Erie jokes

Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at

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Post by TB Diamond » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:42 pm

Can recall back in the 1950s when certain folk referred to the Erie as the "Weary Erie".
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe


Post by calorosome » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:20 pm

Or when the EL was called the Erie Lackofmoney before the William White administration?

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Post by JimBoylan » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:38 pm

calorosome wrote:the EL was called the Erie Lackofmoney before the William White administration?
In the vernacular, it was the "Erie Lackawampum"!
Shall we dredge up the Erie Jokes from about 1902?


Post by JoeG » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:14 pm

There was a time around 1900 when the Erie printed some jokes on itself in its timetables. The only one I remember was,

The Erie only sells one-way tickets on the NJ&NY RR because it only has a 99 year lease on the line.

These days, in truncated form the line is called the Pascack Valley Line, and is still extremely slow.

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Post by HSSRAIL » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:33 am

The last steam run on the Erie was on the NJ & NY Railroad I believe in 1954.

Speaking of Vaudville jokes one comes to mind.

Say I wish to get to Chicago in the worst way.
Okay take the Erie.

In all the jokes about the Erie it is sometimes overlooked the extensive projects that were carried out during the Underwood Administration. The Erie built its 4 track passenger line through Bergen Cut. Installed Electro-Pnuematic Interlockings at Terminal Tower, Grove Street, BR Jct. The 4 track main between BR (Bergen Jct) and Jersey City Terminal Tower was signaled in both directions. They built the Grahm Line Cutoff. They purchased a fleet of Pacifics which provided reliable commuter service for almost 50 years and they purchased the revolutionary Stilwell Coaches which lasted for 60 years.

The layouts of the Interlockings on the New York Divison were extremely well layed out in terms of moving traffic and simplicity in routing.

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Erie jokes

Post by JimBoylan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:40 pm

HSSRAIL wrote:Speaking of Vaudville jokes...
The Erie jokes in the timetables were a successful attempt to cancel the earlier Vaudeville jokes. The first issue of "Railroad" magazine, in 1906, has the story of the campaign.
Shall we hijack this thread or start a new one?

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The Erie (jokes)

Post by amtrakhogger » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:44 am

How about "Two streaks of rust!" or "There are two things in life that are
certain, death and no dividends for Erie common!" (stock that is)

This was taken from a book written about the Erie during the Gould era.
His train? It's MY train! I know what I'm doing, do you?

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Re: The Erie (jokes)

Post by JimBoylan » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:53 pm

amtrakhogger wrote:" dividends for Erie common!"
or "There will be icicles in Hell before Erie common pays a dividend." That chilly day finally happened in 1942.
Irate passenger: "The condition of this road and its trains is atrocious. Why, I wouldn't give you 25 cents for its stock."
Long suffering Conductor: "Actually, it's quoted at 15."

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Post by JimBoylan » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:51 pm

Thanks for the split.

[These are not the exact words.]
Some people claimed that Samuel Langhorne Clemmons (Mark Twain), who lived in Elmira on the Erie, was accused of having a hand in starting the craze. Actually, he didn't specifically take credit for this recycled "slow train" joke from at least 20 years earlier:
"I asked the conductor if the Erie would consider constructive suggestions, if politely submitted. He considered a moment, and then said, `For this unusual type of communication, an exception might be made.' Emboldened, I asked if the cowcatcher could possibly be removed from the front of the locomotive and hung on the back of the last coach. `At the unbelievable velocity we are traveling, there is little chance of overtaking a cow, but much more danger of a female bovine overtaking us, climbing onto the rear platform, and entering the isle, to the great consternation of the other females aboard!' "

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Post by JimBoylan » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:03 pm

One excuse for a stopped train was a cow on the track that had to be chased away.
Weary traveler, after the train had finally started and proceeded slowly as usual for a short time: "Conductor, why are we stopped again?"
Long suffering Conductor: "We caught up to the cow, again."

Actually, this joke is also attributed to the Walla Walla Valley RR of Washington State, the original "rawhide line". Fresh cattle skins were used instead of iron straps to line the tops of the wood rails. When they dried out and shrunk, the railroad was a bit shorter!
At least neither of these roads was accused of being a "jerkwater" line, where the train was stopped on a creek trestle so water for the tender could be jerked out of the stream in a bucket at the end of a rope. However, I'm sure that both were poor enough to do it!

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Post by alchemist » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:33 pm

My mother's maiden aunt used to sing
"Some people believe
That Adam and Eve
Built the Erie..."
And we all know about the Delay Linger and Wait. :-D
The Alchemist
*All is potentially gold*

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Post by steemtrayn » Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:08 pm

I remember once, in the Bay Head yard office, the following safety rule of the day was posted: "When lifting heavy objects, do not bend your back at the waist."
To which the yardmaster added: "With an Erie man behind you."
Just be glad you don't have to press "2" for English.

If Cass Elliot shared her sandwich with Karen Carpenter, they'd both be alive today.

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Post by JimBoylan » Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:54 pm

Another of the more famous:
An elderly gentleman fell off the open vestibule of a Westbound Erie train on a high embankment near Susquehanna, Pa. and, obeying the Law of Gravity, rolled to the bottom. Someone got the train stopped, and a recovery committee descended at a slower pace. However, they discovered that the victim was still alive and revivable. Someone later asked what last thoughts were going through his mind as he approached the end of the slope. "Why, if I could keep up this rate, I'll get to Binghamton ahead of the train!"


RR jokes

Post by b&m617 » Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:36 am

A little off the subject but-

When Steamtown first came to Scranton, the folks ran it into the ground faster than a derailment, due to poor management. This was before the national park service took it over. Some of the locals came up with a song that Rhymed with " Chatanooga Choo choo"...........

Pardon me boy, is that the chapter 11 choo- choo....

Don't remember the rest, can anybody from Scranton help??

work safe

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Post by NJ Vike » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:52 pm

Phoebe died an Erie death :(
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

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