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Railroaders' Nostalgia > It's not a wide load any more


Date: 10/14/20 04:00
It's not a wide load any more
Author: TAW

In the late 60s, there were two 2d trick CB&Q transfer runs to B&OCT. The Dirty Ol' Freight Train stuff went on a big transfer job that backed out onto B&OCT at 22d Street and headed to Robey Street. The other was the perishable job, a short train that went to Robey from Cicero by way of the Air Line and 16th Street to the B&OCT. The big transfer was almost always an overtime job trying to get in their 15:59. They could manage to stall going downhill. The perishable job was usually a quit job and they got across the road with blazing speed.

I have mentioned before the Chief Clerk at Robey Street, Ray, with whom I regularly worked as 2d trick Chief. He would meet every arriving train at the main line switch, list up the train as they pulled in, get the bills from the conductor, mark up the list from the bills on his way back to the office, and usually called me with the count of cars for each of the evening trains that connection had before the switches were lined back and the conductor reported clear of the main.

One night, just as the Q perishable job was reporting clear, he called with their counts. Included in the train was a flat car with a boiler, about 12 feet in diameter. It was routed CBQ Congress Park IHB Blue Island B&OCT B&O. The main reason for the routing was the 15 through plate girder bridges between Cicero and the Air Line. They were not close to 12 feet wide even a couple of feet over car floor height. Somebody blew it on a train that didn't leave it at The Congo, perhaps because somebody blew it an didn't have the car blocked in the IHB setout, somebody (or several somebodies) blew it at Cicero and put it in the perishable run, and the conductor of the perishable run.... You might think that in a train of less than a dozen cars, a 12 foot wide boiler might be obvious to somebody who had enough seniority to hold a really easy quit job, but nobody on the crew noticed it.

Ray noticed it. He told me about it when he called. I told him show it refused in interchange (B&OCT wouldn't be getting the per diem bill at midnight and wouldn't be responsible for the damage) and tell the Q to take it back.

A lot of the Train & Engine agreements in Chicago provided for one way interchange trips. The crew could take a train over the road to a yard on a foreign line, but they had to return light. Returning with cars would be considered a separate trip and an additional full day's pay.

The yardmaster had his crew put the boiler car against the Q's caboose to take back to Cicero. The Q conductor objected strenuously. You can't give me a train to take back, I'll put in a timeslip for a day. That went nowhere since he worked for the Q and that is who would pay, if he succeeded in getting it. Since the yardmaster obviously didn't care, the conductor changed the objection to being required to handle a wide load with no clearance papers. Ray told him that wasn't a problem, it wasn't a wide load any more.

The Q conductor grudgingly left with his no longer wide load. Ray and I agreed that we would sure like to be there in the yard office when he came back with it. I'm pretty sure he never collected that extra day's pay.

TAW



Date: 10/14/20 08:03
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: Drknow

We have met the enemy, and he is us. With apologies. Sounds like the Conductor was a “No Bill” for sure, work(ed) with plenty of em. Usually when a big seniority No Bill gets on a job the other positions get a lot cheaper. Held a great job with only 20 years seniority for that very reason.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/14/20 21:26
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: ExSPCondr

On the SP, a brakeman or conductor with a bump had to bump the junior person in the pool, he couldn't bump the brakeman off the job that had the conductor he wanted to work with. Likewise, a conductor had to bump "junior," even if he didn't like the brakemen.   You just had to wait it out until somebody bid off, then you could bid that job, and somebody bid your vacancy, and so on.

Popularity was indicated by seniority in those days, an unpopular conductor almost always had the two junior brakemen in the pool.
G



Date: 10/15/20 09:21
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: Seventyfive

Another great gem about schenanigans on the CT.  Hadn't heard that one, so thanks for posting it.
I had an incident with a Q, now BNSF crew from Cicero around the turn of this century.
Prior to the upgrading of Brighton Park, there was a hand-throw switch on the B&OCT at 39th St.
on No. 1 track coming out of the CJ (NS) Ashland Ave. Yard.
BNSF lite engines entered the main, proceeded to 22nd St., crossed over to the Q connection,
and departed the CT.  All without calling me for permission.  Left all the switches and crossovers
in reverse position.  I knew nothing about it until other trains came along on the CT and found
all the bad iron.  Mystery was solved when the switchtender at Brighton Park told me about the
lite engines going north on the CT.  Verified with BNSF Union Ave. Dispatcher in Ft. Worth.
I called the Trainmaster at Cicero and told him about it, and he said "so what?"
A major rules violation and Cicero brushed it off as no big deal.



Date: 10/15/20 12:31
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: TAW

Seventyfive Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> A major rules violation and Cicero brushed it off
> as no big deal.

Some things don't change - except to get worse. https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?18,4000652,4000652#4000652

TAW



Date: 10/15/20 12:43
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: Kimball

From the title, I expected a "physically adjusted" wide load, similar to the "shortened autoracks" video recently posted!



Date: 10/15/20 13:12
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: TAW

Kimball Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From the title, I expected a "physically adjusted"
> wide load, similar to the "shortened autoracks"
> video recently posted!

It was - a side to side version of the 11 foot 8 bridge videos on YouTube.

Yeah, pictures would have been cool. In those days, a phone was a big black thing affixed to the desk with a cable. It didn't make pictures.

TAW



Date: 10/16/20 16:24
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: Englewood

Seventyfive Wrote:

> A major rules violation and Cicero brushed it off
> as no big deal.

What did your B&OCT leaders say?

Or were they too busy getting customs clearance for 
BORE cars enroute Ottawa to bother with some DS babbling about
a Roman statesman?



Date: 10/16/20 18:16
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: TAW

Seventyfive Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Prior to the upgrading of Brighton Park, there was
> a hand-throw switch on the B&OCT at 39th St.

North end of the Joint Track.

> on No. 1 track coming out of the CJ (NS) Ashland
> Ave. Yard.
> BNSF lite engines entered the main, proceeded to
> 22nd St., crossed over to the Q connection,
> and departed the CT.  All without calling me for
> permission.  Left all the switches and
> crossovers
> in reverse position.

Thinking about how that happened, there was probably less aggregate seniority on that crew than you had vacation and they thought they were on the CJ. Q manager...didn't know any different. When I was there for the project that would become CREATE (before they ditched me for telling them stuff they didn't want to hear), I was supposed to makea detailed analysis of traffic for simulation input. The team was going to do a simulation to 'find the problems' (that were obvious to me, but saying so put me out of a job). Each railroad gave me 'detailed records' of a month's worth of traffic. It was all garbage. I asked the NS Terminal Superintendent one day about the locals. The only records were leaving and arriving Calumet. He said he didn't know where they went and what they did. They left and as long as they got back in 12 hours, he was happy. I don't think he had ever been north of 95th Street in his life, except going to and from O'Hare.

TAW



Date: 10/17/20 05:03
Re: It's not a wide load any more
Author: Englewood

Where I worked there was a standard question from the "industry" TM
everyday prior to his turnover to the night TM at 1800 hrs.

"Where are the industry jobs?"

Obviously he had no idea, and his last contact with the various 0759 am
jobs was when he checked with the day DS around 1200 to see if they had
departed the yard.

The Industry TM's only concern about the job's location at 1800 was so
he had something to tell his relief.  How the jobs could spend 4 hours 
getting out of the yard with a dozen cars for a half dozen industries and
make 12 hours everyday never crossed his mind.  

I often wondered if the various TM's eyed the industry jobs as a soft landing
spot for themselves when they were inevitably dehorned for gross incompetence.

Towards the end of my career, my standard answer to the 1800 hrs. question
was "have no fear, all your industry jobs will make their prescribed 12 hours".

The lie to the entire operation was obvious when one particular engineer would 
mark up on an industry job. He knew there was more to life than spending 
every waking hour at work.  He would have the jobs back and tied up with an
early quit.

 



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