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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Untouchable, Part 1

Date: 06/15/19 13:14
The Untouchable, Part 1
Author: ExSPCondr

When I saw the post above about "Dangerous Dan," like most of the former Southern Calif. SPers, I thought it was going to be about Dan Burke, not Dan Gaffney.  Then Jack Krumweid comes up, but at least he wasn't objectionable like Burke.  We heard a lot about how many characters the SP had, which seemed to be true, until the UP purchased the SP and merged the jobs and rosters.

The first story we heard about this trainman who was hired just after the 1985 agreement which took away the 100 mile deadhead payment and reduced it to actual time consumed, was about a deadhead back from a stand at an outside local because a brakeman had laid off.  Most of us would drive our own cars so we could get home sooner, but not the guy I will call "C" for conductor, not his real initials.  C calls for a carryall back, because it will take longer, and on the return trip, he has the driver take him to a barbershop, and wait while he gets his hair cut.  Needless to say, this story started to circulate via the very upset carryall driver.

Next comes a story via two pool freight conductors who were deadhead along with C from Roseville to Fresno.  They made the usual part-way pit stop in a large gas station where C picks up a magazine and proceeds to sit down and read it.  After everybody else is relieved, there is a question raised by one of the conductors:"You ready?" but C doesn't answer.  About an hour later, everybody else has had enough, and C gets told that "We are leaving NOW, with or without you!"

C is called to brake for the late John Stonesifer on the Folsom Local on duty at 9am out of the City yard.  John and his engineer are on time, and Willie the MTO is trying to hurry them out as RV is plugged up as usual, and they need the track.  Willie asks John if he will take the train out on the branch and they will send the brakeman out in a carryall when he shows up.  John agrees and heads for Polk.  When they clear the main, they call for the carryall but get no answer.  John goes ahead and switches the cement plant by himself, then goes on out to the runaround at Citrus.  He calls again and still gets no answer, so he switches Wayside lumber and lines up his empties for Schnitzer.  Another call with no answer, so he goes out and does Schnitzer by himself.  John shoves back from Schnitzer, puts his loads to a joint on the main, and then runs around his train through the siding.  One last call still yields no answer, so they head back to RV.  I was going on duty in RV about 4pm when John came in looking to find MTO Willie and then tie up.  John was mad when he walked in, and when he asked Willie "What happened to the brakeman?" and Willie said "What do you mean what happened, I sent him out there in his own car," Then John got REALLY mad!  Willie told him that when C showed up about 945am and he told him to get in the carryall and go out to the local that C said he would take his own car.  Obviously C went right back home, and expected to be paid for the trip.  John had a very clear understanding with Willie and everybody else within earshot that this kind of thing wouldn't happen to him again!

A fiber optic project is in progress on the #2 track between Newcastle and Colfax.  The contractor is running four directional drilling rigs on the service road near the track, so they are protected by four conductor-flagmen.  Because the radio reception isn't good in some spots, and it only takes a minute to stop the rig, they have a Chief flagman at Colfax who gets all the train information and relays it to the flagmen on contractor provided Blackberries.  One of the flagmen lays off, and C is called to fill the vacancy.  This call from CMS comes at 445am for 615 on duty at RV for a 45 minute paid deadhead by auto to Colfax to arrive at 7am.  The first day on the vacancy, the flagman is dead at 615pm, after that he is fully rested for the 12 hours at Colfax.  The late Bill Lewis was the chief flagman, and shortly after 7am when the extra man didn't show up, he called CMS.  He finds out that it is supposed to be C, so he gets his home phone number and calls to check with his wife and see what time he left.  C answers the phone and says that "When I got there, nobody was working, so I went back home."  Only one little problem, C lives East of Stockton, so he has about an hour and twenty minute drive in good traffic one way, and there is no way he could have been at Colfax at 7am, and be back home by 715, so it was obvious he was lying, and hadn't left yet.  Bill told C to stay home, as he had called another man.

Now C is working one of the haulers between Stockton and Roseville that went on duty about 6pm in Stockton, and about 5pm in RV for the return trip.  They gather up all of the cars they can find in Stockton, which C was good at, because it takes TIME, and leave for Roseville about 3am with two SD40-2s and about 140 cars.  RV receiving yard is full and there is a train waiting to get in at Antelope, not to mention C's train won't fit in a receiving track, but the dispatcher takes them. Fortunately the UP had greatly extended Elk Grove, which was the only siding they would fit in, and thats where the dispatcher put them.  Most of us would have said something to the dispatcher about being short on time when we went in, but not C.  Most of us would also have said something when we got down to about an hour to work, but C was on overtime!  The moon went down, and the sun came up, but that was about all that happened until 330pm when the CMS computer tried to put them on duty for their 5pm trip out of Roseville and couldn't because they were still on duty from the previous trip!  Nobody can find the crew, and finally they have the CTC dispatcher call the train, C answers and tells them they are right there, stll waiting for a ride.  That cost the UP a whole lot of money, because in addition to paying C and crew 12 hours on duty, and 12 hours tow-in, and a dead day from RV to Stockton because they weren't rested, UP had to call an extra crew to take their train from RV to Stockton, and deadhead home.  Mgmt was really upset, but they just couldn't say much.
Part II to follow.

Date: 06/19/19 19:11
Re: The Untouchable, Part 1
Author: AndyBrown

Unvelieveable!  Great stories though, especially the last one.


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