Switch vs. shift

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Dec 26 22:50:18 EST 2018

Mr. Burnett,

Interesting, because I have not heard "switch" and its variations used 
on the Pocahontas Division. "Switch" only referred to the moving part of 
a turnout and a switch list.

First, tipple jobs were broadly referred to as "mine runs," "mine 
shifters" less so, although this term was used in the timetable. 
Individually, tipple jobs were called "Runs" or "Shifters." Local 
passenger jobs were "Runs." Freight "Locals" worked the main and shorter 
runs like your "Switcher" were "Shifters," plus at least one "Turn" and 
a "Goat."

Instead of "switch," you might "shift" a tipple or other customer, but 
you more likely "worked" it, or specifically, "delivered" or "pulled" it.

Grant Carpenter

> On 10/29/2018 8:40 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Abe,
>     I've heard the same thing.
> Jimmy Lisle
On 10/29/2018 9:05 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> If I recall, the jobs were advertised as “Tug Fork Mine Runs”.
> Heck, I worked there 56 years ago.
> EdK
> *From:* NW Mailing List
> *Sent:* Monday, October 29, 2018 8:40 PM
> *To:* N&W Mailing List
> *Subject:* RE: Coal shifters on Pocahontas District
> Mr King --
> Help me out.  I never worked the Pokie, but the only term I heard used 
> around Bluefield for those jobs was "Mine Run."
> Did they call those mine jobs "Shifters" on the Pokie ?
> In retrospect, I don't recall the word "Shifter" used much at all on 
> the old N&W.  If a word were needed a local that worked locally in one 
> area (i.e. not an over-the-road Local,)  the jobs were called 
> "Switchers," e.g. the First Bassett Switcher, Second Bassett 
> Switcher.  Likewise, the activity itself was called "switching," not 
> "shifting," and we said "switching cars" instead of "shifting cars."  
> The sole exception I recall is "Salem Shifter," and I always wondered 
> how far back that term went.  Should have asked some of the 1918 men.
> Your memory is better than mine.  Help me out, Ed.
> -- abram burnett
> worn-out old brakezmun
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