SPIDERS- Work with them?

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SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby mdr406 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:18 pm

Ok guys, I know this sounds like a goofy question to ask, but I have to ask. Obviously, railroads run through the woods and places where there are bound to be spiders, especially in the summer. Working as a locomotive mechanic/locomotive diesel mechanic/locomotive electrician, are there a lot of spiders?

The reason I ask is because I know someone with a mild phobia of spiders, who sometimes screams like a sissy girl when encountering them (just kidding, I am talking about myself.) I am trying to picture working on a "mobile road crew," for a class 1 freight railroad on the east coast, as a locomotive mechanic, or a similar position. I cannot help but to think of a broke down train covered in spiders from traveling down the tracks through the woods, across bridges, and other spider-happy places. What are the chances of finding spiders where you have to work, such as on a locomotive, or in the electrical/engine bays of the locomotive?
mdr406
 

Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby COEN77 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:24 am

Never had a problem with spiders even though I would of liked to seen the ones that left the web strung across the track. It was common to go through a trip get off the front of the locomotive there was spider webs not the fancy kind just a lot of singles where they caught a breeze and sailed to the other side of the tracks. Personally it was ticks that bugged the heck out of me. I always avoided the high grass ect...if possible.
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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby Gadfly » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:54 am

I'm sure this won't be a problem. I also knew a shop employee who was deathly afraid of spiders--- big, little, inbetween! :P The boys out in the backshop once slid a HUGE, plastic spider under a Tamper where this guy was working. Now it was obviously fake--one of those way oversized ones you might see at Halloween. "Guy"(not his real name) screamed bloody murder, and bumped his hard hat on every appendage getting out from under there!

If its any comfort, railroads have rules against "horseplay" such as this. But if you see a spider, don't let on it scares you. When the bosses aren't looking it makes you a tempting target for tomfoolery. A normal spider isn't going to hurt you. If it gets on you, just flip it off. NO! Not THAT way......with a swipe of your hand!
:wink:

GF
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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby Desertdweller » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:29 am

GF,

Spiders! That brings back some memories!

Once, at Ripley, MS, I was "making air" when a big hairy barn spider jumped off the car and landed square on my face. I brushed it off in a reflex action, only to have it land on my chest. Damn near gave me a heart attack!

The spider critters that gave me the most trouble in the South were those Golden Orb spiders. I would not have believed their capabilities if I had not seen them myself. Overnight, they will build webs that completely span the distance between trees on opposite sides of the track. Then they hang in the webs like gold walnuts until the loco passes through the webs. They they ride along on the front of the locomotive. If they wind up on the nose, they disguise themselves as acorns, one leg sticking up like the acorn's stem. If there is enough of the web left, they will hang from the remnants from the front handrails. When you go out on the front deck, they will climb on you. One once got on my knee and bit me through my blue jeans!

Then there was the time in MS when a Brown Recluse was waiting on the inside of the cab roof of a Geep, right over my engineer's seat. He slowly lowered himself toward me. I waited till he reach the floor and stepped on him. These are not big scarey-looking spiders, but one sent me to the doctor when he bit me. He was in my closet, hiding inside a shirt.

At Pierre, SD we had a little wooden box outside the station where a water hose was kept. A big fat Black Widow decided it would be a good place to build a nest. I soon discovered these things infested the whole building. It took a visitor from an exterminator to rid the place of them. Until then, it was a chancy thing to reach into a drawer or dark cubbyhole.

Once bitten, twice shy.

Les
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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby Freddy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:09 pm

Ya'll need to come on down here to the sunny south and work in Alabama. I was checking a defect detector one day when a piggyback came by and there was a spider hanging from a set of trucks that was so big it tripped the flaps on the dragger. :wink:
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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby Desertdweller » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:09 pm

Where I worked in Texas, we had tarantulas that were easily the size of those cast-iron things on a gas stove that the pans sit on.

We switched an oil refinery that had submarine switches. You'd better shine your light into those when you take the cover off, because there might be one of those (or, worse, a scorpion) waiting for you inside.

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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby mdr406 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:02 pm

Wow..."Did anyone just hear a sissy girl scream?" Oh, no. That was me.

Right now I work inside, but there are a lot of what they call "cellar spiders." These are not daddy long-legs, and they make random messy webs. They also practice cannibalism, as they feast upon each other if they wander in someone else's web. They are grey, almost transparent spiders, with very long, skinny legs, and can live for as long as 2 years! They range in size from very small, to about 6" from what I have seen. These spiders live mostly on the ceiling, around skylights, roof bracing, and racking. They seem to like places where we don't go very often, but you will find them dropping down from the ceiling or hiding in your tool locker occasionally. If you have to use a scissor or boom lift to work around the ceiling, you will encounter a lot of them.
mdr406
 

Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby Gadfly » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:08 pm

There's some wicked big black Widows around here. I killed one last summer whose body was almost as big as the ball of my thumb! Oh yes, it was a "widder" alright, complete with the huge. red hourglass. :( (Shudder) When I stomped it. it made an audible "POP"! Sure wouldn't want to get nailed by THAT thing!
Spiders don't scare me, but I respect them and watch where I put my hands. And I can't STAND to be outside at night and run into a cobweb!

GF
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Re: SPIDERS- Work with them?

Postby slchub » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:04 pm

My first trip with Charlie Kappanos out of Ogden to Elko as a green horn conductor we had to stop at the west end of the Lakeside siding to let some hot shots pass us. We had just crossed over the Great Salt Lake and got stopped. I told Charlie I was going to lite one up at the head of the cab. It was about 11:00 pm and Charlie and the engineer recommend I do the roll-by from the large rocks on the ground which form the causeway. I jumped off the motor and onto a big rock and watched the first train go by and started to do some star gazing. Charlie sticks his head out the window and asks me if every thing was okay. I said yeah. He said did you turn on your lantern? I said no, the steplight lightd were sufficient to light up the area. He yells down and say turn your lantern on and look around. I did and notice that I was amongst hundreds if not thousands of Orb spiders everywhere. I hightailed it back up the motor into the cab to see Charlie and the engineer laughing their asses off.

Charlie told me when the Southern Pacific RR built the causeway the brine flies were so think that the RR brought in thousands of spiders to try and kill them off. It did not work.

Here is a link to the huge spiders out there on the lake:

http://amazingnature.us/spiders/philodr ... trio2.html
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