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Western Railroad Discussion > UP3985 Crews: How Many?


Date: 07/29/04 18:10
UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: drgw

I assume the UP steam train crews are subject to the same 12-hour service law that other crews are subject to. So this makes me wonder how many trained engineers and conductors and firemen (and brakemen?) there are for the steam program?
How big is their typical crew on any one "shift?"
Are most (all?) of the crew people who work normal districts out of Cheyenne when they're not steaming?
When they go on the road (i.e. to Houston last month), how many crews do they take? Obviously they can't just draw pool crews along the way... I assume they must have at least two, even though most days are scheduled to be shorter than 12 hours.
Lastly, how much of the work on the steam program is by paid workers, and how much is volunteer effort?
Thanks,
-Wes



Date: 07/29/04 20:44
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: speer

And why not pool crews these are there districts they know it
better than anyone. as for volenteers this still railroading



Date: 07/29/04 21:15
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: grande473

They have two promoted engineers: Steve Lee and Roger Myli. Myli, Lynn Nystrom are among the firemen but there are also others. I don't know how they handle the conductors and trainmen.
It is a little different now than in the 1960s when the passenger board was well populated with steam veterans so there was no problem rounding up a crew.



Date: 07/29/04 21:17
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: drgw

speer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And why not pool crews these are there districts
> they know it
> better than anyone.

So you're saying that any ol' engineer could hop on the 3985 and take it to the end of his district? I don't THINK so! Now, they probably need a pilot for each district to tell them the lay of the land, 'cause I'm sure the 3985 crew probably isn't qualified on all the routes...

> as for volenteers this still railroading

I ask this question because I once heard it was UP volunteers who got the 844(4) out of mothballs and running again. I really don't know all the details, that's why I asked the question. I don't think it's a stupid question, as the tone of your response would imply...
-Wes





Date: 07/29/04 21:50
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: DaveE

IIRC, the hoggers need to be both qualified to run on a class 1 and to run steam. The firemen, I'm not so sure about. A former UP conductor that I know, who is also a qualified steam fireman, was to be the third fireman on one of the 3985 trips a year or so back. But from what I heard, his local supervisor wouldn't give him the time away to make the trip. He wasn't a happy camper. Don't know if that was part of the reason he left UP and went to work for another rail outfit. I'd be more specific, but the reason he didn't go and his departure I got second hand and not directly from him.

DaveE



Date: 07/29/04 21:57
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: filmteknik

Wes, it was 3985 which received its initial light overhaul after coming off display by UP employee volunteers. I don't know if non employees were involved or if any are involved now. It opens all sorts of liability issues although I suppose a well drafted waiver could take care of that. (Not that signing anything ever stopped anyone from suing anyway.)



Date: 07/29/04 21:58
Re: UP3985 crews: how many?
Author: MargaretSPfan

Wes:

There are NO stupid questions! After all, you have to know half the answer to ask an "intelligent" question, anyways!

My reply:

The UP 844 was never retired. She was never removed from the roster of active locomotives - the only steam locomotive that is true of in North America. I think you were thinking of the 3985. She was the one who was restored by volunteers who were UP enployees. She first ran again on the trip in 1981 to the Grand Opening of the new addition to the California State Railroad Museum ("CSRM").

"speer":

It takes special training to be truly qualified to run a steam locomotive. It is VERY different than running a diesel locomotive. I am pretty sure the UP wants only its own employees to run and work on their steam and historic diesel locomotives - for liability and control reasons.

To all:

Think about it: isn't it absolutely amazing that steam locomotives still run - in the 21st century - when almost every single bit of infrastructure that supported them is gone? And so are almost all the people who worked on them and ran them. And those of us who are old enough to remember big steam in regular service are getting old....

I think you can better understand the gigantic difficulties of running a steam locomotive for more than a few miles on a main line by pretending that you live in a world in which there were very few autos and no service stations or stores that sold automobile parts, and almost no one alive who knew how to work on automobiles, and all roads were owned by private corporations. Now: you are going to take your newly-restored 50+-year-old automobile on a 500-mile trip. How would you feel about driving your beloved old car anywhere under those circumstances? Kinda nervous and/or worried, I would think! Add to that the huge insurance bill you need to pay if you want to run your car (in this imaginary world) and you may begin to wonder how on earth anyone ever manages to run any steam locomotive anywhere these days!

I am very glad the UP still bothers to run their steam locomotives - and that others do, too.

Margaret S(P fan)

drgw wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> speer wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > And why not pool crews these are there
> districts
> > they know it
> > better than anyone.
>
> So you're saying that any ol' engineer could hop
> on the 3985 and take it to the end of his
> district? I don't THINK so! Now, they probably
> need a pilot for each district to tell them the
> lay of the land, 'cause I'm sure the 3985 crew
> probably isn't qualified on all the routes...
>
> > as for volenteers this still railroading
>
> I ask this question because I once heard it was UP
> volunteers who got the 844(4) out of mothballs and
> running again. I really don't know all the
> details, that's why I asked the question. I don't
> think it's a stupid question, as the tone of your
> response would imply...
> -Wes



Date: 07/29/04 22:19
Re: UP3985 crews: how many?
Author: drgw

MargaretSPfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wes:
>
> There are NO stupid questions! After all, you
> have to know half the answer to ask an
> "intelligent" question, anyways!

Thanks Margaret! *I* knew that, but apparently not everybody thinks so... I guess if the response hadn't been accompanied by an ignorant comment...

>
> My reply:
>
> The UP 844 was never retired. She was never
> removed from the roster of active locomotives -
> the only steam locomotive that is true of in North
> America. I think you were thinking of the 3985.
> She was the one who was restored by volunteers who
> were UP enployees. She first ran again on the
> trip in 1981 to the Grand Opening of the new
> addition to the California State Railroad Museum
> ("CSRM").

Thanks to you and filmteknik for the correction. You're right, I thought it was the other way around... Anyone hear a recent status on the 844? I wonder how much of that restoration work is done by the traveling steam crew (who have been rather busy this summer) and how much is done by mechanical staff that stays put (or perhaps they rotate trips--I'm sure some of the mechanics travel on the excursions to take care of the inevitable problems?).

>
> "speer":
>
> It takes special training to be truly qualified to
> run a steam locomotive. It is VERY different than
> running a diesel locomotive. I am pretty sure the
> UP wants only its own employees to run and work on
> their steam and historic diesel locomotives - for
> liability and control reasons.

Thanks to those of you who gave *helpful*, meaningful, well-intentioned replies!
-Wes



Date: 07/30/04 05:32
Re: UP3985 crews: how many?
Author: nathan314

A few answers:

- The work on 844 is mostly being done by a contractor, precisely because of the time committments of the regular crew to keep everything else running. Naturally, with a contractor doing the work, someone has to hang around to help them. The mechanical staff has been rotating this assignment according to some system. The best idea of a timeline right now is maybe by next summer.

- They usually go on trips with at least two full crews of their own. The crew assignments can be a little bit murky, as several of the crew members are cross-trained. They've got a couple of engineers (Steve Lee, Roger Myli, and Lynn Nystrom) and a conductor (Reed Jackson) who work for the steam crew full time. They've also got some regular crew members who are in one of the various pools (not necessarily Cheyenne-based) who they draw on for trips.

- They always take a pilot crew with them. Even if they're running Cheyenne-Laramie or Cheyenne-North Platte, they'll take a pilot crew with them. When I rode with them, one of the steam crew's engineers was running with the pilot engineer sitting in the road foreman's seat, to be easily accessible if needed (I rode Cheyenne-Lodgepole, so not much help was needed).

Nathan



Date: 07/30/04 11:14
Re: UP3985 crews: how many?
Author: bobs

Nathan, since you got to be the pilot once, was that just dumb luck that your turn came up in the assignment rotation or was it something you specifically requested, or something else? I'll bet it was the ride of a lifetime!



Date: 07/30/04 11:23
Re: UP3985 crews: how many?
Author: switchlock

I always thought that the locomotive is actually operated by the steam crew. The other regular crew that is called provide pilot duty and assist with track warrants, signal watching, etc. I'm sure someone will correct me if I need it...

Me: "How do you guys determine who does what and when?"
Nystrom: "Me and Steve take the morning...period."



Date: 07/30/04 17:31
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: wwdrkid

Seeing as how all these steam trips require a pilot I wonder what the reaction is when a guy who never even knew what a steam locomotive is, gets the call. Like, I'm going to pilot a WHAT? And at the end of the trip in the cab of a hot, smoky, windy, bouncy, loud, noisy and totally gorgeous engine, what is his reaction? Wonderment? Or anything?



Date: 07/30/04 18:24
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: Lackawanna484

Is the call to be a pilot on 844 or 3985 or 6936 a "next person out" job or is it a "special" assignment? Or, does that kind of work vary by district?

In one of the articles on 3985, might have been on the Clinchfield trip, there was a lot of discussion about how clearances, turning radius, overheads, etc have to be checked and walked. Even though a 4-6-6-4 might have worked the line 60 years ago, lots of relocations, minor work, new rail layouts might create a hazard for today's steam equipment.



Date: 07/30/04 23:27
... A Most Awesome Day
Author: Jim700

wwdrkid Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seeing as how all these steam trips require a
> pilot I wonder what the reaction is when a guy who
> never even knew what a steam locomotive is, gets
> the call. Like, I'm going to pilot a WHAT? And at
> the end of the trip in the cab of a hot, smoky,
> windy, bouncy, loud, noisy and totally gorgeous
> engine, what is his reaction? Wonderment? Or
> anything?


While Al Krug didn't exactly catch it as a pilot's job, it would have been the same if he had. Let him tell you what it's like for a non-steam experienced engineer in what he calls "a most awesome day" at http://krugtales.50megs.com/rrpictale/steam700/steam700a.htm .



Date: 07/31/04 05:50
Re: ... A Most Awesome Day
Author: nathan314

I didn't catch a pilot, I just got a cab ride while out foaming one day. It's my understanding that the pilot is just next crew out in the rotation.

When the crew goes on a new run (or one that they haven't done in several years), there's a lot of studying the timetable, hi-railing, and driving the route that goes on ahead of time to ascertain things like wyes that will hold the engines, places to water, places where a fuel truck can access the track, motels, and, of course, places to eat.

Nathan



Date: 08/01/04 14:39
Re: UP3985 Crews: How Many?
Author: Gordo

Rode the Post special and talked at length to the conductor about the crews. They are all assigned to the Heritage Fleet and that is their entire job. Work on the engines, cars and keep everything spiffy in the off "season". What you see on the train and in the cab is what you got. Nobody else is qualified!!
Gordo



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