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Are railroaders railfans, too?
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   Author  Topic: Are railroaders railfans, too?  (Read 2354 times)
1oldgoat
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Posts: 23
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #40 on: Jun 1st, 2008, 11:09pm »
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We use "on the point" a lot on BNsf, but in the context of an employee protecting a shove.  However, in regards to terms....
 
a term used on one road or region of the country may differ elsewhere.  Out here (Wash. St.) you never hear of someone working 1st, 2nd or 3rd "trick".  They just call 'em shifts.  Same thing with calling train orders "flimsies".  A caboose on the Pennsy is always a "cabin", but nowhere else.   The Burlington called them "waycars" (and diesels were called "motors").  A Canadian caboose was always a "van".  But all these terms are history 'cause there ain't no more cabooses or train orders
 
Sorry to keep the topic off track.


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G23
TRAINing
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #41 on: Aug 15th, 2008, 12:05pm »
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I work for a class 1 railroad (NS) and I would consider myself a railfan.  As mentioned earlier, a lot of train crews think that railfans are dorks and nerds who have nothing better to do.  I know I work with some guys who are railfans, but I'd say there are some, like myself, who are "closet" railfans.  
 
I used to go out and take pictures of trains, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.  But, the railroad lifestyle is rough at times and often a number of railroad guys aren't in the best mood all the time, so for them, it's hard to imagine why someone would spend they're free time taking pictures of trains.  I've taken pictures while up on the train, but as I mentioned, I'm kind of a closet railfan.


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NS Conductor
Birdman
TRAINing
Posts: 6
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #42 on: Nov 11th, 2008, 1:10am »
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I am a railfan and when I admit it at work down at the yard, they call us "Foamers", but if you dont like what you do for work, you have issues. i like anything mechanical- I have worked on "planes, trains and automobiles" now and have a pretty varied resume'...

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Red_P
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Posts: 7
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #43 on: Nov 28th, 2008, 9:19am »
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I work for the NS also.  And one thing you dont want to do is let everybody out there know you are a Buff as we call them.
   Ive seen a lot of hard core buffs come out, but they usually dont last to long.
   As for me, im more into the modeling end of it. I also like the historical aspect of it, present day railroading doesnt do anything for me.  I dont go railfanning to me that to much like being at work.  And the only photos I take are for modeling, mostly detail shots.
P


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Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #44 on: Nov 28th, 2008, 9:08pm »
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Then those of you who, like me, work(ed) for NS understand the internal mentality of that company and how it is very easy to become very disillusioned with it---even HATE the politics, the favoritism, the paternalistic attitude of NS management.  Few rail buffs can fathom why many an employee stood with clinched fists debating whether to knock the living CRAP out of a Trainmaster or Superintendent that is screaming in your face about something you didn't do or could not help! I sure did!!!!!  They just can't IMAGINE that there's anything but strawberry shortcake, "high iron" dreams of steam engines and sugary work to be had on the railroad, right?    And after all, Trains and Railfan & Railroad magazines TOLD you how it was.  Yeah, I ran into some of those "foamers" out there that managed to get hired and just as quickly were sent packing!!!  
 
 
Gadfly


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NS_conductor
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Posts: 273
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #45 on: Dec 9th, 2008, 5:06am »
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Having worked for NS myself, you do get tired of seeing trains.I left not because of the lifestyle out there, I served in the military and after doing tours in Iraq which came up to 1 year and a half of not being able to go home.That lifestyle is just as tough as the railroad, maybe tougher at times.I left NS because of the Immaturity and the lack of professionalism.Well i should say, guys that didnt take their job seriously, and they let these guys operate trains.That was my reason for leaving.I mean these guys got qualified as conductors and engineers and most didnt take their job seriously.From engineers who acted like 2 year olds when hes 40.Come on, theres no place for that, and some of these crews wonder why management wants to crack down.Well my trainmaster was cool.But for me it wasnt the lifestyle, it was the lack of maturity of most of the people where I worked.Theres no room for immaturity out there.

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M.A. Payne
On cable TV they have a weather channel -- 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window.
Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #46 on: Dec 10th, 2008, 10:44pm »
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All jokes aside,  I think the militant "fan" will either get tired of it, become disillusioned because it wasn't what he thought it was, or get into trouble by being hard to train and not listening to instructions.  Now, with that said, sure, there are fans out there that work in the industry and they are able to separate the "fan" from the professional.  It IS true that there are a lot of interesting things to see and do and I have said many times that there is MUCH more to railroading than "choo choos, "high iron" (whatever the heck that is), and what color the engines are.  
While it is usually a high pressure job, there can be many interesting facets of the business than can be interesting---even fun at time.  Often, fans become TOO focused on ONE single thing (the choo choo and "engineer" thing) and MISS an opportunity to be a part of the industry.  I, for instance, mostly worked at a repair shop.  I started out as a lowly laborer and I got FILTHY, GREASY dirty.  I tore down spring frogs and loaded track material into gons and boxcars.  Then I became an Extra Clerk in the office after the track material yard went to Irondale, Al.  Then it was off to Southern's "railroad bootcamp" at McDonough, Ga where we had the absolutely WORST food EVER! It's funny now, but I kid you not; you could scrape FOOD off the tabletops with a putty knife!  And this was a well-known motel chain back in the 80's around Atlanta.  We made sure to pack that "pink stuff" everytime we reported to the Training Center. If you HAD scraped the the lumps and sticky "stuff" off the tables, they may have collapsed!  Then it was back to the Piedmont Division, North End where I marked up as an Extra Board Clerk and I WAS SCARED to death (for awhile) until I got used to the routine.  And it WAS routine.  What for a railfan would be just super-duper, hunky dory railroad "heaven", it was pretty tough what with the pressure, the fear of getting run off for a mistake, maybe
authorizing a "headlight" meet in dark territory & single track. It was running hell-for-leather up and down the "mole hole" up onto the passenger landing to set train orders---literally under the glaring headlight of the train that the dispatcher "forgot" to tell you was right on top of you.    It was arguing with an incoming conductor on a yard switcher because the first trick con forgot to "give up the block" before going home. "NO!!! I IKNOW HE WENT HOME, BUT YOU KNOW AS WELL AS I DO THAT I CANNOT LET YOU GO TO WORK UNTIL CONDUCTOR ***** OFFICIALLY GIVES UP THE BLOCK TO ME AND GIVES ME A TIME!"   (more argument from the conductor) "DURN IT!!!!!!! I SAID *NO*!!!!!!!!"
 
For the would-be employee and/or drooling fan, there were things to see like being at the shop during the NS steam program while they were turning 611 on the wye that ran behind our shops.  Or seeing the Master Mechanic, Steam, Mr Purdie come to get the shop to make something for 4501. Or just seeing the steam engines come by.  EVERYBODY was a fan then because, when that whistle began blowing, those old machinists and blacksmiths that used to work at Spencer would rush out to watch them by.    There were a few times when they actually used one of the steam locos to switch the yard.  And, finally,  we actually had a hand car hidden at our shops!  I think that is one of those things the "foamers" call a "track speeder" (?). But it was kept there and stayed inside the back shop on Track 9 and away from prying eyes who might want to swipe it!  We had it out in the yard a few times and ran it up and down the track inside the fence.  Awfully slippery thing, tho! Yes, much to see.  BUT.................................it all becomes (believe it or not) BORING after awhile because you SEE it everyday.  You are trudging the yard, riding an engine (I did my share of that while deadheading), you see train after train after train, machine after machine after machine until all you want to do is go home to your family.  And THAT is what most of us do!  While I spend time on here, it would be a rare thing to find ME near a railroad.  
 
G'day to all!
 
Gadfly
 


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railroad4life54
TRAINing
Posts: 2
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #47 on: Apr 2nd, 2013, 3:30pm »
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The railroad to me is almost like a work of art in a way.  If you think about all that goes into moving a train from point A to point B it's a highly complex choreographed move.  
 
In all my years I've come to find that railroading isn't for the timid or indifferent.  Railroading belongs to the dedicated and adventurous at heart.  It belongs to those who believe that with teamwork, any challenge can be overcome.


« Last Edit: Apr 2nd, 2013, 3:34pm by railroad4life54 » Logged
Lfire83
Historian
Posts: 1503
Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #48 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 6:49pm »
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Railroading belongs to the insane. On the class 1's you have the unions and extra boards that make life hell, and on the shortlines (my current situation) you have 100 things to do, time to do 30 things, and a budget to do 5 things. Working weekend after weekend, putting in 15+ hour days repairing washouts and derailments, managing production gangs and contractors, all while trying to inspect track and fix the basic issues like pull aparts, switch throw problems, rail defects, and replacing bolts. I put in 81 hours last week, missing out on nights out with the boys, called in to work on a day scheduled off missing out on a day out with the girlfriend, and being too tired when coming in after a 14 hour day to even down a beer.  
 
Foamers see the trains pass by and think its a glory job. While I am privy to see most of the interesting things that happen on the job, usually I'm busy doing something when a rare power lashup passes by and can't get the camera out. It's frustrating as a railfan to have a hobby that you can't enjoy.


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FRMRRC Director at Large
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Bamawoods
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #49 on: Jan 6th, 2015, 5:38am »
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Hi guys. Just joined and found this topic interesting, so this is my first post. I am a conductor for a class 1, and worked MW for 5 years at a class 3.  While I'm not sure if I qualify as a true rail fan I do and have always found the rail industry to be very fascinating. I am especially interested in the history of the older lines. I think a post above said it best. ( Sorry, forgot name of poster). When you work for a class 1, especially in transportation, you have very little time to spend with family and to take care of all those honey-do's. When your not at work the railroad tends to be the last thing on your mind.  
With that being said there are at least a hand full of co-workers that I have met since starting as a conductor about two years ago that are true rail fans. They are out there but most don't talk about it a whole lot. Hope I have not rambled to much in my first post. Thanks.


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George_Harris
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #50 on: Jan 6th, 2015, 6:22pm »
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First, if you ever worked for a railroad company or a construction company, you understand very quickly why their trade and craft unions are so strong.  The managements of either one act like an employee has been purchased rather than hired.  I worked right at a year for a class 1, now over 40 years ago and just under 2 years for a construction contractor.  In the first, being on a salary, in MOW, meant that you would be expected to work weekends from time to time, and half Saturdays, frequently a long half, normally.  In these bottom end salary jobs, you would have to do the odd things, like be in the yard as switchman during strike until things are settled down - with absolutely no training for it!.  With the construction company, as a bottom end engineer, I figured out that my salary by hours worked out to be under the union rate for common labor.  
 
However, I kept my eyes and ears open to absorb as much as possible, as a standard engineering education has almost nothing on railroads, and much of what it does have is either out of date or just plain wrong.  The other part of that is to have kept my mouth shut and let people wonder if I was ignorant instead of opening it and removing all doubt.
 
For much of my working life since I have been playing with alignments and track in both design and construction.  Much of that has been on transit systems with some minor detours into "real" railroads and a major detour into high speed railroads.  I like it and find it fascinating.  However, it has meant moving several times, as on the big stuff you go to the job, it does not come to you.
 
Yes, many of the guys that get into this stuff are "fans" to some more or less extent.  For example, three of us walking a partially completed section of track on the Taiwan High Speed Railway upon hearing a train on the exiting Taiwan Railway that was reasonably close by at that location immediately turn, look, take pictures, and spend a few minutes discussing what we saw.  
 
Being Obsessive-Compulsive is virtually a requirement.  In fact, a certain amount of OCD is virtually a requirement in order to be good at any form of engineering.  Back to the track stuff:  When you get into such stuff as the plusses and minuses of various shapes of rail sections, metallurgies, and such, spacing and type of rail support, you are generally off into a foreign land for most humanity.  
 
Talking about dealing with track and almost all other aspect of railroad operation, another thing that some people seem to not comprehend, much of the real work on the railroads is outdoors or going from in to out to in to out in all kinds of weather at all hours of the day and night.  Yes, you may have an office job that keeps you warm and dry most of the time after your early years of the full time hot-cold, wet-dry, day-night, but there will still be occasions that being out there to see things in the flesh is desirable or necessary for as long as you are working.  
 
In dealing with transit systems, when it involves track, it is not all hours of the day and night, it is in the middle of the night, period.  You do not get the luxury of being able to be on track during the normal operating day.  Sometimes these middle of the night excursions have to be followed up by being in the office for all or part of the following day working with what you found, frequently trying to figure out how to convey to management things they do not want to hear, and may not understand.
 
I do it by choice.  If you don't you won't stay with it.  In fact, that is a problem looming in the world of developing technology in track.  We are getting to be a bunch of old men.  Many of the younger engineers that come in and have an interest don't stay with it.  It is also interesting to see how many good sounding bad ideas tend to have about a generational cycle of recurrence in the field.  Worth noting that a few of these also turned out to truly be good ideas once the details that made them bad ideas were modified.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #51 on: Jan 7th, 2015, 7:53am »
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George - Lodge Members -  
 
Great detailed account of what happens in the trades. Reality check!...
 
BTW. Else, have noted the Russkies have it their heads they now want a High Speed "Trans Con" line, which (in part)  
would displace the much older Trans-Siberian. They thought they had a deal with the French, but that has gone nowhere.  
So, now this project will be in collaboration with the Chinese. Saw this report in last few days.
 
...........................Vern...........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #52 on: Jan 8th, 2015, 1:53pm »
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on Jan 7th, 2015, 7:53am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
George - Lodge Members -  
 
Great detailed account of what happens in the trades. Reality check!...
 
BTW. Else, have noted the Russkies have it their heads they now want a High Speed "Trans Con" line, which (in part)  
would displace the much older Trans-Siberian. They thought they had a deal with the French, but that has gone nowhere.  
So, now this project will be in collaboration with the Chinese. Saw this report in last few days.
 
...........................Vern...........................

 
Given the way they (don't) maintain their airplanes, i can see how they might think a high-speed rail link would be useful for shuffling people around. Given the way they will (probably) not maintain the new rail line, i doubt it will be high-speed for long. Likely to be sorry they decided to deal with the ChiComs, too. Probably do better to cut a deal with the ChiNats on Formosa/Taiwan - George could tell them about those folks, i expect.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Are railroaders railfans, too?
 
« Reply #53 on: Jan 8th, 2015, 3:10pm »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -  
 
Can't recall the actual "source" of the report. May have appeared as a headline item on one of the popular sites, which  
carries all sorts of miscellany. Not in latest Trains Magazine...
 
In any event, looked at it. Not especially impressed with declared objectives. Looked to this writer the Russkies would  
be getting an approximation of what we knew how to do here circa 1935? Now the Statute Of Limitations has tolled long  
past, no harm done that some of us may know how fast a number of lines ran the Mail and Passenger, decades past.  
Somehow, the ICC Field people overlooked much of it as, "...The Mail Must Go Through!...".
 
Colleague George has his own experience and beliefs about numerous 'off shore' suppliers. Some are real comedians?
 
.............................Vern..............................


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