Jerry, do you still work for a railroad?

Leo Bicknell Apr 24, 2008

  1. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    the Railroad Mantra.

    "Uphill slow,
    Downhill fast.
    Tonnage first,
    Safety last".

    Hey I heard a story about a guy on the N & W or NS(whatever), a switchman who had just tied up from his assignment. As he was on his way out, the yardmaster asked him if
    he wouldn't mind throwing a switch for a train that was coming into the yard. Dunno why he did it,but the guy threw the switch and somehow was struck & killed by a train.
    Remember, he was off-duty! He shouldn't have done that to begin with.
    At any rate, his widow sues the carrier, naturally they fight it AND WIN!!! It seems that
    the railroad claimed the off-duty switchman was a trespasser and his widow was not entitled to any damages. The judge agreed!!!
    Never do any on the railroad unless you are told and are on duty!

    CT
     
  2. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, very true Charlie! :(
     
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Good Grief, sounds like the Railroad Robber Baron culture of the 19th Century is still alive and well more than 150 years later. When most other industries had this culture in the early and mid 1900s, the unions and the Feds gained control and were able to cause a major culture change, why not the rail industry?
     
  4. corporaldan

    corporaldan TrainBoard Member

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    just one more comment on the ohio central. i know a lot of people think this is great railroad. they have nice painted engines and steam excursions, but they are just another corrupt company that doesnt care for their employees' safety. just think of how many hard working railroaders have been screwed over the next time you see an oc engine. :tb-mad::thumbs_down:
     
  5. corporaldan

    corporaldan TrainBoard Member

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    somebody needs to send a complaint to the better business bureau about the ohio centrail:thumbs_down:
     
  6. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I just found some great photos of a major boo-boo, LOL.
    I will get these posted at a later time, but basically, there was 4ft of water over the rails in this one area after a storm. I stopped the train and called the General Manager. He told me to back the train up and get a good run and I would go right through it....He did it all the time on the Seaboard. I again told him the water was too deep, and he ordered me to go through it.
    'Right before going into the water' he tells me, ' flip the generator switch and put it in run 8. This will keep the blowers going and keep the water out of the traction motors.'
    Whatever Chief, I thought.
    He said to get it up to at least 20mph, and I got it up to 34mph. We went into the water and it went over the top of the engine. Me and the conductor could not see anything for about 10 seconds, and then POW!!, we went into emergency......right in the very middle of the flooded area. There was a tie in this water, and we hit it right at the airhose on the front of the engine, breaking the line and putting the train in emergency.
    I called the Super, and get this......He was mad as heck! And then, he starts ripping my butt, because I didn't tell him there was ties in the water.
    Then, after the engine and train was eventually pulled out of the water, he ran it without any new oil being put in the journals and ruined 3 of the 4. I have a great shot of the cap off in the shop and mud and water coming out of it. That was my fault too.
    I just found these pictures, and I had to laugh. One more thing to add to my book I will be writing some day. LOL :)
     
  7. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    LOL,
    Remember,those that can't, usually manage those that can.
     
  8. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    This post reminded me of another story which I will post on "Storytime with Charlie".

    It's another one of the "I always did that" type.

    CT
     
  9. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    True, so very, very true...
     
  10. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, it certainly is! :);)
     
  11. BOK

    BOK TrainBoard Member

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    Gentlemen:

    Having been a locomotive engineer and supervisor on a few railroads over several years I can relate to this topic, although I never told anybody to do nor was I ever requested to do such a foolish thing.

    Our rules state " Do not operate trains or engines over track submerged in water until the track has been inspected and verified as safe."
    "Operate engines at 5 MPH or less when water is above the top of the rail. If water is more than 3" above the top of the rail, a mechanical department supervisor must authorize the movement."

    I'am not sure why any supervisor would want to chance the possibility of shorting out the traction motors. To me this really falls under the category of one who is in-experienced or one who really does not care about crews and equipment. One of the things I teach new engineers is: "Don't do anything quick, dumb and stupid." Make all your moves well thought out, slow and easy" just like when you are with a women.

    Just my .02 for what it's worth.

    Barry
     
  12. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Jerry,
    Just read this. I figured the whole thing with the OC was shady. My old buddy worked for them on the branch in Warren, I guess it was a few years before you were there. He was also fired with no reason given.

    Anyways back to the water. I showed you this before, but for others. This same spot has flooded since at least 1910:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for sharing that again Chris! :)
     
  14. Rick Rowlands

    Rick Rowlands New Member

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    I am Chris's friend, and from 1993-96 I worked for the Ohio Central in Youngstown. When I started we just had the Youngstown & Austintown Railroad, but about a year and a half later started operating the Warren & Trumbull Railroad, the former B&O Lake Main through Warren to Copperweld.

    At the time there was just two of us. We got very limited support from Coshocton, the track inspector and signal maintainer would come up one day a month, and a locomotive mechanic would come up every 3 months to do a periodic inspection of GP7 1501 and SW1200 no. 51. Otherwise we were left alone. Actually when I was hired Bill Strawn told me to treat the Y&A as if it was my railroad since we would be mostly on our own. I was happy with that since I loved the opportunity to run our own little operation.

    We worked weekdays and ocasionally Saturdays, from 7 am till whenever we were done. We also did our own light track maintenance, brush cutting, switch maintenance, painted crossing signals, etc. Whatever it took to keep things running smoothly. Since there was no one to relieve me I didn't take any vacation time in the three years there. We got to know the customers pretty well and were always there when they needed us. Walker Williams Lumber was quite busy during this period and somedays we would switch them out two or three times so they could catch up on a backlog of inbound cars.

    In August, 1996 the OC took over a bunch of former Conrail trackage in the Youngstown area from Brier Hill to Warren. So we went from being left alone to being the center of attention. Six locomotives were shipped up here, a half dozen people added, and they hired Terry F. to run it all. They started running two trains a day from Brier Hill, one to Haselton and the other to Warren. I adapted well and was actually having fun running over the new trackage.

    Then one day instead of going out on my normal run I was told to report to a M of W crew the next morning. I did, and helped replace a rail in Girard. The next morning when I got in Bill Strawn was at the Y&A office and told me that "our offer of employment has been withdrawn, and you need to turn in your gear". I asked what was the reason and he said that he would not tell me.

    So I was a bit dumbfounded by all this, and decided to write a letter to Jerry Jacobson to ask what was going on. I basically wrote what I stated in this post, and asked for an explanation. He did reply, but still would not tell me anything. He did however send me a check for my unused vacation time.

    Twelve years later I still don't know why I was fired. It turned out to be a blessing, because later the same month I started a 10 month long project to remove a large stationary steam engine from a local steel plant, and I couldn't have done it if I wouldn't been collecting railroad unemployment!

    The OC experience also helped me land a job as conductor/engineer on CSX, and did that from 2000-2004.
     
  15. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to Trainboard Rick! Yep, your story sounds very similar to many I have heard, both while there, and now while I have moved on from the OC.
     
  16. BOK

    BOK TrainBoard Member

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    This story is not unique to the OC... it happens on a lot of shortline/regionals/class 1s.

    You work your heart out to provide good service for your customers, cooperation with your connecting class 1 carriers, and clear communication to alert upper management/owners of potential liabilities with customers, equipment and track only to later be let go. Some days you wonder why in the world you keep going to work.

    A few observations:

    Most owners are either way too distant to know/care what's going on or they micro manage. The management team they employ to operate the railroad usually does not have the same enthusiasim the owner does and are less than knowledgeable/caring than the owner.
    "We the willing, who have done so much, with so little, for so long, can do absolutely anything, with nothing, forever."

    Disclaimer:

    This is not the situation where I currently am employed training, instructing and testing railroaders. I thoroughly enjoy my work here and it's satisfying encouraging new and experienced railroads how to comply with the rules.

    Barry
     
  17. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    You know if I worked at McDonald's for week and was fired I'd still want to know why! Even if they just say "Hey the bosses son wanted your job" etc.
     
  18. Rick Rowlands

    Rick Rowlands New Member

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    Yeah thats the thing. I felt that some sort of an explanation should have been given. I also don't know what happened to the older fellow who worked with me, he disappeared too and probably met the same fate.

    If you had employees that you could trust well enough to give complete control over two seperate shortlines, from operations, to customer service, and repairs, etc., why would you just so callously throw those people aside? Wouldn't those employees have value to the company? Geez I would WANT someone with that much interest and enthusiasm in my organization.

    But I'm over all that now. I am happy how things have turned out for me in my life.

    Talking about employers and empoyee loyalty, last year I toured Cleveland Track Materials in Cleveland. They operate a 100 year old rolling mill turning freight car axles into joint bars. Its a hot, dirty place to work. Very physically demanding and just brutal at times. Yet they have a very small turnover rate. Most of the employees have been there since the current owner started the place. You may wonder why people would stay so long in such horrible conditions, but you learn the answer when you see how that owner treats his people. They just love that guy and would do anything for him. As a result his company has been able to turn a profit using ancient equipment and labor intensive techniques. If the OC, or any company would try to build up employee loyalty like that they may find that they have a very good group of people. But to fire without cause, make untrue accusations about employees, order them to do things that just defy common sense and operate in an unsafe manner then you get what you deserve. Labor problems, low morale, careless workers, etc.
     
  19. BOK

    BOK TrainBoard Member

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    Chris:

    I couldn't agree with you more. When ever it happens to a person and you are not told the reason, you don't have the option of learning from your mistakes and it haunts you for a long time. Many companies are afraid to provide the real reason in order to prevent a lawsuit.

    It can lead to too much soul searching and a lack of confidence in seeking other employment unless you realize that:

    1. It happens and can happen to anyone at any level of the "food chain" for no reason at all. I know of several situations envolving high level officials even presidents of railroads, good, fair and honest men who were fired because someone with less experience/knowledge/poor people skills were afraid of the "good guy" and manipulated ways for his demise. The interesting thing (and it has happened more than once in my career) is that often the good Lord allows it to happen to place the right person in a better situation where he can grow and "blossom" away from a bad situation which could only get worse. It still pays to do the right thing.
    2. It happens all the time and more so now with such a shaky economy and lack of appreciation for a company or company respect for the employee.
    3. Keep a proper perspective of who you are, your skills, past achievements, family and friends and continue to pray and seek other opportunities. You will eventually find them if you are open to them.

    Sorry for the long winded response.

    Barry, training railroaders in the midwest.
     

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