Transport: Bars Banned

On the 1,700-odd U. S. railroads from the Aberdeen & Rockfish to the Yreka Western, all conventional locomotives have what engineers call a ''Johnson bar" —a manually-operated seven-foot steel lever which puts the locomotive either in reverse or forward motion and also controls the flow of new steam into the boilers to adjust speed. On small engines the Johnson bar causes no trouble, has been used for 50 years without improvement. When bigger engines began to appear 20 years ago, however, handling the bar became back-breaking work and the Brotherhoods of Locomotive Engineers...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!