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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!


Date: 07/29/23 07:10
The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: ApproachCircuit

You all know the answer to this! The Hogheads! The other crafts went to beans and ate good, if they could. But not the Hoggers.
When the Conductor and Brakemen went to beans, they headed for a decent Reastaurant providing one was available. Of course we all
have spent time at the "Greasy Spoons" if that was the only option. Some of the guys landed up marrying the gals that worked there!
But let's get back to the Hogheads. They would sit on that power until the end of time if that was possible. And Brown Bag it. Well now
we should give them some credit; they didn't want to tie their power down. After all there was territory that required you to set handbrakes
and chain the inits. And if you had 3 or 4 big jacks, it was easier just to stay on the power. You guys knew the rumors about the Hoggers with
all the dough($). It was true! Those older heads were loaded. But no, they would Brown Bag it every trip.
Some of the younger guys were better and would go to "beans" but the preferred enginemens lunchtime was Brown Bagging it!
Some of these guys lived in the best neighborhoods in town!
And I'll tell you another thing: The switchman had the cleanest "Shanty" on the property. No body had a nicer on duty/tie-up room.
Immaculate! Brooms in every corner. You didn't dare leave any trash on the table.
It was cleaner in there than the "Supers" office.



Date: 07/29/23 10:40
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: 3rdswitch

I guess ground crews were tougher than engineers. In POOL service, I ALWAYS brown bagged it so I could eat in less than twelve hours! Also, I went straight to the hotel for rest instead of going to beans first. Guess who was usually the only one awake thirty mnutes into an o dark thirty trip. On one road switcher that went to work at 0300 hrs, I also carried my lunch and took a nap while the crew went to beans at 0630 hrs. I had cardboard custom cut to fit all windows as well as an air matress with a custom built connection to the train line air hose for inflating. FOR ME, it had nothing to do with being a tightward, FOR ME, it was simple logic.
JB



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/23 10:41 by 3rdswitch.



Date: 07/29/23 11:30
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: Notch7

Yeah I stayed on the engine and brown bagged it a lot.  I was younger than any of the other engineers, and my mom always brown bagged me a good lunch when I was working near home.  I grew up kinda poor, so I saved my money for sports cars and houses later.  My trainmen often went to beer joints to eat and drink anyway.  On the old Southern Railway, there were a number of tight brown bagging older engineers.  Some of these guys had endured the Depression, long layoffs as firemen, and long suspensions and dismissals.  One older engineer was a multi-millionaire, but you would not realize it.  He made his money while laid off for years.  He usually worked a hog law night local.  He liked to run, and at night he was seldom bothered.  He finally retired off another night run - the Crescent.



Date: 07/29/23 15:14
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: Westbound

Just before I started on the SP I was told that many locomotive engineers would make at least twice the pay I would, that it would always be that way and there would never be anything I could do about it. And if I could not live with that, not to go to work for the railroad. My advisor was correct but I could live with it. Many times I observed that the engineer was pretty much glued to his engine(s) while I had freedom, even though working. My decision was right for me. 

And that reminds me of one day on the SP in Oakland, CA. I walked into the Diesel Shop office just as the local chairman for one of the engine servicing crafts was walking out. I greeted him by name but he was in a huff and would not even look at me. I asked Bob, the Roundhouse Foreman "What's Manny so upset about?" He responded that he had just learned how much more the engineers were being paid than him and his men. He became angry and tried to get his men to join him in a wildcat strike for higher pay, but none would! 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/23 15:15 by Westbound.



Date: 07/29/23 16:08
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: santafe199

In my 32 years of train service on three different railroads, I don’t specifically recall engineers being any tighter, or any looser than any other train crew members I ever ate out with. It seemed to be standard that a crew always ate together, no matter what. That changed a bit when I started with MRL and 1987. Only two guys on a crew, but even then we would eat together pretty often…

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/23 07:30 by santafe199.



Date: 07/29/23 18:01
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

in my career worked with a few tightwad men over the years. One conductor, Peter Bach was a German immigrant. He lived in a garage of an apartment building. In his unit he saved every newspaper he ever read. The landlord told him one day that he was going to be evicted. He said fine. Peter asked how much for the building ? The landlord told him the price and he purchased the building. He would come to work looking like a hobo. His wornout grip always contained a moldy ham wrapped in foil. His son lived on the east coast. Peter wouldn't layoff and asked his son if you want to visit you can ride the train with me to Indio.
Another engineer worked the LA to Bakersfield pool. He would always eat at the Basque restaurants and fill up and work back to LA. He wouldnt eat again until he caught a trip to Bakersfield.
Another conductor would pick up cans along the right of way. We went to Amtrak and would pick up all of the newspapers and recycle them for cash. He didnt have the gas turned on at his home and would take a shower at the crew room.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/23 18:47 by SanJoaquinEngr.



Date: 07/29/23 19:13
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: CPCoyote

I can’t disagree that those old head engineers were the biggest tightwads on the RR, but the switchmen had to be a close second. Personally I usually preferred to patronize a local eating establishment.

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Date: 07/30/23 13:08
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: sp3204

This applies to this thread. I worked the Engineers Extra Board out of Tucson, Arizona on the Southern Pacific from 1984-1989. In 1989 I transferred to the Tracy, California Seniority District. I would catch vacancies to Yuma all of the time (253 mile pool). I was cut back firing a few times generally in the winter and I would go on the west end to Yuma Firing. It was always interesting depending on the Engineer you caught how the trip was going to go! The way it went in the agreement if you had a Fireman he cost you $4 Dollars for every 100 miles of the pool. So basically you would cost the Hoghead $10 in that 253 mile pool. Most but definitely not all liked having a Fireman to split up the trip running generally at Gila (Bend) which was the half way point between Tucson and Yuma. But there definitely were the Hogheads who really objected to you being on the crew. They wouldn't let you run (hurt me please), and you just enjoyed the ride! For those guys I always thought I shoud get a tee shirt made that simply said "4 Dollars a hundred". To this day I regret not actually doing that. Everyone knew who the a**wholes were!



Date: 07/30/23 18:38
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: CPCoyote

sp3204 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This applies to this thread. I worked the
> Engineers Extra Board out of Tucson, Arizona on
> the Southern Pacific from 1984-1989. In 1989 I
> transferred to the Tracy, California Seniority
> District. I would catch vacancies to Yuma all of
> the time (253 mile pool). I was cut back firing a
> few times generally in the winter and I would go
> on the west end to Yuma Firing. It was always
> interesting depending on the Engineer you caught
> how the trip was going to go! The way it went in
> the agreement if you had a Fireman he cost you $4
> Dollars for every 100 miles of the pool. So
> basically you would cost the Hoghead $10 in that
> 253 mile pool. Most but definitely not all liked
> having a Fireman to split up the trip running
> generally at Gila (Bend) which was the half way
> point between Tucson and Yuma. But there
> definitely were the Hogheads who really objected
> to you being on the crew. They wouldn't let you
> run (hurt me please), and you just enjoyed the
> ride! For those guys I always thought I shoud get
> a tee shirt made that simply said "4 Dollars a
> hundred". To this day I regret not actually doing
> that. Everyone knew who the a**wholes were!

This should be a separate thread. Most of those old guys just went along with it, but I certainly worked with a few who’d cry the whole trip because you were costing them $4. There was one particular engineer out of Oakland in the early 70s who was especially irritating. I won’t name names, but the initials are E.S. Maybe some of you old “Western” guys know I’m referring to.

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Date: 07/30/23 20:32
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: Trainhand

I knew an engineer in Savannah who ran his son off the firing job with him for the $4.00.

Sam



Date: 07/31/23 15:04
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: spider1319

The T Shirt idea is great.You could save it for the special occassion when you caught a trip with one of the crybabies.Bill Webb



Date: 08/01/23 11:48
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: trainjunkie

I'm pretty thrifty at home, but on the road I'm the opposite of a "tightwad" and firmly in the "creature comfort" camp. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I didn't really care and I didn't seem to suffer too many of the effects of "road life". But now that I'm practically a senior citizen, I find life on the road challenging, uncomfortable, and somewhat annoying even under the best conditions.

I work the road in two opposite directions with two away-from-home terminals that are almost 500 miles apart. I keep a car (hooptie) at both ends so I can go and eat wherever I want, whenever I want and never have to rely on the dodgy company or hotel provided transportation or sketchy bologna sandwiches. I also have a house at one AFHT so when I get there I tie up, hop in the hooptie, and drive to the house where I have my own bed, food, and booze. I claim reverse lodging on those trips which pays me to not use company-provided lodging, and that supplements a small portion of my AFHT expenses (not much, but every bit counts).

AFAIK, I'm the only person in my terminal with a car at both ends and I'm sure some of my colleagues think it's novel at the least, and extravagant and probably wasteful at the most. But they're always happy to hop in the hooptie with me whenever they need to get some food or go shopping, and I'm always happy to oblige.



Date: 08/02/23 02:32
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: Drknow

An AWHT “Stash car” is a necessity for me too. I used to get by with a bike, but now that I’m in the home stretch and have aged parents I have a car that I can hop in and drive 6 hours if needed.

Hopefully in 7 years or so I can drive the sonofabitch into the side of the depot, put a brick on the accelerator, lock it and walk away laughing.

A man can dream.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/02/23 05:37
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: randgust

Back in the 70's (when things were different and I was a railfan, not a railroader) we had a PC branch up into the weeds of PA that only saw service one day a week - usually a 40 mile, one way trip to my father's sawmill and one other customer.   Because the local crew base only had one locomotive, it was invariable that this branch run was on a Sunday, once a week.   The truncated branch was on it's deathbed, everybody including me knew it, and it wouldn't survive Conrail.
It was also in the era when full crews applied, and in the summer, this was a plum assignment - usually come up with one or two cars, all day trip, up the river.   LIttle greasy spoon at the end that was the destination.  I'd meet them there for lunch when I could, got to know the guys.
I got my teenage education on the union pay rules and mileage basis pays from those crews.   They absolutely loved that run.   Sunday, full crew, and I mean full, one run I was 'on' had engineer, fireman, head end brakeman, conductor, flagman, tail end brakeman, and a car inspector.   All on Sunday, which according to the engineer, was double.   They had to call full crew if it was available, and this was literally the gravy train.   To move one or two cars on a Sunday.  You had to have caboose just to haul everybody.
This is in 1974, and I'll never forget the engineer pulling out a pocket calculator and figuring his pay and doing it as a favor for the crew.   At that time, NOBODY carried a calculator, it was a big HP he had in his kit.   Today that would be like spotting a Rolex.
They also brought a chain saw to clear the line, and lots of fishing poles, and when it was a nice day, entire crew went fishing at the 'beans' stop by the river.    If they caught anything legal, they brought it back to the restaurant and traded meals for it.....
When the USRA final system plan came out, that branch had the highest per-car operating cost and loss of any branch in the system......and today it is a trail.
I remember how dumbfounded I was as a kid just going into college on how those pay rules worked.... when minimum wage was $1.60 an hour.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/23 05:45 by randgust.



Date: 08/02/23 08:59
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: RoadForeman

And then there were hogheads who didn't want to sit through a meal listening to a bunch of whining bitchy brakemen and conductors who had all the answers...



Date: 08/05/23 17:44
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: RetiredHogger

I fired a few trips for an older guy who said about the money he lost for having a fireman: "For that price, I'll take two."   



Date: 08/08/23 16:21
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: sfbrkmn

The hoghead who used heavy duty trash bags for his grip as he was too tight to buy a Red Oxx that lasted me over a decade. Sam

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Date: 08/09/23 06:48
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: engineerinvirginia

A now retired (and dead) Conductor, religiously wanted me to stop at a roadside hotdog stand....(whose wieners are legitimately terrific, and breakfast first class)...he would go in for carry out because we were on single main and couldn't tie up traffic...I didn't want to tie my consist down, of course, but if I wanted something...I'd hand him a ten spot and indicate my preferences...but fact is I did then and do carry a lunch bucket, so as to avoid the expense of line of road dining....but once in a while. 



Date: 08/09/23 07:28
Re: The Biggest Tightwads on the Railroad!
Author: RetiredHogger

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A now retired (and dead) Conductor, religiously
> wanted me to stop at a roadside hotdog
> stand....(whose wieners are legitimately terrific,
> and breakfast first class)...he would go in for
> carry out because we were on single main and
> couldn't tie up traffic...I didn't want to tie my
> consist down, of course, but if I wanted
> something...I'd hand him a ten spot and indicate
> my preferences...but fact is I did then and do
> carry a lunch bucket, so as to avoid the expense
> of line of road dining....but once in a while. 

I worked a local with a conductor (and good friend) who was known to call Jimmy John's, and have a delivery made to the address of a certain industry while it was being switched.

I generally carried a lunch box because I didn't want to make a habit of eating the junk you get from fast food places.



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