Nov 25, 2009
Thanks. That is what I was misunderstanding.
Just a sidebar in this discussion, technology already exists and has been tested in "real time" for "hands-off" COMMERCIAL(my emphasis)airplane operation. That is, airplanes have been flown AND landed without a human touching the controls. At this time landings on "heavy"(wide bodied)aircraft are computer assisted. It is virtually impossible for a human to react sufficiently and correctly to all the variants in landing a large aircraft(drift,crosswinds, attitude etc). Our nation's spacecraft can be completely,and for the most part are, flown by computer control. We are already aware that that is far from foolproof!
Let me ask you.. Would you want to step onto an airplane to go to West Bumstep to visit mom and dad, knowing that only a computer was flying that airplane? Would you really? Do you think the ALPA is going to let the air carriers do away with crewmen in
the cockpit? Of course they wont! Neither will the BLET and UTU allow the railroads to
eliminate crewpersons. The public is fickle, most people dont care much about anything unless and until it concerns them, then they raise hue & cry "Something's gotta be done about this". That is where the gov't steps in. The gov't has to be the conscience and
watchmen for the public good. The public is largely incapable of doing that for itself.
I wont get any more political than that. Railroads are notoriously parsimonious and disingenuine in their dealings with the public. They want to eliminate as much expense as possible. They dont care who or what stands in their way, that is until the gov't puts the hammer down on them. I live on the south side of Chicago. A number of the southern 'burbs are complaining loudly to the CN about the increasing number of trains
that the CN is running on the former E.J.&E. mainline,which the CN had said they wouldnt be doing.
The spirits of Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, Commodore Vanderbilt,Jim Hill,Crocker,Huntington,Stanford and Hopkins still live, they provided their heirs with a lasting legacy!
Doofus, nowhere in that post did I say a second person was in the cab, I said the conductor, who on a Metrolink train is in the cars, not the cab had to repeat signals and know the route.
Sure, he wasn't in as solid a position as someone in the cab would be, but my understanding is that single person in the cab and the conductor working in the cars is standard on multiple commuter lines.
I feel like you guys are being a little hard on management....not completely unreasonable, but a little bit hard.
I know it's off-topic, but I have to take exception to operating officials in the cab. One, they raise the stress factor because you don't know what they're going to claim that you might be doing wrong, and two, my current Road Foreman is a chatter box and doesn't stop talking. I solved that by ignoring him my whole check ride and he didn't talk to me.
Railroad management is deserving of all the scorn brought upon them. It is their adversarial,management-by-crisis style that brings it upon them. How many major corporations do you know that spend tens of thousands of dollars in training each operating department employee, only to turn around and try to find any excuse to fire them? What you have seen written on these boards by actual working railroaders is not
hyperbole, it is the raw,cold truth. Read any major railroad rulebook(GCOR,NORAC,CORA etc)
violating any one of those rules could result in termination,not always perhaps,but the potential is still there. If one follows the rules exactly, one is in violation of the rules by
coming on the property to report for duty(ANYONE[my emphasis]on the property not performing service for the carrier is a trespasser!)Many of the rules were written to protect the carriers,not make the property safer for the employee.
If you remember history, railroads were among the first businesses where employees organized their labor unions. This was done to protect the rank & file from the cavalier attitude of the carriers to the health,welfare and safety of their employees. It was the unbridled,clutching greed and parsimony of the carriers that forced employees to organize and the eyes of the government to focus upon their operating practices. The railroads were forced into using track signaling,forced into having safety appliances installed on rolling stock,forced into limiting hours of service for their operating employees.
Nope! I dont think anyone here has been unduly hard on rail management.
Not near as hard as we could be......
Doofus in any passenger situation the conductor responds to the engineer calling the signal out. AMTRAK engineer number 6 approach medium a plant east out" he repats it back to the engineer. If the engineer misses that signal then the conductor determines whats going on and can stop the train from an emergency valve.
Management deserves every little thing they get from us.They want to yell at me or be disrespectful then I have no sympathy for them. I do my job and mind my own business.I dont steal time, I dont argue over stuff. I come in and do what has to be done.I dont like having a trainmaster get 2 inches from my face sniffing me.I dont like them yelling at me to get on the power and hurry hurry only to sit there.I dont like them pulling stupid tests.Oh you blew your horn 1/16th of a second too long so you fail.You wonder why we hate managers lol.
Favorite engineer trick to do is if you know your going to be banner tested run at about 5 mph and as soon as you see the banner stop.Then dont move. Let them come to you.Nothing will irk a Tm more then to drive up tell you "good job"Then drive back and lower the banner. I used to be nice and pull up to within a few carlengths.I got broke of that REAL quick!
ROFL I LOVE that!!! I posted a story on the "Storytime with Charlie" thread about that.
Nope! I wont give them an inch! My engineer mentor told me a story about a buddy of his
who had a TM hot on his case. He pulled into a siding and snuck right up to the board.Not a good idea unless your train length doesn't allow you any breathing room. Unfortunately all of us runners have had that happen more than we care to think about!
The TM was playing "weed weasel" and climbed on board with the idea of finding something
wrong. The hogger, not thinking apparently, released the automatic,intending to hold the train with the independent. Well some slack rolled in and kicked the nose of the power just past the board. NAILED!!!!!
sounds like you railroaders need to get better managers .. it just seems odd to me that these billion dollar operations are run by chicken¤¤¤¤ people
LOL whoops! Yeah I used to be nice, but the best night we did that I had a student Hostler. We were in the Dep yard in Galesburg and there was a train on 6 and every other track was clear.As we are heading into dep 2 my pilot says " wow a Banner by the trimmer building" my student asks"should I pull up to it? No here is fine, so she stops us.We are like 4,000 feet away and the TM carry all was just passing under the window of the power when we stopped.All of a sudden the brake lights come on and it does a nose dive!I dont think he got it stopped before he slammed into reverse and came roaring back. The regular Tm and 3 rookie TM's get out and climb aboard.
"What the hell are you doing?" Oh just teaching my student to be safe on the railroad. When in doubt take the safe course of action!My pilot is dying the student is trying not to snicker. The TM roars " Well good job now pull down there!" Ok but after a job brief cause the situation has changed. That got a rookie TM to laugh. It was as Foxworthy puts it "Pandalerioum!Well the rest of the night it was " Job Brief situation changed for the ENTIRE yard! lol I about died when Yard Control said it in a sentence as well.Ahh yes tricks to play on TM's I better sharpen up as I get to go back here on monday and start playing again!
You have no idea!
Operating crews basically operate unsupervised. The closest thing to "supervision" on the job is a yardmaster and/or dispatcher. Dont do what they tell you;expect to be in the unemployment line before you grow any older! It is insubordination just as much as disobeying a company official.
We are treated like we are wayward children. The TM in Rochelle ran a rule book quiz on us in the cab of a road switcher job one afternoon. He came to chide the hogger for not acknowledging movement requests. I was the brakeman on the job, I jumped in right away in defense of the hogger. I told the TM that the hogger acknowledged every instruction or signal I gave, whether by radio, or hand wave or whistle signal. I cant speak for any other railroader on this board, but if I am in charge of a movement, the weather is clear, there is a clear line of sight, I will us hand/lantern signals. It is much easier and more fluid in controlling a movement that way. Why waste time keying a pac-set or keying the radio in the cab when you can acknowledge with a wave or a "toot". My radio transmission can get "walked on", but the hogger sure as heck can see my hand signals! When I signal to come my way with my hand or lantern and give a car count, he knows where "my way" is and can see that I'm there, in the clear!
At any rate, this hogger vacated the job after the first week and "temped" in commuter train service for the balance of his 30 day hold because of this TM. He said he would never go to Rochelle again while that TM was there!
BTW the TM asked us "How do we know if a siding in CTC is a controlled siding"? I told him to check Section 10 in GCOR. I am not nice!
There are good managers and there are bad managers just like there are good crews and bad crews.It all depends on how we all treat each other. My thinking has always been to treat the other person the way I would want to be treated...with dignity and respect.
I agree with B&O Rick and others that when an official is in the cab that they not become an obstruction to clear communication between crew members and a diversion of their attention. Let me give an example:
Being a DSLE (Designated Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers or Road Foreman of Engines) for several of the railroads I train and test for, causes me to perform annual engineer check rides and crew observation trips along with FRA mandatory testing of the rules. In these cases (even though I know most of the crew members and we could enjoy friendly conversation) I try to keep our conversations polite but short so as not to be a distraction to the crew. We both have jobs to do. They performing their duties safely and in compliance with the rules and me to compliment them first on their compliance and second to help clarify and educate them where compliance is an issuse. Having spent a fair amount of time in my career both on the ground as a conductor as well as an engineer I try to take this into consideration when performing field tests and observations so that they are fair. If a problem does occur I try to give the benefit of doubt to the crews knowing what it's like to be in their "shoes". Part of my job also requires testing with other officials to ensure they use the same methods and attitudes in dealing with our folks in order to provide a safe and pleasant place to railroad. At this late stage in my career this is pobably one of the most satisfying positions I have held. That of being able to teach and coach folks in all disciplines whether transportation, switching, mechanical, engineering, dispatchers or managers from new hires to experienced "old heads" in the proper application of the safety and operating rules. It doesn't hurt to also be working for one of the better shortline outfits.
BOK .. interesting response, and I would hope that this is the rule rather than the exception .. but unfortunately a lot of railroader stories you ever read on these boards, and in other venues often result in the us vs them attitude.
While military service is not railroading, we have our own issues, but in general, I never encountered such hostility between officers and enlisted during my 26 years in (both enlisted and officer) .. at least not in the Navy
I've certainly never experienced this level of hostility in the Telecommunications industry. Judging by this board, working in the railroad is a good way to shorten your life and make those years miserable while doing it..and that's not even including the horrible hours and actual potential danger the job can entail.
Of course, the best stories are usually the ones involving Danger/trouble or that involve unique personalities. Nobody tells stories about the boring normal days, the managers that just did their job and helped you out etc etc etc.
I get along with my DSLE real well. Actually all but one dsle and I have gotten on real well.
Yeah somedays it really sucks talking to people who look at you like your lower than whale droppings. but I dont let it get to me.They get too rude and we go 100% rules compliance on them.
one of my buddies as a trainman and engineer is now a TM. I never did get to see him function as a manager but I'm willing to bet he is a good one. He is a personable guy and
he was on the ground and in the cab for a number of years and he comes from a RR family(his dad is a retired special agent). As far as being "rule compliant", BTDT! One night I was helper in East Yard,Eola working with a foreman who is a fairly senior conductor and was ordered off the Conductors extra list to work a yard job. That was a non-issue to him, what WAS his peeve that night was the carrier's annulling several jobs. On the job safety
briefing we agreed to be 100% rule compliant. We switched 52 cars in an 8 hour shift!
Mercy! I'll bet we all have some tales to tell about being "rule compliant" LOL
Is that a lot or not very many? Sorry I'm just not familiar with this real railroading.
I switch more than that in a 4 hour operating session at a friend's layout, if that tells you anything.
You are most welcome.
I have never understood why some of the larger class 1 railroads do their best to find and hire the best railroader candidates and then try their best to find ways to fire employees by "trapping" them in rules violations situations. The man I work for, who is the vice president of safety always takes the view of a crew and their perspective especially when there is a serious rules violation which leads to a human failure incident resulting in injury or damage to lading and equipment.
That is one of the reasons I admire his abilities and find it satisfying reporting to him. He makes it easy to do our job because he stands behind us and ensures that we and all managers deal with employees in a fair, firm and friendly manner. To be sure there are exceptions in both management and crews and we all have our days when things don't go right and we forget the right way to speak to each other, but over all we as a company are moving rapidly to a group of respectfully, friendly railroads.
Thanks, for the nice words.