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Why are they called tricks?
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motor
TRAINing
Posts: 23
Why are they called tricks?
 
« on: Jul 21st, 2007, 8:14am »
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In the RR world, why are shifts called "tricks"?  A search on Wiki under "trick+railroad" proved fruitless.
 
motor


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Gadfly
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Posts: 232
Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 21st, 2007, 11:13pm »
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You got me.   I don't know.  I saw and heard it expressed that way both in conversation and on bulletins.   Same thing with the term "O S".  As an train order operator, we often had to send this "O S" report of trains arriving with so many loads, so many empties (MTY, they were called) and tonnage.   Then so many outbound loads, empties, and tonnage out.  Like many expressions, "OS" seemed to  be subject to a lot of speculation.  I was told it meant "On Station with...........".
There are a lot of terms unique to railroading, and I certainly didn't know what some of them meant---like why shifts were often called "tricks".
 
 
Gadfly  


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railfan1979
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Posts: 423
Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #2 on: Jul 28th, 2007, 11:19am »
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The term "trick" is derived from the definition of the word itself, which, among other things, means a period or turn of duty, hence the name.

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fleer555
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Posts: 7
Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #3 on: Aug 22nd, 2007, 9:55pm »
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on Jul 21st, 2007, 11:13pm, Gadfly wrote:       (Click here for original message)
You got me.   I don't know.  I saw and heard it expressed that way both in conversation and on bulletins.   Same thing with the term "O S".  As an train order operator, we often had to send this "O S" report of trains arriving with so many loads, so many empties (MTY, they were called) and tonnage.   Then so many outbound loads, empties, and tonnage out.  Like many expressions, "OS" seemed to  be subject to a lot of speculation.  I was told it meant "On Station with...........".
There are a lot of terms unique to railroading, and I certainly didn't know what some of them meant---like why shifts were often called "tricks".
 
 
Gadfly  



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scottychaos
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Posts: 1342
Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #4 on: Aug 23rd, 2007, 5:51pm »
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on Jul 21st, 2007, 11:13pm, Gadfly wrote:       (Click here for original message)

There are a lot of terms unique to railroading, and I certainly didn't know what some of them meant---like why shifts were often called "tricks".
 
 
Gadfly  

 
This particular term is not unique to railroads..
they are not the only industry that uses the term "trick"..
many large manufacturing companys do as well..
 
I work at Eastman Kodak, and for as long as anyone can remember, Kodak has had "a trick" "b trick" and "c trick"..three 8-hour shifts covering 24 hours a day.
 
it wouldnt surprise me if the term goes back to the 19th century.
 
Scot


« Last Edit: Aug 23rd, 2007, 5:54pm by scottychaos » Logged
Lowell
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #5 on: Oct 21st, 2007, 4:48pm »
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OS......when a dispatcher heard OS over the fone or wire he picked up his pen because what followed would be written 'On the Sheet'.  This is probably not what OS was intnded to mean, rather it was simply because OS was a simple Morse signal    . .   ...  quick and easy to send and recognized on all roads.
 


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Leadchucker
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #6 on: Nov 13th, 2007, 3:30pm »
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on Aug 23rd, 2007, 5:51pm, scottychaos wrote:       (Click here for original message)

......it wouldnt surprise me if the term goes back to the 19th century.
Scot

It comes from an old nautical term used for the time spent at the helm. A'trick' appears to be about the same as a 'watch', but at a shorter turn of duty. A watch being 4 hours, a trick being 2 hours. A helmsman or quartermaster would have a shorter period at his station due to the nature of keeping a watchout,steering and maintaining a course and so on. So to keep the crew member assigned to this duty fresh and alert, they are changed out every two hours. I did know it had nautical origins,but can't find the origins of how it became used shipboard nor can find how it became used on the rialroads or general industry. The first reference to it being used in the context as a duty assignment to was in 1512. If I find more, I will pass it along.


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W.L.Avis
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Former PRSL Block Operator
1oldgoat
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 1st, 2008, 11:26pm »
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Lowell is correct- OS stands for "On Sheet".
It refers to the time marked on the train sheet when a train has just passed the TO station.  The op would "OS" the time to the DS so he could keep track of train movements in his territory.  Before CTC and radio, it was the only way a DS could know where a train was.


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Gadfly
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #8 on: Jun 2nd, 2008, 1:25pm »
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Whatever it meant (On Sheet, On Station, etc), I "OS'ed my share of in my day!  
 
Gadfly


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Gadfly
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #9 on: Jun 2nd, 2008, 1:26pm »
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Whatever it meant (On Sheet, On Station, etc), I "OS'ed my share  'em of in my day!  
 
Gadfly


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Gadfly
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #10 on: Jun 2nd, 2008, 1:27pm »
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Whatever it meant (On Sheet, On Station, etc), I "OS'ed my share of 'em in my day!  
 
Gadfly


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hbgdispatcher
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Re: Why are they called tricks?
 
« Reply #11 on: Jun 5th, 2008, 1:21am »
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on Jun 1st, 2008, 11:26pm, 1oldgoat wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Lowell is correct- OS stands for "On Sheet".
It refers to the time marked on the train sheet when a train has just passed the TO station.  The op would "OS" the time to the DS so he could keep track of train movements in his territory.  Before CTC and radio, it was the only way a DS could know where a train was.

 
When I first started dispatching, I was told by most of the old heads that "OS" stood for Out of Station - when we still used the paper train sheets the "OS" time was the time a train cleared an interlocking or controlled point (or, back in the day, a tower or station) and was thus "OS'ed" on the train sheet past that point. Whatever it originally stood for, it is one of many rail terms that have survived from the "good old days" of railroading right into modern day.


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