Jtgshu wrote: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!!!!
With respect to this, much of what you post on these forums I agree with
but on the subject of others running a train or engine, I DO NOT.
On almost every railroad, a conductor or even a trainperson for that
matter has an opportunity to either cross craft to engineer or take a
promotion depending on agreements.
On many of the freight railroads as was pointed out, a recently hired
conductor has no other choice, he/she must go to engineer's school as
their time comes in seniority order.
Other than the examples mentioned above, I believe in total separation of
the two crafts. I did not and would not want to have to deal with the
public any more than I did in passenger service and I certainally would not
want to handle the company's money under any circumstances.
It seems to me that Metro-North expressed an interest in sending engineers to "revenue class" in case of shortages of train people. I do not
recall ANY engineer showing interest.
In most cases, train people are train people because they would prefer for
one reason or another to be that and engineers are engineers because
they too prefer to be engineers.
God forbit, a conductor or other un-licensed person operating a locomotive
or train were to be involved in an accident of any kind, the lawsuits would
fly all over the place and the consequences could change one's life for all
There is a major amount of responsibility in all positions on a train whether they handle locomotives, trains,hand signals, doors, money or whatever and I personally do not think they should be mixed on any of the major railroads. Small railroads and short lines are probably a different story but CSX, NS and Conrail did not and do not fit that situation.