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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit


Date: 07/06/19 19:25
Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: mdo

 There was an Oregon Division staff meeting in Eugene,  all of the division operating officers were invited.   This particular rfe decided to wear his brand new suit to the meeting.  Although he would not normally have done this if he was working in the usual railroad environment.
 While the staff meeting was in progress there was a derailment caused by a rock slide with locomotives on their side down in the river.   This rfe and an assistant superintendent we're dispatched to investigate the cause of the derailment and assist with the wreck cleanup.  Of  course there was no way to change clothes.  Long story short, the rfe’s suit was ruined.  Later,  when the rfe filed his monthly expense account he listed the cost of his ruined suit.  His expense account was rejected by the accounting department for unauthorized items.
The ref refined his expense report with the details of the derailment. And an explanation of why the suit was damaged in the effort to retrieve the event recorder tapes from the cab of the derailed locomotives which had come to rest on their sides. Partially submerged in the river... Our rfe even included a picture.
Accounting rejected the claim again for unauthorized item.
For the third time our rfe files the expense claim for the same amount as before.  However this time only for meals and lodging.  There is no mention of clothing what so ever.   Except at the bottom of the page in every small letters is this note:  ”One suit buried in this expense report, you find it”  this time around the expense reimbursement  is forth coming for the full amount as claimed.  

This  little story was told to me by my boss K E Guin when I first worked for him in Eugene in early 1969.    

The question is true story or urban legend.  

What do you think?    



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/19 19:30 by mdo.



Date: 07/06/19 19:50
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: Trainhand

Probably true 



Date: 07/06/19 21:00
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: ATSFSuperChief

Creative writing is always found in expense reports that pass muster.

Don Allender



Date: 07/07/19 09:30
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: Zephyr

Cost of food and lodging always "higher" when attending to derailments...!



Date: 07/07/19 09:41
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: Christo

I have heard versions of this story in other industries involving suits or hats.  As a colleague once observed some stories are "factually inaccurate but fundamentally true".



Date: 07/07/19 11:28
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: TAW

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> What do you think?    

I think after retirement, he could have done well working for Mercer as one of their "Mercernaries" and maybe offsetting the length of "Mercer days" in subtle ways.

TAW



Date: 07/07/19 12:27
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: EMDSW-1

Sounds like the derailment on the Toledo Branch around Eddyville when a couple of SD-9's went into the riverat about that time.

Dick Samuels



Date: 07/07/19 16:57
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: Westbound

MDO's story is true. No receipts were required in those days.

Around 1984 I was rolling down US101 near Salinas, CA at 68 mph, responding to a fatal crossing accident on the SP. The temporary freeway speed limit then was 55 mph. The CHP stopped and ticketed me. I paid the fine but recovered it with a few extra meals on the old expense account the next month.  



Date: 07/07/19 21:01
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: roustabout

EMDSW-1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sounds like the derailment on the Toledo Branch
> around Eddyville when a couple of SD-9's went into
> the riverat about that time.
>
> Dick Samuels

I was thinking the same thing, Dick.  I even have a copy of a photo of it somewhere.



Date: 07/07/19 21:34
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: DD40

Always good to see another Mad Dog Chronicle! 



Date: 07/08/19 00:34
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: aronco

Ah the expense account!  Some Superintendents checked them with a magnifying glass.
While I was working for Santa Fe at Barstow, I was sent to Chicago three times to work on special projects.  In 1985 or 86, I believe, I was assigned to one of the teams working on studying and implementing the SP/Santa Fe merger.  I lived in the Palmer House, a very respectable Hilton hotel in the loop for six  months, as it was just a short walk to the offices at 80 East Jackson Blvd.  Our group of 5 or 6 people included consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton and several Santa Fe people who had a good general knowledge of Santa Fe operations.  We traveled extensively all over the West, and often I had a motel room in Chicago and one at some other point for the same night.  We did have to furnish receipts for rooms but not for meals.  My expense account exceeded my salary every month for the 6 months I was assigned to the project, expecially since I was told to travel home to Barstow every weekend!
After a few months, I was summoned to one of the inner sanctum offices of one of the top men coordinating the merger teams.  That fellow motioned for me to sit down, and then he announced that he wanted to review my expense account.  Oh nuts, I thought.  Here it comes.  Will I survive this meeting?  "Norm", he began, " we just wanted to be sure that you understood that your expense account could cover laundry, taxis, tips, and other incidentals.  You see, your expense account is not as large as some we are getting, and we wanted to be sure that you are including everything you spend in Chicago".
I damned near fainted.  On the Albuquerque Division, every item on my expense account was watched with an eagle-eye, and here I was, being given carte-blanche to kick it up a bit.  Wow!

TIOGA PASS, 

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 07/09/19 00:24
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: bobwilcox

The very first training I got on the railroad was about the expense account.  The first rule was never to lose money.

Bob Wilcox
Charlottesville, VA
My Flickr Shots



Date: 07/10/19 07:45
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: eminence_grise

A road foreman I worked with wore a suit all the time, including wreck cleanup. It was the 1980's, and men's fashions were different than today. This man's suit, complete with matching shirts and ties was emerald green. It was made of a synthetic fabric called "Fortrel" which no stains stuck to, remained wrinkle free, and was almost indestructible.

The railroad expected at least a shirt and tie at all times, and the road foreman pointed out that he had attended several incidents and had ruined coveralls and other clothing items, which the railroad expense account didn't cover.

Back to the bright green suit and matching accessories. He had heard of the properties of "Fortel" and when he saw the suit in a Goodwill store at a bargain price, he bought it.

After the next wreck cleanup, he simply threw the suit in a washing machine and it emerged clean and unwrinkled.

The road foreman wore that suit for at least ten years. Somebody pointed out that the same miracle fabric was available in work clothes, but that it was not recommended for certain uses because it was flammable. 



Date: 07/10/19 12:55
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 317. The Roadforeman's New Suit
Author: Railbaron

I learned early on in my railroad career that it's not WHAT you claim but rather HOW you claim it.

Posted from Android



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