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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Now we're even!

Date: 12/26/16 16:25
Now we're even!
Author: Chessie

Prelude/introduction - I joined here many years ago well before the site became a pay site.  I continued on as a "heritage" member after Todd went paid.  Once the 200 or so of us falling in that category had to choose to join or not, I became a lurker.  I've considered signing up a couple times but for various reasons held off doing so until now.  So ... I'm back.

Getting even ...

I was on a summertime vacation hold-down on a preferred 289 mile interdivisional run.  My employer had a mainline derailment along the route the day my side of the job was scheduled to go out at 2300.  I called local managment that evening to get an idea if we were going to deadhead, get piloted over another railroad's route, etc.  I was told we would be going our normal route and it was anticipated a hole would be punched through the derailment site by the time we got there.  Reported to work that night with one of my favorite conductors, got our train and departed.  We followed another high priority train out of the next terminal we passed through and continued down the road.  As we approached another yard about thirty miles prior to the derailment site the dispatcher began crossing us over multiple times to weave around parked trains.  The train preceding and ours were to be the first two westbounds through the derailment area when it reopened. 

Twenty miles to go.  The dispatcher calls and lets us know it is going to be another 60-90 minutes before he has the track back from the M.O.W. people and that we should both find a place to stop where we won't be fouling anything.  The train ahead of me lets me know their intended stopping location as the last ten miles prior to the derailment site is littered with grade crossings.  At that point I was not able to safely stop at a spot where I knew my train would fit but could stop beyond that crossing.  I thought I would fit between that crossing and the next one.  I have always made it a habit to check the distance counter on the head end box for accuracy departing my initial terminal.  I started the counter 100' past the crossing and continued slowing.  We were going upgrade so the train would be stretched, I wouldn't be able to 'lose' any length by stopping with the train bunched.  The counter ticked away as we approached the next crossing.  Close ... but not quite.  I stopped soon as I knew we had cleared the prior crossing and we determined we would need to cut the locomotives and two head cars to clear the crossing we were fouling.  My conductor tied down the train, made the cut and we pulled clear.  As it was early in the morning and the sun had not yet started baking us, I shut the lead unit down and attempted to nap.

About an hour later the dispatcher called the train ahead and told him to get ready to move up.  My conductor headed out the door towards the crossing to put us back together.  I cranked my seat back upright and leaned toward the 'desktop' control stand.  As he was quickly in position I figured I'd let the second unit do the work and restart the leader once we were back together.  Once he was in position at the crossing I released the independent brake, grabbed the reverser and throttle ...


My employer issues us "crew packs" similar to those in use on most Class I's for the past few decades.  One of the items within is a waterless hand cleaner.  Pink, thick slimy stuff.  I rarely use it as it is a pain to wipe/rinse off.  Apparently while I was napping my conductor had applied a liberal coating to the far side of the throttle and reverser where I would not see.  Having only awoken moments prior it was about the last thing my mind was prepared for.  I decided for the moent the best course of action was to pretend nothing had happened.  We put the train back together and he cut the air in and knocked off handbrakes.

As he reentered the cab he was laughing and I smiled.  I started to get up from my seat and he asked "Where are you going?".  I replied "Just restarting this engine".  He said "I'll get it" and grabbed the back cab door handle.  My mouth opened ... and then closed. 

The locomotives we had that morning were recently delivered GE's.  Unlike previous locomotive orders the start station was located on the back wall of the cab among the circuit breakers, etc.  I watched in silence as he walked to where he thought the start station would be and opened the hood door.  Then the adjoining door.  Within three minutes Every. Single. Door. along the engineers side long hood walkway was hanging open.  Two more minutes and most of the doors on the conductors side had also been opened. 

A moment later he reentered the cab and asked "WHERE the #*^*#!!! is the start switch on this thing?!?!?"  I didn't say a word but reached past his head and pressed the start button on the back cab wall.  Bells began to ring as the engine began priming itself. 

He looked at me and opened his mouth as if to say "You S.O.B.!"  Before he could get the words out I held my hands up and exclaimed "NOW WE'RE EVEN!"

We both broke up laughing.  A few minutes later the engine was running, all the doors closed, I had performed an "on and off" using the EOT reading, and we were starting to move west again.

Date: 12/26/16 18:46
Re: Now we're even!
Author: NSDTK

Only thing i ever used that pink slim for was keeping the windows from fogging up. Rub them down then wipe them off good. They wouldnt fog up any more on your trip. Now they dont put it in there any more. 

Date: 12/26/16 20:11
Re: Now we're even!
Author: Fredo

Durrig an air test on a 70 empty autorack pick up I used it once to lube the brake piston on an autorack as it would stick when the brakes were released. It worked out real well and we didn't have to set it out.I endured that "Grime Free" trick many tiimes over the years. One engineer,Rick Long, did it to me and thought it was real funny. I showed him real funny the next time we stopped. I put 2 torpedos double stacked on top of each other on the rail on his side so when we started moving they would go off right under him.I did that to him many more times even when  he was on another train if my train was stopped near his.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/16 20:27 by Fredo.

Date: 12/26/16 20:45
Re: Now we're even!
Author: Railbaron

Don't get mad, get even!!!

Date: 12/26/16 21:43
Re: Now we're even!
Author: PHall

NSDTK Wrote:
> Only thing i ever used that pink slim for was
> keeping the windows from fogging up. Rub them down
> then wipe them off good. They wouldnt fog up any
> more on your trip. Now they dont put it in there
> any more. 

Baby wipes will do the same thing.

Date: 12/27/16 05:50
Re: Now we're even!
Author: 4451Puff

That crew-pak "hand cleaner" was a joke unto itself. If you tried it to get grease off your hands, all you were doing was replacing old grease on you hands with new grease. Also, the paper towels made better toilet paper than the actual toilet paper in the kit.

Desmond Praetzel, "4451 Puff" 

Date: 12/27/16 14:47
Re: Now we're even!
Author: spnudge

It brings back memories. It was always a nice change in pace to have a little fun out there.  The best were the old paper cups. You could tear up a cup in little pieces and put it into another cup.  Then you would lean over the water cooler and pretend to fill it with water. Then stand up and look a guy right in the face and throw the torn up pieces in his face. I don't care how many times it was done to you your brain always told you "Its water, duck."  Always got a laugh.

Torpedoes were great waking people up.  

Some guys you worked with figured they would sleep all the way so there was  one way to wake them up. One of the best was to wake up the head man at night when he was sawing logs, you would put the Mars light on red. Hold down the bail on the jam and turn out the head light. Then let go of the bail and watch the "Wake Up Call".  When he opened his eyes all he could see was the red mars and the air blowing into the cab, like you big holed it. They didn't sleep much after that.


Date: 12/27/16 18:37
Re: Now we're even!
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

I used to work with an old head engineer by the name of Ed Platz. He hired out in 1941 and has promoted to an engineer on steam engines. He was always fun to work with and loved practical jokes. One morning he was in the fireman's seat sound asleep as we were approaching long tunnel, 26 on the Coast Line. In the 1970s the SP used to run a train consist with 5 pages plus carbon paper in between each sheet. I waded up the paper into a ball and placed it under his seat. Found a match and lit it on fire. The paper and carbon paper was very flammable. The smoke and flames were filling the cab. The flames emitted lots of heat. Soon after he woke up and started screaming... what the hell ??? Plus he jumped up out of a dead sleep and hit his head on the ceiling.. It was a funny sight and had an uncontrollable laughter. He finally settled down... Ed started to laugh and his favorite come back was " You big dummy! " He went my many nicknames over the years lemon drop, crackerass, black stack Platz. Plus many more. I know several members on TO worked with Ed during their careers and can also add their share of practical jokes.

Posted from Android

Date: 12/28/16 06:46
Re: Now we're even!
Author: JasonCNW

A conductor friend of mine told me a story he said happend one trip when he was a student.  His train was stopped waiting for a meet when the engineer fell asleep, the training conductor had a pet peeve of people sleeping on duty so what he did was squirt lighter fluid under the enginers seat and lit it on fire.  My friend said he couldn't belive it but it was the funniest thing he ever saw.

Date: 12/28/16 07:44
Re: Now we're even!
Author: tomstp

Some of those people played rough.

Date: 12/28/16 11:22
Re: Now we're even!
Author: spnudge

I finally got old "Cracker Ass" on No. 12. When he would come into Santa Barb on #13 he would always do something in the cab and keep you on the platform until you got the high ball. Turn all the heaters on, put the brake valve in freight., something.

I caught No. 12 on afternoon out of SLO and my fireman was Chuck Johnson. I made a template on butcher paper that said "Cracker Ass" in big bold letters. We put our grips on and I got out the paper and held it to the windshield. Chuck took the heavy, wide marking pen and went up the ladder on the outside and traced the "Fine Penmanship". He comes back into the cab, we get a highball and next stop Santa Barb. Well we kept old Platz on the platform right down to the highball. He jumps up and they take off. The fireman on #13 the next morning told me he had to look at that all the way to LA.  Old Ed didn't have much so say the next morning when I relieved him.  Good guy and fast runner.  80 MPH at Rose Road and to a stop, on spot at the depot at Oxnard. 


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/16 11:23 by spnudge.

Date: 12/30/16 07:36
Re: Now we're even!
Author: 90mac

A thing of Beauty.

Date: 12/30/16 15:53
Re: Now we're even!
Author: trainjunkie

Nice payback. I remember the pink slime hand cleaner. Stunk the whole cab up every time you used it. Nasty stuff.

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