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Railroaders' Nostalgia > mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra board


Date: 09/19/21 13:03
mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra board
Author: mdo

For the relatively brief time that I was a Coast seniority switchman, I was at the very bottom of the list.  That means every other man on that board could bump me.  In fact I knew that when another switchman got bumped off an assignment and needed to bid on something, if they did not want to sit on the extra board, they would ask the crew dispatcher: where is Ongerth working.   As you might imagine, I sometimes could not hold a regular job for more than a couple of days,  Paticularly not a day job. I spent most of my time on the extra board at San Francisco. 

Day jobs in the San Francisco started every half hour from 6 am to 7:59,  Afternoons from 2 pm to 3:59, and night jobs from 10 to 11:59 pm.
The board was then set up in seniority order at midnight every single day of the year.   The exception was when more senior men had gotten five days worked in any calendar week.  This way the lower seniority men won't starve.  However, you will sure work a lot of nights, weekends, and holidays. I was actually a graduate student in the MBA program at U C Berkeley,  being a weekend warrior suited me just fine.

For starters, I frequently did not get called on Monday or Tuesday,  and rarely for a day job on Wednesday Thursday or Friday,  But starting with Friday afternoon I might get called every eight hours making overtime on any second shift in 24 hours for the whole weekend.  Remember that these were the Sixteen Hour Law days

When called, it was often for the last hole, and you have no choice, but particularly on Sunday and also frequently Saturdays you were offered any open vacancy.  I did not like herder assignments, but those frequently went high and were rarely a last hole.   My order of preference were the jobs that went on duty closed  to the Bay Bridge since I was living in Berkeley not San Francisco for most of the time that I was switching box cars in SF.

Switch-engine assignments in the San Francisco Terminal went on duty at Sixth and King,  16th & Harrison,  Mission Bay, the West end of Bayshore, the Visitation end of Bayshore, and at the depot in South San Francisco.  And that was the order that I would take a job if I had a choice.

With Coast Seniority I could have worked at San Francisco, San Jose, Watsonville, or San Lois Obispo, or in emergencies as a brakeman out of Bayshore.

My favorite jobs were a 3:30 pm start at 6th and King,  Job 421, a 10:30 job at 6th & King that switched Bluxome Alley and a weekend relief job that started at Mission Bay at 6:30 or 7 am.

my all time favorite job was that 3:30pm start at 6th and King. I always took that one first if offered it off the extra board and bid on it if there was a vacancy.
For some reason lost in my memory I could actually hold on to this job for a few days before getting bumped back to the extra board.  It might have had undesirable off days.  This was know as the afternoon shed job.  We pulled the freight forwarder sheds in the fourth zone and were considered the back-up engine for the depot job.  We almost always came behind the Daylight uncovered the engines and wyed the train, using the old main out toward 16th St then shoving down the track in 7 th Street and running around the train   Then shoving it into the passenger train layover tracks just to the compass east of the Third and Townsend depot.  Our final move was always a drag to Bayshore and return to the 6th & King shanty.

(we will talk about drags to.Bayshore yard next)







 



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/20/21 12:23 by mdo.



Date: 09/19/21 18:29
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: mdo

Since the Daylight was frequently late we would usually go on spot down at the depot for coffee well before scheduled arrival time for Train #99 and then wait for Fourth Street tower to tell us he was past Bayshore then take our engine out toward Seventh St and roll him by.  If he was late the yardmaster rarely gave us an extra move and I could use the spot time to study.



Date: 09/19/21 20:26
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: norm1153

Thank you for these latest chronicles!

Norm
 



Date: 09/20/21 07:51
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: WAF

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since the Daylight was frequently late we would
> usually go on spot down at the depot for coffee
> well before scheduled arrival time for Train #99
> and then wait for Fourth Street tower to tell us
> he was past Bayshore then take our engine out
> toward Seventh St and roll him by.  If he was
> late the yardmaster rarely gave us an extra move
> and I could use the spot time to study.
It was my impression backed up up by Photo Bob's pictures, that once you got on 99, you headed for the Mission Bay wye and shoved to the coach yard in 68



Date: 09/20/21 08:37
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: mdo

Only rarely did we use the Mission Bay wye.   I believe it was up to the Fourth Street interlocking operators which route we used on any given day. If we used Mission Bay it required much more main line occupancy and required a move into tunnel one and remember this was usually done while the afternoon fleet was still running.  
It might be that the Mission Bay routing was only used if 99 was so late that all of the fleet had departed.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/20/21 08:39 by mdo.



Date: 09/20/21 08:44
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: spider1319

Thanks for the post.I enjoy hearing about the jobs and seniority.I just wish I had a memory like yours.At ATSF Hobart we had a show board for switchmen.This meant you had to actually show at the crew office at least once per day and wait for selection from vacancies in seniority order.The routine was similar to yours only the switchnen had to physically be present in order to gain an assignment.Low seniority often meant a trip home with no job.Bill Webb



Date: 09/20/21 12:17
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: WAF

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Only rarely did we use the Mission Bay wye.   I
> believe it was up to the Fourth Street
> interlocking operators which route we used on any
> given day. If we used Mission Bay it required much
> more main line occupancy and required a move into
> tunnel one and remember this was usually done
> while the afternoon fleet was still running.  
> It might be that the Mission Bay routing was only
> used if 99 was so late that all of the fleet had
> departed.
99 didn't get into SF until 7 after 1968. Before that 6:15p so using the Harrison wye made sense
>  



Date: 12/03/21 16:26
Re: mad dog chronicles # 321 Working on a seniority based extra b
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

spider1319 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the post.I enjoy hearing about the jobs
> and seniority.I just wish I had a memory like
> yours.At ATSF Hobart we had a show board for
> switchmen.This meant you had to actually show at
> the crew office at least once per day and wait for
> selection from vacancies in seniority order.The
> routine was similar to yours only the switchnen
> had to physically be present in order to gain an
> assignment.Low seniority often meant a trip home
> with no job.Bill Webb

I heard the UP has a show board. The SP didn't which was great for us.

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