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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.


Date: 06/24/20 21:17
Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: ExSPCondr

This is a parallel story to Eminence Grises' story about a supervisor with an attitude, whose name I won't mention, although I have posted some stories earlier.

It starts at SP City of Industry in 1974, when a PE engineer who had been an RFE in Oregon, and gone back to his seniority in LA, warned us that we were getting an ATM laterally transferred from Oregon with a reputation.  He was right.  

Newbies on the Industry district were sent to Anaheim, as the position was just a cat to keep the mice from playing.  Unfortunately he just had to 'get' people, and set up a dangerous test.  He told the operator at Los Nietos to hold the signal on the Perishable Hauler, but tell him to keep on coming.  The hauler consisted of an SW1500, about 60 empty cars, and a cupola caboose.  When they got to the insulated joint which lit the signal, the 'A' signal lit up red, and the engineer shut off the throttle and made a full service reduction.  The caboose ran into all 60 stopped cars which knocked the brakeman out of the cupola, and a six foot piece of two inch pipe which the crew used for straightening out switches, came end over end down the middle of the caboose and hit the conductor in the back of the head, knocking him out.

The radio still worked, and the brakeman called for an ambulance, but the ATM said "NO, I'll be right there."  AS I remenber, an ambulance was called, and the conductor recovered.  All of the other crews in the area heard the radio conversation, plus the word got around, and the work acomplished came to a crawl.  After several days of vocal customer complaints, the TM at C of I traded me from the hardest job on the district, running the hump, to the easiet one at Anaheim, so he could keep a close eye on the newbie, and told me to "...get down there and stop the troubles!..."

At C of I he started shaking his finger in crew's faces,  and lost all the help that the crews would have given him.  One night he sent a crew into the bowl to couple up and air up about 40 cars.  This amounted to one brakeman riding the engine to a joint on the first car, and then coupling up the cars and lacing the air hoses.  When he got to the other end, the other brakeman would be there with a company pickup to get him, and they would pull the cars out and set them into an outside track.  On the radio would be heard "shove ahead one car to a joint, easy, that will do, stretch 'em, cutting in the air, etc.  After about an hour, the ATM realizes it has been a LONG time to couple up the track, and starts to investigate.  He finds that there are still radio commands coming, but the engine isn't moving.  He finds the truck behind the PFE bulding, one brakeman awake giving signals, and one asleep.  The first TM had been promoted, and the new TM laughed when he was told what happened the next morning.

Next was a door torn off a company truck parked too close to the track while helping with the radio.  Then there was a brakeman hurt while coupling his cut of cars to a standing cut, when the ATM sent another crew into the other end of the track, and didn't tell either crew that there was another crew at the other end.  Then another door and a fender this time, as he didn't learn from the first.

The Auto Parts train hit a car that drove around the gates just West of Industry one night when he was working the hump, so he had to go investigate.  I was working at Los Nietos, which meant I could leave to go help.  Had it been anyone else, I would have gone to the Crest and taken over for him so he could have a little variety.  In this case, I went to the wreck, and the first thing he says is "What are you doing here?"  My answer was "somebody has to run the Crest," he looked kind of shocked, and then the paranoia set in and he asked "you got this?" I said yes, and he left.  The first thing the cop in charge says is "... are all of you guys like him?"  I said no, and did he want a tour of the engine?  He said yes, and after he got a look at the cab, he released the train before the coroner arrived, as the car with the body in it was well clear of the tracks.

He really wanted a title, and there was a full TM's job open on the Rock, so he left the SP and went East.  I never heard any more for about eight years, when in the small railroad world, I am an SP Trainmaster-Amtrak, and have to ride the head end of #11 East from Oakland because a PUC inspector wants to ride.  We are tallking about what we did before, and when the PUC man finds out I had been at C of I, he asks if I knew a f/u named .........  I told him I knew Little Caesar, and how the heck did he know him?  His answer was that he had been a WP conductor.  I said so,? and he said "...you know the Rock went broke, so he needed a job.  The WP had a TM's vacancy at Winnemucca NV for over three years, because it only paid $1500 a month.  This meant he was responsible for the paired track between Winnemucca and Elko, and was known by both the SP and WP crews.

We traded horror stories, and his best one was that ......... was trying to catch a crew speeding in the yard at Winnemucca, so he was driving alongside their engine with his lights off and ran into a pole.  Apparently he tangled with his kid's baseball coach, and the UP transferred him to Utah.

About ten years later, I had gone back to my seniority, and was working the mountain pool between Roseville, and either Sparks or Portola.  One evening while I was tying up at Portola, a UP conductor was coming to work on an Eastbound, and we were talking about other places, when he asked if I new ........ when he had been at C of I.  I said yes, and he asked me if I had heard the latest. I said no, so he explained.

Apparently a crew member had been injured on duty, and ........ felt he was faking it, so he took a movie camera to the guy's house at night, and was caught filming the brakeman and his wife through a small space in the curtains.  This was too much for even the UP, and as he had no seniority, he was let go.
G





 



Date: 06/24/20 21:25
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: wharfrat

Shame on the operator for leading the crew into a trap. I think I would go looking for him.



Date: 06/24/20 23:52
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: wpamtk

This all sounds sadly familiar. I worked in Stockton, but I heard about the Winnemucca situation. The WP obtained more than one "jewel" from the Rock.

Just remembered--a rumor went around that the gentleman in Winnemucca pissed off the SP guys in Carlin to the extent that they paid to have him roughed up. Probably just shanty BS, but it makes a good story.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/20 00:00 by wpamtk.



Date: 06/25/20 08:55
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: retcsxcfm

Railroaders stories are so funny,I nearly fell out of my chair.
Most of them are true.It would be nice to put these out for
a stand up comedian,but only railroaders would under stand.
I love them.

Gone from CSX 32 years.

Uncle Joe
Seffner,Fl.



Date: 06/25/20 08:58
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: retcsxcfm

ExSPCondr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

.  




>
> At C of I he started shaking his finger in crew's
> faces,  and lost all the help that the crews
> would have given him.  One night he sent a crew
> into the bowl to couple up and air up about 40
> cars.  This amounted to one brakeman riding the
> engine to a joint on the first car, and then
> coupling up the cars and lacing the air hoses. 
> When he got to the other end, the other brakeman
> would be there with a company pickup to get him,
> and they would pull the cars out and set them into
> an outside track.  On the radio would be heard
> "shove ahead one car to a joint, easy, that will
> do, stretch 'em, cutting in the air, etc.  After
> about an hour, the ATM realizes it has been a LONG
> time to couple up the track, and starts to
> investigate.  He finds that there are still radio
> commands coming, but the engine isn't moving.  He
> finds the truck behind the PFE bulding, one
> brakeman awake giving signals, and one asleep. 
> The first TM had been promoted, and the new TM
> laughed when he was told what happened the next
> morning.
 

FUNNY,FUNNY,we'll show him.

Uncle Joe



Date: 06/25/20 10:56
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: Zephyr

You brought back many, many sordid memories with your stories!   Every night at Tweedy (South Gate) I wondered if we would get the Firestone Hauler with the auto parts back out of CofI with that guy in charge amidst the carnage!

Pete



Date: 06/25/20 22:46
Re: Frogs and Butterflies, another case of destructive attitude.
Author: cewherry

Great stories, G.

I figured the PE man was Frank Rider; he spent a few years on the Oregon Division around Brooklyn circa 1966-72

That 'bleeder' truck was probably not street legal after a few months around the 'Crest' and down in the bowl; missing doors
and lacking most essentials. 

I wonder if "Little Caesar" could have been the on-duty ATM the night I stalled on the State Street Line?

Thankfully we survived to draw some Railroad Retirement. LOL!!

Charlie
 



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