Why Railroaders Wear Bibs?

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Why Railroaders Wear Bibs?

Postby usmcdevildog » Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:30 pm

Just wondering why so many railroad workers wear overalls?
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Postby TB Diamond » Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:40 pm

Are you making reference to bib overalls? Should this be the case: extra pockets, comfort, durability.
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Postby usmcdevildog » Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:56 pm

Yes I am.

I hope it isn't a requirement to wear them...I am not a fan.
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Postby ENR3870 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:02 am

usmcdevildog wrote:Yes I am.

I hope it isn't a requirement to wear them...I am not a fan.


I don't think it is a requirement. I've seen many railroaders wearing jeans, I like the overalls because they keep my pants and shirts clean. I also like to look like an old school railroader.
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Postby Sir Ray » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:13 am

Hmm, this is an interesting question (as I had a similar discussion on a model railroading board a few months back) in that it was thought Bib overalls were rare on 'modern-era' railroaders (the complaint was that all scale model engineers seem to be molded wearing overalls, and we have to use 'truck drivers' models molded wearing jeans and flannel to represent modern-era railroad workers).

I thought they were common among railroaders in the old days by virtue of the fact that they were pretty common among all laborers (tradesmen, mechanics, loading dock workers, farmers, etc.) back in the day (1890s to the 1950s or so), and with the introduction of stronger/different materials and various different styles (e.g. coveralls aka boiler suits, or the ever popular jeans & flannel shirt combo), overalls went out of style (so that even Jesse 'Mr Sandra Bullock' James didn't revive the style much on Monster Garage).
Yeah, I know overalls are readily available for sale in many stores, but not sure which demographics are wearing them now that the mid-90s grunge overall revival is long over (and please ladies, overalls are NOT a good look for you - while attractive women can look good in them, attractive women by definition look good in anything - even Lori 'Tank Girl' Petty couldn't pull it off...)
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Postby jg greenwood » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:21 am

ENR3870 wrote:
usmcdevildog wrote:Yes I am.

I hope it isn't a requirement to wear them...I am not a fan.


I don't think it is a requirement. I've seen many railroaders wearing jeans, I like the overalls because they keep my pants and shirts clean. I also like to look like an old school railroader.

No, it isn't a requirement. They are quite roomy though. The large rear pockets are more than adequate for your hand-set and they're not as restrictive as Levi's. Much easier to climb on/off/thru cars with these bad-boys vs: regular jeans. They're not as prevalent as in the past though. What is???? :wink:
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Postby powerpro69 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:51 am

Carpenter jeans provide the same pocket room and allow the same range of motion.
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Postby jg greenwood » Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:37 pm

powerpro69 wrote:Carpenter jeans provide the same pocket room and allow the same range of motion.


Maybe someone will start a "carpenter jeans" vs: bib-overall thread....
:wink:
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Postby pennsy » Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:21 pm

Hi All,

The Bib Overalls seems to represent the "picture" of a RR Engineman. That plus the RR hat, and you are all set.

Famous story: It was the dead of winter in beautiful downtown Brooklyn. A snowstorm hit and the Subways were fine, but the Elevated subway sections were crippled. So, we were coming home from college, uptown Manhattan, got to Utica Ave, Brooklyn on the IRT Lexington Ave Express, and we couldn't pull into the Utica Ave station. The train in front of us could not go forward because that would require exiting the tunnel into the snow. Our Engineman was kind enough to walk through the cars and tell everyone what the problem was. As he told us what the problem was, the door to the next car opens and in walks an Engineman, Bib and Overalls and Engineman's hat, and yells "Hi Sammy!!". He was the Engineman from the following train. So they discussed the problem and decided to pull up to each train, unlock the inter car doors and allow the passengers to walk from train to train until they got to the Utica Ave station. This is what we did, and how we got to the street, at Utica Ave. and Eastern Parkway. From there, we had to walk home, in the snow. Needless to say, I met my brothers with their sleds and placed what I was carrying, books etc., on a sled, and we all went home together. Hot chocolate for all when we got home.
Last edited by pennsy on Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bibs...

Postby SooLineRob » Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:32 pm

Year 'round... keeps your "street clothes" clean, lose the bibs & work boots after you're done, and "hit the ground running" after work.

Winter... additional layer of clothing keeps you warm on & off the engine.

Summer... wear loud, ugly Hawiian beach shorts underneath, take off the bibs once you're on the engine to stay cool and annoy your co-workers.
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Postby slchub » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:21 pm

Lets see. I use Carhart bibs. I can wear them over my blue jeans so when I arrive at the away from home terminal I can go out without looking like a clown and fit in with the rest of the "real world." The less stuff you have to carry in your grip the better. Jeans take up space. In the wintertime they give added warmth to the whole body. It also holds my cigs in the left upper pocket along with my pen, my little green time book and cell phone in my upper right pocket, my three switch keys attached to the slit and tucked into the upper left pocket, radio goes in the right rear pocket, a fusee will fit in the right leg pocket, a couple of air hose rings in the leg leg pocket. Just too many good things about bibs. Someone before mentioned the black ones are great in the winter as they absorb the sun if it is sunny, and the light tan ones in the summer keep you cooler. Wear shorts under 'em during the hot months and take em off while on the high iron away from the managers to be cooler as well.
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Postby slchub » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:46 pm

Another thing you'll enjoy about bibs is the ability to take them off when you get back to the office after having had to re-position a drawbar with the help of your legs and back and you have that nice rust and dirt on your backside. Also nice for those days when you rub up against a nice motor that has not seen a wash rack in about 10 years and is covered with coal and exhaust or the time you need to crawl onto the wet track and hang up a broken train line or dragging eqpt. You'll appreciate the bibs then instead of having to get your car filthy.
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Postby RailroadersGal » Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:14 pm

My boyfriend wears jeans and a shirt with a pocket...I know he owns some bib overalls but the only time I have seen him wear those is when he is chopping wood at home...

I can see where Bib overalls would be a good choice though, all the pockets, pants never falling down, durable....comfortable? (Haven't worn bib overalls since jr. high so I don't recall if they are comfy or not)
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Postby pennsy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:22 pm

Hi All,

But to REALLY look the part, you need the Engineer's hat. And don't forget that red bandana. Whenever I visit the OERM, Orange Empire RR Museum, I have on the hat with a large PRR keystone on the front of it. That plus the heavy gloves and I fit right in.
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Postby jg greenwood » Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:02 pm

RailroadersGal wrote:My boyfriend wears jeans and a shirt with a pocket...I know he owns some bib overalls but the only time I have seen him wear those is when he is chopping wood at home...

I can see where Bib overalls would be a good choice though, all the pockets, pants never falling down, durable....comfortable? (Haven't worn bib overalls since jr. high so I don't recall if they are comfy or not)


Yes, they're very comfortable. They also allow easy access to the grapes. :wink:
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