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Date: 11/01/20 11:55
A well paying trip
Author: cewherry

A recent thread on the subject of 'quits' brings this recollection although not exactly on the same topic.

In the mid-1970's I was working on the Southern Pacific engineers extra board at Los Angeles. I was called
on duty at 7:30 one morning to 'patch', (a term used by SP to describe relieving a crew whose time under the 
hours of service act had expired), the Walnut Turn, a local that went on duty around 7-ish the previous evening.
I was in the register room at SP's Taylor yard when the regular engineer on the job, Bill Douglas, walked in the
door after being dropped off by the crew hauler. I wasn't expecting to see him. In conversation, Bill said the train
was sitting on the main track at Valley Blvd., Aurant yard, about 7 miles east of the main yard in L.A.

The location where Bill and his local train crew had been relieved was within the terminal limits of Los Angeles yard and 
thus, by union agreement, was able to be dog-caught only by a crew of switchmen consisting of a yard foreman and two yard helpers.
I suspected that the ground crew that had been called to make the 'patch' was a 'road' crew of a conductor and two brakemen.  
Confirming this with the crew dispatcher, I was told that he would re-call the 'patch' using switchmen and that I would remain on 
the crew but my call was changed to an 'extra' yard job instead of a 'patch'. Since my last call prior to this was on an afternoon 'Yard Job'
the previous day, the change would mean that my entire day on the extra would be at time and one-half. 
Glad I made the inquiry---thank you very much!

But the fun wasn't over. The crew caller told me to get a ride to Aurant, there to await the extra switchmen who he had just called.
Gas was cheaper then.

I arrived at the train and boarded the engines. After releasing the engine hand brakes there was nothing to do except wait for the crew.
And wait. And wait some more. About 11 o'clock, 3-plus hours after the crew caller had supposedly called the extra switchmen, I walked to
the company phone at Aurant and dialed the train dispatcher's number:

"Dispatcher, Aurant."
Long delay.
"Dispatcher, Aurant"
DS: "This is the dispatcher; I don't have anybody at Aurant."
"Yes, you do. This is the engineer on the Walnut Turn patch."
DS: 
"I don't show a patch for the Walnut."

After a long discussion the DS tells me to call him when the crew shows up and I'm ready to go. I go back to the power and....wait.
An hour passes; no crew. I go back to the phone and dial the Assistant General Yardmaster. 

AGYM: "Who is this? I don't show any patch for the Walnut Turn.

Finally, at 3 o'clock the AGYM tells me to "tie-em down, we'll send you a ride." 

I didn't have the heart to claim a penalty lunch period, after all, I had been a regular visitor to the convenience store across the boulevard.
Eight hours at time and one half; ca-ching.

Charlie






 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/01/20 13:47 by cewherry.



Date: 11/01/20 16:36
Re: A well paying trip
Author: trainjunkie

Babysitting can be good money! 



Date: 11/01/20 16:52
Re: A well paying trip
Author: 90mac

I loved old Aurant.
Always a lot of action.
Mostly trains waiting.
Good spot for photos.
Now with Taylor gone and the overpass nothing is happening there.
Great story.
Reminds me of my job with MTA.
I'm the only one who knows what's going on.

TAH

Posted from Android



Date: 11/01/20 17:38
Re: A well paying trip
Author: engineerinvirginia

I used to work an over ther road local that should we run out of time, we would taxi to our hotel and on our rest recrew ourselves....go to the yard and do whatever preparations we had for our return trip, then tie up our recrew job....then get another ticket for our return trip.....three days pay.....probably some overtime on each ticket too!



Date: 11/01/20 18:52
Re: A well paying trip
Author: Railbaron

My best paying trip was way back when I was a conductor working out of Oakland. Back then I was also qualified as a passenger conductor/brakeman because back then SP crews operated Amtrak trains. I was also one of the very few SP guys who qualified on the Santa Fe between Port Chicago and Bakersfield, which I did so I could work the San Joaguin trains. That qualification made me lots of money until Amtrak took over their own crews.

On this day I was an assigned freight conductor on a local at Warm Springs. Warm Springs was an "out of town" location requiring deadheads be paid.

On this day my phone rang very early in the morning; I was being called to work as a brakeman from Oakland to Bakersfield on the morning San Joaquin train. They could have used me as a conductor on the train with no penalty but being used as a brakeman was a huge slot machine jackpot. As a result I got paid local freight conductor rate of pay for everything I did: deadhead Warm Springs to Oakland (100 miles), trip from Oakland to Bakersfield (313 miles. which because I was getting freight rate that alone is over 3 days pay). The next day I reversed the trip working from Bakersfield back to Oakland and then the deadhead back to Warm Springs. At this point I had made over 8 days pay in just 2 days but it gets better. Because they had "demoted" me to work a brakeman's position I also got the full earnings my regular job made on the 2 days I missed it. I made the equivalent of over 10 days pay in just 2 days of working. Yep, a very nice call.



Date: 11/02/20 06:53
Re: A well paying trip
Author: WAF

No wonder your called a "railbaron"



Date: 11/02/20 07:23
Re: A well paying trip
Author: Railbaron

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No wonder your called a "railbaron"

LOL, never thought of it that way.



Date: 11/02/20 10:02
Re: A well paying trip
Author: Zephyr

Charlie, that brings back many memories when I was a dispatcher on the west end machine (Aurant to Colton).  We would make arrangements to have Taylor Yard "patch" an inbound "short timer" at Valley Boulevard and then forget about the train thinking Taylor would take care of it.  Valley Boulevard was the end of CTC limits for westbounds and then beginning for eastbounds.  There were also yard tracks as you might recall at Aurant that the dispatcher could line a train into at the east end of Aurant.  The train would never show up on the CTC board after it cleared into Aurant Yard.  A train left on the westbound or No. 1 track at Aurant up to Valley Boulevard would show an indication and the dispatcher's board.  Often times, a relieving dispatcher would come in and notice the track indication at Aurant and inquire what was on the No. 1 track.  Of course, it was the train that was supposed to have been "patched" by a yard crew that was still sitting there hours after Taylor said they would bring it in!



Date: 11/02/20 12:38
Re: A well paying trip
Author: Westbound

That’s why I never wanted to be an engineer - too tied to the locomotive. The thought of handling the throttle and running the train was very desirable. But I valued my freedom on choosing where to go and how to do my job each day more. On the other hand, I was warned that I would never earn anywhere near as much as an engineer so if I could not live with that, forget about working for the SP. Sounds like we all enjoyed our work even though we are all different.  

cewherry Wrote: ...Eight hours at time and one half....
> Charlie
 



Date: 11/02/20 15:10
Re: A well paying trip
Author: trainjunkie

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > No wonder your called a "railbaron"
>
> LOL, never thought of it that way.

We had a conductor on the last RR I worked for that was so proficient at milking every situation into a big payday that we nicknamed him "The Milkman". But I suspect nearly every terminal has at least one of those. Personally, I usually just want to tie-up and go home unless I'm trying to teach management a lesson. Sadly, I usually make bank and they never learn. Just do what the say and open your pockets. 



Date: 11/02/20 16:29
Re: A well paying trip
Author: engineerinvirginia

trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Railbaron Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > WAF Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > No wonder your called a "railbaron"
> >
> > LOL, never thought of it that way.
>
> We had a conductor on the last RR I worked for
> that was so proficient at milking every situation
> into a big payday that we nicknamed him "The
> Milkman". But I suspect nearly every terminal has
> at least one of those. Personally, I usually just
> want to tie-up and go home unless I'm trying to
> teach management a lesson. Sadly, I usually make
> bank and they never learn. Just do what the say
> and open your pockets. 

yep that's the way...open your pockets and the railroad will fill them up!



Date: 11/02/20 16:35
Re: A well paying trip
Author: DeadheadFRED

Charlie  
Have you been doing any coasting thru AUBURN lately??

DHF



Date: 11/02/20 17:01
Re: A well paying trip
Author: norm1153

Warm Springs CA (Fremont) to Oakland CA paid 100 miles?   Wow.
 



Date: 11/02/20 17:19
Re: A well paying trip
Author: WAF

Of course it was like.25 cents a mile :-(



Date: 11/02/20 17:54
Re: A well paying trip
Author: Railbaron

Actually deadheads were actual miles, or 100 miles basic day, whichever was greater. As such a deadhead paid a basic day's pay on SP. All that actual time and cut rates came as part of the Halloween Agreement in 1984.

And yes, Warm Springs and Newark were "outside points" that required a deadhead. The jobs that went to work at Mulford technically were shown on-duty at San Leandro so they were within the Oakland Terminal and thus avoided deadheads. 
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/20 17:59 by Railbaron.



Date: 11/02/20 18:50
Re: A well paying trip
Author: cewherry

DeadheadFRED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Charlie  
> Have you been doing any coasting thru AUBURN
> lately??

Coasting through most places now, Mike!

CEW
 



Date: 11/05/20 00:31
Re: A well paying trip
Author: aronco

Well I suppose I should repeat the story I must have told before....I was working for SP in Los Angeles as a brakeman.  Most of the trainmen didn't want to work passenger so they never bought a uniform, but I was a proud, brash twenty-something year old and I loved working the "varnish".  At least five times, I was called to deadhead from LA to Yuma to work a Westbound passenger special.  We deadheaded to Yuma on train no. 2, the Sunset, leaving LA at 800pm and arriving in Yuma about 200am.  The special would arrive about 800am and consisted of one engine, a coach, and SP's business car "Sunset", with Mr. Russell, Chairman of the company aboard.  The conductor and I would swing aboard the coach, and we were off.  Strangest thing, though, we saw nothing but green signals all the way to Colton, can you imagine that?  At Colton, the special would take a right turn and run right up the Palmdale cutoff, across the high desert to Palmdale, thru Mojave, over Tehachapi, and into Bakersfield.  After a new engine crew, it was off to the races to Fresno, where we usually arrived about 700pm.  A new crew would relieve us, and we were told to deahead home to LA on Greyhound (ugh!).  By 200am, we were back in LA, having booked over 1050 miles in just over 28 hours, making a decent payday.  And to top it off, Mr. Russell always invited us back to his car for a delightful luncheon!

Norm 

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 11/05/20 09:38
Re: A well paying trip
Author: TAW

aronco Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> we
> were told to deahead home to LA on Greyhound
> (ugh!). 

I ordered a Bakersfield to LA deadhead via Grayhound one afternoon. The conductor called me and asked if there was any possibility of a work train or a local stopping at every station, anything but Grayhound. Unfortunately, I couldn't accommodate him.

TAW



Date: 11/05/20 12:47
Re: A well paying trip
Author: PHall

Yeah, the dog was just that, a dog...    and you met the most "interesting" people there.



Date: 11/05/20 14:09
Re: A well paying trip
Author: TAW

I ordered a deadhead engineer from Tracy (engineers home terminal) to Roseville (away terminal). The engineer took the call, deadheaded to Roseville and tied up. Then he got sick, laid off and deadheaded home. He lived in Roseville. He got someone to get on the book for him in Tracy and tied up in Roseville 'from the hotel' by phone.

He didn't get away with it.

TAW



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