Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 02, 2002
In Reply to: Whistle stop posted by Rob on May 02, 2002
: Any body know the derivation of the term 'whistle stop' don't know why I originally thought of it but would quite like to know!!
: Any ideas gratefully recieved....
A "whistle stop" is a railroading term.
Originally a whistle stop was a description of a very small town through which a train passed. If you needed to get off the train at that town you would pull a cord to activate a whistle inside the train to alert the conductor/engineer of your intentions.
Politicians would criss cross the US in trains and build support by running a "Whistle Stop Campaign" as President Truman did in 1948, stopping in dozens of small towns, giving speeches, shaking hands and kissing babies.
A "whistle post" is a specially marked post on the engineer's side of the train that tells him when to start whistling for a grade crossing. Slower trains may delay whistling until closer to the crossing.