Im all for the licencing and formal training of engineers as we have it today, and I don't have a problem getting random drug tested (happens quite frequently to me actually, compared to others at my RR - usually at least once a year, sometimes twice)
However, I think there should be a little more training with conductors in the act of running trains, and the engineer's position. At NJT, an engineer can be a conductor, but a conductor can't act as an engineer (in emergency situations). I think there should be a brief course on teh basics of handling the train for the conductor, so if something were to happen to the engineer, or the engineer got sick or a significant reverse move had to be made, the conductor could just take over the controls adn actually sort of be able to run the train in a decent manner. Although I didn't work for the railroad before teh Chase wreck, Ive been told many stories, and in those times, something like the above would happen, becuase there wouldn't be the fear of major reprocussions, and the crew did what htey had to do to get the train from A to B, adn no "licencing" and "unauthorized running of the train" took place. Think about how many FRA violations that would be today!!!!
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.