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Nostalgia & History > My first job as an engineer

Date: 04/06/04 17:21
My first job as an engineer
Author: Steamjocky

In March of 1972 I was used as an engineer for the first time on an extra yard job. Fortunately in July of 1977 this engine, a GP-9, #3732, was at the West Colton roundhouse on the ready track when I was lucky enough to get its picture. Not the best shot but under the circumstances it was the best I could do.

This engine was kinda of a an intermediate step between the early Geeps and the later ones. That is to say that the early ones had the barrel type control stand like what was on the F units with a 24RL automatic brake valve. The newer Geeps had the newer type of control stand, similar to the AAR type of control stand that was adopted in about 1972 for new units and had the 26L automatic brake valve.

The 3732 had the newer type of control stand but had the 24RL type brake equipment. I personally prefer the older control stand with a 24RL brake valve.

Anyway, here is a photo of the very first locomotive I ran for pay as an engineer. I'd like to see some photos of the very first engine you ran as an engineer or, for non railroaders, the first engine you rode on or even ran if you were lucky enough to have an engineer let you sit behine the throttle.

Hope you enjoy.


Date: 04/06/04 21:19
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: MTMEngineer

First engine I ever rode.

Date: 04/07/04 04:25
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: topper

Steamjocky Wrote:

> I'd like
> to see some photos of the very first engine you
> ran as an engineer

As luck would have it, there's a Bob Dengler photo of my "first" on Richard Percy's excellent SP web site at espee.railfan.net.


Date: 04/07/04 16:16
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: Throttle_JCKY

As fortune "wouldn't have it" I never got a pic. I just went to work like any other day.

Date: 04/07/04 21:09
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: wabash2800

My first cab ride was on a Boston & Maine GP-7. I was only twelve at the time but fortunately I took a movie of the the entire ride. We ran up and down Ayer, Massachusetts and even swtiched the Fort Devens Yard. I have that along with other movies on video now-- thanks to my late uncle in Indiana who gave me the camera.

Date: 04/08/04 08:30
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: oldrail

Good for you. I have a picture of myself first time I ran an engine (steam) will have to dig it out. When it comes to diesels, that 24RL was the best air brake going.

Date: 04/08/04 10:15
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: yardclerk

Steamjockey and others,

Did any of you ever run any of the SP's KMs or the DD35s? I would like to know what they were like to operate.


Date: 04/08/04 17:18
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: Amtkrd4man

My first was an SD-38. The #38. Was called to work the Helper up to Pierce back in August of 74.

Date: 04/08/04 21:27
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: UPKev

There is a photo out there somewhere of my first cab ride in the SN 402. I remember someone taking pictures as the crew was switching the lumber mill on my ride and I remeber being scared that I would be in trouble with proof in the pictures. Just a dumb kid at the time but I wish I had a copy of the pics.

Date: 04/09/04 03:21
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: Steamjocky

yardclerk Wrote:
> Steamjockey and others,
> Did any of you ever run any of the SP's KMs or the
> DD35s? I would like to know what they were like
> to operate.
> Yardclerk


I never ran any of the KM's (I'm not THAT old, LOL!). The closest I came to running a KM was in 1980 (I think) when the training department wanted to shoot some more film of Beaumont Hill for the simulator. The KM was in the lead, naturally, and was being pushed up the hill by a GP-9 (and believe it or not, it was still in Black Widow colors!). There was a little engine on the KM that supplied power for the camera and radio and other electrical necessities. It was a very rough riding engine too, especially when we hit the west switch of Pershing at about 50 miles per hour. I do remember seeing the ALCO hydraulics going by Colton Tower in the 60's.

The DD35's were only B units on the SP but I did hostle them around Taylor Roundhouse a few times. The hostler controls were in the middle of the "porch" as I call it.

I did run a GE U50 one time from Indio to Yuma and that was enough! It was a very rough riding engine (seems like most GE's are rough riding) and I really got a little worried as we went around the curve at Mecca and it seemed like the cab kept going straight while the train leaned into the curve! Talk about an optical delusion (or is that optical illusion?). I assume it was just something that you had to get use to.

Another thing I didn't like about that engine, or the U25B's, or the U28C's, was that great big 16 notch throttle. I know why it had 16 notches but that didn't seem like a very good reason to put 16 notches on a throttle to me.


Date: 04/09/04 09:53
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: Larry576

My first cabride was in CSX MP15AC 1178 (still in SBD colors at the time) and the first loco I ran was CSX GP15T 1520 while working a yard job in Chicago. I have pics of both units.

Date: 04/15/04 07:29
Re: My first job as an engineer
Author: Anonymous User

I borrowed this pic from the Missouri Pacific Historical Society, but it is the engine I ran on my first trip as an engineer in 1973. I was force-assigned to the East Local, which worked out of New Iberia, LA. We had 4 jobs down there on that branch. The East Local ran east from New Iberia on the SP to Garden City, then came back down the old MP branch, working the plantations and sugar mills, spotting empties and picking up loads.

I got back from North Little Rock after passing my engineer exams on Sunday, and was forced to work the East Local on Monday. Our running order said:

"Engine MP 105 run extra West Tower to Baldwin." Period. Everything else was strictly timetable operation, and boy did I have a slew of trains to dodge. We had no SP radio. We were just out there. I decided I had enough time to run to Jeanerette siding for a couple of SP second class freights and a third class freight. I pulled up to the west end of the siding, and there sat a caboose just in the clear. Bad news. I had allowed us 10 minutes to get in the clear. I told the head brakeman to hit the ground and flag ahead. The SP was hopping mad- he had to saw us by. Then we had to back back out of the siding and saw the second man by. We flagged ahead, and we flagged to the rear. The brakemen earned their money that day, and I got to use those old whistle signals (Flagman May Return from the East, Flagman May Return from the West) to call them back in. I learned not to depend on a siding to be clear for meeting trains that day.

Not too many people these days can say they ran using strictly timetable operation. I did, and it was some real railroading. The conductor may have been in charge of the train, but it was "Engineer's Judgment" that ruled. I never had a conductor question my judgment on being able to make the next siding to be in the clear at the leaving time of a scheduled train. We ran as fast as we could turn a wheel, and that often meant blocking the overspeed so we could go faster than 67 mph.

Like Steamjocky, my first run was a GP7 using the barrel controller. We ran long end forward going east so that we could see hand signals in all of the industries we worked.

We snagged our train orders at maximum speed. The SP got really upset if you slowed down to pick up train orders. Maximum speed was 60 mph for freights, and we actually had an engineer banned from the SP for slowing down below 60 to pick up orders at Baldwin. With a running order to Baldwin, that meant I had to hit the west siding switch and pull through a long siding (used to be double track there). My favorite signal was that Calling On signal at the west switch: down the main to pick up orders! I loved it when I got that signal.

I still snag trainorders, but it is only for show for the passengers.


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