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 Railroad Train Crews: Crew members' positions?
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sootower

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  8:20:48 PM  Show Profile
In the days(diesel era) of six-man train crews, what were their positions/titles?

Engineer, Fireman, Headend Brakeman; Conductor, Rear Brakeman, ______ ?

Country: USA | Posts: 271

lock4244

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  8:27:14 PM  Show Profile
Probably another brakeman.

Mike LockWood (MLW)

Atlas, Please Release a CN GP40-2L(W) in N! To do one in HO and not N is just mean

My Railroad Photography
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And some more here
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Country: South Sandwich Islands | Posts: 1646 Go to Top of Page

Dave Schneider

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  8:37:08 PM  Show Profile
It may depend upon the state, but I know that some full-crew states specified a flagman in addition to the five positions of engineer, fireman, conductor and 2 brakeman. I have seen reference to this only being applied to trains of 70 cars or larger. Those smaller than 70 cars only had one brakeman.

Best wishes, Dave



Edited by - Dave Schneider on 2011 March 08 8:46:42 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 286 Go to Top of Page

C855B

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  8:40:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit C855B's Homepage
Huh? Six? Maybe it's "Designated Featherbedder".

Sounds like work rules I'm not familiar with. At SP "back in the day", we had five - 3 in front and 2 in back.



Country: | Posts: 1681 Go to Top of Page

rkbufkin

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  9:12:45 PM  Show Profile
Do know that New York required an extra man on trains. I actually think that the 2 man crews of today are too small. Three would be more appropriate especially if you have to walk the length of your train and back due to going into emergency or other reasons.


Country: USA | Posts: 847 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2011 March 08 :  9:27:45 PM  Show Profile
The 6 man crew was as follows:
Engineer
Fireman
Head Brakeman
Rear Brakeman
Flag man
Conductor.

With the coming of CTC and radios the flagman's job was eliminated and the crew was downsized to 5 men..Now a 25 or more car local a third brakeman was added due to the extra work so,some locals could have a 7 man crew including the flagman or 6 men after the flagman was eliminated.

It took several years to eliminate the fireman's job after the demised of the steam locomotive..



Larry
Summerset Ry.

Edited by - Brakie on 2011 March 08 9:28:25 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

nkalanaga

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  01:53:23 AM  Show Profile
And then some roads had to bring them back as "engineer trainees" because they ran out of engineers! A diesel fireman didn't have to shovel coal, but that was still where new engineers started...

N. Kalanaga
Be well.

Country: USA | Posts: 4452 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  06:49:29 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by nkalanaga

And then some roads had to bring them back as "engineer trainees" because they ran out of engineers! A diesel fireman didn't have to shovel coal, but that was still where new engineers started...



Did you know a lot of firemen was qualified engineers but,remained fireman(a fixture fireman in old railroad speak) because of seniority and they could hold down(old railroad speak) regular runs?

Now,if there was a shortage of "rested" engineers they could protect(old railroad union speak) the engineer job by being on the extra call sheet.This is how they stayed qualified engineers..Then they bumped younger engineers with less seniority when the fireman's job was eliminated.

Enter the ugly times..

Now those ex passenger engineers that didn't sign up for Amtrak entered the freight pool with their seniority and "bumped" engineers with less seniority along with some of the recent change over firemen..

A lot of these ex passenger engineers and ex firemen was nearing retirement and could have taken a early retirement but,decided to stay and retire later and when they did there was a shortage of engineers on some divisions..

Did you know a lot of old brakeman was qualified conductors but,remain brakemen because of their seniority they could hold down permanent jobs and runs?

It was almost impossible for a brakeman with little seniority to get assign to a permanent job or run since these jobs went up for bids.

There was a lesson here for young brakemen..

When older brakemen didn't bid on a job you could bet your last dollar it was a crap job that nobody wanted.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

locomcf

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  07:03:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit locomcf's Homepage
Brakie - thanks for that information, which I found to be both interesting and helpful.

I once read an account of a trip on the AT&SF written by a railroader who described his job as "swing brakeman". I assume that this meant third brakeman on the train, but I can't say that for certain. Do you know what it meant?

Regards,
Ron



Country: Australia | Posts: 326 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  08:01:39 AM  Show Profile
A "swing brakeman" was the third brakeman added to a extra long local or a division transfer train that had lots of enroute switching at outlaying yards in small cities or towns that assigned local crew(s).

These trains was also known as a "trash run" because of the amount of switching involved and usually had older (read well worn) locomotives in the unit consist..I knew a PRR engineer that marked off because the trash train he would have been called would have had RS11s..

This was a family affair-his brother-in-law called and advised him of what the planned assigned locomotives would be according to the locomotive assignment sheet.

I heard this story first hand You see those two jaspers was my uncles and Uncle George hated Alcos more then he did a Ford.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Edited by - Brakie on 2011 March 09 08:03:36 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

basementdweller

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  08:30:46 AM  Show Profile
quote:
I actually think that the 2 man crews of today are too small. Three would be more appropriate especially if you have to walk the length of your train and back due to going into emergency or other reasons.


I can appreciate there must be several legitimate reasons to show the need for a third crew member but I am curious how a second man walking the length of the train would help. Would having two people walking the length of the train that has gone into emergency complete the task any quicker? I am sure having two people to correct the problem would be safer and quicker.

Another question I have is why was there a need for several brakemen? and what has technology improved to eliminate these positions?


It's all scenery.

Country: USA | Posts: 2672 Go to Top of Page

FrankCampagna

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  10:00:33 AM  Show Profile
Full crew laws were instigated by the railroads. This was done to keep the size of crews from being a continual sticking point in negotiations with unions. At the time these laws were instituted, hand brakes were used often. In this case, sometimes the more the merrier. After the technology changed, (dynamic brakes, for instance), railroads found themselves in a trap of their own making.

Frank



Country: USA | Posts: 1027 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  10:10:15 AM  Show Profile
Another question I have is why was there a need for several brakemen? and what has technology improved to eliminate these positions?

---------------------
Simply put 2 brakeman can get the job done faster then a single brakeman plus you had another man to relay your hand signals to the engineer.Take all three (both brakeman and conductor) and you had a very efficent crew that could get the work done.Plus you had extra eyes covering your back.

It was not unusual for a heads up crew to flat switch 800-900 cars in a 8 hour shift.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  10:24:33 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by FrankCampagna

Full crew laws were instigated by the railroads. This was done to keep the size of crews from being a continual sticking point in negotiations with unions. At the time these laws were instituted, hand brakes were used often. In this case, sometimes the more the merrier. After the technology changed, (dynamic brakes, for instance), railroads found themselves in a trap of their own making.

Frank



Frank,With the coming of the air brake railroads had no problems cutting the number of brakeman on a train.The ideal crew was always 5 men with extra brakeman to man the brake wheels.

Then the bottom line started to mean more then moving freight in a efficient manner and the railroad kept cutting the crew size and today they are targeting the yard engineer and maybe the road conductor in the near future.

Don't be surprise to see computer controlled trains that will have computer coupling and uncoupling in the future as railroads continue their quest to eliminate train crews.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

rkbufkin

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  11:35:57 AM  Show Profile
It scares me to think of unmanned trains. What happens if you derail, brake an airhost or coupler, etc. No one around to fix things. Beside that, just what you need if more people out of work gett unemployment or welfare.



Country: USA | Posts: 847 Go to Top of Page

nkalanaga

Posted - 2011 March 09 :  7:07:14 PM  Show Profile
Oh yes, seniority was the big catch on many roads.

BasementDweller: Today you're mostly right, with the entire crew on the front. When trains had cabooses the second brakeman would be back there, and there'd be one walking from each end, or one to flag while the other walks. Today, if the engineer is walking the train, and the conductor flagging, who's watching the engine? And if it's single track, who's flagging the other end of the train?


N. Kalanaga
Be well.

Country: USA | Posts: 4452 Go to Top of Page
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