Support: Beige(1) wove
Sheet: 22.3 x 26.8 cm (8 3/4 x 10 9/16 in.); Image: 17 x 21.2 cm (6 11/16 x 8 3/8 in.)
Gift of John Bonebrake 2003.393
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Catalogue raisonné: Fields p. 78, plate 28
Edition: 500 plus 50 deluxe
The switchman’s principal duty was to switch tracks to direct an oncoming train to its destination, regulate a train’s speed, and signal the open track to the train conductor. The red and white checkered flag was used for the latter purpose and was placed on the side of the open tracks. The switchman was also responsible for manning the telegraph, whose white poles line the opposite side of the tracks. When he was off duty, the switchman grew vegetables on the bank bordering the railway, as was the custom with railway workers.
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