An exercise in futility

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Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:49 PM

Mr. Reaves was an engineer for five years before becoming a training instructor.  Not much time on the right side to be training others in my estimation.

 

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:59 PM

243129

I suspect that Mr. Reaves does not have a railroad background.

 

I have to say, that was my impression also. But it was not clear to me if he was an actual instructor, or the head of the instructors. I could see where an educational tech guy could be in charge of veteran engineers who are the hands-on teachers, and that combination could work okay.

Edit: I see you edited your post. It seems to me that a smart guy who had been an engineer for five years could be a well-qualified instructor.

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Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 9:08 PM

Lithonia Operator
I have to say, that was my impression also. But it was not clear to me if he was an actual instructor, or the head of the instructors. I could see where an educational tech guy could be in charge of veteran engineers who are the hands-on teachers, and that combination could work okay.

I did some research and found that he was an engineer for five years and then locomotive engineer instructor, Assistant General Road Foreman then System General Road Foreman(!). I would consider that a meteoric rise without much experience.

 

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Posted by zardoz on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 9:34 PM

Lithonia Operator
It seems to me that a smart guy who had been an engineer for five years could be a well-qualified instructor.

Could is the operative word. I've known guys that were Engineers for 20+ years that still sucked; sure, they eventually got over the road, but Conductors hated to work with them. Others had the knack as soon as they sat down.

How does the saying go? Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

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Posted by zardoz on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 9:56 PM

tree68
Stop me if you've heard this. Transit/commuter engineer was known for exactly hitting the mark every. single. time.  Leave a stool on the platform and the vestibule would be lined up with it with no input from the conductor. Until one day, ol' George competely blew away a stop.  Missed it by yards. When asked what happened to cause such an error, he replied, "Someone cut down my tree..."

Been there, done that (in suburban service). When Metra-CNW was using F7, E8, and F40 as power, on the outbound trip the stopping marks at each station were different, based on the type of power; and good luck if that old tree stump or light post was removed, or if that red garage door across the street was repainted blue.

   23 17 46 11

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 10:00 PM

243129
Mr. Reaves was an engineer for five years before becoming a training instructor.  Not much time on the right side to be training others in my estimation.

When you get 20 - 30 - 40 years on the right side of the cab - you are too old to promote!

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Posted by 243129 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:51 AM

Make what you will of this.

"Eleven weeks. That's how long it takes to go from average Joe to Amtrak engineer."

The transformation takes place at Amtrak's High-Speed Rail Training Facility, housed inside an unassuming beige building along a dead-end road just west of Wilmington, Delaware's Riverfront section.

It's here where hopeful engineers from around the country come to take an eleven-week classroom course. Some are former freight train engineers. Some are what Amtrak calls "off the street."

"Which means they could be hired from any work environment, from Wal Mart to the military," said Stephen Reaves, Amtrak's manager of locomotive engineer training."

 

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Amtrak-Engineer-Training-School-Derailment-Wilmington-Philadelphia-304048241.html

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 9:36 AM

BaltACD

 

 
243129
Mr. Reaves was an engineer for five years before becoming a training instructor.  Not much time on the right side to be training others in my estimation.

 

When you get 20 - 30 - 40 years on the right side of the cab - you are too old to promote!

 

I can't speak of the railroad world from first-hand experience, never having been in it, but sometimes in the civilian corporate world if you're too  good at what you do you'll never get promoted either.  Why?  The unimaginative ones over you don't know how they'll replace you!  

A real-life "Dilbert" strip situation!

Not like the military, where the policy is "Up, or out!"  and has been since the Eisenhower administration.  And even that has been controversial over the years, although not a major controversy.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:49 PM

243129
Make what you will of this.

"Eleven weeks. That's how long it takes to go from average Joe to Amtrak engineer."

The transformation takes place at Amtrak's High-Speed Rail Training Facility, housed inside an unassuming beige building along a dead-end road just west of Wilmington, Delaware's Riverfront section.

It's here where hopeful engineers from around the country come to take an eleven-week classroom course. Some are former freight train engineers. Some are what Amtrak calls "off the street."

"Which means they could be hired from any work environment, from Wal Mart to the military," said Stephen Reaves, Amtrak's manager of locomotive engineer training."

 

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Amtrak-Engineer-Training-School-Derailment-Wilmington-Philadelphia-304048241.html

Isn't that about the same length of time it takes to make a Marine?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 2:24 PM

It's 12 weeks, except during wartime emergencies (WW2, Korea, Vietnam) when at certain points it was shortened to eight weeks.  The Corps wasn't happy about the eight week program, but the men had to be cycled through as fast as possible.

Anyway, 12 weeks only makes the basic Marine.  After that guys going infantry go on to advanced infantry training, others go on to training in their specific fields, "Military Occupational Specialties" or "MOS's" for short.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, August 15, 2019 7:02 AM

Since the OP is complaining to high heaven about the length of time involved in training a new engineer for Amtrak, I'm curious to find out if he ever looked into the length of the training sessions for new engineers for the Class 1 roads or the various regional operators.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, August 15, 2019 7:16 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Since the OP is complaining to high heaven about the length of time involved in training a new engineer for Amtrak,

It seems you find my concern annoying.

CSSHEGEWISCH
I'm curious to find out if he ever looked into the length of the training sessions for new engineers for the Class 1 roads or the various regional operators.

My concern is with Amtrak and the safety of the traveling public. I had worked there and was privy to the operation.  I have no knowledge of other railroads' operations.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, August 15, 2019 7:44 AM

Flintlock76
I can't speak of the railroad world from first-hand experience, never having been in it, but sometimes in the civilian corporate world if you're too good at what you do you'll never get promoted either. Why? The unimaginative ones over you don't know how they'll replace you!

Of course they would have to want to be promoted.  Can't promote 20+ year RR veterans if they won't apply.

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:48 AM
zugmann
Of course they would have to want to be promoted.  Can't promote 20+ year RR veterans if they won't apply.
 
AND, (generally) the older-ya-get the more cynical ya-get.   
 
In my experience, the younger people are the ones who desire the promotions because they haven't burnt out yet.   They still enjoy life and their jobs.  It's the young people who don't mind working the long hours, think of themselves as part of "a team",  believe the corporate #cowpoop#, and generally move the organization ahead despite the sociopaths running it and the know-it-all old-farts making everybody else’s lives miserable.  
 
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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, August 15, 2019 8:46 PM

Amtrak mangement is and has been arrogant. They were clueless when they took over operations on the NEC and they are still clueless. They eschewed help when it was offered by their inherited veteran workforce choosing instead to continue with their hit and miss trial and error style of management which has over the years resulted in many, too many, lives lost.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:48 PM

JOHN PRIVARA
 
zugmann
Of course they would have to want to be promoted.  Can't promote 20+ year RR veterans if they won't apply. 
AND, (generally) the older-ya-get the more cynical ya-get.   
 
In my experience, the younger people are the ones who desire the promotions because they haven't burnt out yet.   They still enjoy life and their jobs.  It's the young people who don't mind working the long hours, think of themselves as part of "a team",  believe the corporate #cowpoop#, and generally move the organization ahead despite the sociopaths running it and the know-it-all old-farts making everybody else’s lives miserable.  

That is why wars are fought by soldiers in the 18-30 year range - the 'I'll show you' of youth instead of the 'You are F'n crazy' of experience.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 16, 2019 9:04 AM

BaltACD

 

 
JOHN PRIVARA
 
zugmann
Of course they would have to want to be promoted.  Can't promote 20+ year RR veterans if they won't apply. 
AND, (generally) the older-ya-get the more cynical ya-get.   
 
In my experience, the younger people are the ones who desire the promotions because they haven't burnt out yet.   They still enjoy life and their jobs.  It's the young people who don't mind working the long hours, think of themselves as part of "a team",  believe the corporate #cowpoop#, and generally move the organization ahead despite the sociopaths running it and the know-it-all old-farts making everybody else’s lives miserable.  

 

That is why wars are fought by soldiers in the 18-30 year range - the 'I'll show you' of youth instead of the 'You are F'n crazy' of experience.

 

After seeing WW2 up-close-and-personal John Ford said it best...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCCCwkcBOOw  

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Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Friday, August 16, 2019 11:50 AM

243129

Amtrak mangement is and has been arrogant.

Everybody in management is arrogant.   The only way to get to be in management is to have the confidence to ASK to be part of management.  And confidence is just arrogance viewed from the opposite side of the coin.

Nobody in management wants "help from the work force".   Never have, never will.  If a person wants to manage, they step up (if they've got the confidence) and they start making decisions.   But they have to do it FROM the management side.   In return, they get to be ridiculed by the "work force", screwed by their superiors, and IF they are really smart-n-savvy, someday, they'll get to do the screwing and have the senior management benefits (membership in the top 5% of society).   

ALL over the world, at all times in history, the confident smart-n-savvy people run things, make the decisions, and really don't care what the "work force" (aka peasants) thinks about things.

 

Disclaimer:  life-long peasant who ridiculed management.  

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, August 16, 2019 12:54 PM

Sounds more like what is called the classic alienated worker or by some,  the Lumpenproletariat or by still others,  an embittered nihilist.  Or is the latter a tautology? 

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