I will tell you a situation that happened to me years ago on the Harlem.
It was the time when the third rail had just been put officially into service
between North White Plains and Brewster and I asked and got paid to
qualify on that territory as there were going to be some afternoon jobs on
the new crew sheet that spring out of New York that were going to include
Brewster as part of or all of the run.
I took the written examination as required on a Thursday or Friday or
whatever and on the Saturday before the time change, I went to North
White where there were going to do a simulation of a weekday of full
service to fully test the third rail, substations and all of the other stuff that
goes into a 600 volt third rail electrification. Spent the day running trains
between Brewster North and North White Plains and at the end of that
day, was fully qualified to run to Brewster by the Road Foreman.
The next day, Sunday, I had picked a job that consisted of one round trip
from GCT to Brewster in the afternoon rush hour. Saturday and Sunday
were my days off.
That Sunday morning, I got a call from the crew dispatcher to work a job
on the Harlem which included a round trip to Brewster followed by a round
trip to North White Plains. The particular train that I had to run to Brewster was scheduled to stop at Mount Pleasant and in my qualifying
trips, I had never made the stop in either direction, very few trains made
that stop and none in the rush hour.
I left Valhalla with two FL-9's and about five old rattle box coaches with
what was less than ideal brakes at the time. I almost forgot about the
stop even though I had the schedule written down in front of me on a card
for easy reference. I came barralleling up and had to wind the brake on
kind of hard and just stop, then let the crew spot the one door on a high
level platform that held one door.
We stopped at that station with the door they were using on that platform
and the crew must have thought these New Haven guys are something
else. Just an accident, believe me.
Never could do it again, and never ever had to with standard equipment,
next time I covered that Sunday job up there, everything on weekends
was MU and almost everything on weekdays was too.
I did have 979 and 990 as a regular job for several months and 979 was
standard equipment for quite a while as there was still not enough M-3's
to cover everything.
Don't think the commuters were sorry to see the diesel equipment
replaced by M-1's and M-3's though, the diesel trains toward the end were
quite bad, the AC rarely worked, the cars stunk, the toilets did not work,
there was no water in them, the batteries were weak and sometimes the
lights would not work when the train stopped moving and often they had
to endure smoke in the tunnel too as most of the FL-9's did not work on
electric. Sometimes we did not even get FL-9's, they were using Amtrak
E-8's and the GE B-23-7's on those trains sometimes too.
This was the summer of 1984, the last year that I ran FL-9's on a regular
basis although I still ran them some after that.