, Thomas headed for a
main line which he knew had yet to be upgraded with ATP. Thank goodness the government had reneged
on its safety commitments! Then, just as he approached the junction his brakes squealed, and poor
Thomas found himself standing still on the line. "Whatever now?" he moaned.

"You passed a signal, Thomas!" sang Helga. "You passed a signal at

"Those signals are only for lazy trains who need a rest," said Thomas.
"My driver passes them all the time."

"It's not up to your driver, any more, Thomas," said Sophie. "The new
Automatic Warning System applies your brakes whenever you pass a signal at danger, unless your
driver cancels the warning within two seconds."

"Well why didn't he, then?" demanded Thomas. "There's no one here but

"Sorry," said Thomas's driver. "I'm really stoned." Slowly the train
began to reverse up the tracks.

"Not to worry mate," peeped Thomas with a cheeky wink, "your secret's
safe with me."

"Nothing personal," said the driver, "but it really freaks me out when
you talk."

Now Thomas and Helga and Sophie were heading for the seaside once again. However Thomas was planning
more tricks to frighten his passengers. Perhaps he would derail into a field with an angry bull in
it! That would teach those children not to ride on trains! Thomas looked for some faulty points, or
a nice pile of wet leaves, but there were none to be found. He hoped he might spot some vandals
damaging the track, but all along the way on both sides appropriate fencing had been installed to
inhibit access. "It is estimated that 55% of all train incidents are due to vandalism!" sang Sophie.

"Huh," said the driver.

At the next station some policemen came and escorted Thomas's driver off the train. "We are taking
you for drug testing," said one of them.
"Allegations have been made under the new Confidential Incident
Reporting and Analysis System - the whistleblower's charter, if you like."

"The system is open to all Railway Group members, as well as other
participating companies," sang Helga and Sophie.

"Bye-bye! Good luck. Bye-bye! Good luck," puffed Thomas.

"Does anyone hear them besides me?" asked the driver.

Eventually a new driver was found for Thomas, one who had tested
negative for cannabis, positive for literacy and hadn't been poached by Virgin Trains. Soon Thomas
and Helga and Sophie were under way again. Now the children were smiling as Thomas adhered strictly
to prevailing speed restrictions all the way to the seaside. In the village he met Bertie Bus
driving down the stretch of road which runs alongside the railway.

"Hullo, Thomas!" said Bertie. "Care to race?"

"I can't," moaned Thomas. "The track won't let me! It's called safety."

"Why, rail travel is already much safer than going by bus," said Bertie, slamming into a bridge
abutment, killing four.

"Really? said Thomas. He began to think that safety wasn't so bad after all. When he finally pulled
into the station, the Slim Controller was there waiting for him.

"How did you get here so fast?" asked Thomas.

"I flew on EasyJet," said the Slim Controller. "It's very convenient,
and I wanted to be here in order to give you this award for Effective
Risk Management. Thomas, you really are a safe little engine." The children cheered as they

"Thank you," said Thomas proudly. "It remains my number-one priority."

Bryan Benn (EMail:[email protected]) from West Malling, UK on Nov 2 2003, 18:22 GMT
responded: Whilst partaking of Sunday lunch today, (roast garlic flavoured with lamb), I was reminded of an amusing incident in the late 1980s in South Africa.

I had taken my wife and two daughters to Witput, a tiny halt on the then still partly steam operated double track main line between Kimberley and De Aar in the Northern Cape. It was a July, so mid winter, and the little "hotel" of just five rooms was ideal holiday accomodation. Tin roof, no heating, power just in the evening from an electric generator and water pumped out of the ground by one of those lovely African windmill type water pumps. Well below zero at night and so cold that it was usual to sleep partly or fully dressed. But the hotel was a few feet from the main line, and just three of four hundred yards North of Witput station that only saw one stopping train a day. A mixed train in the early hours of the morning. And as usual I was in the luxurious room number five that had a bath and toilet, (not much use until late morning when the frozen pipes thawed out), and also a door leading out directly onto the side of the railway track.

But the food, beer and wine was good, and whenever more than one "group" was there, the evening meal was inevitably taken together at the same table. Lovely food provided by hotelier Salmon Nell, a genial six foot South African who looked like a dwarf next to his farmer brothers. All of whom would no doubt have been Springbok rugby forwards except they were too tall and wide to get through the tunnel from dressing room to rugby pitch!

Anyway one night we were joined at dinner by a semi-interested steam enthusiast Brit who was passing and had decided to sample the wonders of Witput hotel and the large 25NC 4-8-4's that still roared past from time to time. We exchanged names, as you do, and I gave him an idea of the likely steam timetable, including the early morning stopping train which I said was worth getting out of the hotel to watch thrash past as it pulled away from the lonely desert halt.

I had forgotten that early next morning as I pulled on every available piece of warm clothing, ignored the curses of my wife as I went out through the door that opened directly into the night to be beside the line as the 25NC started to leave the station, driven on this morning by a good friend. Just after it passed I was startled by our dinner table companion coming up to me out of the shadows and into the light of the hotel lamp. Enough light to see a look of amazement in his face as he handed me a letter, addressed to myself. Hardly able to believe what he was saying he blurted out.."this landed at my feet tied around a piece of coal as the locomotive went past. And it's addressed to you"...

Thinking fast in the sub zero temperature I replied, "Oh, it must be my post, it always arrives like this when I stay here".. and made to walk back to my room and shut the door before my wife expired of frost bite. But I turned and explained the mystery to him! ..."The loco driver is a friend, and whenever he works a night train past here here he copies down the steam loco diagrams for the next day, addresses them to me, ties them to a lump of coal and throws them out to me as he passes by. Only tonight he must have thought you were me as he certainly wouldn't have expected a crowd by the side of the line at this time of the morning in such cold weather waiting to see his train pass!"....

I was out filming before breakfast, and when I returned late in the morning the Brit had gone. No doubt wondering what madness he had witnessed the night before.

Bryan B
Martin (EMail:) from Bangkok Thailand on Nov 4 2003, 15:51 GMT
responded: Just BTW Kenny's story was originally in the Guardian or the Grauniad.

My cat was found sleeping in a tunnel on my layout, but repeated charges with locomotive failed to move him, had to lift up tunnel and break it. Then he tried the other tunnel and we had to break that too. Then took to sleeping in the public park, scattering trees and benches everywhere.

I'm loth to rebuild until I find some way of deterring cat attacks - any suggestions? please?

Martin (EMail:) from Bangkok Thailand on Nov 4 2003, 15:59 GMT
responded: sorry that's
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Nov 4 2003, 16:04 GMT
responded: Martin,
You are not the only one to suffer. You can find some good ideas, and sympathy, here:

Cats - attacks on model railways etc.

British society for the prevention of cats

Why didn't you brick up the tunnel entrance ?

Alan :-)

Martin (EMail:) from Bangkok Thailand on Nov 5 2003, 5:25 GMT
responded: Thanks Alan, I should indeed block off cat access to tunnels. At least when the layout is unattended. bit of a no-brainer ;-0 Otherwise still thinking of things to deter him from jumping up there in the first place.


Tim Hale (EMail:[email protected]) from Dorset, UK on Nov 13 2003, 12:38 GMT
responded: Errr,

Why is there such a strong connection with model railways and cats, is there some dark thing deep in the pysche of modellers that must include cats?

If so, how have I escapred?

Why do I regard cats as a creature that doesn't spell god backwards?

Tim (Jack Russells R us*)

&That; explains a great deal
Frank Forsten (EMail:[email protected]) from Kevelaer, Germany on Nov 22 2003, 10:58 GMT
responded: Hmm, a new & nice approach to "model" railroading can be found at ebay, look here :-))

So what about cats?


Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Nov 22 2003, 11:35 GMT
responded: What a model !

Clinton Ross (EMail:[email protected]) from Boston, US on Nov 22 2003, 12:00 GMT

Don't you just hate it when the previously firm scenery gathers age and gravity? A very sag state of affairs.

Clinton (tu)

Stephen Rifkind (EMail:[email protected]) from Chicago, IL on Nov 25 2003, 22:31 GMT
responded: After several pre-war Marx trains met with an untimely demise via kitty cat "gravity games," I left my tracks electrified at all times; my cat soon learned to stay off.
John Oxlade (EMail:[email protected]) from Salfords, Surrey, UK on Nov 26 2003, 6:56 GMT
responded: I am not sure if the museum is stil there, but some years ago I went to a toy and model museum in the cellar/basement of Brighton railway station. They had an antire layout of old tinplate (didn't pay enough attention at the time, but I think it was Marklin 0-scale). Anywya, this stuff ran on 110 volts and they had to have a perspex screen up around it to stop "Little Johnny" from poking the track with his fingers.
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Nov 29 2003, 22:40 GMT

What do model trains and women's breasts have in common ?

Both are intended for kids, but it's the dads who like to play with them.

SarahJ (EMail:[email protected]) from Brighton UK on Dec 2 2003, 0:50 GMT
responded: It's still there, though I've never made it in to see it yet, always seems just to be closing.

Bob Nelson (EMail:lionelsoni at aol.com) from Austin, TX, USA on Dec 18 2003, 15:21 GMT
responded: A-propos of high-voltage models, I lubricated up and put my Lionel 253 electric under the Christmas tree the other day, pulling 4 7-1/2-inch passenger cars with the same peacock-and-orange paint.

Last night I briefly replaced the transformer by my DC reducer--like the train, about 75 years old. This is the first time since I bought it a few years ago that I have dared to use it. At first I thought I would have to replace the power cord and plug at least; but, after a close inspection, I could see only a little cosmetic damage. So I determined the polarization that the plug would have had, had it been polarized, and plugged it in so as to have the track at ground rather than 120 volts.

It and the train worked beautifully, smoother than any transformer (and got toasty warm under its asbestos heat shield, as expected).

I looked the prices of this outfit up in my 1929 catalog: Train and reducer, $27.40 (somewhat less in Euros, alas).
Tim Hale (EMail:[email protected]) from Castleview Retirement Home, Springfield on Dec 22 2003, 17:20 GMT
responded: Some of you may not understand this, but it is sooooo true...........

Getting Old?

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us
who were kids in the 50's, 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have

Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based
paint which was promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or
cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent
'clackers' on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in
the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the

We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop
with sugar in it, but we were
never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one
actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed
down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After
running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long
as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and
no one minded. We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at
all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no
mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends
we went outside and found them.

We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that
ball really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and
there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same
thing again.

We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue
we learned to get over it.

We walked to friend's homes.

We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we didn't rely
on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live
stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very
many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was
unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and
problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an
explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we
learned how to deal with it all.

And you're one of them. Congratulations!

Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as
real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own

For those of you who aren't old enough, thought you might like to read about

This my friends, is surprisingly frightening......and it might put a smile
on your face.

The majority of students in universities today were born in
1983........They are called youth.

They have never heard of We are the World, We are the children,
and the Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel.

They have never heard of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Nena or
Belinda Carlisle.

For them, there has always been only one Germany and one

AIDS has existed since they were born.

CD's have existed since they were born.

Michael Jackson has always been white.

To them John Travolta has always been round in shape and they
can't imagine how this fat guy could be a god of dance.

They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are just new
films out last year.

They think that N-Trance "set you free" is an Old Skool song.

They can never imagine life before computers.

They've never heard of Pac-Man or Space Invaders or BBC
computers that have Bat n Ball games.

They'll never have thought Jazz was the sexiest aftershave ever.

They'll never have pretended to be the A Team, Red Hand Gang or
the Famous Five.

They'll never have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why
Don't You.

They can't believe a black and white television ever existed
and don't even know how to switch on a TV without a remote control.

And they will never understand how we could leave the house
without a mobile phone.

Now let's check if we're getting old...

1. You understand what was written above and you smile.

2. You need to sleep more, usually until the afternoon, after
a night out.
3. Your friends are getting married.

4. You are always surprised to see small children playing
comfortably with computers.

5. When you see teenagers with mobile phones, you shake your

6. You've developed more and more feelings about your work.
It's now your life.

7. You spend less and less time talking on phone with your
friends daily.

8. You meet your friends from time to time, talking about the
good old days, repeating again and again all funny stories you have
experienced together.

Pierre B (EMail:) from France on Dec 22 2003, 18:52 GMT
responded: Tim, according to the above, I'm definitely old, yet when a friend my age once referred to herself as "middle aged", I thought she was talking about her grandmother. Strange. Maybe I'm just "getting old", but then so is everyone.
Kurt M�ller (EMail:) from Stockholm, Sw. on Dec 22 2003, 19:08 GMT
responded: Once a prominent Swedish humorist & cartoonist remarked:

- Infant children are angels - whose wings grow shorter and shorter with age.
Tim Hale (EMail:) from UK on Dec 22 2003, 19:36 GMT
responded: My son (when aged five) said, 'It's good to be short, because your'e the last person to know when it's raining but first to know when there's a flood'

How true that is.

Tim (Now shorter than his son)
Alan Rees (EMail:[email protected]) from Switzerland on Dec 22 2003, 23:03 GMT
responded: How come we get over the hill without getting to the top ?

Ingo (EMail:[email protected]) from Greater Hamburg Area, Germany on May 28 2004, 11:01 GMT
responded: An offering Poster of the German State RR "DB" a few years ago Showed the "Nose" of the ICE Train and the Offer "Komfortabel bis zu Zugspitze, genie�en Sie Ihren Urlaub in vollen Z�gen." - My own Translation - "Comfortable until to the Train's Nose and enjoy your Holidays in full Movements." - There is a second understanding in the German Language by some Words:
Zugspitze: 1.)Train's Nose 2.)Name of the highest German Rock at the Alps
...in vollen Z�gen: 1.) ...in full Movements 2.) in fullfilled Trains like Sardines inside a Can
So those Offer could mean: "Comfortable until to the Zugspitze, enjoy your Holidays in fullfilled Trains."
The German State RR "DB" did not know, that that is the general Pactise of their reglary long distance Trains on Friday and on Sunday, when the Rekruits of the Army on their Weekend Trip Home by regulary Trains, there are often long Distance Express Trains like the Subway (undrgrond) durinf the Rush Hour.
How you would enjoy your Holidays, if you will not have a Seat on your Journey.

Herbert Fackeldey (EMail:as usual) from from smaller Aachen, Germany on May 28 2004, 20:49 GMT
responded: A "Zug" kann also be a draught from a glass or a can, as well as from a cigarette. As our army is considered the nation's drinking school and there are always soldiers on the train on weekends, the poster appears absolutely silly to me.

Herbert (still sober)
Pierre B (EMail:) from France on May 29 2004, 7:45 GMT
responded: On the subject of silly advertising, this is the scan of a Deutsche Post / DHL advert which appeared in "Der Spiegel" on 17 April 2004. It's on the website of a model dealer in Germany, who are looking to switch suppliers for mail order. As they say: with DHL the packets may get to their destination on time, but in what condition?...

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