Trainman line of progression

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Trainman line of progression
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 26, 2004 8:27 AM
On today's railroads you hire on as a conductor and promote to engineer. In the past , on engine service, you hired on as a fireman and promoted to engineer. I would like to know what the entry level position for trainmen was and how did you progress to conductor? Was it switchman to conductor? Or was it brakeman to conductor? Where did the flagman come into it? Thanks, crimsonator
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 27, 2004 1:22 AM
Dear crimsonator,
Although I am not entirely sure, I believe it was brakeman-to-conductor.

See you around the forums,
Daniel
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Posted by mvlandsw on Saturday, March 27, 2004 7:35 PM
When I started on the B&O in 1974 I got three days training. One day on a yard job and two on locals. I was then qualified to work as a head brakeman on road jobs or as a yard switchman. When you had enough time and experience you could qualify to be a flagman and ride the caboose on road jobs. This was usually done by the trainmaster who tested you on your knowledge of the rules and the territory that you worked. I was qualified as a flagman by the crew caller. He called one night in need of a flagman for a helper. I told him that I wasn't qualified as a flagman yet and he said "You are now! We don't have anyone else." When there was a need for additional conductors the trainmaster would hold classes and promote flagmen to conductors. If you worked only in the yard you would be promoted form switchman to yard foreman. You were not required to take a promotion if you did not want to. This came back to haunt some people when the caboose and flagman were eliminated. They thought they could spend their entire career as a flagman on the caboose without the extra responsibilities of being a conductor, so they let people with less senoirity take promotion to conductor ahead of them. When the flagman was eliminated they had to become conductors and were placed on the conductor's roster behind the the younger people who had already taken promotion.As for engineers, some people hired directly as firemen and were promoted to engineers. Others transfered from train service to to engine service as firemen and were promoted to engineers.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 10:15 AM
I believe it varied also on various railroads. Sometimes, people would be hired directly as engineers. Also, my great-great-grandfather was an AT&SF yard foreman, although he was never a switchman to my knowledge. And this is only for major railroads--often-as-not shortlines wouldn't even have procedures for this.

See you around the forums,
Daniel
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  • From: along the B&O in INDIANA
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Posted by yellowducky on Thursday, April 22, 2004 4:52 PM
When I qualied as flagman on the B&O/Chessie, you had to have had 2 years service and "write the book", which meant fill in a long quiz/book. The flagman's test was open book. I think you had to have at least another year service to make conductor, but I do know the conductor's test was closed book and no notes.

I quit the railroad in ,74. Did "mvlandsw" take my place?
FDM TRAIN up a child in the way he should go...Proverbs22:6 Garrett, home of The Garrett Railroaders, and other crazy people. The 5 basic food groups are: candy, poptarts, chocolate, pie, and filled donuts !
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Posted by mvlandsw on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 1:44 AM
"I quit the railroad in ,74. Did "mvlandsw" take my place?"
Not in Indianna. I hired out at Glenwood, Pa. near Pittsburgh.
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Posted by yellowducky on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 8:07 PM
The farest I got into Penn. on the B&O was one trip to New Castle.

I find a Glenwood north of Harrisburg, but not by Pittsburgh. Did it move, or is my map too new and it got left off? I've heard that has happened to some smaller towns. I think Altona (next to Garrett, IN) was left out of the Atlas for a while, or maybe off Indiana State Highway maps.
FDM TRAIN up a child in the way he should go...Proverbs22:6 Garrett, home of The Garrett Railroaders, and other crazy people. The 5 basic food groups are: candy, poptarts, chocolate, pie, and filled donuts !

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