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13 comments on this post.
  1. Maria Emilia:

    It was a nice surprise to find your site. Very well written and with useful information. Thanks!

  2. Pete:

    Railroaders use the term “shoo-fly track” or simply “the shoo-fly” to refer to a temporary by-pass around a washout, bridge replacement project, etc.

  3. Nick:

    Having lived in eastern Pennsylvania (very close to the Amish) for most of my life; ‘shoo-fly pie’ was (is) a classic dessert. If you never have, but do get the chance to try it… make sure it’s a ‘wet bottom’ pie!

  4. Duke:

    The term is commonly used for a temporary power line around a work site also.

  5. John:

    At last I’ve found a reference!
    Shoofly was used by pipeliners in the 50’s-70’s to denote a temporary access for equipment where the pipeline ditch was unusually inaccessible.

  6. David:

    The etymology of shoofly may indicate “short fly” as a possible origin, being a short length of RR track used as a workaround. This would suggest slurred speech by uneducated railway workers and non-English speaking immigrants, both common in the 19th century railroad industry. Most common uses of the word shoofly can be imagined as referring to a “workaround”, what you do when you can’t or don’t do the usual or “correct” thing, such as making a pie from molasses, or a short-cut rocker. Workarounds can also be annoying, such as stopping work on the main fly to build temporary track in difficult terrain. In South America today a popular cocktail is the shoofly, so dubbed by 19th century American RR engineers who could not get the alcohol they wanted from the US and cobbled something together from local liquor as a temporary workaround. Shoo-fly is a common railroading term for temporary workaround and can be found on the Internet

  7. Ariel:

    Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  8. admin:

    Oh yes, I have a bottomless pit of this stuff.

  9. Bob:

    This is in current use in the Pipeline industry (2015) with the previously referred to context of a temporary access road to a normally inaccessible location. I’m looking at it in a legal (contractual) project document. I came here just to double-check the meaning. It appears here in the plural as shooflies.

  10. Jeff Holm:

    I’m thinking that shoofly is a corruption of shuffle. A shu-fle track is a temporary bypass installed to allow trains to change position with each other. I think that the term carried over into pipelining to mean a temporary road to allow for construction.

  11. Darin Vail:

    I now know it is not a type of fly.i am 7 years old a

  12. Flora Poole:

    I grew up in Duplin County NC back in th 50-60 and there was a passenger train that came thru that we called the shoo-fly or the shufly.

  13. Robin:

    Why would it have been a great pastime to meet the Shoo Fly train in Mt. Olive around 1917? That’s what my grandfather and his father did! Thanks, Robin

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