August 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
| Volume 14, Issue
September 2007 Theme
Cub Scout Express
Citizen & Communicator
Tiger Cub Activities
THEME & SEASONAL STUFF
Labor Day (First Monday in September)
Baltimore Area Council
On September 5,1882 the first Labor Day parade was held in New
York City. Twenty thousand workers marched in parade up
Broadway. They carried banners that read “LABOR CREATES ALL
WEALTH”, and “EIGHT HOURS FOR WORK; EIGHT HOURS FOR REST; EIGHT
HOURS FOR RECREATION!” After the parade, there were picnics all
around the city. Workers and celebrants ate Irish stew, homemade
bread and apple pie. At night, fireworks were set off.
Within the next few years, the idea spread from coast to coast,
and all states celebrated Labor Day. In 1894, Congress voted it
a national holiday.
Today we celebrate Labor Day with a little less fanfare on the
First Monday of September. Some cities have parades and
community picnics. Many politicians “kick off” their political
campaigns by holding rallies on the holiday. Most Americans
consider Labor Day the end of the summer, and the beaches and
other popular resort areas are packed with people enjoying one
last three-day weekend.
Alice, Golden Empire Council
You could use this list to make up a quiz
for boys and parents to guess meanings. (Ex: Do you think
trains ever go walking?)
Trains Walking – When a
track defect, such as a broken rail, has been determined by the
Engineering Department to be passable at "walking speed."
Building Trains –
Assembling sorted cars in proper sequence for outbound
Hump Yard – Hump yards are where railcars are pushed up a hill (hump), uncoupled,
and then rolled downhill into remotely controlled sorting
tracks. These are the railroad's most efficient sorting
Humpers – Trains destined
to a "hump" yard.
Hot Shot – Train with very
high priority compared to other trains
Angle Bars – Short pieces
of steel used to join track sections to other sections or track
structures. An angle bar is placed on each side of the sections
being joined. Two holes are drilled into each end of the angle
bar and also through both track sections. Four bolts with
locking washers are fastened through the holes to join the
sections. Angle bars also are used to make temporary repairs to
a broken section of rail until it can be replaced
CTC Outage – When track
signals (Centralized Traffic Control) are disabled and do not
allow signals to be displayed for trains
Curfew – A time period
scheduled in advance when no trains operate, allowing
maintenance employees to work on track or signals
Cross-Overs – Track that
joins two main tracks. When a train moves from one main track to
another it "crosses over."
Diamond – Track
intersection where one track can be used at a time.
Frogs – Heavy metal
flangeways that connect track to switches, diamonds, cross-overs
and other track structures. Frogs guide wheels from one track
structure to another.
Pull Apart – When two
sections of rail separate (pull apart) at a point where they are
joined. Rail shrinks in extremely cold weather. When the
shrinkage pressure gets too severe, rail will pull apart at its
weakest point, usually at a joint.
Shoofly – Temporary track
used to avoid an obstacle that blocks movement on the normal
track section. Shooflies are often constructed to allow
temporary passage around mudslides while they are removed.
Spur – Short, usually
dead-end section of track used to access a facility or
loading/unloading ramp. It can also be used to temporarily store
Washout – When a flood or
a flash flood washes away ballast and roadway under track.
Windows – Same as curfew,
but also can mean holding trains for things other than
Maintenance of Way curfews, such as operating passenger trains.
Broncos in the Canyon –
Motor vehicles, equipped with Hy-Rail attachments enabling them
to ride on rails, operated by Engineering employees patrolling
track in the Feather River Canyon during rain or snow. They look
for slides, washouts and any unsafe track condition. Broncos
operate just one mile ahead of trains under special rules and do
not use track and time.
Crews Are Tight – Enough
crews are available, but rest issues may cause delays to calls.
Crews Are Short – Not
enough crews are available
Deadhead – Movement of a
crew from one point to another or to a train by vehicle
transportation or by train
To Go "In the Hole" – At
the meeting point of opposing trains, one train "holds the
main," the other "takes the hole" in a siding.
Hot Wheels – Overheating
of a railcar's wheels due to sticking brakes and brake shoes
rubbing against the wheel tread. They can result in thermal
cracking if severe.
Hot Box – Overheating of
the axle hub due to bearing failure. Metal-on-metal friction
generates heat and eventually will melt a 6-inch-diameter steel
Slug – an engine that just pulls
cars around the yard
Railroad horns and what they mean:
Alice, Golden Empire Council
Horns are sounded for safety reasons – to
warn of approaching trains. The following list "translates"
some of the horn signals you might hear.
The "o" indicates short sounds
The "=" is for longer sounds.
Succession of short sounds
The whistle is sounded to attract
attention to the train. Used when people or livestock
are on the track.
When train is stopped. The air
brakes are applied and pressure is equalized.
Train releases brakes and proceeds.
Acknowledgment of any signal.
o o o
When train is backing up
o o o o
A request for a signal to be given
or repeated if not understood.
= o o o
Instruction for flagman to protect
rear of train.
= = = =
The flagman may return from west or
= = = = =
The flagman may return from east or
= = o =
Train is approaching public
crossings. Signal starts 15-20 seconds before reaching
the crossing and is repeated till the engine is in the
crossing. Used when approaching private crossings if
pedestrians or motor vehicles are at or near the
Inspect the brake system for leaks
or sticking brakes.
Train is approaching men or
equipment on or near the track, regardless of any
whistle prohibitions. After this initial warning, "o o"
sounds intermittently until the head end of train has
passed the men or equipment.
Alice, Golden Empire Council
Railroad tracks are on
private property owned by the railroad company. This means that
you may not play, walk, in-line skate, ride a bike or a
snowmobile on railroad property. In addition to it being illegal
to trespass on railroad property, it is also unsafe.
There are places where the
railroad tracks cross roads or streets. Many of these railroad
crossings are marked with one of the signs or signals in the
sign means you are coming to a railroad crossing.
Always look both ways and listen carefully to be
sure a train is not coming from either direction
before crossing the tracks.
Many railroad crossings have a gate with flashing
lights that close when a train is coming.
around a closed railroad gate.
to get across the track before the train gets there.
crossings which don't have gates may have this sign.
When the lights are flashing, a train is coming. You
should wait until the train or trains have passed
before trying to cross the tracks.
Use Caution When Crossing Railroad Tracks
Railroad tracks are uneven. You should not
try to bicycle, in-line skate or run when crossing tracks.
Trains are very large and heavy, and take a
long time to stop.
Sometimes when a train has just passed from
one direction, another train may be coming from the opposite
direction. You might not notice the second train because of
the noise from the first train.
The table below lists some rules that are the
same for all buses.
If you are waiting for a
public bus or a school bus, wait at the bus
stop, and stand well back from the curb
When you get off the
public bus or the school bus, you need to
take five giant steps straight out of the bus door
There are danger zones
near public buses and school buses where the
driver cannot see you
Below is a picture of the
area around a bus where the driver can't see you.
This area is the same for
all buses and large trucks.
The next table lists some rules that are
different for public buses and school buses.
When a school bus stops
with its red flashing lights on, drivers on both
sides of the road must stop.
School buses wait for
children getting off the bus to cross the street in front of
them before leaving the bus stop
Drivers of vehicles
traveling on a street with a city bus do not have to stop when
city buses stop to pick up and drop off school children.
Public buses move away
from the bus stop as soon as passengers have gotten on or off
Most public bus stops are at intersections. As soon as you get
off the bus, you need to be alert. You should
cross the street in front of a public bus. Wait for the bus to
pull away so you have a clear view of the street. Cross at the
cross walk or street corner, and wait for the light to turn
green or for the WALK crossing signal. Please see the
Kids Safe Walking Page for the signs, signals and
roadway markings which help you cross the street safely.
If you take the subway...
If you take the subway, you
may need to take an escalator to the subway platform.
Strollers and carriages
should never be used on an escalator.
Very small children
should be carried on the escalator with the person carrying the
child holding on to the handrail.
Young children should
have an adult or older child hold their hand.
The young children
should not hold the handrail, because they are not tall enough
to reach it safely.
play on the subway platform. It would be easy to fall off the
platform onto the subway tracks.
When the subway stops in
the station, there is a space between the platform and the
It is important to watch
your step when getting on or off the subway so you don't fall
onto the tracks.
Young children will need
help getting on and off the subway.
When you walk to and from the bus stop or subway
You should cross the
street at a crosswalk or a street corner, and wait for the light
to turn green or for the WALK crossing signal.
It is important to look
carefully to the left, right
and left again before you
cross the street.
If you must walk through
parked traffic, stop and look carefully before stepping out from
Don't run across the
street or through a parking lot. When you are walking in these
areas, you need to give your full attention to traffic.
Fun Facts about the Transcontinental Railroad
Alice, Golden Empire Council
There were really four Golden Spikes: the “real” one
was commissioned by Leland Stanford’s brother-in-law, David
Hewes, made of 14.3 ounces of gold, worth about $350 at that
time. It was returned to him after the ceremony. He donated it
to the Stanford University Art Museum in 1892. A Nevada
politician ordered a second spike, made of 10-1/2 ounces of
silver – it was eventually given to Stanford and is also at
Stanford University. Arizona presented an ordinary spike plated
with gold on the head and silver on the spike – it is now owned
by the Museum of the City of New York. A fourth gold spike
ordered by the San Francisco Newsletter newspaper company was
made of about $200 worth of gold, and has disappeared – it may
have been destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and
fire. All four spikes were driven into a special tie. Both the
spikes and the tie were replaced with ordinary ones after the
The Golden Spike wasn’t driven at Promontory Point –
the real site is 35 miles south, called Promontory Summit.
Reporters and railroad officials gave the wrong information in
1869, and people still refer to Promontory Point today.
The town of Promontory was the junction point for
Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. Promontory was
known to be a wild town with gambling, looting and "sporting
women". When the junction moved to Ogden in 1870 Promontory
became primarily a helper station, housing mostly railroad
workers and their families. It was only a town in 1869-70.
While the railroad was being built, white workers often lived in
“moving” towns – railroad cars that moved along as the tracks
were being built. Chinese workers lived in tents along the
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific didn’t really
meet at Promontory Summit. There was a fierce competition
between the two railroad companies. For each mile of track laid
the government paid twenty square miles of land and issued
subsidy bonds worth many thousands of dollars. There are 250
miles of parallel grades (not completed in all areas) from Echo,
Utah to Wells, Nevada. No parallel track was laid. The
government finally insisted that the two companies agree on an
official meeting of the rails location, and they agreed on the
half-way point, 125 miles in from where the parallel grades
began – Promontory Summit.
On the Union Pacific, starting in Omaha, labor was
not much of a problem. The end of the Civil War meant lots of
men, both Union and Southerners, black and white, were out of
work. Freed slaves, immigrants from Europe, especially from
Ireland and even Indians helped build the rails across the
plains. Many of the Irish worked as “Iron Men” due to their
The Central Pacific wanted 5,000 workers, and only
800 white men signed on – most of them deserted as soon as they
got to the silver mines of Nevada. Leland Stanford decided to
hire Chinese workers, even advertising in Canton. By the end, 9
of 10 of the workers on the Central Pacific were Chinese. When
the railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, an eight man Chinese
crew was selected to place the last section of rail-a symbol to
honor the dedication and hard work of these laborers.
When the railroad neared Salt Lake, both UP and CP
contracted with Brigham Young to hire 3,000 Mormon men to do the
grading in Weber Canyon.
The Weber River alone was crossed 35 times, requiring
a trestle or bridge to be built each time!
The Union Pacific was constantly being harassed by
hostile Plains Indians so much that sometimes one half of the
crew would guard while the other half worked. Many U.S. Regular
Army troops were used as escorts, and several forts were
established along the route.
The Union Pacific was constantly being harassed by
hostile Plains Indians, so half of the crew would guard while
the other half worked. Many U.S. Regular Army troops were used
as escorts, and several forts were established along the route.
White workers were paid $2-$3 a day, iron men or
skilled craftsmen even more. Board and keep was provided in
addition. Chinese workers were paid $35 a month, and paid for
their own keep out of their wages.
The railroads provided water for regular breaks –
but because the Chinese workers drank only tea and boiled their
water, they were healthier than the white workers. The Chinese
“Celestials” also hired their own cooks and imported their own
“exotic” ingredients like “dried oysters, cuttlefish and bamboo
sprouts, Chinese bacon, sweet rice crackers, salted cabbage,
vermicelli, and dried abalone” for food they were used to
The men of the UP had their diet supplemented with
game. Many men were hired by the railroads to hunt buffalo, elk,
deer, antelope and fowl.
At Cape Horn in the Sierra's workers hung suspended
in baskets up to 2,000 feet above the American River. From this
precarious position the Chinese workers drilled and blasted a
roadbed for the railroad without losing a single life.
Golden Spike Time Line:
Alice, Golden Empire Council
1862 – Congress
authorizes the building of the first transcontinental railroad.
April 9, 1869:
Representatives of both the Union and Central Pacific Railroads
are forced by the government into a meeting to determine the
meeting point, or terminus, of the two lines. Promontory Summit,
half way between the two companies' end of track, was decided.
April 28, 1869:
The Central Pacific completes 10 miles of track in one day - a
record that remains unbroken to this day!
May 10, 1869:
The "Wedding of the Rails!" Driving of the Golden Spike and 3
1903: The Union
Pacific locomotive "119" is sold to scrappers for $1,000.
1904: The line
from Ogden north of the Great Salt Lake through Promontory and
west to Lucin becomes a secondary line as the "Lucin Cut Off", a
combination trestle and rock fill causeway across the lake,
becomes the main line. This new route shortens the line by 45
miles, avoids the climb through the Promontory Pass, and saves
the company $60,000 a month in operational costs.
original Central Pacific locomotive "Jupiter" is sold to
scrappers, also for $1,000.
May 10, 1919:
The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Spike Ceremony. The town of
Promontory was ready to host a grand celebration, yet not a soul
appeared. Local newspaper had planned a great excursion and
celebration. However, once they discovered the "Wedding of the
Rails" had not taken place at Promontory Point, but instead
Promontory Summit, "a desert without water or shade," the
celebration was held in Ogden instead.
1942: An "Undriving of the Last Spike" ceremony is held, as 90
miles of rail from Corinne to Lucin are pulled up to use in
May 10, 1952:
The Golden Spike Association holds its first annual re-enactment
of the Golden Spike Ceremony.
1957: The last
spike site is designated a National Historic Site in non-federal
July 30, 1965:
Finally, Golden Spike National Historic Site is designated, and
2,735 acres are placed under the stewardship of the National
May 10, 1969:
The Centennial celebration of the Golden Spike Ceremony draws
28,000 spectators, including John Wayne, who arrived by
May 10, 1979:
Dedication of working replica locomotives, "Jupiter" and "119".
May 10, 1994:
125th Anniversary celebration to commemorate the completion of
the Nation's first Transcontinental Railroad is held. For the
first time since May 10, 1869, the original silver plated spike
maul used in the ceremony and the Gold, Silver, and combination
Gold and Silver Arizona spikes are all reunited at Promontory
for the celebration. 14,000 visitors attended.
July 30, 1995:
30th Anniversary of the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.