HoggerKen wrote:UP does not require it thank God. I have seen kids who came out of these schools, and they had to be re-taught how to do things properly.
They could not read a switch list.
They could not tell the difference between a 39 foot cement car, and a 55 foot grain hopper. They look so alike. One has cement all over it, the other stinks of rotting grain.
They had no idea what parts of the cars were what. Tell one to see if a car is cut out or not. Where the retainer is. If the piston is in or out. Good luck.
They had no idea how to ride a locomotive when making a move. Most always ride the wrong side, or stand on the top platform where as an engineer, you cannot see them.
They carried their lanterns like a purse. God forbid they had to stop a move.
They could not follow instructions as given. If I tell a brakeman to wait by a switch, a very simple task, I expect they are there until I tell them otherwise. When I tell them to pull two cars, and shove them in the clear on another track, I expect it done. Without having to repeat myself three times.
These were kids after three or four months of actually being on the job after their schooling. I could understand it if they were fresh to the industry.
And the biggest gripe. The never listen to those who have been around 40 years doing this job because they had "an education". Their favorite words are.... "I Know". Most of them are gone now because of rules violations or injuries, or quit because they got forced to the other side of the state to work. Welcome to the realities of railroading!
And they paid for this "education"? Stick to hiring out at a railroad that pays you to learn how it is actually done. It is much safer in the long run.
Thank you for the great "what not to do tips"! I will make sure I listen the those with 40 years experience and avoid the words "I know" even if I really do know and ask questions if I don't know!!!
However, I still think my education will be greatly beneficial to me and the railway that hires me! Perhaps those "kids" either had a bad school or they were just bad students!
I was taught how to read a switch list in my switching and marshalling class and know where to find which track the cars are on, and which order they will or should be on the track, the car numbers, types, loads or emptys, bad orders, commodities, dangerous goods, tons and ft. I don't think I will forget this once I get on with a railway - it was pretty easy to figure out.
I can recognize and know the difference between cement cars, grain hooper, flat cars, bulk head flat cars, box cars......
As for retainer valves, cutout valves and pistons, well I haven't taken the airbrake class yet, but I can tell if the piston is extended or not on both truck mounted and foundation type brakes. If you can see the shiny metal - then the piston is extended and the brakes are most likely applied - unless there is a problem with the brake rigging or brake shoes. As for the retainer - the normal position is straight down (direct exhaust postion). The cutout valve should be straight down position unless you want to cutout a car due to brake problems . I also know these valves can be located in diferent places on different cars so it may take someone new a while to figure out the locations on all the cars.
As for riding a locomotive..... my school does not have one.. so I have not practiced on one or been taught this skill but I assume the same rules apply as riding a car. Always ride in the stirrup (or bottom rung) of the side ladder on the right hand side - same side as the Engr. I am sure I will learn this when we do our field labs - if not I will be sure to ask!!!!
I would love to hear more of your gripes - It will help me learn and become a better railroader once hired!!!