The Passing of the Old-Time Dummy.
Railway and Locomotive Engineering—June, 1907


At Mt. Lookout, near Cincinnati, there has passed before the advancing tractions one of the last of the curious steam railways, which, for want of a better name, were dubbed "dummies."

The "dummy" was rather in a class by itself. Basically it was a car, rather the shape of the old-style railway cars, but was considerably broader and without platform at one end. One end then was given over to the engines. These were simple, plain steam engines of the sort needed to propel the car. They were cramped, or, rather, it was the style that the engineer's portion of the car should occupy the minimum of space. Grades were fairly easy, and there was no particular striving after speed.

The fore half, or, better, three-quarters of the car, held the passengers. Just a bench of plainest wood along either side with an aisle down the middle. At the farther end was the platform where the conductor had his place. When he was sick or off duty the engineer collected fares. The stations were just sheds, as a sort of shelter in bad weather, along the route, from the city to the outlying suburbs. Most of the traffic came from sightseers, visiting the university observatory on the two nights of each week when strangers were shown the skies.

Often as not you got to the end of the street car line to find that the "dummy" wasn't running. Then you either had to walk or else give up the trip. It was awfully cold in that car, despite the stove they put up in it. But who cared? It was primitive and picturesque, and all a phase of the jaunt to the observatory! Most persons made such a trip but once in their lives, so they could stand it, if the others could.

Then, too, they were accommodating on the dummy. If, for some reason, a party was delayed they would wait until the last straggler had come in. In fact, people came to love the sturdy old creature and hated to see it go, much as they welcomed the electrics. Nothing was too good for the memory of the dummy. The old cars of the line were taken to a point on Mt. Lookout and given public cremation. There is even talk of a monument being put up on the site of the ashes' interment, but as yet this has not come.
Cincinnati, Ohio.

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