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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Ring side seat
Date: 05/21/20 10:49
Ring side seat
Altercations on the RR were generally verbal at least where I worked although things coming to blows was not unheard of. I will admit I was guilty of having attitude sometimes, but, in my defense I was surrounded by guys with attitude so you got your own to avoid being trod on. I was in the cat bird seat for one such occurrence which I will describe leaving out the names and places to protect the innocent. (which leaves me out)
This all begins with a card game, pitch to be exact, which of course is a no no when on duty. I was seated at a table with my crew plus the yardmaster was playing as well who was seated directly across from me at the table with his back to the door. In the middle of the game, I looked up to see the train master walking toward the door through the glass but it was way too late to give warning to anyone as he was about to enter the room He enters and see us playing cards and threatens to cut our job off if we have so little to do, and orders the yardmaster out the door with him. We already had our lists and were ready to go to work anyway, so I get my things and head to the locomotive which was parked right by the yard-office side door.
So, I sat and waited for someone to come out to give me a signal(it was in the afternoon) but, no one comes out for several minutes. All at once, the door to the side of the yard office opens and the yardmaster comes out with a short little switch man on the job who had a bad temper. They are waving their arms around and the switch man throws his hat on the ground yelling something about refusing to kiss ass. I can't hear very much due to the idling diesel, but clearly, something had gone wrong after I left the yard office.
In a few minutes, the local cinder dick shows up in his car, and then the local chairman for the switch men right behind him pulls up in his car. Then a few minutes after that, the side door of the office opens with the short switch man being closely followed by the RR cop. They take a few steps and the switch man turns around and says something to the cop. The cop points to the switch mans car clearly indicating that he was to leave the property. This repeats about twice and then the switch man turns around and crouches down and I thought here we go, he is going to throw a punch at the cop, but, instead the cop grabs him by the shoulder and turns him around in his march to his car.
Now, the switch man is in his car finally and the whole thing is repeated, he backs up a little and yells something at the cop out his window. The cop points indicating for him to drive away, and this process is repeated about three times.
Finally, I go into the yard office and find that after I left the switch man, and the train master got into a shouting match that climaxed with the switch man calling the train master a whole list of names and threatening to break his arms, and that of course was it.
After the investigation, which only the yardmaster, train master, local chairman, and switch man were called to and not all of the crew, I had the chance to talk to the yardmaster ( who was a good and decent man) and we both chuckled at the poor stenographer at the investigation having to write down and transcribe all the names called the train master that day. And no, the switch man never got back.
Date: 05/22/20 08:18
Re: Ring side seat
This was on the TRRA in the mid to late 1970's. I did not witness the event, at Bremen Avenue on a weekend day, but had it vividly told to me in parts by several others. The event involved no actual physical violence, although much was offered, blatant racism, sexism, and strongly expressed vulgar words. The young lady transcribing it from the tape was very religous, and could be heard saying "praise the lord" frequently. The more senior and experienced clerk asked the lady what was the problem, and she explained and the senior clerk, also a lady, listened to part of the tape and offered to finish. The young lady said she could continue, and did, and the the resulting transcript was great reading. I do not recall how we handled the discipline.