How Little The Public Knows

Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

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2nd trick op
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How Little The Public Knows

Post by 2nd trick op »

A little incident I witnessed on TV last night is a painful example of how deeply the public's knowledge of the rail industry has diminished.

Some close friends and I were watching Jeopardy and the final question attempted to identify "a roadside service adapted from the Pullman Company" (I'm not quoting verbatim but a link between Pullman and food service was definitely implied.)

On-board passenger amenities have, admittedly, never been among my principal interests as a railfan, but in all my exposure, I don't remember any references to Pullman actually operating food service. Nonetheless, I decided to guess "diner" as the answer, which turned out to be "correct", according to the show's criteria.

Still, the people researching this matter for the show obviously didn't do much of an inquiry here, and it's another indicator of how "pop culture" tends to ignore the actual origins of many of our institutions, and of the continued dimunition of traditional rail passenger service in the public view.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)

Gilbert B Norman
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Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Lest we forget, Mr. Second Trick, DPM noted this ignorance during the 50's with an editorial titled "Out of Sight Out of Mind".

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Post by RDGAndrew »

On the bright side, Jeopardy DID once dedicate an entire category to Model Railroading ("What is Kadee?"). It was a little surreal, since none of the contestants had any clue on any of them.

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Post by RDGAndrew »

Just thought of another, more egregious example of ignorance by someone who should have known better. In college, a friend (also a railfan) showed me a history textbook with a picture of a GG1 in it, keystone-shaped number plate displayed prominently. The author's caption said something about how the Pennsylvania RR chose the "zigzag rectangle" as its emblem because it "signified lightning (electricity)"! Lightning is electricity?!? Who knew?

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Post by steamal »

Ben Franklin knew, although it took a kite and a wet cloth string, and a key for him to find out.

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