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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Tempers
Date: 01/29/19 14:39
Years ago, around 1980 I think, the U.P. inaugurated a different computer system for use in the yard office. We attended classes near the yard office, working our way through exercise books to familiarize us with the new system. Since the printers were noisy, they were in an adjacent room. We would work our way through an exercise, and then go to the printer room to check the printers to see if the computer accepted our attempt at the new system.
One of our fellow employees did not learn very fast. The computer, as it often did, rejected his attempt at an exercise. That would cause an explosion of his temper when he saw the rejection.
Two brothers, Jim and Bob Gerbrand turned out to know something about computers. They fashioned a semi-official looking printout that congratulated our slow learner for being awarded the "Million Error" award. Seeing his award caused an another explosion of temper. While he did not see the humor in the situation, I thought it was hilarious, so some of his temper was then directed towards me. He even thought I had done it.
The next day I happened to be in the printer room when our slow learner walked in. I muttered that I had better get out of there before anything worse happened. That caused another temper explosion, although after I left he asked the other people in the room what I had said.
Later Bob Gerbrand went to the Trailer Dock. After that we did not see each other very often, but when we did, and with a knowing smile, Bob always called me "The Agitator".
It must have been about 4AM one morning in the early 1960s when I was working the waybills of an inbound train and a clerk was out applying tags to the cars in the train. He called me on the radio and said that there was a dead body on a covered gon(dola). I notified everyone concerned. The rear end of the train including the covered gon was pulled down into Extension 2 across from the Yard Office. By the time I went home the sheriffs were there and had had the man's wallet and papers spread out on a desk in the yard office.
W.J. Roche was the General Yardmaster. He had a loud voice and liked to holler and shout and use some intemperate language whenever anything went wrong. After he had blown off considerable steam, you could talk to him. However, the idea was not to come to his attention.
The next morning I asked Roche what had happened after I went home. He said that later he had walked across to the covered gon on Extension 2, and nothing was happening. He asked the coroner's people why. They gave a good civil service answer: No one told them the body was on top of a railroad car!
It would have been fun to watch.
Roche launched into the coroner's people with some of his loud and intemperate language, saying (in a bit of mild exaggeration) that he could not shut down everything in HIS railroad yard just because of a dead hobo, and that if he had to, he would get the body off the covered gon by himself! The coroner's people grumbled for a bit but removed the body. Roche could then get HIS railroad moving again.
Roche later went to Denver as a Trainmaster. I met him there once on a fantrip with the 8444.
Date: 01/29/19 15:01
Thank you for the good stories!
Date: 01/30/19 13:48
Great stories, Gene. Bob was always fun to work with., he was always joking around and laughing. He always seemed cool under pressure working at the trailer dock especially when things would hit the fan as they did quite often. It's a shame he passed away so young. I suppose Martha is retired by now. She said she was getting close the last time I talked to her just before I retired in 2017.-BMT
Date: 01/31/19 16:22
I suppose Martha is retired
> by now. She said she was getting close the last
> time I talked to her just before I retired in
Yep. Didn't tell anybody it was her last day. Just went.
Date: 02/03/19 09:33
> Years ago, around 1980 I think, the U.P.
> inaugurated a different computer system for use in
> the yard office.
Must have been when UP put in their "TIS" and "COIN" systems, I remember it. Since the MOPAC merger was shortly after that, UP's new system was quickly replaced with MOPAC's TCS system after MOPAC's management took over.