Monday, August 29, 2005

Track walker

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

I had a question from a friend about the track walker. I know such individuals existed, and I imagine the position is as old as railroading. But I realize I know little of the matter.

I presume he was assigned to a section crew. Did he walk halfway to the next section and then walk back (so two walkers would cover a full section)? How long was they typical section? The track walker was essentially an inspector of the fixed railroad property. Was it considered a position of responsibility and (some) rank, or was it the lowest rung on the totem pole? Did he carry any tools, or just (perhaps) a flag, torpedos, and maybe a lantern. Was it a position given to a greenhorn, or was it given to a railroader otherwise disabled from his customary calling?

—Wendell