Home Open Account Help 189 users online

Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Golden Chair


Date: 08/16/21 10:30
The Golden Chair
Author: eminence_grise

Back in the days of "chain gang" three person freight train crews, the railway I worked for promoted the conductor qualified trainman to conductor within his/her own crew when the conductor laid off for a trip. As a result, there wasn't a spare conductors "board" in the crew callers office. 

The trainmans common spareboard filled the position vacated by the trainman promoted to conductor on a trip by trip basis.

However, this arrangent created a phoenomena called the "Golden Chair", where a traiman without the seniority to own a crew in the chain gang could fill numerous one trip vacancies before returning to his/her position on a freight train crew.  Changes to train frequencies and the number of crewmembers taking a trip off resulted in the "Golden Chair" only lasting for a week or so for a particular conductor.

Finally, with the elimination of the head end trainman position in 1978 and the tail end trainman position in the 2000's, the "Golden Chair" vanished.



Date: 08/16/21 19:03
Re: The Golden Chair
Author: engineerinvirginia

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Back in the days of "chain gang" three person
> freight train crews, the railway I worked for
> promoted the conductor qualified trainman to
> conductor within his/her own crew when the
> conductor laid off for a trip. As a result, there
> wasn't a spare conductors "board" in the crew
> callers office. 
>
> The trainmans common spareboard filled the
> position vacated by the trainman promoted to
> conductor on a trip by trip basis.
>
> However, this arrangent created a phoenomena
> called the "Golden Chair", where a traiman without
> the seniority to own a crew in the chain gang
> could fill numerous one trip vacancies before
> returning to his/her position on a freight train
> crew.  Changes to train frequencies and the
> number of crewmembers taking a trip off resulted
> in the "Golden Chair" only lasting for a week or
> so for a particular conductor.
>
> Finally, with the elimination of the head end
> trainman position in 1978 and the tail end
> trainman position in the 2000's, the "Golden
> Chair" vanished.

That's nearly how we filled vacancies on my road....Conductor laid off....senior brakeman was stepped up if qualified, junior brakeman stepped up to the senior brakeman's job and the junior brakeman's job was filled off the brakeman's extra board. So there was never a Conductor extra board on my part of the road and never will be. If in the unlikely event that neither senior or junior brakeman was a qualified Conductor they could run the roster to find somebody.....if more than one person was called off the extra board, the senior one chose which position he wanted to work on the job. There was an old head....who when he was called with me, always took the braking job...and gave me the Conductor job....I asked why he did this...he said he was forced to take Conductor promotion when so many of the braking jobs were cut...and so long as he had a choice to do so, he stayed on the extra list (since by then braking job were blankable and not required to be filled....but on mine runs at the time...they were filled anyway...so most of the time this old head could still be a brakeman)...and he further said to me...."I don't have to do the paperwork....and the braking job only pays 5 dollars less so I ain't out that much!" He did occasionally get roped into Condcutor work and did a fine job....he just didn't like it. 



Date: 08/17/21 08:01
Re: The Golden Chair
Author: hoggerdoug

Worked the same way on BC Rail.  If the Conductor booked off a trip or two, the tail-end Brakeman would work as Conductor, the head-end Brakeman would work as tail-end brakeman and a spareman was called to fill the head-end brakeman position. We did not call it the "golden chair" although the Crew Caller would mention to the tail-end guy that he "got a promotion" for the trip as Conductor. When the reduced crew came into effect, if the Conductor booked off, the head-end guy would work as Conductor and a spareman was on the head-end. During the transition to reduced crew, if the tail-end brakeman took a trip off, that position was not filled.

If any member of the crew took holidays or was off for extended time for other reasons, the position would come up for bid as a "temporary vacancy". 

Another thing we had on BC Rail was "green man versus experienced". With less than six months experience, that person was considered "green". Two green men could not work on the same crew. I was lucky in that I had over a year with the TH&B Rly in Hamilton, Ontario before I hired on with BC Rail and was considered "experienced", boy did I have them fooled.  Anyhow, I quite often scooped some guys on the spareboard for a job, if a crew was short "experienced" crew members.

Doug



Date: 08/18/21 20:51
Re: The Golden Chair
Author: wpamtk

The Western Pacific also didn't have conductor's extra boards, but instead of stepping up a brakeman on the same crew, they called the senior promoted man working as a brakeman on a pool turn, even if it wasn't the same pool. Since this often meant the individual then wasn't available to work his own turn, vast amounts of money could be made this way. On locals, they did at times "step up" the senior brakeman, but the WP had very few of those.



Date: 08/20/21 16:51
Re: The Golden Chair
Author: kurtarmbruster

This term has also been used to describe the engineer's same-day turn Spokane-Paradise-Spokane on Northern Pacific trains 2 and 1, The Mainstreeter, in the fifties and sixties. A top-seniority job!



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0657 seconds