In the early days of railroading, the brakeman’s lot was fertile ground for legends and poems. The railroading journals were full of odes entitled “Only a Brakeman”. One example is a poem of that title which appeared in Locomotive Engineers Journal in 1885. The job of the freight train brakeman was a solitary one and was especially dangerous.

Layman’s Impressions Of a Railway Guard

That is he- the man who nimbly steps off the rear end of the train as it glides to a halt at the station; neat efficient, patient, punctual to the split minute-that is the “man behind”. Such words are not mere metaphorical bouquets but constitute a worthy description, earned in daily service and justified by the