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Railroaders' Nostalgia > OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....


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Date: 04/24/23 11:24
OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: RetiredHogger

If you could, would you go back out there?

Personally, I miss the railroad (or railroading) a little, or I wouldn't be on this forum. That said...even if I could have my notch back...I wouldn't go back to work.

When I retired, I bought myself a riding mower as a retirement present. That fall, I was on that mower in my back yard on a beautiful afternoon. I looked up at the sky, and thought to myself, "Forty-one years out there, and this is worth every minute."

Nope, I wouldn't go back to work.

How about you?



 



Date: 04/24/23 11:59
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: santafe199

Absolutely not! I enjoy being a real person, not an expedable (& despised) bunch of digital ones & zeroes...

Lance/199
(ex-MRL, ex-DM&E, ex-AT&SF)



Date: 04/24/23 12:08
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: x6924w

No. I do miss railroading but I don't miss the railroad.



Date: 04/24/23 12:13
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: atsfer

Miss running a hot shot at 70 mph uphill...but not the horrible lifestyle and the working all night, and the crossings.



Date: 04/24/23 13:05
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: sp3204

My youngest son was the Conductor on a local for the Big Yellow Railroad. He texts me from the yard office saying Omaha is trying to find an Engineer but no luck so far. I said no thanks even if they offered $1000 in cash, which of course can't happen. I loved being an Engineer (not every trip of course), but this retirement stuff can't be beat.



Date: 04/24/23 13:20
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: CPCoyote

I miss running a train. I miss my co-workers (most of them anyway), but no I would not go back out there. 41 years is enough.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/24/23 14:19
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: wharfrat

I discovered the pension pays more than working when you factor in all of the withholding.



Date: 04/24/23 14:46
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: PHall

Now, if you were offered a job on a shortline or regional with stable work hours, would that change your mind?



Date: 04/24/23 16:37
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: johnw

No, no, no! Not that at age 82 they would even accept me back but this retirement thingy is the best job I ever had. I still appreciate that fact 21+ years after I pulled the pin! I enjoyed the job most of the time and the camaraderie for sure but all of that just doesn't compare with the freedom you get from not having to go to work everyday, especially when that work sometimes had quite stressful conditions. Hang in there fellow railroaders, the years do tend to fly by (at least they did for me!) and retirement is well worth the wait! 



Date: 04/24/23 17:15
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: RetiredHogger

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now, if you were offered a job on a shortline or
> regional with stable work hours, would that change
> your mind?

Still no. I have no desire to ever again be responsible to any employer.



Date: 04/24/23 18:12
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: CPCoyote

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now, if you were offered a job on a shortline or
> regional with stable work hours, would that change
> your mind?

Still “no” for me too.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/24/23 19:37
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: Trainhand

I still miss running an engine. I miss seeing some friends. Unfortuneally I see too many of them at too many funerals. I like the stable hours but don't miss working for the rr one bit. I'm still planning on buying throttle time on a big steam engine though.

Sam



Date: 04/24/23 21:23
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: ExSPCondr

I'm 75 and been retired 14 years after working 43.  The phone hasn't rang at 1130pm Friday night for 1 am on duty since!   Wait until you show up for work and your engineer was earlier and hands you the paperwork and says "here, you go argue with them!"  (The train was 900 tons over coupler limit, 4 X 1 DPU) and the UP MTO was not even a qualified conductor.  I argued with him for 20 minutes and all I got was a blank stare with the feeling that I was screwing him on a daylight trip. Went to the Senior MTO next, who had never worked a mountain terminal, nor ridden over the mountain and back once. She woudn't listen either, and ended up calling the general roundhouse foreman who decided the train was over tonnage, and we had to set out 900 tons.  We weren't over tonnage, the power should have been built 3 X 2.

I took a job as a building air conditioning engineer after I retired.  Its like working a daylight local with Saturday, Sunday, and holidays off.  I don't have to bid for my vacation in November of the previous year, I can take it when I want, I just give them a couple of weeks notice.  I'm number one, I can't be bumped, and there is no crew dispatcher to call me at 1030pm trying to get me to work a midnight yard job off assignment..... I haven't spent 24 hours in Elko in 14 years!  I know we can go out to dinner Friday evening, and go to the beach on Saturday.

Would I like to take a daylight ride to Elko on a non-fuel saving hotshot?  Yes, that would be fun.



Date: 04/24/23 21:34
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: 3rdswitch

I too occasionally miss the good old days in the seat. IF working conditions were the same as in 2009, I MIGHT consider returning to the seat. Under todays rules and conditions, NO WAY.
JB



Date: 04/24/23 22:10
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: roustabout

 I miss running but am too busy to go back to work and, besides, the Railroad Retirement Board won't let me!  That old SD7 P&W had was a particular favorite, too bad the EPA is ordering them to scrap it.



Date: 04/24/23 22:54
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: Notch7

RetiredHogger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you could, would you go back out there?

Quite seriously, YES.  I hit mandatory retirement age 10 months ago and had to walk away.  The past 10 months have been the most unsatisfactory ones of my life.  The years 1971 to 2022 were somehow not enough.  I still had things I wanted to do and things I wanted to experience again.  Covid precautions and some health issues put a damper on the final time.  Restore me to my No. 1 rank with better health and I'd deal with all the alphabet challenges - PTC, EM, TO, DPU, OT, HOS, and NS.  I't's late night and I'm sitting here looking at the Spartanburg SC rail cam hoping to see my favorite intermodal train 25A go by.  My best friend is pulling it tonite.  I loved working at night anyway.  When I do sleep, I mostly dream about being back at work.  If I was a poor teenage railfan again, I'd hire out again - even with knowing what I know today.  I was always very different, so conventional wisdom never meant much to me.



Date: 04/25/23 04:06
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: lne655

No. I do miss the camaraderie and the joy of working at a time when good efforts were rewarded. It all started melting away as centralization and big mergers became the way. Wall St runs it all now, and its a nothing at all like the 'old' days. I still keep in touch with the younger hires of my era now nearing their retirement and the stories they tell make me respond again, with a definitive NO. They cant wait to leave. Sadly.



Date: 04/25/23 09:49
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: Railbaron

I guess I'll be the weirdo of the group. Under the right conditions, which will never happen, I actually would consider going back to work. When I retired after 43 years I did so not because I was really ready for retirement but because the job was no longer "fun"; fun was my criteria for deciding when I'd retire.

If I could turn the clock back to a time before UP took over SP, a time when engineers actually ran their own trains without ridiculous scrutiny from auto-downloads of event recorders, cameras watching everything you do, and fellow employees who actually did their jobs, I might consider it. I honestly enjoyed working back then knowing I could power brake to my hearts content and generally have fun doing my job.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy retirement but back in the day (before UP) I also thoroughly enjoyed my job and am not afraid to admit it. 
 



Date: 04/25/23 10:24
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: xrds72

Looks like I am an outlier among those responding in 2 ways. 

Yes (1), I would like to go back to doing (some) of what I did. 

I was not in the T&E ranks (2). So my experiences were vastly different that most here.

Started out as a section laborer in 1972 (after 2 summers during college doing the same) and am able to still do a little of that work as a volunteer at a railroad museum building new track. It's still fun. 

I moved up in the Engineering management ranks and was eventually a Chief Engineer. My best jobs were probably as a Division Engineer and then Manager Structures. Got to spend a lot of money making things better. 

I am still doing consulting work inspecting bridges, training people on RWP and bridge inspection and some construction over site. So I really haven't left completely. It's still fun. 

Yes, I do enjoy getting to set my own schedule in "retirement" and the pension is sufficient. 

Steve (ex L&N, UP, ICG, SOO/CP, Caltrain, IP)



Date: 04/25/23 11:17
Re: OK Retirees, And Former Railroaders....
Author: WM1977

Recieved the following just before i retired with 35 years in the rail industry. Yes I too miss some things but wouldn't go back.
CR

It's not an uncommon occurrence to walk into a railroad crew room and find a couple of young guys poring over the seniority roster and congratulating one another over how many people they have under them, an offense that we've all been guilty of. But, with time, comes wisdom and the eventual realization that it's not how many people are under you, but how many are ahead of you that matters.

In a few months, I can claim to have been railroading for thirty years but I've never considered myself to be an “old head”. In part, I think that's because I'm relatively young. But also, until recently, I was surrounded by guys who had been railroading for forty and even fifty years. Now, with a recent, rapid succession of retirements, I suddenly look around and find my surroundings absent of my piers. Still having twelve years to go before I, myself, can “pull the pin”, I feel beset with a sense of aloneness that's hard to explain to others.

All rails are story tellers. Often times, there are long hours out there with little else to do but spin yarns. I find myself hungry to share tales of the the good old days. A recount of some stunt that old so-and-so pulled. One that everybody knows and jumps in with the details that you've left out. One that causes the whole locker room to erupt into laughter. But, with no one around who remembers old so-and-so, with no one who knows where the “Rubber Lead” was, no one who remembers trying to corral a hog, escaped from Farmer John, something is lost.

A friend of mine hired out with Water & Power a little before I started railroading and now finds himself in the same boat as I do. A while back, were comparing notes and I said “Without people around to share the stories..., the people who know the stories...” He cut me off mid sentence when he said, “They never happened at all”. He understood the aloneness I was talking about.

Today, I worked with an “old head” whom I've always liked working with. In a couple weeks, he too will be gone from the scene. As I watch for his hand signs now, subtle yet concise, I find myself scrutinizing them closer than before. Not to decipher their intended meaning, but looking for something else. Something that I can't name. I struggle to reconcile how one does this job for forty-some years and then, one day, just walks away, never to do it again.

As I grapple with that, one thing is certain. Although I may have gained some seniority over the years, I find it little recompense for the comradery that's been lost.
 
 



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