This machine provided railroads the ability to accomplish a wide range of tasks once done by gandy dancers including ballasting and grading, ditching digging, and even shoveling snow. Additionally, it could perform these assignments much faster than by manual labor alone.
Gandy dancer is a slang term used for early railroad workers in the United States, more formally referred to as "section hands", who laid and maintained railroad tracks in the years before the work was done by machines. The British equivalents of the term gandy dancer are "navvy", originally builders of canals or "inland navigations", for builders of railway lines, and "platelayer" for workers employed to inspect and maintain the track. In the Southwestern United States and Mexico, Mexican and M
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Jul 13, 2007 · Gandy Dancers. "Gandy dancers" was a nickname for railroad section gangs in the days before modern mechanized track upkeep. The men were called dancers for their synchronized movements when repairing track under the direction of a lead workman known as the "caller" or "call man." The name "gandy" supposedly arose from a belief that their hand tools once came from the Gandy tool company in Chicago (though no researcher has ever turned up such a company that made railroad tools).
Gandy dancers ensure railroad tracks are in good working order. A gandy dancer is someone who works on the maintenance crew of a railroad. Track crews are critical for a working railroad, as these men and women ensure that the tracks are in good working order, and they address situations on the tracks before they turn into problems.
Inquiry of an Italian employee of the bureau elicited the information that a “gandy dancer” is a railway worker who tamps down the earth between the ties, or otherwise “dances” on the track. Outlook, 26 Jun. 1918. British readers would prefer to use sleeper rather than tie. It is very unlikely that earth was used to tamp them: the usual ballast was small stones (rocks for Americans).
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Definition of gandy dancer. 1 : a laborer in a railroad section gang. 2 : an itinerant or seasonal laborer.