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Railroaders' Nostalgia > This night was different switching the chemical plant.

Date: 06/19/20 07:10
This night was different switching the chemical plant.
Author: PlyWoody

Back when I was promoted from Engineer Dept to Transportation Dept. I was posting with a Supervisor of Train Operations learning the pattern of movemnts.  We had a giant chemical plant on the division and the entire union worker left the plant but their managers ran it at regular production.  I was assigned to be part of the management crew to serve the plant at night.  We pulled all tracks that had outbound or were to have inbound to arrange placement orders.  First it was a three man crew with two green men on the ground but soon became one conductor and engineer.  We did not use radio as hand lanterns worked very well and one night I put 125 cars back into the plant, which was 90 degrees off to the side, but I was always in view of engineer and the lead car of the movement.  That even requires climbing tower ladders or whatever to see and be seen. 

Well this night when we picked up the inbound set we had a tank car with the lid cover wide open and signs of slurp out of the dome.  This looked like trouble as the plant handled very deadly stuff.  A quick call to HQ came back quickly telling us to get 15 cars away from this car as it contained Diethyl Aniline-monomer.  The Diethyl Aniline-momoner was a danger as the vapors from the slurp down the tank could go right through your skin and being able to smell anything was enough to kill you.  We were told to handle beyond 20 cars away and put it on the end of a distant track.  Shortly a crew of space suit men came out of the plant and secured the tank dome cover.  It had come from a chemical plant along Lake Erie, and was humped half way to this plant and where the slurp must have run to the ground.  It was considered contaminated and customer refused the load, and it stayed on the distant spur the rests of the months I worked there.

On another night I took the locomotive into the tank car rack to couple the tank cars and the locomotive just cleared a driveway.  The GP7 as F short nose so in and engineer was only one car away when I gave him the circle highball to pull out.  At that moment a tank truck crossed the track from our blind side and stopped at sign directly with his tank centered over the track.  When the engineer had already opened his throttle the nose of the engine went right under the oval tank and flipped the truck.  I ran to the driver and helped him climb out of the cab and asked what he had in the tank.  “Soap”.  A large sky hook crane soon up righted the truck and little damage, as we finished the night.  I have a diagram of the layout of the plant and will post it if I can.  I worked there 6 months, 4 months were a lifelong education, but following two months was continued fear of making a short cut move and getting hurt.  I really respected all the labor forces that had those job days in and day out, with no mark off permitted, as that also was the case for me working it as a manager 7 days a week for months.  I was next promoted to a new office job in the HQ which was regular hours near my original home.  I greatly respect the railroad labor unions after that experience and especially once when the rail workers were on strike but operated with no work rules.  That is another long story.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/20 03:40 by PlyWoody.

Date: 06/19/20 13:12
Re: This night was different switching the chemical plant.
Author: retcsxcfm

PlyWoody Wrote:
> Back when I was promoted from Engineer Dept to
> Transportation Dept.
 That was a promotion ?

Uncle Joe 

Date: 06/19/20 14:00
Re: This night was different switching the chemical plant.
Author: PlyWoody

Yes, lots of more pay and I didn't have to do annual inventory of every spike and rail brace. I was oriented for train operation and knew all the different trains and block movements.  I had worked at one time in 1970s as night Supervisor of Train Operations for a major interchange terminal. That ended when the day time STO gave the dispatch the okay for a local passenger train to pass a stop signal to close up behind the main passenger train that was stopped ahead for customs.  That had been done normally, but this day the local had a drunk engineer and he crashed into the passenger train, nearly killed, Rule G.  Result, removal of the entire 4 jobs of STO and put all the decisions making on the Division Chief Dispatcher.  No NA supervision below the Division Superintendent.
I was soon hired by the Chief Regional Engineer as his Regional office engineer and set up the new computer controls into the Engineering department.  We also make all the future work schedules, and control of 5000 cars that were handling M of W equipment, much ballast out of 3 quarries. Never had a job with lower pay, even after I was cashed early lap fee full pay and go. Paid more after fully retired, and then RRR was added on. 

Date: 06/19/20 14:11
Re: This night was different switching the chemical plant.
Author: exhaustED

Nasty stuff, just a minor correction but the diethyl aniline is a monomer. 

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