I've posted elsewhere, about being in the siding at Haverstraw, pulled up tight to the signal, and dozing off, only to be startled awake, and seeing red, and dumping the train, even though it was stopped with 20 pounds on it. it also works in my favor on occasion. Sometimes you get a conductor, who has been out all day/nite, and comes to work prepared for a 10 hour long sleep session. Some guys even carried a blanket and inflatable pillow with them. Loads like them, are a drag to carry the whole trip. (getting caught short is one thing, coming to work every trip expecting to sleep, is another) I like these guys, after they have bobbed themselves into a deep sleep. Making a meet, I'll hold down the bail, and build up the pressure. Getting close, I'll scream out as loud as I can "Holy F&#@ING* SH^%, JUMP!!!" and as the person pops awake, I'll release the bail, and pretend to dump the air. The explosion of air, along with my scrambling in the seat, and seeing the headlight facing us, has given more than one sleepyhead a near heart attack!!
(whenever possible, I do lock the cabs doors ahead of time, "just in case")
On the Suzy-Q, we had a guy that just couldnt get the idea of switching, no matter how hard we tried to teach him. Daylight, second and nite crew all had their shots at him, but he never could pick it up. Working the night job as Little Ferry, when we pulled this guy, we'd give him a blank paper, and a switchlist holder, and tell him we needed a list of all the cars, in all of the storage tracks, in the lower end of the yard. The tracks there, were hidden in the "meadowlands" grass, that grew to well over 10 feet high. It was like elephant grass.(this is where stored, and cripple cars were kept, and they were the same cars, nite after nite, week after week....) Each track was clear for maybe 2 cars, then the wall of jungle grew right up, and even between the cars. It could take two hours, to negotiate the tracks and get the numbers. After a while, he caught on, and would be back pretty quick, probably copying the list, from the nite before. We kicked and humped cars at Little Ferry, and we would make the first move of the nite, switching Bulk/Mirrer. A single car, dropped down the lead, was always the plan. Having the lead lined for the swamp, in theory he could have traveled all the way to the tunnel at Weehawken. We'd get him on the car, tell him we needed room to drop more cars, and tell him after it stopped to tie it down and wait for the second car, tie it down too, then come meet us. Of course, there never was a second car, and we'd be kicking and humping the cars into all of the other tracks. Took him a while, ( like days) before he caught on to that one.....
On Conrail, We brought in a OJT train one day, with new CSX power on it. The locos had horn sequencer pedals, and of course, on my out the door, I gave the pedal a tap,and as we drove off in the Jitney, the 5 chimes were blaring away, in the EastBound Receiving Yard, at Oak Island. Same yard, different prank, was getting off a train, and securing the locos for the hostlers later. It was mid summer, and late in the morning, as I secured all of the windows, and turning on the strip heaters and blowers, to High settings. I ran into the 86A crew a few days later, and they were highly pissed about the sweltering deathtrap i left them. They claim it was so hot, it took several attempts to get the heaters shut off, and the windows opened. They also related how everything was too hot to touch in the cab, for a very long time. Me and Conlon were known as "The Heater Boys" after that one, even though he had no knowledge of the prank. (of course, they got me back. Several times in a pouring rain, I found the windows and doors propped open for me, by the 86A crew. Good times!!)
Another favorite of mine was to take my knife, and cut a tiny slit in the vinyl seat cover, on the conductors seat. Opening a water bottle, and pressing it tightly against the slit, a squeeze forced a decent amount of water, into the cushion. Tossing the bottle (or better yet, popping it over the deadmans whistle, if equipped) and wiping the seat dry, everything looked "normal" when the crew came on board. After everyone had arranged their gear, and we had made our plans for working, the guys would hit the seats. Depending who it was I wanted to get, after a few minutes, the victim would begin squirming in his seat, rubbing his legs, etc. Eventually, he would get up, and feel his butt, only to discover it was soaked!! You knew the conductor was gonna be front seat, or second unit, so it was easy to select the victim with a high degree of accuracy. They would feel a wet butt, but would see a dry seat. It was funnier, to see some guys sit back down, unaware of where the water came from. Eventually, my laughter would give me away, and I'd get hosed with a bottle, or cussed at. Good times!!