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Railroaders' Nostalgia > A Christmas Story-1987 style

Date: 12/24/20 20:43
A Christmas Story-1987 style
Author: x6924w

I hired out with UP in Pocatello ID on 5-29-79 after three months of switchman/brakeman class. Work was steady, even booming until the 1980 recession hit but I managed to work until early 1981. Then the furloughs started. I was able to work a little on and off until getting cut and not working at all in all of 1982 and most of '83. Worked a few weeks here and there but nothing again until I was finally back steady in April of '87. Which brings us to late on Dec 23rd when the phone rings and I am called to go east to Green River. Crew caller says they are going to lay most everything down for Christmas and will be deadheading crews home. Yea right. Fast forward to about 2330 Christmas Eve. Called for a west grain loads. Yup, a really hot train!! Temps in Green River were about -15 deg and our grain train had no intentions of going anywhere. So after a couple of hours we were put on an NPSE North Platte to Seattle drag. Yup, another hottie. Can't remember just how far we made it but it was somewhere before Kemmerer Wyoming, where we died.  Finally we were picked to go home on a CSSEZ shooter. Pictures are (1)of a PDNPZ and (2) SECSZ meeting our CSSEZ at Kemmerer where we held the main. I arrived in Pocatello at 1630 on Christmas day and still had to drive home 25 miles to Blackfoot. Wife met me at the door in tears, wondering what was going on and told me that a crew caller was on the phone. Told me I was force assigned to a local in Twin Falls to go on duty Dec 26th in the evening. Merry Christmas. To make a longish story shorter, I left UP in a buyout in early 1995. Had less seniority on the day I left than on the day I hired out.
I just retired as a firefighter in March after 25 years, the last 19 as a Captain. I was a volunteer wiith the same department for 17 years before I went full time. This is the first time in 43 years I was guaranteed to be home on Christmas. I never missed UP but I sure missed riding trains. 

Merry Christmas to all.


Date: 12/25/20 06:02
Re: A Christmas Story-1987 style
Author: HardYellow

I will say....The Old SP always shut down for Christmas. If they had to run a "hot shot," they ask for volunteers. At least this was the operation mode on the LA Division, things changed when the UP took over.

Date: 12/25/20 10:31
Re: A Christmas Story-1987 style
Author: WAF

I would say from 1976 until 1983, they would shut down for 24 hours in the Bay Area from Xmas Eve at 6p to Xmas 6p. Even the BSM stopped

Date: 12/25/20 13:13
Re: A Christmas Story-1987 style
Author: 3rdswitch

Great story, one which all railroaders can identify with. Yes, DEC '09, was the first Christmas in since DEC '78 I was guaranteed to be home for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Date: 12/31/20 08:24
Re: A Christmas Story-1987 style
Author: starsandbars

When I was an Engineer out of kansas City on the extra board unloded coal at Jeffery Energy center for 5 years in a row on christmas and always seemed to have to tie up on the hours at the plant. Then deadhead back to kck to tie up so around 30 hours on duty total

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