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Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by nwgs, Oct 30, 2007.
Beautiful photo, Klay!
Wow surprised to see a train thread here. I make my living on the rails. It is good money but the hours absolutely suck. You do get to see some interesting things happen when working out there though.
There, fixed it for you.
Out on your rest, day after day kinda makes money meaningless, eh?
Wifey and I are taking Amtrak out from Denver to eastern Iowa on Thursday to see the in-laws. I'll take some pics.
Can not work on rest days anymore. Six days in a row now requires 48hrs off undisturbed rest with the new hours of service law that was passed by congress in the Rail improvement and security act of 2008. But the hours are still irregular the new law did nothing to address the real issue it was supposed to, fatigue. Yes if you do figure the time spent away from home then the money doesn't seem as great but I wouldn't call it meaningless. It sure beats being stuck in a office cubilcle or standing on a assembly line all day.
Took a ride into the Allagash this weekend to check these out...
Cool trip, EC.
I thought those were wood burners, but the web article said they're crude oil burners (to eliminate the danger of forest fires from cinders). Interesting.
Maybe 205, but just got this from another forum I'm on. Very cool collection.
Yes, and that sort of nibbling around the edges of the problem will continue ad infinitum and never address the real cause of fatigue. Hell. I'm old enough to remember the 16 hour law.
Kind setting your horizons a bit narrowly aren't you? There's lots of other jobs that allow you to be not "stuck in a office cubilcle or standing on a assembly line all day", pay a nice wage and put you in your own bed every night - the construction trades for example. I know I'm making perhaps an incorrect assumption about your age and experience but get back to me in 20-30 years about what you would've enjoyed more.
That said, Railroad Retirement is a pretty sweet parachute but the trick is in not letting the job kill you before you can collect it.
You have very good knowledge of the industry. All of the old heads that trained me worked under the 16 hr law. Funny thing you mentioned constructions trades. I come from a large family that owns or used to own many business's. Excavation, trucking, concrete construction, carpentry construction, Farming, and shortline railroad were some of my easily obtainable career choices I had growing up. I dabbled a little in all of them but the railroading I liked the best. Little did I know at 16 years old on the shortline what the job would turn in to now 23 years later. I ended up on Conrail (now NS) right out of high school. At 39 I now only have 21 years left. I say ONLY 21 because the first 23 have gone by so quickly. We can retire now at 60 with 30 yrs of service.
You are also correct about them nibbling around the edges. I now think back about working 12 on 8 off and wonder how we did it. Going from 6hrs undisturbed rest to 10hrs undisturbed rest was a big step. But until they can get everyone on a schedule fatigue will always be a prominent factor in accidents. The railroads still act like it is the employees responsibility to be properly rested even though we do not know when we will get called to work. I have managed the lifestyle but it is still stressful. But with my seniority it is easier to do than the guys that work the extra board. You said it best about not letting the job kill you first.
Popular Science just had a recent article on rail safety. I have read it and it is a very accurate assessment of what is happening today in the industry.
Now I have to get some rest. I "might" get called tonight.
Just a quick video of Amtrak California Zephyr 6 departing Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on 2/15/13. We took the train from DEN to MTP and had just got off the train. I decided to whip out the Go Pro at the last minute.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_-bV7uK0gc8?list=UUymbkCEyMPHrjoWBEgA7Lpw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
I'd look at it as you have 9 years left - once you get that 30 (actually 360 months) in, Railroad Retirement will be there when you turn 60 whether or not you stay at NS or any other railroad for that matter. Freedom @ 48!
Your last statement is the crux of the matter. When I hired on, an old hogger (old enough to have worked steam) said, "Here's how it works kid, you gotta learn to eat when you're not hungry, sleep when you're not tired and shit when you don't have to." And I saw that change very little during my time on the road.
If anyone's interested, the NKP 765 will be running around the horseshoe curve during Memorial day weekend
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/27R5jKAfcwM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Well I did not get called last night. They rerouted trains for track work. I am finally first out now.
The bad thing now is that after finally getting in the top 10% of the seniority list we do not have anymore good jobs left. The recession hit us hard in Michigan with the closing of the auto plants. I used to work regular days or afternoon road switchers with lots of overtime and weekends off. Now those industrial lines have all been leased to non-union shortlines. On top of that all the yard jobs are now remote control. I guess I am lucky I can work the "good" road long pools. I usually get an equal amount of time at home after a trip.
I worked with one engineer that used to work steam. His stories of the way things worked back then were quite entertaining.
So what RR did you work for? From my experience with some union travel the RR experience is typical no matter where you work.
CSX via the B&O, B&O-C&O and Chessie System. I worked the Chicago-Cleveland-Cinncinati-Toledo "Charlie Foxtrot" depending on what job/pool was less brutal at whatever time. I was the last to hire out as a fireman at my terminal and the old heads were bitching about the jobs retiring at the same time that the people above them did back in 1970. Same happened to me and I guess the same is still happening.
Yes it is. The jobs go now faster than the guys retire. I work parallel to where you did. I am qualified Chicago-Elkhart-Toledo-Cleveland on the NYC "water level route" or Conrail Chicago Line. Home terminal is Elkhart. I am guessing maybe you worked out of Garret? A few of the Erie and NYC old heads went to CSX there when they split us up with NS.