• Mount Washington Cog Railway

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

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  by steamer69
 
3rd Rail my friend,

I think your experiance was dependednt on your brakeman. They do ask for tips, and it used to be incorporated in the "summit" speach. Now, I agree with you that some of the brakemen were bad about it. I remember when I was training as a brakeman, one day I listened to a guy finish up his summit speach (after explaining how the brakes work by hand) and saying "just remember, your lives are in our hands and our tips are in yours!" I always rememberd the look on the passengers faces and decided that would not be the case with me. I always joked around with the croud on the way up the hill and used that time to "gauge" how the crowd was doing. If I had a good feeling I would incorporate my request for tax deductable donations to the "feed the traincrew fund" (***DISCLAIMER*** There is no such thing as the "Feed the Traincrew fund". It was a Joke I used to get people laughing). I would also make sure to stress that it was in no way obligitory and we would understand either way. I would keep the people happy coming down the hill as well, and never got mad or upset with them if I didn't get anything.
The reason for the brakeman standing right at the door is because that was procedure both at the base and at the summit. We were there to catch people "just in case" and help them on and off the coach. I can totally simpathise with your thoughts, but speaking from experiance, I had groups who would request me every year because of the way I conducted my trains. I made sure to take care of my passengers and my crew. To this day (as far as I know) I still hold the tip record on the mountain, and would go braking or firing again in a heartbeat......if the railroad hadn't a been ruined.....not I'm not talking about the switches, I'm talking about the infernal cumbustion taking over.
Don't be mad at all of the crew there, some of us did it in a way that supported us, and didn't leave our passengers feeling fleeced. Sometime if you want to hear my whole "speach" I still remember it.....7 seasons on the hill will do that for ya......

P.S. I never had one complaint or "bad taste" note the entire time I was there
  by Reader#108
 
I too have been on the Cog, I do not remember be solicited for tips, nor at 60 bucks a head would I have given one.....

I have also had the opportunity to do the shop tour there. The folks are very accessable and informative.

I was NOT part of any group, etc when I got my tour.

My son and I went over one day while I was camping, and asked the gent who was working on the steam that

had just arrived what we had to do to see the shop. The answer was....."Go down and knock on the door"

The folks there are pretty cool, but I find 60 a head to be quite excessive.
  by b&m 1566
 
Correction on my last post, it should've said "I didn't tip..." not the opposite. I'll tip restaurant employees and the ladies who cut my hair, but that's it.
  by djlong
 
At over $60 per, my wife and I thought it was an easy decision to spend $33 total for us to go up via the auto road.

It would have been $125 for us - and they'd want a tip?!?!?!?!?!
  by The EGE
 
I hike. 3 bucks for parking, and the best spots to photograph the trains.
  by MEC407
 
The cost is, without a doubt, the reason (the ONLY reason) I haven't ridden on the Cog. I have no problem with the diesels and frankly I'd kind of like to see them in person. But the ticket prices are just too high for me, especially if I wanted to bring someone with me (which I probably would). That person would most likely not be a railfan, so that makes the auto road an even better value in that context.

Are Cog conductors employees of the railway, or are they volunteers?
  by b&m 1566
 
I've always assumed they were employees.
If there is anything meaningful to this comment, I'll let you decide; during our tour the employees in the shop suspected the railway was breakin' even running steam. Since the owners are in this to make money they pushed for cheaper means to get people to the top, so income the biodiesels. Before we keep attacking the price tag, it would go a long ways to actually break down the cost (insurance, fuel, maintenance, etc).
  by MEC407
 
Just for the record: I'm not saying the cost is unfair or unreasonable -- I have no idea what their expenses are -- I'm just saying that it's out of my personal range of what I can afford to spend on an afternoon of entertainment for myself and a companion.

As far as tips are concerned, I'd be a lot more inclined to tip a volunteer than an employee. That said, I've been on other train rides that were operated by volunteers, and they never asked for tips, so I think it's a little off-putting (in my opinion) to be asked for tips by someone who is already being paid to be there. I assume these guys aren't working for minimum wage either.
  by steamer69
 
Brakeman (conductors) are employees of the railroad. And even though you would guess they are not working for minimum wage, I can tell you that when I was there I was not making much money. I started out under $8.00 an hour, and if I remember correctly by the time I left I was up to somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 an hour. The last few years I was there, tips made up almost half of my income.

(Disclaimer-I can not speak as to the way that things are run now, or how much brakeman are now paid. I only know what was going on when I was there, and can guess from experiance that not much has changed other than the motive power, and one less memebr of the crew.)
  by 3rdrail
 
Well Steamer, that being the case, we can assume that the pay is higher now, however the requests for tips remain. No matter what they are earning, that's that much more than any other conductor who is an unpaid volunteer in a train/trolley museum is making, correct ? They don't solicit tips. Personally, I feel that it is tres gouche to solicit tips in any venue, even a sign requesting it. If tipping is customary in a non-professional venue (doormen, barbers, busboys, pizza delivery, taxi drivers, etc.) I believe that still, it should not be solicited.
  by douellet
 
I have rode the Cog many times over the past 20 plus years, and yes they do make a pitch for gratuities. I can't say I liked it when the price of the fare was in the $50 range. At that price the owners should be able to pay their workers a good wage. I have not been on the Cog since they started running their cost saving diesels which I frankly am not a fan of.

I have been volunteering on the Downeast Scenic Railroad for the past few years and we make it a point to welcome all our passengers onto the train and to thank them for riding with us when they leave. We really appreciate their patronage. If you are visiting Downeast Maine stop and take a ride with us, a kind word, handshake, or smile makes our day!
  by Noel Weaver
 
douellet wrote:I have rode the Cog many times over the past 20 plus years, and yes they do make a pitch for gratuities. I can't say I liked it when the price of the fare was in the $50 range. At that price the owners should be able to pay their workers a good wage. I have not been on the Cog since they started running their cost saving diesels which I frankly am not a fan of.

I have been volunteering on the Downeast Scenic Railroad for the past few years and we make it a point to welcome all our passengers onto the train and to thank them for riding with us when they leave. We really appreciate their patronage. If you are visiting Downeast Maine stop and take a ride with us, a kind word, handshake, or smile makes our day!
I fully agree with this and I have a suggestion for the ownership/management of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, raise the ticket price for all tickets by a couple of dollars and give this entirely to the employees on the trains. Then get rid of the pitch for tips and adopt a strict policy of no tipping allowed.
Noel Weaver
Last edited by Noel Weaver on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by 3rdrail
 
Noel Weaver wrote: I fully agree with this and I have a suggestion for the ownership/management of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, raise the ticket price for all tickets by a couple of dollars and give this entirely to the employees on the trains. Then get ride of the pitch for tips and adopt a strict policy of no tipping allowed.
Noel Weaver
I have to strongly disagree with you there, Noel. At $62 a pop, I think that the Cog is making a profit on these runs. I do not see the need to raise the ticket price any further. How about doing the same as the rest of the world and just stop begging for tips ? The general non-buff family is the bread and butter of the Cog. If they raise the cost any further, they will just drive away most of the families who haven't already been driven off.
  by Noel Weaver
 
3rdrail wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote: I fully agree with this and I have a suggestion for the ownership/management of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, raise the ticket price for all tickets by a couple of dollars and give this entirely to the employees on the trains. Then get ride of the pitch for tips and adopt a strict policy of no tipping allowed.
Noel Weaver
I have to strongly disagree with you there, Noel. At $62 a pop, I think that the Cog is making a profit on these runs. I do not see the need to raise the ticket price any further. How about doing the same as the rest of the world and just stop begging for tips ? The general non-buff family is the bread and butter of the Cog. If they raise the cost any further, they will just drive away most of the families who haven't already been driven off.
You have a good point, the cost is already too high. Just give their employees a raise and GET RID OF THE TIPS.
Noel Weaver
  by CannaScrews
 
Noel Weaver wrote: OH YES, when you ride Cass you want to protect yourself from cinders and soot but the steam is something you won't ever forget.
Noel Weaver
Also - if you are riding up against the locomotive in the open car - BRING EAR PLUGS!

Your whole body vibrates- especially when the whistle is blown. It took a few hours to get back my hearing. Fortunately, no damage was done according to the audiologist.
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