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Railroaders' Nostalgia > How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.


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Date: 06/15/20 04:03
How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: PlyWoody

The prior management of the Wester Maryland Scenic was usually very considerate in letting interested fans ride the cab to Frostburg and return.  I had done it in the past but on my during most recent visit to the railroad, I had a special friend from Albuquerque.  Turned out that the railroad boss was favorable but for only one rider as he had a young new fireman and was going to ride the cab himself.  So, I suggested that I rode up and my friend would ride the cab back down, which the boss agreed to in order to comply to the limit of four in the cab.  I had no idea how many trips the fireman had made, but he seems to understand the water lever, injectors, and watched over his fire.  So I was able to sit behind him and at one point I was able to talk to him and told him to always view ahead first to see no obstruction for his head and then on left side curves to lean out the cab window and view down the entire train looking for dust, sparks or any signs of trouble.  There was only one spill of a shovel load which he cleaned up well and used the squirt hose. 
    I need not describe how beautifully sounding that Consolidation was pounding up the mountain and was envious of the young man’s job.  We were back in Cumberland depot as I met my friend getting off the locomotive, the fireman came up to me and THANKED me for the instructions of how to watch the train while working the boiler.  He added that no one had supplied that data before as part of the job and how to do it safely.  I told him I had been a Trainmaster* and it had been my job.  He sure made me feel I help paid for my ride and I’m sure he had a great career.  I doubt I’ve been given thanks before for giving instructions.  (* edit to Train Master for Hot Water as that was the way I worked the job)
 



Date: 06/15/20 09:50
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Trainhand

If the trainmasters would give instruction advice as instruction instead of confrontation and trying to "write you up for a failure" they would get a whole lot more cooperation. Aother thing the class ones could do is leave a trainmaster in place more than about 2 years. That way they would learn who the employees were, who needsassistance, and who needs to be run off.



Date: 06/15/20 16:17
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: PlyWoody

I been retired 24 year after advancement to a Regional engineering officer. Not much that I can do about any TM job in today's world. Why would you fear being observed doing the job the right way, unless you take shortcut and they lead to accidents.  Bad habits will eventually get you hurt.



Date: 06/15/20 17:38
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: trainjunkie

Boy you really are full of yourself.



Date: 06/15/20 18:12
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Chico43

What Trainhand said. A lot has changed in the last 24 years with respect to operations testing on the Class I's and your naivete of the subject seems almost humorous. The "weed weasels" have been known to follow the same crew around for several hours until they're finally able to score their so-called test failure over some miniscule transgression, like a  trainman putting a foot on the ground when the car he was riding still had 6 inches to roll before it stopped. Trust me; I've seen it happen.........



Date: 06/15/20 19:15
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Trainhand

Thanks for the explanation Chico43.  One day there was 3 or 4 trainmasters in a hallway I asked them if they were the teacher's monitor in the second or third grade? They said no, couldn't stand the tattle-tail, I said why are you the class monitor now?  They were not amused.



Date: 06/15/20 22:07
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: roustabout

Chico43 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What Trainhand said. A lot has changed in the last
> 24 years with respect to operations testing on the
> Class I's and your naivete of the subject seems
> almost humorous. The "weed weasels" have been
> known to follow the same crew around for several
> hours until they're finally able to score their
> so-called test failure over some miniscule
> transgression, like a  trainman putting a foot on
> the ground when the car he was riding still had 6
> inches to roll before it stopped. Trust me; I've
> seen it happen.........

The story I heard was regarding a newly minted trainmaster, watching a crew switch.  The trainmaster was keeping a list of all of the rules the crew violated, a rather long list.  After the fact, the new trainmaster was called on the carpet and read the riot act by his boss for not stopping the crew after the first significant violation.



Date: 06/16/20 02:40
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: PlyWoody

Trainjunkie, describ to me the most basic procedure of opening a knuckle, please.



Date: 06/16/20 04:40
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: WM1977

How quick and bad things can get in a hurry and why "they" are there. Crew bringing train into yard, switch lined against their movement the following happened within a couple of minutes. Trainman got off moving equipment to line switch. Got back on rear step of still moving locomotive. Engineer placed train brakes into emergency while trainman was doing his thing. After train stopped air brakes were reset, released and train continued movement without inspecting train. On and off moving equipment not stopping in the clear of a switch not properly lined and not inspecting train were all rules violations on that railroad at the time. Yes, I know if the trainman had not released the latch on the switch it would have been "run through" possibly causing other issues. Should have just slowed down.
 



Date: 06/16/20 09:31
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: trainjunkie

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Trainjunkie, describ to me the most basic
> procedure of opening a knuckle, please.

1. Make sure weed weasel can see you clearly.

2. Wave to weed weasel.

3. Hop on moving equipment and lift cut lever with foot.

4. Flip weed weasel off as you dismount moving equipment. 

Going to send me a letter now? Hahaha!



Date: 06/16/20 19:03
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Drknow

Trainjunkie for the win! 🤣

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/20 19:04 by Drknow.



Date: 06/16/20 20:45
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: BNSF6400

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why would you fear being observed doing the job the right
> way, unless you take shortcut and they lead to
> accidents.  Bad habits will eventually get you
> hurt.

Many people become nervous anytime authority is present, be it a boss, police, the town mayor....whoever.  It becomes much worse it they believe the boss is their solely to watch them for some offense that will get them in trouble (or fired).  This can cause them to make mistakes they wouldn't otherwise make.  It becomes far worse when a supervisor tells the employee to do something and then dings them for doing it because it was a rules violation (true story, a BNSF trainmaster did it).  Its a very fine line indeed.  Just imagine the next time you drive somewhere their is a police car that follows you and then writes you a ticket every time you go 1 MPH over the speed limit or signal 99 feet or 101 feet instead of 100 feet before a turn.



Date: 06/17/20 10:08
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: engineerinvirginia

When a trainmaster asks you to do something that clearly is  in violation...you are actively, purposely and with malice aforethought BEING TRAPPED, if you do it, you are in violation, if you refuse, you are insubordinate...yup, seen it happen. 



Date: 06/18/20 12:23
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: PlyWoody

If I was Trainjunkey boss, I would ask him to show me the proper and safe method to open a closed coupler on a still car before a car approaches which has a open knuckle.  If I see him pull the cutting lever 90 degrees I would write him up for the violation of our safety rules.  If I see him step into gage of track to use his hand to open the knuckle I would write him up for fouling the track.

The safe way to open a knuckle is to pull the cutting lever up 45 degree and when you hear the anticreeper click, then pull it the remaining 45 degrees which will snap the knuckle open.  Hard to believe the number of people who work cars every day and they have to learn the correct way from the youngest Trainmaster that PC put on the job.  If it fails to open, the coupler is defective and need shop attention.  Remember who just told you this first function of being a railroader.



Date: 06/18/20 13:34
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: trainjunkie

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If I was Trainjunkey boss, I would ask him to show
> me the proper and safe method to open a closed
> coupler on a still car before a car approaches
> which has a open knuckle.  If I see him pull the
> cutting lever 90 degrees I would write him up for
> the violation of our safety rules.  If I see him
> step into gage of track to use his hand to open
> the knuckle I would write him up for fouling the
> track.
>
> The safe way to open a knuckle is to pull the
> cutting lever up 45 degree and when you hear the
> anticreeper click, then pull it the remaining 45
> degrees which will snap the knuckle open.  Hard
> to believe the number of people who work cars
> every day and they have to learn the correct way
> from the youngest Trainmaster that PC put on the
> job.  If it fails to open, the coupler is
> defective and need shop attention.  Remember who
> just told you this first function of being a
> railroader.

It's clear that you've never switched a car in your life, let alone a couple hundred at a time. As usual, the TM's world is a perfect one, where everything is ideal and works perfectly and switchmen are encouraged to bad order cars all day long for defective pin lifters.

The reality is that about every 4th or 5th car (on average) has a janky pin lifter and requires some additional "input". If I started to b/o them, I'd get dragged into the Super's office after about the 3rd one. Not to mention that the car department foreman would go into convulsions.

Furthermore, every railroad has different rules about "breaking the plane" and what is considered "fouling". At the last RR I worked, you could close an angle cock or open a knuckle without that being considered fouling. But where I work now, both of those are a no-no, regardless of whether your foot is inside or outside the rail, so a simple request for protection (which is also called different things by different railroads) is pretty routine when handling the knuckle.

As with most managers, you live in a vacuum and think you know it all. News flash, you don't. And BTW, if you were my boss you would hate life because I would make it miserable, as would everyone in the terminal. Trust me, I know how to play that game if I have to put an arrogant manager in his (or her) place.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/20 14:01 by trainjunkie.



Date: 06/18/20 14:05
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: jst3751

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The prior management of the Wester Maryland Scenic
> was usually very considerate in letting interested
> fans ride the cab to Frostburg and return.  I had
> done it in the past but on my during most recent
> visit to the railroad, I had a special friend from
> Albuquerque.  Turned out that the railroad boss
> was favorable but for only one rider as he had a
> young new fireman and was going to ride the cab
> himself.  So, I suggested that I rode up and my
> friend would ride the cab back down, which the
> boss agreed to in order to comply to the limit of
> four in the cab.  I had no idea how many trips
> the fireman had made, but he seems to understand
> the water lever, injectors, and watched over his
> fire.  So I was able to sit behind him and at one
> point I was able to talk to him and told him to
> always view ahead first to see no obstruction for
> his head and then on left side curves to lean out
> the cab window and view down the entire train
> looking for dust, sparks or any signs of
> trouble.  There was only one spill of a shovel
> load which he cleaned up well and used the squirt
> hose. 
>     I need not describe how beautifully
> sounding that Consolidation was pounding up the
> mountain and was envious of the young man’s
> job.  We were back in Cumberland depot as I met
> my friend getting off the locomotive, the fireman
> came up to me and THANKED me for the instructions
> of how to watch the train while working the
> boiler.  He added that no one had supplied that
> data before as part of the job and how to do it
> safely.  I told him I had been a Trainmaster* and
> it had been my job.  He sure made me feel I help
> paid for my ride and I’m sure he had a great
> career.  I doubt I’ve been given thanks before
> for giving instructions.  (* edit to Train Master
> for Hot Water as that was the way I worked the
> job)
>  

Now that you have tooted your own horn yet again, would you like us to give you a brownie point or a bozo badge?



Date: 06/18/20 15:10
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Chessie

PlyWoody wrote: "The safe way to open a knuckle is to pull the cutting lever up 45 degree and when you hear the anticreeper click, then pull it the remaining 45 degrees which will snap the knuckle open.  Hard to believe the number of people who work cars every day and they have to learn the correct way from the youngest Trainmaster that PC put on the job.  If it fails to open, the coupler is defective and need shop attention." 

I have decades on a Class I.  Decades of experience, training, rules classes, and everything else that goes with it.  I was today years old when I first heard of an anticreeper and the sequence of steps you outline.  Interesting. 



Date: 06/18/20 15:33
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: trainjunkie

Chessie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have decades on a Class I.  Decades of
> experience, training, rules classes, and
> everything else that goes with it.  I was today
> years old when I first heard of an anticreeper and
> the sequence of steps you outline. 
> Interesting. 

As if, in the cacophony of typical switching, we're going to hear it click anyway. I guess I could take my hearing protection out, but then he'd want to write me up for that too.



Date: 06/18/20 17:53
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Drknow

Whenever I’m asked what it’s like to work at a class one or what is your “boss” like, I liken it to working for “Frank Burns” from MASH. Think about it.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/19/20 06:12
Re: How the favor of a cab ride on #734 was paid back to the Co.
Author: Englewood

Trainhand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the explanation Chico43.  One day
> there was 3 or 4 trainmasters in a hallway I asked
> them if they were the teacher's monitor in the
> second or third grade? They said no, couldn't
> stand the tattle-tail, I said why are you the
> class monitor now?  They were not amused.

Where I worked whenever a gaggle of TM's was present
there would always be much laughter among them, even if we
were in the midst of a meltdown.  I would tell co-workers the bosses
were passing a mirror around, taking turns looking at themselves.



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