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Railroad TalesOLD WEST LEGENDS

Railroad Quips, Quotes & Jokes

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Railroad Quotes

Railroad Prohibitions

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Railroad Quotes:

 

Missouri-Kansas-Texas train under several feet of water,1904

Missouri-Kansas-Texas train under several feet of water,1904.

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The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, 15 or 20 miles an hour.... A carriage will start from Washington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia, and sup in New York the same day.... Engines will drive boats 10 or 12 miles an hour, and there will be hundreds of steamers running on the Mississippi, as predicted years ago.  -- Oliver Evans, 1800.

The same year Evans made this statement, he created the earliest successful non-condensing high pressure stationary steam-engine. Four years later, in 1804, he built the  first steam-powered boat.

A railroad is like a lie you have to keep building it to make it stand. -- Mark Twain

RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition. -- Ambrose Bierce

 

Nothing was more up-to-date when it was built, or is more obsolete today, than the railroad station. -- Ada Louise Huxtable

 

A private railroad car is not an acquired taste. One takes to it immediately. -- Eleanor Robson Belmont (1879-1979)

 

The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802

 

If God had meant for us to fly, he wouldn't have given us the railways. -- Unknown

Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia. --  Dionysius Lardner (1842 - 1914) US journalist, short-story writer

 

Railroad Steam Engine

Railroad with steam engine in the foreground, 1915.

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I can see nothing to hinder a steam carriage moving on its ways with a velocity of 100 miles an hour. -- Colonel John Stevens, 1812

 

Railroad iron is a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

 

Only fools want to travel all the time. Sensible men want to arrive. -- Metternick

 

One stretch of track was so crroked we met ourselves coming back. - Unknown

 

 

Quotes Appearing in Books and Newspapers:

 

"On which side of the platform is my train?" asked a stranger in a Jersey City depot the other day.

"Well, my friend," replied a gentleman, passing, "if you take the left you'll be right; if you take the right you'll be left." -- Weekly Mountaineer
, The Dales, Oregon, January 6, 1877

 

An old man with long gray whiskers came through the cars selling popcorn, chewing gum and candy. "Hey!" said one of his customers. "I thought young boys were supposed to do your job."

 

"I was a boy when this train started." -- On A Slow Train Through Arkansas, Thomas W. Jackson, 1903.

 

A conductor on the Chicago & Alton Railroad is reported as having forbidden honeymoon "billing and cooing." Observing a bridegroom's arm out of place he forbade further demonstrations.

"But I have a right to hug her," said John.
 

"Not on a railroad," said the conductor, "there is a law against all unjust discriminations on railroads, and as I haven't a woman for each man on the train to hug, your action is in violation of the law and must be stopped." -- Bedrock Democrat, Baker City, Oregon, March 11, 1874.

 

The unintelligibility of a brakeman's call when announcing a station is proverbial. The other day however one called Yuma plainly enough. There was a sheriff on the train with some prisoners for the penitentiary, and upon announcing the arrival the brakeman shouted: "Yuma! Change Clothes; 10 years for refreshments!" --The Daily Arizona Miner, Prescott, May 20, 1884

 


Railroad Prohibitions: At one time, these were (and sometimes still are) actual laws or railroad rules.

 

West Virginia law required that if a railroad passed within one mile of a community with 100 or more people, then it was required to build a station and stop their regularly to pick-up and drop-off passengers.


A Chicago, Illinois law once prohibited eating in a place that was on fire. After much discussion, a 1912 amendment exempted dining cars on steam trains.


Texas law once said: When two trains meet each other at a railroad crossing: each train shall come to a full stop and neither train shall proceed until the other has gone. Huh??

 

A New York City Ordinance prohibited the shooting of rabbits from the rear of a Third Avenue street car if it was in motion. 

 

Believe it or not, putting salt on a railroad track in Alabama was once punishable by death.

 

It is considered a misdemeanor offense to throw pickle juice at a trolley in Rhode Island..

In Seattle, Washington, women who sit on men's laps on trains without placing a pillow between them would face an automatic six-month jail term.

 

It is against the law for a railroad to remove itself from a town of more than five hundred people in South Carolina.


In Washington state, a dog must have accompanied the cowcatcher to scare livestock from the tracks.

In West Virginia, it was once illegal to sleep on a train.

 

If you attack a train in Indiana, you're gonna be jailed!

In South Dakota, it is illegal to place firecrackers on railroad track. The fine doubles if they are lit.

In Rhode Island, it is illegal to operate a passenger car between a locomotive and a load of dirt.


The state of Minnesota enacted a law that defined all railroad cars as buildings, and as such were  subject to the same rules and restrictions listed in state building codes.

It is illegal to place soap on railroad tracks in Mississippi.

 

In Wisconsin it was once illegal to kiss on a train.

In South Carolina railroad companies may be held liable for scaring horses.

A Gary, Indiana ordinance once prohibited anyone from attending a movie house, theater, or riding on a  public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic.

 

Railroad Jokes:

  • Two drunks were walking upgrade between the railroad tracks. One of them said, "this is is longest stairway I have ever been on." To this, the other replied, "It's not the stairs that bother me, it's the low banister."

  • A large two engined train was crossing America. After they had gone some distance one of the engines broke down. "No problem," the engineer thought, and carried on at half power. Farther on down the line, the second engine broke down, and the train slowed to a dead stop. The engineer decided he should inform the passengers about why the train had stopped, and made the following announcement:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."

  • A man and a woman, who had never met before, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a transcontinental train.  Although initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, the two are tired and fall asleep quickly -- he in the upper bunk and she in the lower.  At 2:00 a.m., he leans over and gently wakes the woman, saying, "Ma'am, I'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket?  I'm awfully cold."  "I have a better idea," she replies. "Just for tonight, let's pretend that we're married."  "Wow!  That's a great idea!!" he exclaims.  "Good," she replies.  "Get your own damn blanket." 

  • Two drunks were walking down a New York City street when one fell down the subway steps.  When he got back up top he told his drinking partner, "...boy you got to see that guy's train set in the basement!" 

 

 

Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, added January, 2008 

 

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