Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    I dunno either, but it's amazing to watch it all working in unison!! Engineers must've just got it done by feel, practice, and the seat of they're pants!
    (y)
     
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  2. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I think it was mostly by 'feel", but then again, never having run a steam locomotive, I cant say for sure.

    Charlie
     
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  3. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    It would seem to me that it would be hard to compress a train in a helper situation. The helpers would be pushing with all they have just to make the grade. By the time that there would be a problem at the top, they were usually stopping anyway to remove the helpers. But I imagine starting out if it was before the grade started, one would have to go by feel.
     
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  4. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    What I can say for sure is that when you are sitting in that righthand seat, you actually can "feel" the action of your train. You can sense if the power is working hard(you can hear that too), you can feel the results of a throttle change, you can feel the brakes "soaking in"(or not!). You can feel the power tugging when you are ascending a grade AND you can definitely feel the slack run in when you are going downgrade.

    Charlie
     
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  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I think our guess that it was done "by the seat of the pants" is pretty likely then. I do know that even steel underframe cabooses were sometimes crushed from the force of pushers, resulting in the Clinchfield scene above where the caboose was coupled on behind the pushers to keep the rear end crew safe. This rule varied by road, as it greatly increased the time needed to add and remove pushers to a train.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  6. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    D&RGW also had an 8 powered axles rule. A pair of Geeps or single SD behind the caboose was permissible, but more than 2 units had to be entrained ahead of the caboose. The curves and grade necessitated this for the reasons mentioned, although I don't know if a derailment on D&RGW drove the change. It could have simply been a railroad best practice shared between roads. http://www.drgw.net/gallery/v/EmployeeTTs/ETTColoDiv9/drgw_colodiv9_19_apr_1970_p22_23.jpg.html

     
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  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That's really interesting Hemi! (y)
     
  8. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I apologize if this has been explained here previously, but what is the difference between trainmaster, road foreman, yardmaster, and other positions?
     
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Charlie would know best, but I think the Trainmaster is the first-line interface between management and train crews, and is there to assure rules adherence and optimized operations. It must be a demanding, 24x7 job. When I graduated from college, most of the railroads I interviewed with were seeking Trainmasters. The pay was good, but not that much better than what responsible non-railroad industry jobs paid.
     
  10. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Trainmaster's duty assignments vary with the carriers but normally a Trainmaster is your first(lowest) level of management. They decide how many trains should be run and when(other that those specified by a timetable) How much power should be allotted to them.They also check on the performance of the operating department railroaders and that they are observing the rules. A road foreman of engines is the first level of management for engineers and firemen. They will all be qualified and certified engineers themselves. We had two female RFEs on our subdivison. They can also act as a TM in the event the TM is unavailable. A yardmaster is not a management level employee although they are a supervisory position. The YM determines what cars should go on what track in the yards and for what trains.They direct the activities of the yard personnel and it is a union job. You don't want to give a YM a hard time. They can make, and usually do, your life unbearable
     
  11. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks, Charlie! If YM, TM and RFEs are first-level management, what other local-level management positions exist, before reaching corporate-level, remote management?
     
  12. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    That I couldn't really say. I was in the Operating Department That would leave the Administrative, the Mechanical and the Track and Structures and any other desk jobs I cant think of. I concerned myself only with Operating dept. management
    .

    Charlie
     
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  13. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    That was probably a good plan Charlie. I've learned that if you are not in management and don't want to be, it's best to only interact with your manager. With the possible number of different types of management in a business as big as a RR, that probably even a better plan. With that said, I meta Yard manager once who was a it of a railfan but kept it very low key as he had one of the most hard nose special agents around based in an office right next to his. What a pair those two were.

    You ever witness much butting heads in your days on the rails Charlie?
     
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  14. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Head butting was pretty much a daily occurrence. Usually low key but usually we would acquiesce to their demands or risk insubordination. Sometimes though, you could pull a "rule book' and work your way out of a jam. EG. I was working a yard job and we were taking some "spot time" until another job got out or our way. We were on the road channel on the radio and listened to a conversation between the Trainmaster and a crew taking a train that had been delivered to our yard from the BRC. It seems that there was no air slip certifying that the air brakes had been tested. That is an FRA requirement. The crew refused to move the train until they had written confirmation of the air test. The TM didn't have on but insisted that the train was tested. The crew asked if he did the test himself. NO. They then asked the car men to do a test but were refused. The crew then said they would do their own air test and the conductor was already on the ground. The TM then ordered the car dept to do an air test. When this exchange had ended, every crew within the radio range congratulated that crew. Had there been an incident, the first thing the company would as is "why did you take that train out without confirmation of an air test" When in doubt, go by the rule book
     
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  15. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    I threw the corporate safety officers out of my shop because we were changing an engine and they were not part of the crew. Did not participate in safety briefings etc. I am not known for tolerating crap on the railroad.
     
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Good move especially considering that a job safety briefing is required before starting a job and whenever there are changes. You followed the rule, the safety officers were neither part of the crew nor did they have the job safety briefing. I've barked back at a couple of YMs when they asked me what was taking so long for me to make a move. I had students and I was taking time to explain exactly what we were doing and what their responsibilities were. I didn't want any problems!

    Charlie
     
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  17. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    To all the followers of "Storytime with Charlie" I wish a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a most Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
     
  18. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Relating to rules adherence, I have an audio cassette of scanner chatter in northwest Chicago I recorded in the mid-1970s and on it you can hear an aging voice of an EJ&E engineman radioing that "... we have no running orders. The wrong engine number is written on them." The tape is an interesting listen now ~ 45 years later. Towers were such a vital part of train operations back then. Elsewhere on the tape, the MILW op at Rondout tells a crew "I'm writing orders and will be with you in a minute" and on it goes, with tower ops heard at Rondout, West Chicago, Deval, Barrington and A5.

    I don't know how those ops kept their wits about them with so much activity. I sometimes listen to Internet train radio in Chicago to re-live a snippet of these memories when I was young. Things seem as busy as ever there.
     
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  19. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    That is an interesting tape, and that "J" hogger was right. WRONG engine # = incorrect orders. In these days of railroading by radio, a lot of crews "police" themselves. On the C & I, you could hear the conversations with the DS and other trains, and train to train. We were in the siding for a meet(I was the student engineer)I had pulled the train up tight to the signal at the far end of the siding. Something wasn't right while we were listening to our meet talking to the DS. My engineer/mentor got on the radio and asked our meet if he had entered this block on an "Approach" indication which he answered yes. He then asked them to check the end of our train and see where it was in the siding. The meet got back to us with "your rear end is JUST in the clear". Turns out the length of our train showing on our manifest was almost 100 ft. short of the actual train length. If I hadn't pulled the train up tight, there would have been a problem.
     
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  20. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    I used to listen to the scanner all the time when I was modeling. Every now and then you would hear something that would get your attention. One night I heard a train crew call in to report a problem with another train they passed going in the opposite direction. Something about dragging "equipment". This lead to all kinds of chatter. The other train was stopped and inspected. Turned out to be a power or telegraph pole with stout guy wires tangled all over a couple of cars. Another time, a trainman was ranting about forgetting to put a bottle of Tabasco Sauce in his grip to put on his rice. The dispatcher, who knew the territory like the back of his hand, gave him permission to stop in the next town and "Go down to Doziers Market and pick up a bottle."
     
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