• Fred Frailey (Trains Mag): Dave Fink the elder anecdotes

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by NRGeep
"Staying power alone does not prove much." Old Head stated in comments section after Frailey piece. I think he is also on to something with Fink Sr being a product of the Peter Principle in securing the GTI position.

Defered maintenance of ROW's and equipment, losing customers like Erving Paper etc, does not seem a model of efficiently running a railroad.
  by jaymac
Almost nostalgic!
No reckoning of the upended lives, curtailed careers, lost customers, or other impacts of essentially a vanity operation. I hope the Fink 1.0 era is taught as a what-not-to-do in B-schools throughout the land.
  by Mikejf
Can you imagine pulling the fire alarm stunt now? What a great way to do accountability, just as long as it wasn't January.
  by NRGeep
Mikejf wrote:Can you imagine pulling the fire alarm stunt now? What a great way to do accountability, just as long as it wasn't January.
Certainly a unique approach to eliminate dead wood.
Showboating not withstanding, mostly downhill from there.
  by Engineer Spike
I really think that Freddy F did some real hard posterior kissing to get the Fink interview for Trains. Some of the things Fink was quoted on seem strange. Fink was quoted as saying that he got the unions flat footed with the leases to ST. Didn’t the arbitrator rule that it was invalid, and a return to old contracts was required?

One other point was saying that 10-25 mph was good enough. I know that track maintenance is expensive, but how expensive is it when crew costs, car hire, and locomotive utilization far exceed what they should?
  by newpylong
The Fink Sr/Culliford (and apparently Fink Jr to a certain extent) assessment that 10-25 MPH is "good enough" is a deviation from operating norms with other US railroads - including those of similar size and revenue models.

I am currently on the NS Q2 Earnings Calls (as a shareholder) and they repeatedly have harped on increased Transportation costs due to decreased velocity throughout the system and a big goal for Q3 2018 and beyond. Having been privy to PAR's livery costs for crews in the past, I can say the amount of money they spend on this is astronomical. I cannot see how this, decreased service, lost revenue, and increased dwell time does not exceed the costs of increased velocity.
  by Engineer Spike
Exactly! The use of a locomotive, and crew for 2 days to reach Rigby, from Mechanicville, when B&M did it in a 12 hour 1 crew shift is rediculous. Never mind that car hire must be alarmingly high too.

Out here in NY, we used the same cab company out of Schenectady. The manager told me that he had cut Guilford off until a check was received. Guilford had gotten several months, and thousands of dollars in arrears. If the velocity was where it been under Spencer Miller and Alan Dustin, the crew and locomotive fleet could be dramatically reduced.
  by MEC407
You can take the man out of Penn Central, but you can't take Penn Central out of the man.
  by Tom M
They used to use a cab service based in Rochester, NH. The manager there told me how he'd periodically drive down to Billerica to demand payment.
  by newpylong
I don't think its the case now that the pony is footing some of the costs on PAS but we (as East Deerfield crews) would sometimes not know what hotel we were going to at our away from home terminals (either New York or Lowell area). This was because they would get so far behind on bills the hotels would shut the railroad down. Sometimes we would have our return trip cancelled and be cabbed home because no one would give them a room.
  by twropr
When the late Alan Dustin spoke at an NHRS banquet circa 1982 he told us "the new GP40-2s are literally pulling the railroad out of bankruptcy." Indeed the Mechanicville-Rigby train (?NE 84) was making the run with a single crew in about 8 hours. When Fink took over the following year the thru train was quickly abolished and Lawrence was quickly set up as a crew change point, with Lawrence turn crews handling the trains east to Rigby. The next destructive action Fink took was to close the yard at Mechanicville, switching everything at East Deerfield (the original black hole). Once this began the railroad quickly deteriorated due to crew outlawing account of the delays at E Deerfield. The spring 1986 Maine Central BWME strike, which effectively shut down the B&M and D&H also due to the crews honoring the picket lines, and the 1987 strike really put the nails in the coffin. Fink thought he could run the railroads with non-agreement personnel and scabs (due to the steel mills having shut down in Pittsburgh he brought in busloads of former mill railroaders); however, the service got so bad that the big shippers pressured the politicians to end the strikes.
  by Engineer Spike
Not to be picky, but Alan Dustin is still with us, in fact just turned 90 a few months ago. He sometimes posts on the B&M FB group.
  by GP40MC1118
The main reason the strike ended was we finally spread it to Conrail. Once that happened, Reagan
was forced to act. Guilford had no intention of settling without 100% capitulation of its workforce.