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Railroaders' Nostalgia > My last RR Thanksgiving

Date: 11/26/20 07:24
My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: santafe199

There were always at least a couple of times a year that the classic “labor vs management” snarling could be set side and good will was to be had everywhere. My final RR employer, Montana Rail Link would (still does, I presume) hold & park all except the hottest trains so most crews could be home for Thanksgiving & Christmas. And for the crews who had to work they were very good about putting on some kind of catered, but complete dinner spread at all the terminals. It was very much appreciated by us working crews who had to be away from home, away from loved ones.

On November 26, 2009 I would enjoy my last such Thanksgiving meal as a train service RRer on the road. I would reach retirement the following May. And by this next-to-last year in my career I remembered to bring a couple of baggies to the spread so I could take dinner rolls and make up a couple of turkey sandwiches for the long trip home.

Today, for the first time in a while we as Americans can be thankful we have good prospects and bright things to look forward to. For the first time in a while we can be thankful we can get back in our accustomed role as a world-wide leader in the democratic freedoms we so deeply cherish. And for the first time in a while we can be thankful that once again we can be a UNITED States of America, they we should have been all along

1. BNSF 4854 sits at the point of a loaded unit grain train in Helena, MT on November 26, 2009. It is no doubt waiting for a well-fed, well-rested crew to take it up and over the Continental Divide and home to Missoula. After chowing down inside the depot I’ll be working manifest train H PASKCK 9/25 back home to Laurel.

Thank you America, I’m smiling again! :^)
Lance Garrels

Date: 11/26/20 08:41
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: Trainhand

CSX would try to shut down, but I knew crews who spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in hotels. My solution would be for a terminal officer meet everyone who worked in a terminal and need a yes or no answer. Will you work July4, Thanksgiving, or Christmas? If you said yes, pay a day at double time if not used. If used a double time day plus trip. Put the crews in seniority order a t the home terminals and dh or use as needed. The downside is discipline will be assessed if you say yes and are not available.


Date: 11/26/20 10:19
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: 3rdswitch

Life on the railroad, plain and simple. Spent my share of Thanksgiving's away from the family get togethers.

Date: 11/26/20 14:14
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: TAW

What's Really Frustrating is to be "the company" to T&E, and be overrulled by a part of management that didn't have the authority to overrule, then be told by your boss...and the unions....and the guys directly that you screwed up.



Date: 11/26/20 14:15
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: Notch7

I've had some interesting and sometimes fun Thanksgiving days in my long career, especially back in my passenger days.  One year I had a long layover at the away from home terminal on Thanksgiving Day.  My parents met my passenger train at the station and brought me home for Thanksgiving and brought me back for my evening train south.  This morning my tonnage local made it back for the law after slipping down on a steep curving hill, running restricted boards in a misty rain.  I had to get more vintage engines to get back, but it was still fun and profitable.  I'm annulled tonight, cooking a free turkey, and wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Date: 11/26/20 17:16
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: WAF

SP would try to park them for a few hours during the day. Not everyone got home

Date: 11/26/20 22:05
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: roustabout

My first Thanksgiving as a Willamette & Pacific employee was 1996.  I managed to bid in a relief job out of McMinnville and Thursday was one of the Daylight runs on the Mac Hauler to the Beaverton area over Rex Hill. With little or no time to drive the 90 miles home (and a borrowed couch at a fellow employee's home) I had my Thanksgiving at Shari's in McMinnville after getting done that day.  A year or two later, I managed to bid closer to home and was on the Eugene Hauler on that Turkey Day.  The yard office at then-UP's Eugene Yard had a spread of food for the folks working and we had time to grab some and go. Strangely enough, these were good memories, possibly because I was happy making holiday pay plus time and a half working that day.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/20 22:07 by roustabout.

Date: 11/27/20 14:03
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: Drknow

Food at the yard office he sez; holiday pay he sez...... not very PSR. 🧐

Posted from iPhone

Date: 11/28/20 14:17
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: LocoPilot750

Ten years ago, when I tied up before Thanksgiving, it looked like I'd get out about bed time that night, I'd be home for a big feast with 35-40 people, two turkeys and a ham. (I was deep frying one of those turkeys, so I had to be there). Next thing you know, about 10:30am, BNSF tries calling me. First time I ever deliberately ignored a call, but after running in and looking at the computer, several guys had marked down or off sick, they ran some deadheads, and I was 1st out. But, I marked up later on, made two more trips, and retired on Dec 2nd, before the nasty gram even arrived in the mailbox.

Posted from Android

Date: 12/01/20 05:47
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: ouchuck68

under biden---lol

Date: 12/04/20 20:28
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: jtwlunch

In the 90's on Santa Fe we looked at running verses shutdown on holidays and did comparisons to what the UP was doing as they just shutdown.  We basically decided keeping the mainline trains running and holding back on locals, road switchers, and minimizing switch engines.  We held trains on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings and kept running the rest of the time.  On Thanksgiving we would look at where UPS trains were and kept them running for Peak Season Business.  Once you shut down you have to work on crews, locomotives,and car flows (especially intermodal) to keep the railroad fluid.  It is certainly not always the best for road crews and their families.  Trade offs always happen with a 24x7 operation.  I worked several New Years Eves in Barstow and all the on-duty switch engines would bring in the New Year with a horn salute.

Date: 12/08/20 11:19
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: aronco

Back again to the 1960's when I was a trainman for the SP in Los Angeles.  Finding crews for trains leaving the home terminal on the evening before Thansgiving or Christmas or New Years was next to impossible for the poor crew clerks.  While I lived and worked in LA, my family was in Mesa, Arizona, just East of Phoenix.  I had an "understanding" with the crew clerks in LA that I would work every holiday eve on train number 2, the Sunset Limited, which left LA at 800pm.  Instead of spending the layover time at Yuma, I would just stay on board the train and ride to Mesa, arriving there about 730am, in time to spend the holiday with family.  Late that night, I would board the Westbound Sunset at 10pm at Mesa, and scrounge up a bedroom to recline in to Yuma, where I would detrain, rush to the yard office, get the orders for the train, and we were on our way home, arriving in LA about 900am.  I did this for at least 4 years.  No one ever asked me or the crew clerks how they manipulated the union rules to staff the train on holidays.  Can someone flip this image?


Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar

Date: 12/08/20 12:52
Re: My last RR Thanksgiving
Author: santafe199

see if this works...

(added): It did, but I had to add the image while replying to my original text box. Whe I replied to your text, the image would NOT rotate off horizontal, no matter how I messed with it. Strange...


another added comment: I cropped & straightened your image just a hair, and resized it back up to 600. Maybe that broke the "spell"... 

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/20 12:56 by santafe199.

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