This goes back early 1900s I imagine. In this NYTimes video (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.


That is a handcar, specifically one with a pump. Here's a video about how one works.

It would normally be operated by railroad employees, but in that specific video they appear to be police officers, or potentially private railroad security.

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