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Your most interesting story or radio conversation?

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  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: US
  • 106 posts
Posted by kwboehm on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 1:58 PM
LOL true, but the one word I've heard I'm pretty sure is still not allowed.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 12:13 AM
Let's see . . .

I have a bunch of minor stories, but here's one for starters.

I had just hired in with a freight railroad that used NJ transit back in the 90s. I was training in as a conductor. They ran a tight schedule between passenger trains, and were understandably slick with their moves. Maybe a little too slick.

So I'm getting my typical crew hazing on the first day, and we pull up to the branch junction at the westbound crossover. The crew drops off, and the engineer pulls ahead of the switch. We get permission from dispatch to line for the backing move, cross over, and shuffle into the eastbound branchline switch.

Since the conductor doesn't want to use the west lead of the wye (since it's blocked with other loads), we yank our fresh loads off the interchange to the main for a drop.

Now, up until this point in my railroad career I haven't much used a drop. I worked in a chemical plant, and that was a no-no. About the time I'm calculating the total moves in my head, we cut off, I get down at the branch switch to line the main, while the brakeman bleeds the air (and probably bottles the cut). Meanwhile, the *REAL* conductor is somewhere down on the siding, getting papers or something.

Our brakie was an older guy, but a real mushmouth. I have my radio turned up all the way trying to make out his phrases. Suddenly, I hear this:

"I've asdghr ghrfdklhkd !"

(What the heck?)

"ADSRIUYREG AHHHHH!!!"

(By now the engineer comes on.)

"What's that Rog?"

"I got aBAD werrtylon thebasdkend! I caafrfnthrdown!"

(The cut is coming toward me, steadily by now . . .)

"Oh, )(*&^! What's that?"

(About this time the cut is picking up some speed . . .)

"Where are you Joe, can you get it?"

I look at the cars. I look at the engine. Now I'm calculating that this thing will be really moving by the time it gets to me. I start to move toward the cut and realize by the time I run 25 feet it will have doubled its speed. Plus, there's no B-end facing me.

The engineer sees me stop, jumps down the steps from the 1500, (which is hard enough to do on a vertical ladder) and runs across the ballast, reaching the cars as they start to gently rock back and forth.

He grabs the ladder and drags himself onto a box, and manages to start winding on the handbrake, as they coast by me.

Now the conductor has run into the picture, hops up into the cab, as I stay put. My blood runs cold in the summer heat as I realize I may have to line this for a running couple.

"What's going on Rog? You got them?"

"Yeah, Bill hopped on the middle. . ."

And so ends my first exhilerating experience with my crew (not to be my last).Everyone breathes easier. No one says a word.

It turns out that the grade is a steady 0.5-1% in there all the way to Dover. It was about 8:00 in the morning with frequent commuter trains for the Midtown-Hoboken runs.

When the brakie let off the handbrake, he didn't realize it was bent. The wheel kept catching on the ribbed bulkhead. If the engineer hadn't caught it, we would have been playing catchup, not to mention clearing the main through to Morris Plains. . .

'Course, this was the same *conductor* (also road foreman) who was best buds with the GM, had run a few engines off the rails, and hit a series of hirail dumps in an unflagged section of track. And they ran 30-45 mph as "restricted speed" on a technicality in NORAC.

Needless to say, since I was a straight arrow (along with some other issues), I didn't last long . . . I can't tell you how many times it was a comedy of errors for me. Everytime something happened, it became my fault. And of course, I wasn't vested yet, so I couldn't breathe a word, crew loyalty and all that.

I won't mention the road, but things are probably safer and calmer now with the old owner out of the way . . .
  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: US
  • 13,488 posts
Posted by Mookie on Thursday, October 23, 2003 6:31 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by goboard

Let's see . . .

I have a bunch of minor stories, but here's one for starters.

I had just hired in with a freight railroad that used NJ transit back in the 90s. I was training in as a conductor. They ran a tight schedule between passenger trains, and were understandably slick with their moves. Maybe a little too slick.

So I'm getting my typical crew hazing on the first day, and we pull up to the branch junction at the westbound crossover. The crew drops off, and the engineer pulls ahead of the switch. We get permission from dispatch to line for the backing move, cross over, and shuffle into the eastbound branchline switch.

Since the conductor doesn't want to use the west lead of the wye (since it's blocked with other loads), we yank our fresh loads off the interchange to the main for a drop.

Now, up until this point in my railroad career I haven't much used a drop. I worked in a chemical plant, and that was a no-no. About the time I'm calculating the total moves in my head, we cut off, I get down at the branch switch to line the main, while the brakeman bleeds the air (and probably bottles the cut). Meanwhile, the *REAL* conductor is somewhere down on the siding, getting papers or something.

Our brakie was an older guy, but a real mushmouth. I have my radio turned up all the way trying to make out his phrases. Suddenly, I hear this:

"I've asdghr ghrfdklhkd !"

(What the heck?)

"ADSRIUYREG AHHHHH!!!"

(By now the engineer comes on.)

"What's that Rog?"

"I got aBAD werrtylon thebasdkend! I caafrfnthrdown!"

(The cut is coming toward me, steadily by now . . .)

"Oh, )(*&^! What's that?"

(About this time the cut is picking up some speed . . .)

"Where are you Joe, can you get it?"

I look at the cars. I look at the engine. Now I'm calculating that this thing will be really moving by the time it gets to me. I start to move toward the cut and realize by the time I run 25 feet it will have doubled its speed. Plus, there's no B-end facing me.

The engineer sees me stop, jumps down the steps from the 1500, (which is hard enough to do on a vertical ladder) and runs across the ballast, reaching the cars as they start to gently rock back and forth.

He grabs the ladder and drags himself onto a box, and manages to start winding on the handbrake, as they coast by me.

Now the conductor has run into the picture, hops up into the cab, as I stay put. My blood runs cold in the summer heat as I realize I may have to line this for a running couple.

"What's going on Rog? You got them?"

"Yeah, Bill hopped on the middle. . ."

And so ends my first exhilerating experience with my crew (not to be my last).Everyone breathes easier. No one says a word.

It turns out that the grade is a steady 0.5-1% in there all the way to Dover. It was about 8:00 in the morning with frequent commuter trains for the Midtown-Hoboken runs.

When the brakie let off the handbrake, he didn't realize it was bent. The wheel kept catching on the ribbed bulkhead. If the engineer hadn't caught it, we would have been playing catchup, not to mention clearing the main through to Morris Plains. . .

'Course, this was the same *conductor* (also road foreman) who was best buds with the GM, had run a few engines off the rails, and hit a series of hirail dumps in an unflagged section of track. And they ran 30-45 mph as "restricted speed" on a technicality in NORAC.

Needless to say, since I was a straight arrow (along with some other issues), I didn't last long . . . I can't tell you how many times it was a comedy of errors for me. Everytime something happened, it became my fault. And of course, I wasn't vested yet, so I couldn't breathe a word, crew loyalty and all that.

I won't mention the road, but things are probably safer and calmer now with the old owner out of the way . . .

I especially enjoyed the radio conversation. I have heard that "type" of conversation relayed by the old engineer more than once! He worked with both lanterns and radios over the years - neither one "talked" well in some people's hands!

Mookie

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: US
  • 106 posts
Posted by kwboehm on Thursday, October 23, 2003 9:41 AM
Hey Mook-
I was listening last night to the scanner and I heard the dispatcher going on about a "cluster" in your neck of the woods. Something about 2 trains going into Lincoln, and light power running to Havelock because the crossover job (whatever that was) "went on the ground", which sounds like an oops on their part. Did you hear or see anything to that effect?? I know there's a lot of ground to cover between the yard on the west side and Havelock, and I can't narrow it down any. Just curious to see if you knew anything about any possible mishaps in your area.
  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: US
  • 13,488 posts
Posted by Mookie on Thursday, October 23, 2003 10:09 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by kwboehm

Hey Mook-
I was listening last night to the scanner and I heard the dispatcher going on about a "cluster" in your neck of the woods. Something about 2 trains going into Lincoln, and light power running to Havelock because the crossover job (whatever that was) "went on the ground", which sounds like an oops on their part. Did you hear or see anything to that effect?? I know there's a lot of ground to cover between the yard on the west side and Havelock, and I can't narrow it down any. Just curious to see if you knew anything about any possible mishaps in your area.
I didn't hear anything on the radio this morning - will listen to local at 11 and see if they say something. My scanner is always on police and fire and they always do their best work - AFTER I go to sleep! I will check around and see what I can find. Thanx for the heads up.

Mook

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: MA
  • 562 posts
Posted by dmoore74 on Thursday, October 23, 2003 9:25 PM
We did have an interesting three way conversation several years ago. The specific town has been deliberately omitted.
Fire Dispatcher - "Dispatch to Station A, we have a brush fire down by the depot,
north side of the tracks."
5 minutes of silence.
RR Dispatcher - "Thank you 448 (Amtrak), we don't know these things unless they
tell us."
1 minute of silence.
Fire Dispatcher - "Dispatch to Engine 1, got Conrail on the phone. Says one of
their trains ran over your hose."

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