Back in the 1950s and before, NYCTS M/M were required to wear overalls and a matching jumper in what was called a ďpinstripe.Ē The pinstripe was similar to the current RR style hickory stripe but the stripes were narrower approximately half the width of the hickory stripe. At some point the TA allowed hickory striped overalls which seemed to be favored by IRT M/M. Starting in 1966, the TA was required to provide all uniforms but the M/M declined although it was recommended they purchase their own uniforms in order to look ďprofessional.Ē Eventually the TA got away from the railroad image and changed the uniforms to the current dark blue trousers and white pinstriped shirts. I have noticed that many CTA M/M opt to wear overalls but it seems that they are only in the hickory striped as It seems that the pin striped overalls are no longer available. Does anyone out there know when the clothing manufacturers stopped making the pinstriped overalls and why or have any detailed information about them? Also, does anyone know why there were two types of striped overalls in the first place?
I believe that is from an IRT instruction book for M/M probably from the late 1920s. What is interesting about the photo series in that book is that while that photo shows the M/M entering a Lo-V, the inside shot of that same M/M was taken in the cab of a Hi-V. Unfortunately, the photo isnít clear enough to tell if the M/Mís overalls are pin stripe or hickory stripe but from what I was told by the old timers, IRT M/M preferred hickory stripe.
I believe that is from an IRT instruction book for M/M probably from the late 1920s.
That was from a photo since I don't have that instruction booklet. So I was close about the year of the photo. What brought me to that conclusion was the collar on his shirt that was popular in the 20's. Also the crispness in detail of the Lo-V rivets not showing decades of steel dust accumulation.
In the 1980s we were issued uniforms from Northern Blvd flagging quarters in LIC consisting of one pair of thinly striped coveralls, 3 pair of cotton matching pants, 1 jacket and long/short sleeve conductors blue shirts with "M" logo. They did not like bleach, BIE walkarounds in tight tunnels, comfortable when new but shrunk without polyester blends, and were replaced in 1991 by full conductors colors for the train operators.. There is one picture in the R10 section of NYC.org, image 115600 which I can not figure out how to link which shows them brand new to give you an idea what Gunn was thinking at the time
What stands out about the M/Mís uniforms on the NYCTS is that blue shirts and long ties were required rather than the traditional bandanas often worn by steam RR engineers. That particular Lo-V was one of the later ones that had MUDC as delivered instead of retrofitted like the older ones. I had heard at some point that those higher numbered Lo-Vs had the numbers painted on the panel behind the door rather than on separate enameled number plates which the high numbered Lo-Vs displayed. The way I heard it the Worldís fair Steinways were delivered with the enameled number plates and enameled number plates were also ordered for the rest of the high numbered Lo-Vs but not installed till the late 1930s.
As I mentioned, after 1966, C/Rs and B/Os received uniforms from the TA but the M/M opted not to receive them and many started wearing street clothes like their LIRR and Conrail (now M/N) counterparts. I sometimes wore them over my good trousers since on days when I had a midday run and a gig that night. I would go directly from work to the performance and I didnít have time to go home and change so I would remove the overalls ald leave them at my work location till the next day. Even back in the days when uniforms were required, some brave M/M operated without the proper uniform. There was a M/M who worked the Brighton Exp who wore dar brown overalls instead of pinstripes and the #1 senior M/MN on the IRT, Freddie Day wore a dark suit and fedora hat even back in the days of the H-Vs on Bway. I still remember the first day I met him at V/C and he was coming from 240 Barn with a bunch of the car equipment employees who were in street clothes and I was quite surprise when this well dressed executive looking gentleman entered the M/Mís cab and charged up the train. Iím not sure of the exact year but sometime in the 1980s the MTA issued pinstripe overalls before changing to the current dark blue trousers with white shirts and black stripes. It seems that the trend these days is to get away from the railroad image on most transit systems although the last time I was in Chicago, many of the M/M (or RT Operators as they are now called) chose to wear hickory striped overalls.
Those are what we used to call pinstripe overalls. The OP described them as ďthinly stripedĒ but whatever they were called, that is the type of stripe that was considered to be the official TA M/Mís uniform. Unfortunately I havenít been able to find any pinstripe overalls anywhere on line. The broader hickory stripe overalls as once worn by mainline RR engineers are in plentiful supply and that is what the CTA M/M wear. I havenít been able to find any info on pinstripe overalls from any websites and that includes Google which usually has everything. Although I haven't attempted to contact Lee or Carhartt (who made overalls under the brand name ďHeadlightĒ) I suspect that nobody working for the major workwear companies would have any idea what I would be talking about if I asked.
I remember seeing you with them when I was at the ERA convention but those were the currently available hickory stripe as opposed to the thinner pinstripe that was more prevalent here on NYCTA. Back in the old days, which type of stripes were more prevalent on CTA when both types were available?
Not exactly sure. I actually donít recall the TA issuing any caps and they currently donít issue badges although they could since a generic badge with the title ďOperatorĒ could be used by simply issuing the same badges as the bus operators. I do know that when I became a M/M in 1958 I was issued a badge but that was the only item the TA issued to the M/M besides the handles and keys. Being that I worked most of my time on the BMT (B1) I never wore the badge since even though they were issued, BMT M/M never wore them.
on Sat Jan 18 14:51:35 2020, in response to Re: NYCTA M/Mís overalls., posted by randyo on Sat Jan 18 03:12:20 2020.
I only saw 2 motormen that had caps and badges, one was Battle at Concourse Yard, the other was a guy out of 179. They did issue line baseball caps to all T/Os for their picked lines. I still have my Rockaway Line C cap somewhere in drawer next to my old cab door latch.
What year was that? In any case, I wouldnít have fit in with a line upon my cap since I worked vacation relief for my first pick and had a combination of 2 lines on my second. What about a T/O with an RDO relief who may work 3 or more lines within a week?
on Sun Jan 19 20:59:55 2020, in response to Re: NYCTA M/Mís overalls., posted by BLE-NIMX on Sat Jan 18 14:51:35 2020.
Could an enterprising TO/ moterman have made his/her own badges/pins for their uniform for any of the three divisions, or perhaps a real or improvised pin/badge from pre-1940 privately owned days, or were such personal additions to uniforms strictly prohibited?
I never heard anything against it although prior to 1966 when M/M were required to purchase their own uniforms it might have been frowned upon. During the period when M/M were not strictly required to wear uniforms, there was probably little the TA could say about it.
That would make some sense. I was also thinking that several patches could be sewn o to the front of the caps to reflect all the lines the T/O is working. If he/she were working vacation relief then the cap could have a V and an R.