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Aliases, Logos, and Slogans

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Damn Slow Service and Abuse


It seems that railroad employees and passengers took a special pleasure in playing with the letters in a railroad's name. The Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway (DSS&A) did not escape from this satirical humor. I have seen or heard this noble line referred to as follows:

bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damn Slow Service and Abuse. This is what my grandfather use to call the line. It is also the alias I have heard most often in reference to the DSS&A (Thurner 1994, 118).
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damn Small Salary and Abuse. I am sure my grandfather would have agreed with this alias as well. Durocher (1984-1985, part 5, 38) mentions this alias.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damned Small Salary Always. This was what Engineer Osmond Allen use to call the line according to his grandson Jack Allen.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damn Slow and Sure Awful. This one I heard in the Summer of 1996 from Jane John, a librarian at the Peter White Public Library, Marquette. She is the daughter of Kenyon Buyer, who flourished 1901-1963 in Marquette. He use to apply this alias to the DSS&A.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Dead Slow Service and Agony. Lou "Soo" Papineau sent this one to me in an email dated 21 February 1997. He got it from his father, Patrick Finely Papineau. According to Lou this was the nickname used in the Sault Ste. Marie area for the DSS&A.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Delayed, Short-Steamed and Antiquated. Wes Richards sent me this via an email dated 1 March 1997. He heard it from his uncle Joe LaFreniere who lived in Houghton.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damned Slow, Shabby Affair. This gem comes from Lee Barnett, the recently retired archivist of the State of Michigan Archives and all-around nice-guy to railroad enthusiasts and genealogists. He found it in the 5 October 1953 issue of the Detroit Free Press, p. 4, and sent it to me via email dated 24 July 1997.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Dirt, Soot, Smoke, and Agony.  This charming alias comes from Tom Stolte's (1998) list of railroad nicknames.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damned Seldom, Slow, and Abusive.  I have learned of this alias indirectly from an anonymous email correspondent who heard a former chief geologist from Republic Steel use it at a 1995 Society for Industrial Archeology conference in Houghton.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Dependable, Satisfactory Service & Attention.  I want to thank George Scott for sending me this alias in an email dated 24 September 1998.   He recalls seeing it as a logo on the 16000 series of wooden box cars used for express or less than a car load (LCL) freight.  It was a billboard style very similar to the "Route Superior Gateway for Superior Service" logo.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Dust, Sand, Soot, and Ashes. Frank R. Nash emailed me this one. He recalls hearing it used in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He personally thinks that Dirt, Soot, Smoke, and Ashes would have been closer to the truth based on his experience of riding South Shore line.
bullet.gif (981 bytes) Damn Sight Slower than Any. Bruce Johanson shared this alias with me on a visit to the Ontonogan Historical Society Museum where he is a docent on 11 September 2013.

Please contact me if you have any other aliases, or documentation regarding the above aliases.

Logos and Slogans

Of course, the DSS&A officials did not appreciate the aliases applied to their company, even though they probably used them in private. Railroads in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were often marketed with interesting logos, slogans, and advertising devices. The following logos and slogans were officially used by the DSS&A (Durocher 1984-1985, part 1, 41, part 2, 21, 28):

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Soo-Mackinaw Short Line

This logo was used from 1888 to 1889. However, it was soon replaced by the "Zenith City Short Line" to avoid confusion with the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie, and Atlantic Railroad, known as the "Soo Line."

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Zenith City Short Line

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The "Zenith City Short Line" logo was used as a slogan starting in 1889 and ending in 1892. The Zenith City is of course the progressive city of Duluth.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) The Marquette Route

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This slogan was adopted in 1892 and used until 1905. It emphasized the crucial role of Marquette as the center of DSS&A operations.

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This image of a piece of luggage with "The Marquette Route" tag was used in advertisements and pamphlets. This slogan was used between 1892 and 1905.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) The South Shore

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This was the logo used for most of the history of the DSS&A from 1905 to as late as 1961. This is the logo that would have been used in the herald for the DSS&A during the 1910 to 1925 period.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic

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The full name of the DSS&A was used in heralds starting in the 1940's and continued in use until 1961.

It appears that the following logo was used for patches and pins since the 1940's:

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bullet.gif (978 bytes) Route Superior Gateway for Superior Service

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This logo would have been seen on box cars during the 1940's and 1950's.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Flying DSSandA

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This logo would appear on box cars around 1957 to 1965. It consists of the letters DSSandA with a wind swept effect that makes it looks like the letters are flying.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Soo-South Shore Lines

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Both the Soo Line and the DSS&A were owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Apparently, they would often offer joint timetables and excursions. This banner comes from timetables done in 1891 (King 1981,12).

bullet.gif (978 bytes) MRRR and H&CRR Logos

I have not yet come across logos, slogans, or aliases for the Mineral Range Railroad (MRRR) or the Hancock and Calumet Railroad (H&CRR). I have found this nice stationery banner:

Mrhc2.gif (25661 bytes)

Please contact me if you have other scanned image examples of these logos, or additional logos, that I can include on this page. I would also appreciate receiving any information about the DSS&A, MRRR, and H&CRR logos.

Please contact me should you have any questions or comments regarding this page.

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright 1997 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 23 January 1997. Last modified 15 Septembner 2013.