How the “Hokey Pokey” Spells Safety

ENGINE HOUSE TOUR STICKERThe lyrics to the song, “Hokey Pokey,” came to mind last Saturday during the 1880 Train’s employee orientation. Not because we were having a sing-a-long but because we were learning some important information. Information that is used every day to keep employees and passengers safe around trains.

1880 Train guru Scott Harlan went over the various arm/hand signals that railroad employees use to alert each other about train movements. For example, if a conductor holds his/her hand at arm’s length above their head, it means “move forward.” If they move their hand and forearm in a circle towards the top of their head at shoulder height, that means “come towards them.” Raising and lowering arms extended horizontally in a rocking motion means to “slow down.” My personal favorite is the universal sign for “STOP,” which entails swinging both arms side to side in front of you . . . (and you might want to swing them frantically at this point. Just saying).

I then imagined him pointing his fingers in the air and singing, “do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.” Maybe he does. At the end of the day.

It made me think how very important everyone’s job is at the train . . . not only in making sure that a quality train experience is had by all but that it’s done in a safe environment.

In fact, safety and education is so important to the 1880 Train, that the railroad is holding Engine House Tours, Steam Seminars and the Prairies to Peaks Iron Horse Rail Summer Camp this summer. If you want to learn about trains and safety, I suggest you go. And I promise they won’t make you do the “Hokey Pokey.”

Written by Debbie Ketel, the new 1880 Train blogger. By night, on weekends and between kids’ events, I convey the vision of the 1880 Train to YOU. (I’m also learning about trains.) Join the blog and take part in my journey!

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