Danger Signals

Remarkable, Exciting and Unique Examples of the Bravery, Daring and Stoicism in the Midst of Danger of Train Dispatchers and Railroad Engineers

Cover image for


Published: 1898
Language: English
Wordcount: 109,381 / 300 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 93.3
LoC Category: TF
Downloads: 765
Added to site: 2006.08.09
mnybks.net#: 14320
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Non-fiction

was in good spirits all the time. I was cross. Nothing will make a man crosser than a poor steamer.

"We got to Providence in the evening tired; but after supper the Kid said he had an aunt and her family living there, and if I didn't mind, he'd try to find them. I left the door unlocked, and slept on one side of the bed, but the Kid didn't come back; he was at the engine when I got there the next morning.

"The Kid was such a nice little fellow I liked to have him with me, and, somehow or other (I hardly noticed it at the time), he had a good influence on me. In them days I took a drink if I felt like it; but the Kid got me into the habit of taking lemonade, and wouldn't go into drinking places, and I soon quit it. He gave me many examples of controlling my temper, and soon got me into the habit of thinking before I spoke.

"We played horse with that engine for four or five weeks, mostly around town, but I could see it was no go. The patent fuel was no good, and the patent fire-box little b


Average Rating of 5 from 1 reviews: *****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1898) Various Genre / Short story collection

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

    The telegraph and its uses on the railroad, in war, commercial and private use.

    Part I - Tales by others

  • Jim Wainwright's Kid

    o A girl dresses as a young man to gain an active life and be near the man she loves.

  • An Engineer's Christmas Story

    o A man lets jealousy ruin his Christmas and almost his life.

  • The Clean Man and the Dirty Angels

    o A man known for his honest judgment is shown to be prejudice.

  • A Peg-legged Romance

    o A girl won't marry just any man. She must have a hero..

    o A trainman is a good honest man, but not a hero to some.

    o However, a split second can change that.

  • My Lady of the Eyes

    o An engineer is haunted by the eyes in a picture.

    o He meets the lady who owns the eyes, the wife of a friend.

    o There is a tragic but wonderful tale to tell.

  • Some Freaks of Fate

    o Man adopts a girl of a dance hall owner, but will have nothing to do with her mother.

    o He helps the girl through school at a distance.

  • Mormon Joe, the Robber

    o A man is accused of robbery.

    o He is helping a girl in need.

  • A Midsummer Night's Trip

    o A storm is a bad thing for a railroader in the desert.

    o The same desert can be more stressful for a woman alone.

    o Some women can handle the perils of the desert and much more.

  • The Polar Zone

    o A railroader takes a break from railroading and takes a trip.

    o He has a tall tale to tell.

    o He relates his travels on an expedition to the North Pole.

  • Part II - Tales by the author of a life as an operator

  • Learning the Business--My First Office

    o The stress of a first job as a night operator

  • An Encounter with Train Robbers

    o A second job in a desolate outpost makes him a hero

  • In a Wreck

    o Going to another job he is involved in a train wreck and uses his telegraphers abilities to help.

  • A Woman Operator Who Saved a Train

    o There were few women telegraphers. This friend of his, became a heroin.

  • A Night Office in Texas--A Stuttering Dispatcher

    o The cowboys razz the night operator.

  • Blue Field, Arizona, and an Indian Scrimmage

    o He seeks a desolate station.

    o There is an Indian raid.

    o The depot is set on fire.

    o He is going back to Texas.

  • Taking a Whirl at Commercial Work--My First Attempt--The Galveston Fire

    o From a depot fire to a burning city.

  • Sending a Message Perforce--Recognizing an Old Friend by His Stuff

    o You can recognize an operator by his method of sending.

  • IX. Bill Bradley, Gambler and Gentleman

    o A Gambler proves to be his best friend.

  • The Death of Jim Cartwright--Chased off a Wire by a Woman

    o A woman operator caused him to loose his job.

  • Witnessing a Marriage by Wire--Beating a Pool Room--Sparring at Long Range

    o Just that.

  • How a Smart Operator was Squelched--The Galveston Flood

    o Never tap out a message unless you know who is listening.

    o This is not about the flood of 1900.

  • Sending My First Order

    o A new position.

    o Make way for the railroad commission special.

    o He gets a chance to make and send his first order.

  • Running Trains by Telegraph--How It is Done

    o The importance of the dispatcher.

    o Methods of dispatching.

  • An Old Dispatcher's Mistake--My First Trick

    o A trick: A dispatchers 8 hour shift. The first trick is the first shift..

    o Even an experienced dispatcher can make a mistake.

  • A General Strike--A Locomotive Engineer for a Day

    o A strike gives him a chance as an engineer.

  • Chief Dispatcher--An Inspection Tour--Big River Wreck

    o A dispatcher can do all that is humanly possible.

    o Nature may have something to say before all is done.

  • A Promotion by Favor and Its Results

    o Nepotism at a station causes a tragedy.

  • Jacking up a Negligent Operator--A Convict Operator--Dick, the Plucky Call Boy

    o Many men don't make the first cut, but pan out in the end.

  • An Episode of Sentiment

    o Managing a woman operator is a bit of a challenge.

  • The Military Operator--A Fake Report that Nearly Caused Trouble

    o He resigns his commercial job and goes into the military.

    o While there a practical joke almost ends a career.

  • Private Dennis Hogan, Hero

    o A soldier telegrapher saves his company.

  • The Commission Won--In a General Strike

    o Army breaks railroad strike.

  • Experiences as a Government Censor of Telegraph

    o He becomes a telegraph censor during the Spanish American War.

  • More Censorship

    o More of the blue pencil work.

    o The newspapers are a problem.

  • Censorship Concluded

    o The fleet has sailed and censorship is revoked.

  • Conclusion

    o Praise of the telegraph and the operators.



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