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What was the correct name of the two man operated hand car that ran on the rails ? Where can I get some info on how the vehicle operated.. its mechanism gearing etc



-- Carl Harden (HARDENC@PRSD.LHRIC.ORG), February 13, 2002


AMEN ON THE OLD TIMEY RR NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- V.L.Lewis (TrkInsp5F33@aol.com), February 19, 2002.

Just like Curtis said, it was simply called a hand car. The "gandy dancer" Vic was referring to was a trackworker and he was called this because of the tools he used; they were made by the Gandy Manufacturing Co. BTW, I enjoy Curtis' reflecting om times past, it is very refreshing to imagine the way railroading used to be. Too bad, we could probably use some of the old fashioned railroading right about now.

-- Walt Rogers (wjriii@verizon.net), February 15, 2002.

The Old Dominion Railway Museum in Richmond has a one man velocipede in its collection. It is as described by Curtis, but with one seat only and is all steel. We have even set it up on the team track next to the museum for 'rides' during select museum events. Have always heard of this, or the four wheel type referred to as a hand cart or car.

-- Greg Hodges (ghodges@smpsfa.com), February 14, 2002.

Gandy dancers were the track workers.I never heard a hand car called that.

-- J..Oates (jlosal@mindspring.com), February 14, 2002.

When we moved into the Orlando Section Foreman's house in 1944, there was an old "Velocipede" under the water tank next to the house.

It had belonged to Mr. Nelson Davis, the signal maintainer. In comparison to the old, two man, stand up hand cars in movies, this was much different.

Two men sat straddle the device in bicycle fashion, facing each other. They used their feet and hands to alternately push and pull the common wooden handles between them for propulsison. The handles were configured that when one man pushed forward on his handles, the other man pushed with his feet upon a footrest at the bottom of the handles.

It was "pull with your hands, and push with your feet." There were two steel wheels on one rail with an outrigger wheel to the other rail. The "Velocipede" was of oak wood construction with metal bracing, gears, and wheels.

The two propulsion wheels on one rail, were under the two men that propelled the machine. One man could also propell it if needed.

I cannont remember if the switch lamp tenders (lamp lighers) in the Lakeland yard used a Velocipede, or push car. A job from the past, Adlake kerosene switch lamps.... kerosene, wicks, cleaning the soot from the lenses, and lighting them at night.

From my memories, I never heard the ACL roadway employee's referred to as "Gandy Dancers." May have been, just never heard it. Dad referred to the old four man, hand crank cars as "Hand Car's." He hired out in 1924. I did not come along until 1939. I never heard of handcar's being referred to as "Gandy Dancer's," but may have been elsewhere.

Curtis E. Denmark Jr.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (curtisd@northarkansas.net), February 14, 2002.

The correct name is a "gandy dancer"

-- V.L.Lewis (TrkInsp5F33@aol.com), February 13, 2002.

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