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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Sometimes it's not so good to be engineer!

Date: 03/08/19 14:43
Sometimes it's not so good to be engineer!
Author: santafe199

Oh… the hazards of being an engineer and not being able to get out of the cab! I’m the engineer, sitting in the driver’s seat of MRL 601 on an extra-switch job called in Billing (MT) Yard. I’m part of an extra-switch crew that was called to go rectify a certain -shall we say- ‘mechanical’ situation the day-brothers went and got themselves into with the Laurel ~ Billings transfer job. It was a situation that required the able-bodied assistance of MRL’s finest maintenance-of-way brothers, who would be working overtime (wanting to move slow). Here’s the set-up, as best I can remember it. I was stuck on the west end of a pair of back-to-back, hi-nosed MRL SD9s 601 & 610. And the sun was open for business! Shining directly in on me in the engineer’s seat. I was coupled onto about a dozen cars, the other end of which would soon become the center of activity. And my power was trapped in the track because another switch job had kicked a few cars into the other end and tied them down.

I can’t remember which of the SD9s I was sitting in, but I do remember it had an all-weather cab. And that really sucked on warmish days, which this one definitely was. An all-weather cab had 2 really tiny windows that when in the fully open position could sometimes let in as much as -hold me back, now- a whole tablespoon full of fresh air. Even with both cab doors and the opposite side windows open you just couldn’t buy a peep of a breeze through the engineer’s window. It was pointless to try to get out of that track because I “MIGHT” be needed to nudge my short string of cars to aid whatever the m.o.w. brothers were trying at the moment.

So there I was, stuck. For a very looong period(s) of time. Hot & sweaty. Bored shiftless. I could actually get out of the cab, but I had to stay within ear-shot of the radio. Thank the great yellow god that I had my camera along with unexposed Kodachrome in it! Below are 2 examples of how to cure boredom and suck up some fresh air while on the walkway of an EMD SD 9!

Sometimes it’s not so good to be the engineer…

1. & 2. Attempts at creative, artsy-fartsy photography can go only so far in a RR yard filled with tank cars. This Billings, MT on a very forgettable September 12, 1992.

My kingdom for a gust of wind!
Lance Garrels

Date: 03/08/19 17:22
Re: Sometimes it's not so good to be engineer!
Author: ajax247

Pretty good actually. Thanks!

Date: 03/12/19 09:11
Re: Sometimes it's not so good to be engineer!
Author: JMaurer1

I really enjoy reading stories like this. It brings the 'human' into railroading. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 03/28/19 15:15
Re: Sometimes it's not so good to be engineer!
Author: linton122

I enjoyed the story and both photos. Kudos for trying new photography stuff and posting it. Sometimes I look back at old photos and realize that I have to work to stay out of a rut. (3./4 wedge, anyone???) 

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