Otto Vondrak wrote:I talk about a president being ousted and Terry's worried what color the engines will be.
rrobserver1 wrote:So to circle back to the demise of Mr. McPherson, the old dinosaurs are getting passed up by the forward thinkers who are in for the long, long haul and see the feds investing in their corridors as the future to survive.
Are we calling McPherson a dinosaur? Are we also saying that FEC's survival hinges on the start of state-sponsored commuter services on its rails? From what I understood it was McPherson's clean-sweep of the "old thinking" that made FEC a lean machine attractive for acquisition. Or did I misunderstand what was posted above?
I really would not prefer to discuss events on the Florida East Coast from
back in the 1960's with the most bitter strike in the history of the railroad
industry and one that effectively busted all of the railroad unions.
I give that particular management a bit of credit for innovations that
eventually were adapted by the entire railroad industry. Cabooseless
freight trains, remote controlled drawbridges, short fast freight trains and
hourly pay instead of miles were some of the things that the Florida East
Coast pioneered in. They also did a number of things that the unions at
the time would not stand for and this promted a walkout that went on for
a long period of time. It stated because they would not go along with a
national settlement for the non-operating unions but spread to their entire
work force over a period of time.
I am not taking sides at this period in time over the dispute, both sides
were very stubborn in this thing and eventually this resulted in the strilke.
As a result, the management innovated in a number of ways, as I stated
above but also in a number of other ways. Three different crew districts
were combined into one and this resulted in operating crews running the
entire distance from Jacksonville to Miami/Hialeah. Today crew districts
of this distance are quite common in the industry. Combination of road
and yard work, they decided that road crews could do yard work and
yard crews could also do road work. Today on the FEC, the road freight
crews at least from what I understand do not do yard work but they
might do some work in connection with their own train, this is also
common in the entire industry. The railroad also mandated that road
crews will be paid by the hour instead of by the mile. This, too is quite
common today especially in passenger service where all Amtrak crews
and most commuter railroad crews are also paid by the mile. When I
worked for Metro-North, my pay skyrocked when we went from a mileage
rate to an hourly rate and I doubt that anybody with Metro-North would
today want to go back to a mileage rate under the national agreements
as they are presently structured. The FEC was also one of the earliest
users of concrete ties too.
This all occurred before the McPherson era although he pioneered the
use of scheduled operations and the swapping of crews on through trains
to get them back to their home terminal every trip, this is a wonderful
thing and has made their conditions much better than before.
The biggest drawback to through freight service for operating crews is the
uncertainty of when you will be called to go to work, how long you will be
laying over away from home and when you will finally get through.
Through the actions of Mr. McPherson, FEC crews generally do not have
to deal with this situation.
As I have stated previously, serveral times, I think the new managemeent
is smart enough to realize that they have a good operation with this
railroad and I do not think they will make any major changes.
I have seen Florida East Coast Railway freight operations a lot over the
past ten years here in Fort Lauderdale and I can easily state that their
operations are probably the best in the entire industry, barring none.
I think this railroad will continue to have a very bright future in coming
years. I see their freight trains many times in the course of a week.