Tag Archives: train

signalmn-1With the way the Long Island Railroad is run, you might think it was a run by a baboon. But that would just be silly, history has shown a baboon would do a much better job.

Back in the 1800s if you took a train into the Cape Town station in South Africa you could have witnessed a baboon named Jack running the signals.

It started when railroad employee James Wider, better known as “Jumper” became disabled. He had earned his nickname because he was known to jump from train car to train car. One day he didn’t jump so well, and wound up loosing both his legs. Since Obamacare wouldn’t exist for another 150 years or so, Jumper had to carve two new legs for himself and made a little trolley to push himself around in. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for him to be able to continue doing his job.

One day Jumper was shopping and saw a baboon pulling an ox wagon. Impressed how smart the primate was, he begged the owner for the baboon. The owner didn’t really want to let the baboon go, but Jumper played the disabled card and the owner relented.

Jumper and Jack the baboon started a work partnership. Each day the two would leave for work together. Jack would push Jumper up a hill in his trolley. When they reached the top, Jack would jump into the trolley with Jumper and the two would ride down together.

Once at the train station, Jack would work the signals as Jumper looked on. If a conductor needed coal, he would blast his train whistle four times and Jack would bring him the key for the coal shed.

Eventually, the railroad authorities learned that a baboon was running the train station and immediately fired Jumper. However, Jumper protested and gave a demonstration of how good Jack was at his job. The railroad authorities were so impressed, they rehired Jumper and Jack, making the baboon an official railroad employee.


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