Monday, March 04, 2013

Dashing Dan Lives!

A new job has me reverse commuting from Brooklyn to Hempstead, in Nassau County, which entails my taking the subway two stops to Atlantic Terminal and there boarding a Long Island Railroad train that after about an hour deposits me a five minute walk from my office. Not bad, as I'm going against the tide and therefore always have an uncrowded train and can get some reading done.

Approaching Jamaica Station in Queens, a major junction where outbound trains from Atlantic Terminal, Penn Station in Manhattan, and Long Island City in Queens converge and where trains on some of the LIRR's lines east into Long Island originate, I noticed this diesel powered switch loco (photo above) sitting in the yard just to the east of the station. What first caught my eye is that this engine is painted in a "heritage" color scheme: black with white lettering and orange accents, instead of the contemporary blue and white, or silver (see photo below):
What really caught my eye was the logo that appears below and to the left of the cab of Engine 104 in the photo at the top.  Here's an image of the logo, taken from trainsarefun.com:
The image above differs from that on Engine 104 in that the background is white, not yellow, and the base under the circle is blue, not red. This is the color scheme that was used on passenger cars; the yellow background version was used on locomotives with the black with orange accents color scheme, like 104. This is "Dashing Dan," the image created in 1957 to personify the LIRR's slogan, "The Route of the Dashing Commuter." You  can tell  Dan is from before the presidency of John F. Kennedy by his fedora. JFK, who was justly proud of his head of hair, seldom wore hats, and thereby ended their status as an essential accessory to business attire.

Several years after Dan's debut, someone in the LIRR public relations department noticed that women as  well as men were commuting on the railroad. In 1963, coincidentally the year The Feminine Mystique was published, "Dashing Dottie" appeared.
According to this LIRR employee newsletter (linked in trainsarefun.com):
While Dan just "growed" from a doodle on a Public Relations Department desk pad, Dottie was carefully "assembled" until the combination of anatomical parts and clothing seemed just right.
I'll give Dottie extra athletic and style points for dashing in heels. Unfortunately, she never appeared on any rolling stock, but she was used on printed materials and promotional merchandise, such as  "Dan 'n' Dottie Cocktails for Two," a set with a pitcher, stirrer, and two glasses, one decorated with Dan and the other with Dottie.

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