• arguing on the radio?

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by UPRR engineer
jmp883 wrote: I also spent 1 year dispatching trains for NJT.

There is no excuse for losing your temper, talking about non-operational issues, or sounding less-than-professional on the air.... As a dispatcher you should be able to calmly, firmly, and politely put and end to those on-air incidents.
I doubt you had to deal with alot of things on the NJT that the big boys have to deal with. :-D The movie Pushing Tin, thats probably pretty close to how it is on the Overland Route, hectic. I hate train dispatchers with no personality, no since of humor, here you have to jump in there and have some fun with it, get your hands dirty. Train crews respond alot better that way. Hearing the urgency in there voice, MOST guys WILL give it there best to get the job done. Those standards you have for a dispatcher dont hold true for all dispatchers, a "The Whole Railroad Is Waiting On You" "I've Cleared You A Path, Lets Getter To Town" "Lets You Over There, So You Can Getter Done" "Are You SURE You Can Make It" "Get That One In, Send Ya Back Out For The Guy Behind You" Thats about as much of a pep talk as i need from a train dispatcher, i get goose bumps everytime. A good part of my job is getting things moving again when a melt down starts.

  by jmp883
UPRRengineer wrote:

I doubt you had to deal with alot of things on the NJT that the big boys have to deal with.
Granted, NJT is not as big as UP but we still had plenty to deal with. Hands down UP has the heavier train density throughout any given 24-hour time period, probably anywhere on UP. However NJT train density is compressed into the morning and evening rush hours. The desk I worked was known as the Mainline/Bergen County Line and consisted of about 90 miles of double-track railroad. During the morning rush hour (roughly 6am-9pm) we would have an average of 8-10 trains running eastbound at any given time, filled with several hundred passenges each. We did have a few westbounds, thank goodness for double-track. Obviously afternoon rush (roughly 5pm-8pm) ran opposite of the morning rush. If 1 train has a problem, though, it will ripple back through every train following it. That will often screw things up for hours. Due to train speeds and the distance between stations the dispatchers and crews have to be brief and to the point on the radio. You just don't have the time to be a 'personality' dispatcher under those kinds of conditions.

That being said.....I do agree with your post when you stated that dispatchers should show some personality. During the middays at NJT we were able to do that because the number of trains dropped tremendously. As a public safety dispatcher who works a permanent 6pm-6am shift I can say that I do use personality during the course of a shift. When it gets real busy, though, that goes out the window. The PD/FD/EMS units know we're busy and me and my partners are usually non-stop on the radio at those times (it's a big town). During 'routine' times of the overnight shifts we do have fun. I'll change the tone of my voice, depending on the call, and that will usually indicate the urgency, or idiocy, of the call. I'm also one who will openly admit on-air when I make a mistake or to thank a unit for going out of their way in their handling of a call.

I guess I should have included this in my original post: What it comes down to is being able to put it all in perspective. There is a time and place for everything. :-D

  by dummy
the CSX dispacher here in western ny gives the train crews hell about twice a week for one thing or another. its funny to listen to. in the end the dispacher always seems to win.

  by KFC Jones
I try to keep things light, but professional on the radio. The only time I had an argument was when a dispatcher refused to issue some nessicary paperwork for my train. (This was in LIRR's archaic Manual Block territory, and for those who might care, I needed an A card to represent opposing trains before I could reverse back to where it is I had come from.) The guy was adamant that I didn't need the paperwork, and wouldn't give it to me. We came to a standoff, he's not issuing, I'm not moving. That would have been a good one if anybody had a scanner!

Normally I hate cell-phones, but thank God we had one on the engine. We placed a call and finished up our argument privately.

  by 3rdrail
Radio communications style may differ depending on what the usage and location is. What the job is and what it will tolerate and/or appreciate differs. Probably the most important quality for both dispatchers and street/road personnel is to maintain respect. I've heard dispatchers who clearly know what they're doing and control the air. I've also heard dispatchers who don't, who think that they do in the face of outdoor people who do. As somebody commented on already, if it gets hot, you pick up the telephone instead of making yourself and your agency look foolish. I know of heated visits to the communications room which have taken place to settle a beef. Foolishness. Use the phone.