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Featherbedding

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Featherbedding
Posted by Enzoamps on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:32 AM

In another thread it was pointed out that many of our locomotives lack crews inside.  it reminded me of a matter in the news a lot back in the 1960s.  Railroad unions wanted regulations requiring retention of jobs, and it was refered to as feather bedding.  From the management point of view, it was like "why have two men do the job, when we could have three do it."  Obviously the unions felt different about it.  But not to argue the issue.

At the time I had an itch to build a special featherbedding unit.  It would be the cab and short hood of a GP7, sitting on one truck.  A tongue in cheek car, where the extra employees would ride.  Alas I never did.

I may be confused, but I seem to recall a little HO fun passenger coach.  Very short and sat on one six-wheel truck.  But it has been 50-60 years.  An even dimmer memory was that it might have had a cute name like "Li'l" something, possibly a Walthers?  Does anyone recall this thing?

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:00 AM

Enzoamps
Does anyone recall this thing?

Sure do!

https://www.walthers.com/21-heavyweight-quot-oscar-quot-quot-piker-quot-set-ready-to-run-pullman

The Oscar and the Piker. I never had one (or the other) as I was trying to stick to closer to prototype modeling. The G scale folks have their "Eggliner" and "BeeP", too.  Ummm, I like a little whimsy now and then but like saccharine, a little goes a long way.

Sometimes these things were inspired by the likes of John Allen or E.L. Moore but I can't say for sure where the idea came from for these two gems.

Enzoamps
At the time I had an itch to build a special featherbedding unit.  It would be the cab and short hood of a GP7, sitting on one truck.

http://www.readymadetoys.com/baandar.html

Somebody ran off with your idea Big Smile

Thank You, Ed

 

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Posted by xdford on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:23 AM

The Walthers cars were called "Oscar" and "Piker" to the best of my memory and possibly lasted until the earlier 1980's... a modified cab would be interesting! 

With the distances here in Australia, we have crew cars on the Transcontinental freight trains being recycled passenger cars, sleepers and railcars on the main system but the locos in North West Australia on the iron ore roads rotated crews from within with the sleeping bunks in the noses of Alco 636's by repute... I have not been to that part of the country to check them out!

Good luck with the model,

Trevor

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Posted by NVSRR on Monday, February 12, 2018 6:41 AM

The last run of the shorties from walthers was time after 2006.   Still findable on ebay.   

Or are you thinking of the Sierra railroad 28' pass cars for switchback service?

Wolfie

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:34 AM

I believe that feather bedding was actually where the unions wanted to keep the old steam crews on trains.  That is an engineer and fireman in he locomotive and a conductor and brakeman in the caboose.  Management said for obvious reasons these extra crewmen were unnecessary.  Eventually went to the current two man crews of engineer and conductor.

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Posted by G Paine on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:00 AM

Not only did the unions want larger crews on trains, they wanted an engineer and fireman in every A unit, even when they were MUed  together, and a fireman in every B unit.

that is why many early diesel consists were drawbar connected and had the same number with A, B, etc suffix. The RRs could claim they were one unit.

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:03 AM

caldreamer

I believe that feather bedding was actually where the unions wanted to keep the old steam crews on trains.  That is an engineer and fireman in he locomotive and a conductor and brakeman in the caboose.  Management said for obvious reasons these extra crewmen were unnecessary.  Eventually went to the current two man crews of engineer and conductor.

 

First there was Five/six men crew,engineer,fireman,head brakeman,conductor rear brakeman and/or flagman. Five/six men crews was used well into the diesel era until the position of fireman was eliminated then the crew size was four men.

If a local exceeded 30 cars then a swing brakeman was added to the crew due to the extra work.

The term "featherbedding" was originally  used for sleeping on the job.

 

Now for your "obvious reasons " the railroads wants one man road crew and is looking into crewless trains since the technology  is there and is currently being used successfully and has been successfully used in private railroads..

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:44 PM

I think you are talking about Walthers' Oscar and Piker cars.

.

I was lucky to pick up an complete, sealed, old version of the Oscar in an Antique store in Ohio for $5.00!

.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by superbe on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:53 PM

It is my understanding that another practice that the unions heldout on was the definition of a days work. As locos were modernized and track improved the trains could travel a greater distance in a day but had to stop and change crews as in the past.

I also think the use of the term feather bedding was because the extra crew members had nothing to do so they did sleep on the job.

Bob

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:50 PM

superbe
I also think the use of the term feather bedding was because the extra crew members had nothing to do so they did sleep on the job. Bob

Bob,That was one way a man could shorten his railroad career.

Every man had a appointed job to do and he was well train to do that work.

Even back in the day it was easy to get your end of service letter.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:43 AM

    Speaking of featherbedding, does anyone remember Seaboard Coast Line's GE BQ23-7s with the 5-man cabs?  Those were 10 of the ugliest things on rails.  EMD got into the act even earlier when they extended the left side of the GP-30s cab by 10 inches to provide more room for the head end brakeman.  SP stencilled "5 man cab" on some GP-35s, with no further external evidence of the expanded accomodations.  When the New Haven secured federal assistance in the financing of their second 30 FL-9s, it was with the stipulation they would NOT be equipped with nose mu or third seats in the cab to prevent their being used in freight service.  They were to be passenger service only.  Best of all were the Texas Mexican GP-7s with the crew quarters in the high short hood.  They had large square side windows and at a glance, what looked like two pairs of number boards except the lower set had no numbers in them.  They were forward facing "windows" for those forced to ride in the nose.  In the heat of south Texas, that must have been the ride from "Hades".  All in the name of "featherbedding"?

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Posted by Enzoamps on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:31 PM

Thanks guys, yes the Oscar and Piker were what I was trying to remember.

I didn't intend to start the actual featherbedding topic, but feel free to wander into that.  I just recall having the idea for the joke cab unit.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:44 PM

SeeYou190
I think you are talking about Walthers' Oscar and Piker cars. . I was lucky to pick up an complete, sealed, old version of the Oscar in an Antique store in Ohio for $5.00!

Yes you were lucky. 

Every once in a while I find a model railroading kit in an antique store that appeals to me at a good price.  Just enough to keep me going with my wife who dearly loves antiquing.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, February 15, 2018 1:01 PM

I believe "featherbedding" referred to any job that was relatively easy to perform, usually one protected by contract or regulation. Railroaders may have used to term jokingly as being a job with nothing to do but sleep, but as Larry pointed out you really couldn't do it...although on the branch line in front of my old house I have seen a conductor or brakeman napping in the cupola of a caboose on it's way back from doing it's pickups and set-outs.

One problem railroads faced was that work rules / contracts / laws etc. were set up in the 1800s, and didn't reflect the increases in speed and power that came along in the early 20th century. Back then a steam engine could only run about 100 miles before needing to be worked on, so division points were set up at about 100 mile intervals. Since freight trains only ran at around 10-12 mph, going 100 miles would basically take 8-10 hours, so going that far came to be considered one day's work. However, as engines got bigger and faster, railroads found that they had to pay a crew a full day's pay for going 100 miles in only a couple of hours. In some cases on passenger trains, an engineer could do a run one way for 100 miles or so, have lunch, run another train back to his starting point, and get two days pay - with the next day off.

Stix
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Posted by wojosa31 on Thursday, February 15, 2018 5:48 PM

The railroad work day for operating employees was once 16 hours/day maximum, and the work week was 7 days per week. FWIW, today's limit is 12 hours / day and the work week is still 7 days per week.

The basic day or 100 mile day was based on the length of a Railroad Division, also 100 miles on average. Under certain circumstances, it still is. 8 hours or 100 miles, except in through freight service, where other defined work days exist. Frequently, due to circumstance, a crew still cannot go 100 miles in 12 hours, due generally to Company Policy.

Featherbedding, became the Marketing Slogan of the Railroads, when they wanted to eliminate the Fireman's position...back in the 1960s. The Fireman's Union, which was constituted to represent Firemen and protect Fireman's Jobs, did just what it was supposed to do. BTW, long after the 1965 Board Award, which supposedly eliminated the Fireman, Class 1 railroads were still hiring Firemen, as when I did in 1967. 

Technology, does reduce the need for people, and even Wall Street traders now fear AI, but all of these railroad agreements were negotiated, and willingly agreed to by both parties in the collective bargaining, so the carriers were never forced to accept something they were not willing to do. 

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