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What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?

Related thread:
(origins) Origins: Down by the station, early in the morning (41)


CRANKY YANKEE 24 Dec 01 - 03:16 PM
53 24 Dec 01 - 03:25 PM
katlaughing 24 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 24 Dec 01 - 03:48 PM
Noreen 24 Dec 01 - 05:04 PM
Celtic Soul 24 Dec 01 - 05:27 PM
Snuffy 24 Dec 01 - 06:20 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Dec 01 - 07:05 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 24 Dec 01 - 10:24 PM
WyoWoman 24 Dec 01 - 11:44 PM
katlaughing 25 Dec 01 - 12:35 AM
Wesley S 19 Feb 03 - 11:15 AM
Schantieman 19 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM
MMario 19 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 03 - 11:19 AM
My guru always said 19 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,FOGIE 19 Feb 03 - 11:23 AM
beadie 19 Feb 03 - 11:31 AM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 11:33 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Feb 03 - 11:33 AM
Cluin 19 Feb 03 - 11:55 AM
Rick Fielding 19 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM
BanjoRay 19 Feb 03 - 12:11 PM
Allan C. 19 Feb 03 - 12:35 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 12:36 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 01:16 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM
Acme 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 01:28 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 01:36 PM
Acme 19 Feb 03 - 01:42 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 03 - 01:49 PM
Micca 19 Feb 03 - 01:50 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 01:53 PM
MMario 19 Feb 03 - 01:54 PM
Gareth 19 Feb 03 - 01:55 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 01:59 PM
Nigel Parsons 19 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM
Acme 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 02:20 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 02:37 PM
Penny S. 19 Feb 03 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 02:41 PM
GUEST, Dale 19 Feb 03 - 03:45 PM
Snuffy 19 Feb 03 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Q 19 Feb 03 - 08:59 PM
open mike 19 Feb 03 - 10:27 PM
Steve Parkes 20 Feb 03 - 04:08 AM
Nigel Parsons 20 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM
Nigel Parsons 20 Feb 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Q 20 Feb 03 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Q 20 Feb 03 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Q 20 Feb 03 - 01:09 PM
Nigel Parsons 20 Feb 03 - 01:27 PM
bob schwarer 20 Feb 03 - 01:41 PM
MMario 20 Feb 03 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Q 20 Feb 03 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 21 Feb 03 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 21 Feb 03 - 07:41 AM
My guru always said 21 Feb 03 - 08:02 AM
Steve Parkes 21 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM
Schantieman 21 Feb 03 - 09:55 AM
My guru always said 21 Feb 03 - 10:09 AM
Steve Parkes 21 Feb 03 - 10:56 AM
Joe_F 21 Feb 03 - 05:43 PM
Lyrical Lady 22 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM
Penny S. 22 Feb 03 - 12:57 PM
Gareth 22 Feb 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Q 22 Feb 03 - 01:18 PM
Penny S. 23 Feb 03 - 08:06 AM
EBarnacle1 23 Feb 03 - 04:05 PM
Gareth 23 Feb 03 - 04:26 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 03 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,pinecone 18 Oct 08 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 18 Oct 08 - 08:53 PM
Joe_F 18 Oct 08 - 09:15 PM
Acme 18 Oct 08 - 11:53 PM
Gurney 19 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM
delawarejoe 25 Aug 09 - 04:02 PM
Bluegrassman 25 Aug 09 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,RRozsa 01 Jul 10 - 11:07 AM
Don Firth 01 Jul 10 - 02:22 PM
Steve Parkes 01 Jul 10 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Jul 10 - 11:08 PM
GUEST 02 Jul 10 - 07:27 AM
Dave MacKenzie 02 Jul 10 - 09:23 AM
Bernard 03 Jul 10 - 08:22 PM
Paul Burke 03 Jul 10 - 08:29 PM
Dave MacKenzie 04 Jul 10 - 07:08 AM
Bernard 04 Jul 10 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Jul 10 - 02:28 PM
Paul Burke 04 Jul 10 - 06:10 PM
Paul Burke 05 Jul 10 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,booklynrose 05 Jul 10 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Michael 17 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Fred Stoll 29 May 11 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,Fred Stoll 29 May 11 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 29 May 11 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,K Magill 26 Mar 12 - 09:02 PM
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Subject: Puffer bellies?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 03:16 PM

I just heard another A U T H O R I T I V E version of " down by the Station". The only other people I've heard sing it right are those I taught (or corrected) and the guy I learned it from, Todd Farnham, 95 years old. He's the guy who gave me the "one of a kind" F J Bacon-Todd Farnham long necked five string banjo that I play. IT WAS MADE IN 1925

For all you purists, it isn't "Buffer Bellies, it's, "PUFF AND BELLER" (or "Puff and Bellow" if you prefer. as in,

"Down by the station early in the morning
See the little Puff 'n Bellers all in a row." O.K.?

Merry Christmas
Jody Gibson (73 years old)


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: 53
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 03:25 PM

i thought that it might be an ovation guitar, its got sorta of a puffer belly. BOB


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM

Jeepers, Jody, tell us some more about the old fellah you learned it from, please???


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 03:48 PM

Excellent! That's been a favourite "sing to the kids" song in my family for several generations now; I've always sung "puffer bellies"! The gent you learnt it from sounds fascinating---more please?

Puff, puff, toot, toot---off we go!


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: Noreen
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 05:04 PM

Interesting...

Children here (UK) sing 'puffing Billies', as that's a child's name for a steam train- but I've no idea of the history of the song or where it was from. Quite commonly sung by children over here, Jody, or at least it was in my day...!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 05:27 PM

But isn't that just an example of the evolution (or de-evolution) of language at work?

Like it or not (and sometimes I do not...like when people legitimize the word "irregardless"), that's part of the nature of not only the folk tradition, but of language as a whole, wouldn't you say?

:D


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:20 PM

There was quite a bit of discussion on the history of the song on this thread Lyr Req: Down by the station, early in the mo back in March of last year.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 07:05 PM

I just read the thread Snuffy referred me to. So much for "Experts" (like me) One can never trust an expert. SNUDDY: I'll go along with that one too. So now we have two entirely different "Authentic" versions of a much loved children's song. I do, however, like "Puff'n beller" But, I'll quit correcting people. There's enough good, solid data for me to change my mind about. That's folk music, isn't it? I'll start a new thread about Todd Farnham

Merry Christmas, A-Salaam, Shalom, Allah Akhbar, Donna Nobis Pacem.

On the back of my black belt I have embroidered, "Amor Vincet Omnia" Newport, Rhode Island's motto. (And Newport, France's also)
Happy new year.
Jody Gibson.


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 10:24 PM

KATLAUGHING

DESDEMONA

See new thread: TODD FARNHAM of Tiverton, Rhode Island

Jody


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:44 PM

Oh. And I thought this was just another thread on the Mudcat Nearly Nude calendar ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Puffer bellies?
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 12:35 AM

Hahaha, WyoWoman!!

Thanks, Jody, will do!


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Subject: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Wesley S
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:15 AM

One of my sons childrens tapes has a song on it with the following lyrics:

Down by the station early in the morning
See the little pufferbillies all in a row
See the stationmaster early in the morning
Puff puff whoo whoo off we go.

They go on to sing another verse about a caboose.

So what the heck is a pufferbillie or pufferbelly ? I suspect it's some sort of train term. My wife thinks it's the name of a bird. So does anyone know for sure ? Thanks - Wesley


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Schantieman
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM

A puffer billy - or puffing billy - is (or was) kiddiespeak for a steam locomotive!

Unless anyone knows different.....

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: MMario
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM

That would be a steam engine, wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:19 AM

Pufferbellies are simply trains puffing smoke.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: My guru always said
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM

It's surely a puffing billy - slang I think for steam trains :-)


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,FOGIE
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:23 AM

i'M SURE THERE WAS AN OLD LOCAMOTIVE CALLED PUFFING BILLIE, BUT I DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS A REAL OR FICTIONAL ONE. MAYBE ONE SOON AFTER THE ROCKET?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: beadie
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:31 AM

It could be a name for almost any form of steam locomotive. If you've ever been around one at a railroad museaum (I'm actually old enough to remember when they were still used in daily rail operations), you may have seen the almost animate huffing and puffing of steam engines.

Although the term was not common when I was a kid, my Daddy said that, in his day, most of the smaller (short-haul) locomotives were, indeed, called "pufferbellies."


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:33 AM

for many images of "Puffing Billies", go here


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:33 AM

Don't you guys have search engines? (Or do you just have railway engines?!)


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Cluin
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:55 AM

The theme music to the old Cap'n Kangaroo show was call "Puffin' Billy".

    (CBS: 1954 - 1974): "Puffin' Billy"
    [aka: "Puffin' Billy (The Captain Kangaroo Theme)";
    aka: "Captain Kangaroo Theme";
    aka: "Captain Kangaroo";

    This was a track from a British production library known
    as the "Chappell Recorded Music Library" which was sold
    through a New York company called Emil Ascher; the tune's
    original title referred to a British steam locomotive; it
    became so popular, that in 1957 permission was granted for
    Mary Rodgers to write lyrics to the tune and it was given
    the vocal title "Captain Kangaroo"]

    Composers: music by Edward G. White (ASCAP) with
                lyric added by Mary Rodgers (ASCAP)
                      [professional name of Mary Rodgers Guettel]


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM

Bill, what does it mean when I go to a link (yours) and get thousands of little squares instead of words?

Rick


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:11 PM

I went to the same link and got loads of pictures of steam engines. Maybe it means you're not on broadband and have to wait a while for them to download.
Ray


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Allan C.
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:35 PM

Rick, the little squares are what I often get when accessing a Japanese website or that featuring some other foreign lanugage. You may need to adjust the language setting on your computer. The page is written in English rather than Canadian. *G*


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:36 PM

hmmm...all is 'should' mean is some setting is not right. The browser is trying to 'read' the URL link 'as' an image perhaps. All I did was go to http://images.google.com/ and enter "puffing billy" as the search term ...then I went to http://tinyurl.com/ and smallified the 94 character result and posted it...you can repeat my search and see the images


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:14 PM

Bill *amp; Rick

Are the little squares just the images that haven't "finished" loading?

It looks like the original search was probably a Google "image search" and what you get is a page full of "thumbnails" of images. It can take a while, on a slow connection like mine, for the pictures to start to "fill," so it looks like just "a bunch of squares." Or, I would supose, if you browse in a "text only" mode, you probably only get placeholders.

Speculating???

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:16 PM

Slight change to the immortal poem posted by Wesley S:

Down by the station
Early in the morning
See the little pufferbellies
All in a row
Hear the station master
Blow the engines whistle (pull the little handle)
Puff, puff, chug, chug,
Off we go.

The definitive vocal is here: Puffer Belly
Click on Little Puffer Belly.

Now will someone please explain to me how the station master blew the engine's whistle? And who is the culprit-er, author?
Riding in a car with a brother-in-law's kids for 50 miles while they sang that inane song over and over permanently traumatized me. The little puffer bellies run through my mind repeatly whenever someone mentions the song.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM

Q

The way the kids in my neighborhood did it was:

See the engine master
Pull the little handle
Chug chug, toot toot
Off we go.

Makes better sense that way?

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Acme
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM

Bill D, you've successfully hijacked this thread as we turn our attention to your URL and this nifty little site for making small URL's. I'm sure there's a catch--I'll have to explore and test this a bit before I trust my URL's to consistently go through there (and it says they're stable) but it sure is a neat trick. Thanks!

SRS


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:28 PM

See the song "Down by the Station" by the Four Preps in thread 19708: Down by the station
The little chorus appears at the end of the song.

What is an engine master? Is this a British term?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:32 PM

You guys are just tryin' to confuse me.

Bill D's link says it's to "http://tinyurl.com/62ug," but it takes me directly to a "Google image search result page" and shows the first 20 of 879 "hits," with the normal "page" and "next" buttons to remaining hits.

Probably my fault for using 'conventional' software.

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:36 PM

The little verse is copyrighted by Lee Ricks and Slim Gaillard, 1948, according to National Institute of Health website (lyrics given) at Down by the station
Click on the singalong index for other songs.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Acme
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:42 PM

John, go visit http://www.tinyurl.com and get the explanation. It's also tied in with Amazon--it greeted me by name. There is some kind of authentication software/cookie stuff going on there. I'd be concerned at it's use as a filter and if it remains stable.

SRS


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM

John., I'm not sure how it works...I 'thought' it went first to TinyURL and read the 'code', and referred you to the proper link, like some other pages do, without leaving a trace...but *shrug*...(I learned about it thru the alt.comp.freeware newsgroup, where lots or arcane stuff is posted.

SRS...it seems to be stable, and I only use it for really big ones where wordwrap sometimes prevents the end from showing.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:49 PM

Guest Q
I think you mean 'station master'. Nowadays he'd probably have a more imposing title, but he was the official in charge of the station.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Micca
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:50 PM

For those with a sense of the ridiculous and a good "imaging set."
In my distant youth while serving on a large Tanker( almost quarter of a mile long) we had an agreement with the First Mate that, due to the distance involved, our break(smoko) would not be timed until we reached the accomodation at the after part of the ship, when we were working on the Fo'cs'le so when smoko came round we would form up in single file on the flying bridge each with a hand on the shoulder of the man in front and would not start aft until the First Mate sang the whole verse of our version of rhis song as follows :
" See the little engine standing in the station
see the little wagons standing in a row
see the little driver pull the little lever
Chuff chuff chuff and away we go"
Close your eyes and Imagine the scene, 8 mostly large, Hairy arsed able seamen standing in a row making train noises and waiting for a 20 year served Master Mariner to metaphorically pull a lever and go" woo woo" so we would move... aand he did!!!! The things You do when you are bored at sea


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:53 PM

it seems that there is one other site like TinyUrl

http://makeashorterlink.com/about.php


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: MMario
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:54 PM

Micca - were you the caboose?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:55 PM

The version I learn't as a kid was -

"Early in the morning, as the sun was dawning,
See the little Engines all in a row,
See the little driver, pull the little lever,
'Chuff, Chuff, Chuff, and away we'll go.
Down by (?to) the sea, Down by the sea,
where the Watermelons grow " and then degenerates into a nonsense ryhme.

BTW the original "Puffing Billy" was built by Willim Hedley in 1813 for use in the Wylam Colliery. This predated Stephensons 'Rocket'.

Blowing the Whistle could also refer to the now obsolecent practice of the Gaurd (Conductor) and station staff blowing a whistle as a signal that the train was about to start and all should get on board and close the doors. The "right away" signal being traditionally given by a hand signal with a green flag, or lantern. These days its two rings/buzzez on the intercom.

Ahhhh ! Childhood memories.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:57 PM

SRS -

Looks sort of like a solution in search of a problem, although I suppose it might be useful if you have a problem with links in email. I haven't encountered that yet, but most of my email is with "business" associates who don't use text-only readers.

Still doesn't answer why Rick was seeing "thousands of squares," unless we assume that "about 20" = "thousands" and he's got a slow hookup and no patience(?). But we know him better than that...

Incidentally, I find the "Google Toolbar" really simplifies choosing what your searching for. You don't have to "code" images etc into the search, just click and go. If you want "advanced search" functions on the bar, you do have to let them "cookie" you, but it seems to be for a good cause, and - as the author says - "Mostly Harmless"

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:59 PM

Guest, I was asking John in Kansas about his suggestion of engine master. I had never heard the term.
Anyone have the verse about a caboose? Or is it for adults only?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM

MMario: just to answer your query (overlooked so far!):

Steam Locomotive: "That would be a steam engine, wouldn't it? "

Not quite. In railway (railroad) parlance the two are probably interchangeable. But..
A Steam Engine is a device for converting heat energy into kinetic energy.
A Steam Locomotive is a Steam Engine capable of self propulsion.

In the past there would have been many examples of static 'steam engines' driving mills, or transported on lorries to drive harvesting and threshing machines. To be classified as a locomotive it needs to be self-propelled (and, preferably able to pull a 'train' of carriages or wagons!)

Nigel


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Acme
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM

The stability I have in mind is the durability of time--is this service something that will stick around, or if it dies, do all of the links posted everywhere go with it? If the site is down, do all of the links break until they're back up again?. It looks nifty, but it's just as easy in many cases to cut and paste and make hot links that don't take up much space for the person who just clicks on the link.

SRS


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM

Q -

"engine master" was probably the most common term I heard, although "engine driver" was also used.

Some people used a line:

"See the station master ring the little bell," but it's been too many years for clear recollection of where it fits.

Quite possibly, a bunch of 7 year old Cub Scouts were not too concerned about historical authenticity.

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:20 PM

SRS..that 'other' site says..

"How long are the shorter links going to last?

For as long as possible. Put it this way: as long as we are in charge of the database, the links will continue to work. If the time comes when we run out of money or interest in maintaining it, we shall make the database available to anyone who wants to take it on. We hesitate to say "forever", because that's a very long time indeed. But the links will remain usable for a long time."

I suspect TinyURL will be similar...it wouldn't use a lot of database space.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:37 PM

SRS & BillD -

It would seem that the tinyurl site would have to be up for the links to work. That doesn't seem like too much of a problem - you just gotta' have faith in some things, and the life of a link more often ends because the site you link to goes down - or gets edited.

The link posted here, "62ug," assuming a "base 36" numbering (10 digits + 26 letters), comes out at about the 15,210,629th link posted through them (don't check the math, I was in a hurry). Given modern web traffic, that's not too unreasonable.

If the links are separate files, they're already at about 7.5GB on an nNIX drive with 500 byte clusters - or 30GB on the more common 2K cluster formats. I'd suspect they use a database format that breaks the cluster granularity, but that's still a lot of data for one of us - but not unreasonable on an Amazon-scale server.

They should be able to (affordably) support it for about as long as most "real" links will survive (except for mudcat, which is forever!)

John


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:39 PM

The version I have indelibly imprinted goes;

Down by the station
Early in the morning
See the little puffer billies all in a row
Man in the engine
Pulls the little handle
Ifty-pifty Oo Oo
Off we go

I believe this may have something to do with Listen with Mother on the BBC Home Service. The tune is not as represented on the link above.

Penny


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:41 PM

Bill D, thanks for the images of puffer bellies.

Nigel, railroad nuts use the term locomotive, but normal people (I hope my railroad buff friends don't see this) speak of steam engines, diesel engines, electrics, etc. when they see them creeping by at that barrier across the road. I hope no one brings up motorcar (There once was an automobile called the Locomobile, but with a name like that, the maker naturally went broke).


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST, Dale
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:45 PM

Check out the Puffing Billy site ~~
http://www.puffingbilly.com.au/ Victoria, Australia

Hear the Puffing Billy song sung by the children of Emerald Primary School, http://www.eps.vic.edu.au/puffingbillysong.htm

More on PB from the school site http://www.eps.vic.edu.au/puffing.htm


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:24 PM

Also see this previous thread


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 08:59 PM

Snuffy, thanks for bringing up that thread again- I was hoping someone would comment on the Four Preps song that I referred to, from that thread.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: open mike
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 10:27 PM

it seems that i remember this song as more or less
an intro to "i've been workin' on the RR" which goes on
to add Dinah blow your horn, ...strunmmin' on the old
banjo...fee fi fiddley i o, etc.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 04:08 AM

I tried posting this link yesterday, but it wouldn't "take" for some reason. Sorry if I sounded rude -- not intended!

"Puffing Billy" was the signature tune to the BBC radio Light Programme's Children's Favourites Saturday morning request show. and anyone over here over the age of 40 could whistle it for you!

I don't know if the Rev. Wilbert Awdrey's Engine Stories (Thomas the tank engine, etc.) were ever published in the States, but he always said that rhyme was his inspiration, when he started making up the tales for his (then) small son. All now sadly very commercialised.

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM

GuestQ: Yes, "railroad nuts use the term locomotive, but normal people (I hope my railroad buff friends don't see this) speak of steam engines, diesel engines, electrics, etc. when they see them creeping by at that barrier across the road. I hope no one brings up motorcar (There once was an automobile called the Locomobile, but with a name like that, the maker naturally went broke)."
But as you so rightly state, these are expressions used to describe a locomotive seen passing through. The fact it is pulling a train defines it as a locomotive, and the adjectives 'Steam engined', 'diesel engined' or 'electric powered' just refine the matter. But we do need some form of expression to differentiate these from their non-mobile counterparts.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:28 PM

For other non-locomotive steam engines, see the thread on Donkey engines

Nigel


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:55 PM

Nigel, I was trying to make the point that "locomotive" is not part of the average American's speech.

You can look at the beautiful steam engines (sic!), from Tom Thumb to Union Pacific's "Big Boy" at: Steam engines


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:01 PM

Sorry. My link to steam engines was incomplete. See: engine UP 4017
(http://members.aol.com/vicondon/train13.htm)


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:09 PM

Odd! I have bookmarked the site and can find it on google (American railroad Steam Engine Pictures with sound and History) but I can't link. Sorry!


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:27 PM

This site opens with photos of 'steam engines'. But only one is a steam locomotive (second down right hand side), and that would more commonly be described as a stream traction engine in UK.
So what term is used Stateside for Steam Engines which are not self-propelled ?

Nigel


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: bob schwarer
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:41 PM

A steam tractor was self propelled, but not called a locomotive.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:43 PM

could be called a steam engine; possibly a "steam plant" or "steam power plant" or "steam boiler".


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:51 PM

Steam engines! (stationary steam engines only in museums, so no longer in the spoken language). I haven't checked, but in the days of steam, the word locomotive may well have been in use in North America. I will have to look in some of my old magazines. Don't know why "locomotive" is not in the general patois. The freight trains that run through town are called "diesels."
There no longer is any real use of passenger trains in western Canada. There are preserved railroad steam engines, some still running short excursions, so the public is familiar with them.
Farmer-mechanics here take great pride in their restored steam traction engines (just "tractors" to the general public, whether steam or gasoline).


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:39 AM

My brain has now surfaced a correction to the third line. I have no idea where it came from.

Man on the engine pulls the little lever...

But it alliterates, which makes it seem more fitting than the handle, as well as being mechanically sound.


Penny


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:41 AM

Do you remember those diagrms of how the body worked involving lots of little people running around doing things? Because as I posted the above, it occurred to me that my brain seems to work like the 'Cat, with lots of little people sitting at computers responding to my requests for information, sometimes immediately, sometimes hours later...

penny


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: My guru always said
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 08:02 AM

GuestQ: In the UK we have a thriving community of Traction Engine restorers and enthusiasts - see this Steam Engine magazine. Tractors over here are in a different group of agricultural machinery.

The National Traction Engine Trust is another good site. Stationary engines, Portable engines and Beam engines are also discovered rotting all over the world and lovingly brought back to their former glory.

Between Spring & Autumn the UK countryside is littered with Country Fairs and Steam Rallies, IMO the biggest rally we have is this one. It's huge!

It's amazing how many 'anoraks' are around..... it's not just Trainspotters! Ooops, guess I've just given away one of my secret hobbies...


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM

Has nobody heard of "road locomotives"? Tut-tut!

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Schantieman
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 09:55 AM

...presumably an appliance for moving roads.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: My guru always said
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:09 AM

Yes of course Steve, road locomotives were heavy haulage vehicles weren't they? Several traction engines could be harnessed as a train to pull enormous weights. Of course they needed some more working engines behind the 'load' to assist with 'braking'. Was this why they were called locomotives? Or am I on the wrong track? Upline?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:56 AM

"Locomotive" means, more-or-less, "able to move from place to place". What a compact and efficient language! In contradistinction to a portable engine, of course, which has wheels but you have to pull it with a horse. Much cheaper, especially if you have the horse(s) already!

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Joe_F
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 05:43 PM

I had always imagined that pufferbillies were locomotives, but this thread alerted me to a problem: How can they be all in a row? One or two to a train, surely.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM

Well... back in the day... when I was very young... my grandparents had a Puffing Billy in their house.... it was a wood stove...and I suppose it looks like what most would call a parlour stove... any way thats what they called it... a Puffing Billy!

LL


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Penny S.
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 12:57 PM

I always visualised them as in a marshalling yard, or as in Thomas the tank engine, at some central part of the working area of a terminus, where the engines were washed, fueled, had their tanks filled, and fired up before going off to pick up the coaches.

At Folkestone, however, more than two engines were used to pull and push the boat train up from the harbour. I could swear to two at the front and one at the back, but it might have been three and two.

Penny


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:14 PM

Yes Penny - The Folkstone Harbour branch is built on a very steep incline. Small tank engines in multiple were used to get the coaches up to the top of the bank at Folkstone East Junction. There the main line locomotive was attatched to take the train on. There were severe weight restictions o nthe viaduct and swing bridge over the harbour, and no heavier locomotives could be used.

In the 1930's onwards these were ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway class R1 tanks. When these became time expired in the mid 1950's they were replaced by ex Great Western Railway 57XX tanks, which lasted untill electrification in the early 1960's.

It was quite spectacullar to hear these tanks lifting 10 coaches up the bank from a standing start.

Gareth, your friendly Anorak.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:18 PM

I have seen three-four in the passes over the Canadian Rockies- diesels. I have a picture with two steam engines, but haven't heard of more being used on those runs.
The little Thomas train toys are popular here in the States and Canada. No fancy track hookups and electric motors that go wrong in kids hands. The fancy, HO gauge scale stuff is for adults only!
The large Lionel and American Flyer (0?) I was lucky to have as a kid could take rougher handling. The electric-powered engines weighed about five pounds, as I recall.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Penny S.
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 08:06 AM

Gareth, thanks for confirming what I dared not say - they were tank engines. But (as an anorak you should know this) it was at Folkestone, with 2 e's.

Quite spectacular to see them, too.

I think we could hear them from home in Dolphins Road, just underneath the Sugarloaf. (A fault-slipped knoll semi-detached from the local scarp of the chalk, a rounded conical hill nothing like the one in Rio.) I certainly used to hear shunting going on, and could see the long goods trains crossing the viaduct between Folkestone Central and the Junction from my bedroom window.

I can't believe I'm having a trainspotting discussion.

But my Grandad was a guard at Brighton.....

Penny


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 04:05 PM

Always heard it as:
"...See the little driver
Pull the little handle..."

Is a tank engine the same as a yard engine?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Gareth
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 04:26 PM

Yes and No EBarnacle

In British terms a tank engine is a locomotive carrying it coal and water on the same chassis, no tender.

Due to the (in North American Terms)short haul distances involved tank engines were extensively used for all sorts of services, including express passenger, and heavy frieght.

A yard engine or shunting locamotive (Switcher) in the UK was usually a tank engine. In the USA they tended to be tender locomotives, with the sloping rear to the tender to enhance vision.

It was a question of distance, and a tank engine did not need turning before its next trip, although this was done whenever possible for crew comfort, particullaly if a fast run was required. No point in having to have coal dust blowing in your face.

I can recall, 1965 the dying days of UK steam, being invited onto the footplate of a Stanier 8F heavey freight loco whilst it shunted the yard at Wellingborough - heaven !!!! And completely against the rule book !!!

Gareth

PM me for further details


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 05:41 PM

Just remembered: my late great uncle Len Dyall was a driver on the LNER (London and North-Eastern Railway). Thanks for prompting me, Penny!

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,pinecone
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 04:29 PM

not having time to read all these replies-- Forgive me if I repeat someone else's message.   There was a song by the Four Preps called Down By The Station --   From the 60's
words are slightly altered but same song.
I think they may have added some lines though.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 08:53 PM

This takes me back.

I have the words as:

Down at the station early in the morning
See the little puff-a-billies standing in a row.
See the engine driver turn the little handle;
Puffity-puffity-whoo-whoo, off we go.

What the Americans call a locomotive, we called an engine, which after Beeching was replaced by diesels.

I always thought the engines were standing side by side in rows.

As Shaw said "England and America are two countries divided by a common language", though I think he meant the Britain.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 09:15 PM

We Yanks can call a locomotive an engine too. Indeed, the person you call the engine driver we call the (locomotive) engineer.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Acme
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 11:53 PM

And in addition to the locomotive information, at five plus years out we can see (if we follow old links) that TinyURL has taken over Make A Shorter Link and is maintaining their links and they all are, indeed, durable.

SRS


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM

I'm of the opinion that Puffing Billy was for a time the generic name for steam locos, after being the specific name of a very early one. The English have a habit of adopting generic names, like Jumbo, Hoover, Singer, Tannoy, etc.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: delawarejoe
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 04:02 PM


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 09:16 PM

A British "Pufferbilly" just broke the world 100 year old land speed record for a steam powered car at over 139 mph, cut and paste this link (cant do blue thing yet) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5ilvXjq1oyD8iNIxgDpzHOL7tRRBA


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,RRozsa
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 11:07 AM

Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:55 PM

Nigel, I was trying to make the point that "locomotive" is not part of the average American's speech.
========================================

"Locomotive" was certainly part of the average American's speech back in the early 60's! Every TV-watching American kid what a locomotive was, thanks to the show "Superman"....   "Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's SUPERMAN!"


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 02:22 PM

Well, further back than that. Being an ordained Geezer, I got my first electric train when I was about six years old (1937). It came with a mess of track (that could be added to), six cars, a caboose, and a locomotive.

That was a happy Christmas!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 03:17 PM

And didn't everybody over there watch 'Casey Jones' in the 50s? We did over here!


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 11:08 PM

we never did settle the puffer billies question.

it is pufferbellies. if you google 'see the little pufferbellies,' you will find oodles of googles with precisely that spelling

it is a reference to the fat, round boiler of a steam engine, with the boiler tubes inside. I don't suppose the steam puffs in the boiler, but the image is awful cute.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 07:27 AM

What does Google know? It can only repeat other peoples mistakes and regional variations.
I KNOW it was Puffer-billies. I used to listen to 'Listen With Mother', so that makes me an expert.

And before anyone from across the water asks, Listen with Mother was a 15 minute radio programme on BBCs Home Service for 'mothers and children at home' (i.e. under 5s) with a song or two and a story
'Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin'


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 09:23 AM

It aws listening (with Mother) to "Listen with Mother" consistently get the words and tunes of well-known songs wrong that imbued me with the respect for authority that I still carry to this day.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 08:22 PM

The origin lies with Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850), one of the earliest railway engineers, helping his boss William Hedley build the innovative 'Puffing Billy' in 1813.

Puffing Billy has the honour of being the oldest preserved locomotive in the world and is on permanent display in the Science Museum London.

End of argument!!


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 08:29 PM

Not quite... in terms of etymology, was "Billy" an obvious name, or was there some contemporary reference? Why not Puffing Sammy, say?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 07:08 AM

I wonder if it was his boss's nickname!


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Bernard
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:56 PM

Seems obvious, really, Paul... 'Billy' is a contraction of 'William'... William Hedley...


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 02:28 PM

We must agree to disagree. One man named William who worked for another man who built an engine in 1813 hardly qualities as an unquestionable source for 'pufferbillies.'

No, the engines have steam in their fat little middles, and so they are pufferbellies. They are 'all in a row' because they are in a main railyard and there are a number of them.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 06:10 PM

Bernard- a bit too attractive- rather like tram from Outram. We know about Spinning Jenny- from "engine"- what other contemporary "billies" do we have?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 01:52 PM

How about deriving it from French "boullir" - to boil- bully beef is derived from this, and probably billy can too. Anyone got the OED full version to check earliest usage of "billy" as a boiling vessel?


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,booklynrose
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 08:42 PM

When I was a kid in the U.S. we certainly knew what locomotives were. I believe in the 1940's & 50's they were changing from steam to diesel, but at least some people called them locomotives.
   We sang it "See the little pufferbillies" because that was the pronunciation of the people we learned the song from.
   I always assumed that when the station master turned the little handle, he signaled that the train could now start, and "off we go."
   Are we all a bit silly fussing over this? I like recalling these songs. Now I sing them to my great nephew who loves trains.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Michael
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM

I am happy to be part of the Puffing Billy Railway www.puffingbilly.com.au in Australia :)


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Fred Stoll
Date: 29 May 11 - 01:35 AM

Puffer belly is a train term. In the UK. It is a small underpowered
engine used to move cars around. i.e., a small switch engine. Supposedly a child's nickname for the engine type.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Fred Stoll
Date: 29 May 11 - 01:35 AM

Puffer belly is a train term. In the UK. It is a small underpowered
engine used to move cars around. i.e., a small switch engine. Supposedly a childs nickname for the engine type.


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 29 May 11 - 04:42 AM

Over many years of interest in UK railways, I've never heard the term used in this way. What USAians call a switcher is over here a shunter, a pug (particularly in Scotland), a dobbin, a jocko (still used for the ubiquitous class 08 diesels), sometimes donkey (that's what the folks outside the fence called it).


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Subject: RE: What's a pufferbillie / pufferbelly?
From: GUEST,K Magill
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 09:02 PM

Hmm, just goes to show the disappearance of train culture in the US - seems like the UK has us beat in terms of fluency in railway terminology...

*eleven years and counting!*


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