Steam Locomotive Crew Pay

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Steam Locomotive Crew Pay
Posted by Mr. Bighead on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 3:35 PM

Good day...just getting back onto this forum after an absence of several years.

My question is: how was engine crew pay calculated in the steam age? I know locomotive weight was a factor, but what others came into play (seniority, type of run)? Was pay calculated by hours of service or by the mile? This is something I've always wondered about, and I cannot find any answers on "The Google", so thanks for all help...

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Posted by timz on Thursday, November 15, 2018 12:15 PM

The agreements said so many dollars paid for 100 miles, for a given weight on drivers. If a freight engineer ran less than 100 miles, he got paid for 100 miles. If he ran more than 100 miles his pay increased proportionately.

That's all assuming the freight covered 100 miles in 8 hours or less. If the 100 miles (or less) took 10 hours, I think the engineer got time-and-a-half for the overtime, so he got paid for 137.5 miles. But if his run was 125 miles, don't think overtime started until 10 hours -- if the freight averaged 12.5 mph, no overtime.

Next question: how about engineers running freight from Oakland to San Jose, less than 50 miles? Did they have to make a round trip for their 100 miles pay? How about Los Angeles to Colton?

On SP in 1956, 1000000 pounds on drivers meant about 15% more pay for the engineer, compared to 250000 lb on drivers.

Dunno how many complications, like initial terminal delay.

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, November 15, 2018 1:11 PM

There were also "arbitraries", additional pay for certain jobs.  Two examples in New England- Rutland crews earned a half day's pay for taking their freight train across the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls (end of Rutland rails) to the Boston & Maine's yard in North Walpole, and B&M crews got a half days pay for backing into or out of Springfield (Mass) Union Station, a move still made by today's Vermonter.

SP's Coast division crews working Oakland or San Fancisco to San Jose may also have been assigned to a "chain gang" rotation where the return trips were crewed in the order the trains arrived at each endpoint.

To make things messier, in some cases firemen's districts and enginmen's districts did not coincide exactly.  This overlap was more common for engine vs. train crews, and still exists in some of today's contracts.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, November 15, 2018 2:07 PM

rcdrye
There were also "arbitraries", additional pay for certain jobs.  Two examples in New England- Rutland crews earned a half day's pay for taking their freight train across the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls (end of Rutland rails) to the Boston & Maine's yard in North Walpole, and B&M crews got a half days pay for backing into or out of Springfield (Mass) Union Station, a move still made by today's Vermonter.

SP's Coast division crews working Oakland or San Fancisco to San Jose may also have been assigned to a "chain gang" rotation where the return trips were crewed in the order the trains arrived at each endpoint.

To make things messier, in some cases firemen's districts and enginmen's districts did not coincide exactly.  This overlap was more common for engine vs. train crews, and still exists in some of today's contracts.

Virtually any and every method of compensation that can be concieved in the mind of man has at some place and some point in time been applied to paying employees.

Railroad labor agreements have multiple layers.  At the top there is the National Agreement that is negotiated between the Labor Organization and the combined railroad's negotiating representatives.  Secondary to the National Agreement are local agreements that have been negotiated between a particular carriers union chapter and the particular carrier.  The next layer can be an agreement negotiated between union officials on a particular division of the carrier and the management of that division concerning particular conditions on that division.

On size, and one agreement does not fit all conditions.  As conditions change, changes in the agreements are continually negotiated at all the levels.   

On a carrier such as CSX there are multiple 'fallen flag' labor agreements that remain in effect.  Among the ACL, B&O, C&O, CR, Georgia, L&N, RF&P, SAL and others I may have overlooked.  These fallen flag agreements remain in effect so long as there are employees that worked under those agreements continue to work.  To my knowledge, to the time of my retirement in 2016, CSX has yet to negotiate a CSX labor agreement to take the place of all the fallen flag agreements that remain in effect.

         

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, November 15, 2018 3:43 PM

Didn't Henry Ford pay his Detroit, Toledo, & Ironton crews more than the "going rate"(if there was such a thing)? I recall reading something to the effect that there was a line of people waiting to get in. Like our President and General Patton, Ford was certainly good for headlines. He sometimes ran the locomotives himself. But he eventually lost interest and sold the line.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, November 16, 2018 10:48 PM

In addition to old employee time tables and rule books, I also collect old agreement books.  The way train and engine crews were paid really didn't change much until fairly recently.  After certain contracts, new employees may not have received arbitraries that older employees did, but basic pay was calculated the same.  Some railroads still pay by the mile, but have in places instituted trip rates.  Others have gone to an hourly pay system.   

I pulled out my CRI&P Schedule of Rules and Rates of Pay for Locomotive Engineers.  1929, reprinted with revised rates for 1943.  I'll just cover the freight side.

Basic day was 100 miles or less, 8 hours or less (straight away or turn around).  Miles in excess of 100 miles will be paid for at the mileage rates provided.  Overtime on runs of 100 miles or less begins after 8 hours.  On runs over 100 miles OT begins when the time on duty exceeds the miles run divided by 12.5. OT shall be paid at an hourly rate of 3/16ths of the daily rate.

Rates for engineers in through and irregular freight, pusher, wreck, construction, snow plow, circus trains, trains established for the exclusive purpose of handling milk and all other unclassified service shall be as follows:

Weight on drivers       Per Mile     Per Day

                                   Cents

less than 80000lbs       7.28      $7.28

80000 -100000lbs        7.37      $7.37

100000-140000lbs       7.46      $7.46   (I'm going to skip ahead)

300000-350000lbs       8.35      $8.35

350000lbs and over      8.56      $8.56

Mallets less than 275000lbs 9.10  $9.10

Mallets 275000lbs and over 9.33  $9.33

Local or way freights paid more.  For runs 100 miles or less, add 52 cents to the through freight rate; for runs over 100 miles to be paid for pro rata.

Through trains doing station switching or picking up/setting out at 4 or more locations would receive the local rate of pay.

In addition, there were payments for switching at intial and final terminals, etc.  The agreement books often have examples on how to compute time/pay, and I'll share one.

"A freight crew is called to report at 7:00am for 7:30am. Switches at 'A' 35 minutes, leaving at 8:05am and runs to 'B' 100 miles, arriving at 3:35pm. Delayed at final terminal one hour 30 minutes, being relieved at 5:05pm. Time between terminals 7 hours and 30 minutes.  Note-Combine preparatory and road time. 30 minutes preparatory time. 35 minutes initial switching. 7 hours 30 minute road time. 1 hour 30 minutes final delay time = 10 hours 05 minutes total time on duty. -- Trip pays 100 miles, 1 hour initial terminal switching at pro rata road rate and 1 hour 30 minutes final delay time at 3/16ths of the daily rate per hour."  

Jeff

 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, November 16, 2018 11:26 PM

Ahhhh..  Is there an app for that? 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, November 17, 2018 1:47 AM

Thank you, Jeff. For your reference: $10.00 in 1943 is equal to $146.18 in 2018 (Cumulative rate of inflation:1361.8%).

Prices and Wages by Decade: 1940-1949: 

https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/pricesandwages/1940-1949 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, November 17, 2018 7:06 PM

In Canada the agreements have changed very little over time, aside from reductions in crew size.

Even today CN's CTY (conductors, trainmen, yardmen) and Locomotive Engineer agreements both contain sections almost identical to what Jeff posted.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, November 19, 2018 2:49 PM

As I understand it, seniority wouldn't get you higher pay, but seniority could get you a better situation - since open jobs on scheduled passenger and freight trains were bid on based on years of seniority. The ideal was to get a regular job where you ran the same train day after day, so you didn't have to worry about the callboy waking you up at odd hours.

IIRC, in the book Thoroughbreds it talks about NYC's Bob Butterfield having a job towards the end of his career (in the 1930's) where he would run a passenger train from his hometown for several hours to the west in the morning, lay over for an hour or so around noon, then run a different train east back to his hometown in the late afternoon. Seems to me it was counted as two day's work / pay (running two trains), so he would have to take the next day off.

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:41 AM

wjstix
IIRC, in the book Thoroughbreds it talks about NYC's Bob Butterfield having a job towards the end of his career (in the 1930's) where he would run a passenger train from his hometown for several hours to the west in the morning, lay over for an hour or so around noon, then run a different train east back to his hometown in the late afternoon. Seems to me it was counted as two day's work / pay (running two trains), so he would have to take the next day off.


"...have to..." Not necessarally.

Think of it this way. If the outbound engine crew would have had to layover to take rest before returning the next day, then, a different engine crew would be needed for the outbound train the next day. In the case you quote Mr. Butterworth would have had the next day off because the other crew was on the job.
Mileage run would determine how many engine crews would be assigned to protect the scheduled train day in - day out.
If there was a high amount of mileage, there might be three engine crews in a pool to protect train 16 & 17 for example. Crew A would take train 16 out on Monday, crew B would take train 16 out on Tuesday while crew A returns on train 17 Tuesday and crew C rests. Crew C takes train 16 out on Wednesday, crew B returns on train 17 Wednesday while crew A rests, and so on.
In the case that you quote, Crew A takes train 16 out on Monday, takes short rest (4 hours or less) and returns on train 17 while crew B rests. On Tuesday crew B does the same while crew A rests, and so on.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 7:44 AM

In the time of the 100 mile Freight Day, as I recall the Passenger day was 150 miles or 8 hours.  On the B&O the Passenger crew change points were not necessarily the same locations as the freight crew change points.  As I recall (and I can be mistaken) a Passenger crew would operate between Jersey City and Washington.  The next crew leg woud be Washington or Baltimore (for through trains originating at Baltimore) to Cumberland.  The next run would be Cumberland to Pittsburgh and then Pittsburgh to Willard and finally Willard to Chicago.

In the above mentioned Buttorworth run.  The layover at the away from home location would have to have been two hours or more to kick in the respite provision of the HOS law that allows HOS time to be broken and then restarted.  Butterworth was operating in the 16 hour HOS era.  In subsequent HOS laws the respite provision has been increased to 4 hours, to create the break.  Without having the respite rest time, then all time is continuous for HOS purposes.  To my limited knowledge, time spent in 'respite rest' is paid for at the base rate of the service, even though the crew is NOT 'on duty'.  

So, in the 16 hour HOS with the 150 mile day, Making a 200 mile run in 8 hours, taking a 2 hour respite and then making the 200 mile return trip in 8 hours.  The crew would get paid one and a third days for the outbound trip, two hors for the respite and one and a third days for the return trip.  So they would be getting paid 2.93 days pay for 18 hours in service to the company.  Upon the return home they would be required to be off duty for 8 hours before working any other assignments.  In the Butterworth example, most likely he would work his assignment on a every other day basis, from a hours of service standpoint.

Most passenger crews operate in Assigned service.  Crews know what trains they will operate and their scheduled times to operate, crews 'show up' for their assigned runs without being called.  If the trains are seriously delayed crews are notified by the Crew Callers to show up at a alternate time, so their HOS time doesn't get thrown away waiting hours for a train that is KNOWN to be seriously late.  Such setback actions take coordination between Dispatchers and Crew Callers.

         

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 9:07 AM

On passenger trains the train crew (conductor, trainmen, baggageman, flagman) might also have different assigned runs than the engine crew.  

On CN's western mainline passenger train crews worked three subdivisions, while the engine crews only worked one.  As an example between Edmonton and Vancouver the train crew only changed at Blue River, BC, while the engine crew changed at Edson & Jasper, AB, and Kamloops & Boston Bar, BC, in addition to Blue River.  

The article outlining such runs is still in our contract, but has been obselete ever since VIA switched to their current method of crewing trains around 25 years ago.

Historically the train and engine crews would also report for duty at different locations, the train crew at the station and the engine crew at the shop/roundhouse.

In Canada respite time means something a bit different, when a crew is tied up online for some reason (this still happens today too).  In some cases that time is paid, in some cases it is not.

Historically for us, pay for off duty time at the away-from-home terminal only started after 11 hours and there was no limit on how long we could be held there.  More recently (15 or 20 years ago) the Union managed to push through an amendment which raised that pay rate and limited the amount of time we could be held before being called for duty.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:21 AM

Back in the days when I rode behind steam, I did not enquire about the hours of enginemen. However, I doubt that some were changed with the advent of diesel power. 

When I lived on the main line of the Mainline of MidAmerica, I came to know several passenger trainmen and their schedules, and also learned a little about the schedules of the enginemen. At that time, the IC had four passenger trains between Chicago and New Orleans, and the Louisiana Division passenger service was divided into two sections--McComb-Canton and McComb-New Orleans; each section was about 100 miles long. Whereas engine men would work one section and call it a day and come back on the next train back, having taken a short rest,trainmen would leave McComb and come back home to McComb one day later, having worked through McComb in one direction--taking two short rests, for a total of 400 miles--this gave them two 100 mile days and one 200 mule day. Except for the City of New Orleans the crews changed southbound. Incidentally the regular conductors on the Panama Limited were brothers.

Freight crews on the north end had a much longer day, for instead of running to Canton, they ran to Gwin, which is 148 miles from McComb. They prefered going to Gwin rather than to New Orleans. Through freights ran through the Delta, and not through Grenada to/from Memphis.

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:13 PM

Was there any employee benefit besides basic salary when working as an engineman for Class I railroads in the 1940s to 60s? For example, transportation fare concession scheme, discounted train ticket, staff dormitory, education allowance for employee's children etc. 

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:16 PM

BaltACD
as I recall the Passenger day was 150 miles or 8 hours.

How about 160 miles - 8 hours? For enginemen, or trainmen too?

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 1:20 PM

Employees were given passes, which provided free transportation. I do not know all the details, but they were also able to get trip passes for themselves and/or dependents.

My father worked in the ACL's Tampa locomotive shop. After he died, my mother and my brothers moved to where my mother's parents lived in South Carolina, and we rode by passes. She was allowed to get one pass a year for herself and/or her dependent children; the privilege was limited to the Southern Region (east of the Mississippi and south of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers). Three and a half years later, she, my youngest brother, and I went to Virginia and back to visit relatives. Ten years later, that brother and I went from Charlotte to New Orleans and Chattanooga and back, also to visit relatives. Two years later, at age 17, I rode from Baton Rouge to Charlotte on a pass (actually two--Baton Rouge to New Orleans and New Orleans to Charlotte). From time to time, my mother continued obtaining passes for travel as such were convenient for her. On one trip, she and I rode the Silver Comet from Washington to Birmingham. When the conducters came to our bedroom, I said to them, "Here is our space and my transportation; my mother has her transportation."

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 2:05 PM

timz
 
BaltACD
as I recall the Passenger day was 150 miles or 8 hours. 

How about 160 miles - 8 hours? For enginemen, or trainmen too?

My recollection is 150 - but memories are fragile things.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 2:32 PM

BaltACD

 

 
timz
 
BaltACD
as I recall the Passenger day was 150 miles or 8 hours. 

How about 160 miles - 8 hours? For enginemen, or trainmen too?

 

My recollection is 150 - but memories are fragile things.

 

I had always understood that the basic day for passenger trainmen was 150 miles.

In 1964, I was talking with one conductor on the L&N's overnight train from Atlanta to Nashville. He told me that the crew that ran from Atlanta to Chattanooga, which was 132 miles, were paid for 150 miles--and he was also paid for 150 miles, even though his run was 152 miles.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 2:40 PM

OK well first it was Bob Butterfield, not Butterworth. One of the most famous steam engineers due to his being in several Lionel train ads in the 1930's.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulmalon/8428133191

Anyway, I don't have the book at hand, but the point was he left home around 6 a.m., ran from his home in Harmon NY north (timetable west) to perhaps Albany(?), generally on a Hudson going 90-100 MPH so he got there in a few hours. He laid over for an hour or two, and ran a similarly fast train back, arriving home in time for supper.

Based (apparently) on the distance and having run two trains in one day, it counted as two day's work, so he was off the next day.

Northern Pacific in the 1950's-60's had a "golden seat" run that was the same idea, out in the Pacific Northwest. You could run on I think the North Coast Limited west from your home for a few hours, lay over for an hour or two, and work the Mainstreeter back east to home. Two trains in the same day - 8-10 hours total work but counted as two days' work so you were off the next day.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:47 PM

wjstix
Northern Pacific in the 1950's-60's had a "golden seat" run that was the same idea, out in the Pacific Northwest. You could run on I think the North Coast Limited west from your home for a few hours, lay over for an hour or two, and work the Mainstreeter back east to home. Two trains in the same day - 8-10 hours total work but counted as two days' work so you were off the next day.

And off the Extra list is was possible to catch the run on consecutive days - dependent on how many were on the list and how fast the list turned over.  Stranger things do happen.  Whenever a person goes 'on duty' for a particular run, they earn the pay for that run - in either direction.  The only potential difference would be where a person operates the same equipment between two points in 'turn around service', the pay will be based on the aggregate mileage of the round trip.

In my experience it is rare when runs are for less mileage than the basic day calls for.  100 miles for freight and 150 miles for passenger - sometimes the physical location of crew centers will cause slightly shorter runs than the basic day.  In the 21st Century the basic freight day has worked its way to 130 miles.  With the formation of Amtrak, I don't believe todays freight carriers have Passenger rates any longer.

         

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:47 PM

BaltACD

 

 
wjstix
Northern Pacific in the 1950's-60's had a "golden seat" run that was the same idea, out in the Pacific Northwest. You could run on I think the North Coast Limited west from your home for a few hours, lay over for an hour or two, and work the Mainstreeter back east to home. Two trains in the same day - 8-10 hours total work but counted as two days' work so you were off the next day.

 

And off the Extra list is was possible to catch the run on consecutive days - dependent on how many were on the list and how fast the list turned over.  Stranger things do happen.  Whenever a person goes 'on duty' for a particular run, they earn the pay for that run - in either direction.  The only potential difference would be where a person operates the same equipment between two points in 'turn around service', the pay will be based on the aggregate mileage of the round trip.

In my experience it is rare when runs are for less mileage than the basic day calls for.  100 miles for freight and 150 miles for passenger - sometimes the physical location of crew centers will cause slightly shorter runs than the basic day.  In the 21st Century the basic freight day has worked its way to 130 miles.  With the formation of Amtrak, I don't believe todays freight carriers have Passenger rates any longer.

 

Basic day for engineers, in both freight and passenger was 100 miles.  Basic day for trainmen was 100 miles for freight and 150 miles for passenger. 

I know of some assignments where the engineers "doubled the road", working out from the home terminal, laying over a few hours and working back.  Receiving two day's pay and then having a day off.  Meanwhile, conductors and trainmen might work over two districts, on an interdivisional run.  Example.  Engineers work A to B, layover and then return to A.  Trainmen work A, through B to C.  Layover for rest at C and then work back to A the next day.  Interdivisional work would be divided between the divisions involved, equalized by miliage.

Jeff

   

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Posted by Mr. Bighead on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 4:54 PM

Butterfield was also the engineer Harmon to Albany during Col. Howard Hill's cab ride from NY to Chicago on the Twentieth Century Limited. Hill wrote an article in Trains in the 60s about the trip titled K4 vs. J1 in 1931. Don't remember the month/year of issue, but WM shay #6 is on the cover.

Thanks for all the info, gentlemen, much appreciated.

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