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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?


Date: 02/22/17 11:46
Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: CCDeWeese

I ended up working for five railroads, IC & NYC as a agent/operator, B&O Industrial Engineering Analyst, CRIP Operating Staff Positions, TRRA Operating Staff and General Superintendent, and three transit agencies, SEPTA Assistant General Superintendent, DART Manager Railroad Liaison, Cap Metro Rail Freight Manager.  Was I a boomer, or just not able to hold a job?   I thought the first two jobs might make me a boomer, but the rest were either some sort of step up, or just recovering from falling.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/17 11:47 by CCDeWeese.



Date: 02/22/17 12:43
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: spnudge

Boomer. Kept with the railroads. 

Nudge



Date: 02/22/17 13:07
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: TAW

CCDeWeese Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I ended up working for five railroads, IC & NYC as
> a agent/operator, B&O Industrial Engineering
> Analyst, CRIP Operating Staff Positions, TRRA
> Operating Staff and General Superintendent, and
> three transit agencies, SEPTA Assistant General
> Superintendent, DART Manager Railroad Liaison, Cap
> Metro Rail Freight Manager.  Was I a boomer, or
> just not able to hold a job? 

There isn't a lot of difference.

>  I thought the
> first two jobs might make me a boomer, but the
> rest were either some sort of step up, or just
> recovering from falling.

Nope  The whole thing makes you a boomer. Lots of them left where the were for something different (I'm among them), because they were fired, often for Rule G (I'm not among them), because the job they were on was temporary and finished (I'm among them), because they didn't want to ride the railroad they were working on into the ditch (I'm among them), because they just couldn't take it any more (I'm among them), and to move up to something better (I'm not among them).

My favorite boomer was a Q conductor who came to the phone at Wood Street (Robey Street Yard, B&OCT Chicago) for permission to cross over into the yard. I said I thought you got fired for Rule G referring to an incident that occurred a week or so previous while I was working. He said Yeah, I did, but that was the CNW; I'm on the Q now.

I hired out on SP at Bakersfield on the advice of a WP dispatcher who was fired from SP at Roseville. Later, I encountered him as third trick operator at Delta Jct (BN Everett WA) after he was fired from WP.

However, I also worked with some who worked their way up by booming.

TAW



Date: 02/22/17 17:40
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: crackerjackhoghead

A conductor I worked with once showed me an envelope full of letters that were his uncle's. In it were letters of reccomendation on company letterhead from 30+ different railroads. It was as though he was trying to collect them all! It was a pretty neat collection!



Date: 02/22/17 18:46
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: TAW

CCDeWeese Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I ended up working for five railroads....  Was I a boomer, or
> just not able to hold a job?   I thought the
> first two jobs might make me a boomer, but the
> rest were either some sort of step up, or just
> recovering from falling.

How about - did you quit any in disgust and intend that it was your last railroad...only to find yourself back on a railroad? (me - twice)

TAW



Date: 02/22/17 20:05
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: cewherry

Freeman Hubbard in his book Railroad Avenue​ defined a Boomer, in part, as a: "Drifter who went from one railroad job to another,
staying but a short time on each job or each road.....The opposite is ​home guard" ​which Freeman defines as "Employee who stays
​with one railroad" ......

The fact that your RRB benefits traveled with you made the decision to move on easier. Pre-RRB, such moves had more dire implications.

​In my personal experience, if my RRB benefits hadn't  transferred with me, I would never have considered moving on to so-called 'greener pastures'.

Charlie 
 



Date: 02/22/17 21:43
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: KskidinTx

I'm really getting confused.  Spent my entire career with the ATSF (and BNSF) in the following positions:

Fireman out of Emporia,KS
Fireman out of Wellington, KS
Fireman out of Emporia, KS
Fireman at Hutchison, KS (Way yard)  (on most of the ATSF Eastern Lines the road and yard seniorities for enginemen were separate until 1971)
Fireman out of Newton, KS (west)
Fireman at Hutchison, KS (Way yard)
Fireman out of Emporia, KS
Fireman at Barstow, CA
Brakeman out of Wellington, KS
Switchman at Argentine, KS
Brakeman out of Wellington, KS
Fireman out of Emporia, KS
Engineer out of Emporia, KS
Road Foreman at Marceline, MO
Instructor at Training Ctr at Topeka, KS
Road Foreman at Temple, TX

Now from the above posts I'm wondering if I was a Boomer, a Drifter, or a Home Guard.  (I did stay with one railroad)  Ha.       It did take 10 years for me to be able to work a full 12 months so I can sympathize with the young railroaders today who get furloughed from time to time.  It's not any fun.  However in looking back I don't know of any other occupation I would have enjoyed more than railroading.  It's in my blood (which you rail fans can understand).

Mark  
 



Date: 02/23/17 06:09
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: CCDeWeese

TAW Wrote:

>
> How about - did you quit any in disgust and intend
> that it was your last railroad...only to find
> yourself back on a railroad? (me - twice)
>
> TAW

Both times I quit (involuntarily) I was disgusted, mainly with the people who caused me to resign involuntarily for their own reasons, but did not think at the time that I could do anything else as well, e.g. make as much money, so just stayed the course.  Both times, I became a consultant, once for one of the perennial studies of the St Louis East St Louis gateway and once for a productivity analysis of Metro-North on behalf of Connecticut DOT. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/17 06:11 by CCDeWeese.



Date: 02/23/17 08:58
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: Englewood

5 railroads, 42 years.
First ceased operation.
Second laid me off.
Third was a loser.
Fourth was the very best but then merged.
Fifth was totally disorganized but paid the bills for 18 years.

For those of you that are not rails that means being at the bottom of the roster 
5 times with 0 sick days and 0 vacation days.  Not complaining, it paid the bills.
Didn't get 4 weeks vacation until the year before I retired.
I am certainly encouraging the grandsons to stay away from the industry.



Date: 02/23/17 10:29
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: Earlk

Here's a big list for you.....all in the Steam/excursion/shortline side of the industry.

All this in 40 years:

Legend City RR (amusment park – 3’ gauge steam) – 2 seasons.  Left to do "something bigger and better"
Roaring Camp & Big Trees  - 7 months.   Couldn't deal with the insanity.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR (RRRet) – 9 years.   The job I always wanted to begin with.   Left because of an "offer I could not refuse".
Roaring Camp & Big Trees (again!) – 9 months.   The "offer" was dud.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR (RRRet) – 7 years.  Back to the best job ever.  Left when new operator came along, and I saw the writing on the wall.
Ft Worth & Western (RRRet) – 18 months).  Left when FWWR turned the passenger operation over to a group that got us out of RRRet, and canceled our health insurance. 
Wichita, Tillman & Jackson (RRRet) – 10 months.  Got laid off after they lost thier #1 customer.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR (now non RRRet) – 2 months  Temporary deal to pay bills until something else came along.
Wisconsin & Southern (contractor) – 3 months.  My experiment in being a contractor.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR (contractor) - 18 months.  Went back to work as a contractor.  Got cut off when the Forest Service shut the place down for a month.  Still mad about that.
Stillwater Central (RRRet) – 2 years.  Left for a better paying gig.
West Texas & Lubbock (RRRet) - 6 months.  Left when D&S came calling.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR  - one season.   The one season experiment was financial failure.
Tazwell & Peoria -  (RRret) - 3 months.  Another contractor job.
Arizona Eastern, San Luis & Rio Grande, Texas State RR -all under Iowa Pacific Holdings (RRRet) – 9 years.  Transferred inter-company.  Left before the bottom fell out.
Durbin & Greenbrier Valley (RRRet) – 1 year.  Not a good fit for me at all.
Strasburg RR (RRRet) – 1  year and counting.
 
20 months to go to get my 30 years in!   Plan is to retire running a steam locomotive at the 'Burg. 
 



Date: 02/23/17 13:09
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: sfsnake

mark,
    What year were you in Marceline and Topeka?  I worked in  and out of Marceline from 78 Until we ran thru.  My wifes dad was
       rules instructor for the engineer program.
 



Date: 02/23/17 18:38
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: KskidinTx

Was in Marceline Apr - Sept, '78, then in Topeka for over 8 yrs.  Knew your wife's uncle Bob who was the Chief Dispatcher in Ft. Madison while I was in Marceline.  Then went to Topeka and discovered there was another Buckingham on the railroad.  That Phil was a character.  Your mother in law was a very sweet lady.  Hopefully your wife is too.  By the way, what ever happened to Phil's '65 Chevy?



Date: 02/23/17 18:49
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: CCDeWeese

KskidinTX

I call you a home guard.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/17 18:51 by CCDeWeese.



Date: 02/23/17 19:35
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: Txhighballer

I would have to call myself a boomer, now looking for another railroad job, this time back east. Been at this since 1982

Two stints at Texas State Railroad as conductor, fireman, and engineer;

Working for a company delivering passenger cars to Mexico;

Consultant working on a commuter rail project in Houston, Texas;

Engineer for Galveston Wharves Railway;

Operations Manager and DSLE for Rio Valley

General Manager for Gulf, Colorado and San Saba and Texas and North Orient;

Another stint at Galveston Wharves;

Operating my own short line for three years;

Superintendent for Austin and Texas Central Railroad

Operating Manager for Grapevine Vintage Railroad;

Consultant for Washington Group;

Set up a switching line in Louisana, plus other small jobs.

All this plus not counting the volunteer hours on a few other railroads.

Some of the experiences were great, others not so much..as when one crew quit because they had "issues" with my skin color. I love this business, and plan to retire from the next gig I get..but as we all know, nothing is ever set in stone....



Date: 02/24/17 07:01
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: mp109

My brother worked for 3 different RR's but basically stayed in the same place. He started out as a block operator for the Pennsylvania RR in the early 60's then it became Penn Central. When Conrail started the Keystone line went to Amtrak and he worked for them until retirement.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/24/17 10:21
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: CDTX

Another boomer

Volunteered at railroad museum which led to a shortline gig, left due to horrific working conditions

Got a job with a larger shortline

Recieved an unsolicited offer to be an operations manager position with another shortline which folded a couple months after i came onboard

Walked in the door to introduce myself another shortline and got offered the general manager job the next day, like earl i skipped town before the wheels fell off

Now working for a commuter rr

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/28/17 07:48
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: aronco

I don't know if I qualify as a boomer or not. It all started when I hung around the railroad station in my home town of Mesa,Arizona. The afternoon agent-operator showed me the workings of the depot and before long, I was offered a job as a brakeman on the SP the day I graduated from high school. I worked a few months and then was laid off when the perishable rush ended. Then the trainmaster's clerk noted I had lied about my age a bit, so he fired me but said to come back next year and he would re-hire me. Three days later, I hired on to Magma Arizons Railroad at Superior, Arizona as a brakeman for vacation relief.
after two months I started college.
The next summer (61') I hired on with SP in Bakersfield, then boomed North with SP working at Fresno, Roseville, Oakland and on the commutes in SF.
For 6 more years I worked for SP as a freight and passenger brakeman and baggageman until I completed my education.
Santa Fe had started a management training program in 1968 and I was fortunately offered a positión in it.
That led to working at Winslow, Phoenix Oakland Fresno, Fullerton, Rivera Yard, Los Angeles, and Barstow.
Left Santa Fe with a generous buyout (They are still paying.me!) and opened a retail business which some how led to my aquiring a private railroad car "TIOGA PASS", which I am riding aboard Deep in the wilds of Northern Canada while escorting a trainload of very high value shipments across Canada.
BOOMER? Yeah, I suppose so!
Damn this is fun!

Norm

Posted from Android

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 02/28/17 10:38
Re: Boomers? Just Changing Jobs?
Author: shortlineer

I started railroading part-time in 1994, went full-time in 1998. I left in 2002 to help with the family business and came back part-time in 2010 and full-time in 2013.

Due to working for a contracting outfit for a couple years, I managed to chalk up 4 railroads in 2 years.

I am now on my 7th railroad. While I hope to retire here, it wouldn't break my heart to go back booming again at some point in the future if the need or opportunity should present itself.

I would gladly consider myself a boomer. I have some friends that have been at the same railroad for 20+ years and I have some friends that have been at 20+ railroads. Either way, there are plent of ways to make it to retirement in this industry...



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