This goes back early 1900s I imagine. In this NYTimes video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tly8abRH4ws (2'05'') there are five men on a railroad equipment. I tried looking for pictures and on americanrails.com, but found no clue to get to the name of that kind of workers and to the thing they are giving motion to. Any idea? Thanks


2 Answers 2


The vehicle is a handcar or pumpcar.



Navvys or Navigational Engineers


  • The conventional plural spelling would be navvies (not navvys). Apr 4, 2016 at 15:17
  • As FumbleFingers states, "gandy dancer" is the US term for the people. I've never heard "navvy".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:12
  • ^vote with an note: You could add a parallel reference to gandy dancer: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandy_dancer
    – lauir
    Apr 5, 2016 at 5:06
  • Recommended video accompaniment to this answer: youtube.com/watch?v=Fh0F41AvO_Q
    – deadrat
    Apr 5, 2016 at 7:11
  • @Hotlicks Navvy was the general term used in and around Britain, especially for Irish engineers. As a large amount of Irish Navvies went to the US to work on these projects, I used Navvy.
    – SGR
    Apr 5, 2016 at 7:12

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