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Date: 12/27/23 16:34
Corporate culture
Author: Drknow

A previous thread got me to thinking about how different RR’s had a history of treating employees, customers, communities they ran through etc.

From the knowledge the Old Heads I worked with they talked of how badly some Carriers treated their employees and some decently. I was told MOP, Frisco, CNW, and Southern were no goodnicks.

ATSF, UP, CGW, SP and Milwaukee seemed to have a better reputation.

What about you guys and gals? Any opinions or anecdotes that you might have? If the liability period has expired what are your opinions of certain Carriers you worked for?

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/27/23 17:52
Re: Corporate culture
Author: JasonCNW

Worked for a shortline switching operation called the Central Illinois railroad. horribly run and cheap ass company to work for and I was treated lower then whale shit. Lot's of unsafe behavior and long and uncertain hours and broke down equipment. Glad I got out of there when I did,place folded under less then a year after I left.
JC

Posted from Android



Date: 12/27/23 18:18
Re: Corporate culture
Author: santafe199

Drknow Wrote: > ... ATSF, UP, CGW, SP and Milwaukee seemed to have a better reputation ...

Being retired since 2010 I've had 13 years of railfanning where I have had quite a few chances to talk with current railroaders, mainly BNSF & UP in my Kansas neck-o-the-woods. Without getting too obnoxious, I've asked questions that let the guys I'm talking to know that I really did have train service experience. They would open up more that way. I have to say almost 100% of the time that the UP guys I've talked to have given me about THE ugliest concept of what their jobs are like on the average. Just on evidence from those conversations it looks to me like UP would probably be the single-most hated RR to work for. Then I hear stories from BNSF guys and wonder in they (BNSF) is jealous of UP enjoying its most-hated status, and is trying to catch up. Did I mention how glad I am to be retired... 

Lance/199



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/23 06:30 by santafe199.



Date: 12/27/23 19:03
Re: Corporate culture
Author: Trainhand

Well CCSX wasn't called the Chicken $hit Express for nothing. They earned it.

Sam



Date: 12/27/23 20:51
Re: Corporate culture
Author: ln844south

When it was still the L&N on the south end. We were like a big family.
When CSX came along you were just a number. Do your job and get off the property. 

Steve



Date: 12/27/23 22:58
Re: Corporate culture
Author: sf1010

A Chief Engineer of Southern Pacific was a family friend.  He told us he had once gotten on the elevator at the San Francisco headquarters building in the morning at the same time as the President -- can't remember whether it was Russell or Biaggini.  Our friend was not wearing a hat.  The Pres said "[name redacted], SP executives do not come to work bare-headed."  Our friend sent an assistant across the bay to his home in the Oakland hills to retrieve a hat.



Date: 12/28/23 09:52
Re: Corporate culture
Author: wp1801

santafe199 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Drknow Wrote: > ... ATSF, UP, CGW, SP and
> Milwaukee seemed to have a better reputation ...   I worked for the SP for 30 years until going to work for the Willamette & Pacific. I am happy to say that I never worked for the UP.
>
> Being retired since 2010 I've had 13 years of
> railfanning where I have had quite a few chances
> to talk with current railroaders, mainly BNSF & UP
> in my Kansas neck-o-the-woods. Without getting too
> obnoxious, I've asked questions that let the guys
> I'm talking to know that I really did have train
> service experience. They would open up more that
> way. I have to say almost 100% of the time that
> the UP guys I've talked to have given me about THE
> ugliest concept of what their jobs are like on the
> average. Just on evidence from those conversations
> it looks to me like UP would probably be the
> single-most hated RR to work for. Then I hear
> stories from BNSF guys and wonder in they (BNSF)
> is jealous of UP enjoying its most-hated status,
> and is trying to catch up. Did I mention how glad
> I am to be retired... 
>
> Lance/199



Date: 12/28/23 10:39
Re: Corporate culture
Author: TAW

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
 and Milwaukee seemed to have a
> better reputation.
>

Up in my neck of the woods it was known as Cheap, Mean, Slow to Pay & Perilous. Of course, my only experience was in the dying days.

TAW



Date: 12/28/23 11:15
Re: Corporate culture
Author: Drknow

Tom:

I’ll take your word for it. What was the word on the street in Chicago back in the day? Who was a decent Road and who were the asshats?

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/28/23 11:35
Re: Corporate culture
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

sf1010 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A Chief Engineer of Southern Pacific was a family
> friend.  He told us he had once gotten on the
> elevator at the San Francisco headquarters
> building in the morning at the same time as the
> President -- can't remember whether it was Russell
> or Biaggini.  Our friend was not wearing a hat. 
> The Pres said ", SP executives do not come to work
> bare-headed."  Our friend sent an assistant
> across the bay to his home in the Oakland hills to
> retrieve a hat.

DJ Russell always insisted that the executives must wear hats under his regime. My Dad always had to have a hat when the bigwigs came to town. Felt hat in the winter and straw in the warmer months.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/28/23 14:13
Re: Corporate culture
Author: WAF

SanJoaquinEngr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> sf1010 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > A Chief Engineer of Southern Pacific was a
> family
> > friend.  He told us he had once gotten on the
> > elevator at the San Francisco headquarters
> > building in the morning at the same time as the
> > President -- can't remember whether it was
> Russell
> > or Biaggini.  Our friend was not wearing a
> hat. 
> > The Pres said ", SP executives do not come to
> work
> > bare-headed."  Our friend sent an assistant
> > across the bay to his home in the Oakland hills
> to
> > retrieve a hat.
>
> DJ Russell always insisted that the executives
> must wear hats under his regime. My Dad always had
> to have a hat when the bigwigs came to town. Felt
> hat in the winter and straw in the warmer months.
>
> Posted from Android

There were still some execs in the 70s and 80s that worn them after DJR retired



Date: 12/28/23 21:40
Re: Corporate culture
Author: 3rdswitch

Working for Santa Fe in the Los Angeles Division was great. NO complaints. Was called into office ONE TIME in Los Angeles for posting train information on TO. This was due to pressure from higher up. Locally they could care less.
JB



Date: 12/29/23 08:38
Re: Corporate culture
Author: TAW

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tom:
>
> I’ll take your word for it. What was the word
> on the street in Chicago back in the day? Who was
> a decent Road and who were the asshats?
>

I only worked with the Southeastern people, but mostly operators. There was little occasion to talk to T&E. Nobody seemed upset working there. There is a huge ex-employee showing in the FB Milwaukee Road group, so folks liked it enough to remember it. Nobody I worked with on PC had anything good to say about it, ever. Mostly, everyone was as loyal to their road as sports fans to a team. B&O and B&OCT were alot like a family-run business and Santa Fe was kind of like that too.

B&O had a few radios on locomotives and a base station at Robey, Barr, the Chief's office in Chicago and Willard, so it was pretty much useless. The crews didn't have portables. Garrett crews started buying CB radios, not quite legal for railroad operation. B&O furnished the batteries and chargers. The crews and Wellsboro operators got together and bought a radio for the Wellsboro tower. B&O furnished an antenna and installed it.

Railroading was way different before the early 70s.

TAW



Date: 12/29/23 10:42
Re: Corporate culture
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

During my career on the RR haven't met too many railroaders that don't bitch about something. My career started with the SP and ended with the UP. A friend of mine I met that worked for the UP before the merger told me you think the SP is bad "you aint seen nothing yet!". I thought to myself can't be that bad. He was right in his assessment and more. First thing the UP redrew the seniority districts. Eliminated the Coast run out of Los Angeles and made the home terminal SLO. Downsized the Coast to a secondary freight line. The UP eliminated the LA to Bakersfield run that had been the home terminal since the building of the line. Headquartered the run out of Bakersfield. The management style had become extremely adversarial with management vs workers. Plus the new employee classes were less than adequate. I told a decent manager you have poisoned the new generation of railroaders because they are afraid to do anything without being fired. You add all of these brilliant decisions up and the employees just sit back and watch things crumble.
The SP management wasnt the greatest at times. The SP was more of a family operation. You had to know someone or be related to someone be hired in most cases. Peer pressure at its finest.
I understand that employees are just a number and the new corporate structure is run by Wall Street.
One last thought.. We used to laugh at the railroads that the company would spend a million to save a dime !

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/23 10:43 by SanJoaquinEngr.



Date: 12/30/23 08:31
Re: Corporate culture
Author: mojo

CNW, UP, both evil.
 



Date: 12/30/23 11:02
Re: Corporate culture
Author: PHall

From talking to several long time UP employees it seems that UP was pretty good until the UP/WP/MP merger and somehow the ex-MP managers ended up in charge.



Date: 12/30/23 12:58
Re: Corporate culture
Author: RetiredHogger

In 41 years, I saw them all over the place. With discipline as well as honoring the agreement. I think you have to keep in mind that local supervision can't be much better than the higher ups will let them. At the same time, they can surely be worse.

I will add this: as a rule, the supervisors that knew how to railroad were easier to work for/get along with than the ones that didn't.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/23 13:11 by RetiredHogger.



Date: 12/30/23 15:56
Re: Corporate culture
Author: TAW

RetiredHogger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I will add this: as a rule, the supervisors that
> knew how to railroad were easier to work for/get
> along with than the ones that didn't.
>  

... except the ones that had a hat size increase and forgot where they came from while looking upward on the corporate ladder.

TAW



Date: 12/30/23 17:40
Re: Corporate culture
Author: RetiredHogger

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> RetiredHogger Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > I will add this: as a rule, the supervisors
> that
> > knew how to railroad were easier to work
> for/get
> > along with than the ones that didn't.
> >  
>
> ... except the ones that had a hat size increase
> and forgot where they came from while looking
> upward on the corporate ladder.
>
> TAW

Yep. Some of the exceptions to the rule.

Matter of fact, we had one guy who could flat railroad, and had no interest in moving up. He could just be hard nosed. I will say that he mellowed a little when he got older.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/23 17:52 by RetiredHogger.



Date: 12/31/23 10:34
Re: Corporate culture
Author: ntharalson

As a non-rail, I can't comment.  However, I have a friend, a now retired conductor who started on the CNW.  He told me this:  When the UP took over (the CNW), I thought they'd clean this up.  Boy, was I wrong."  Can't say more than that.

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



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