• Who Is The Boss On A Train?

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by UPRR engineer
I moved this talk me and Golden Arm were having to here, we were talking it away from where it should have been discussed. :wink:

Heres the link were we left off. http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 785#234785

Im under the impression its the conductor, then the brakeman, and in last place is the engineer.
Last edited by UPRR engineer on Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by DutchRailnut
On the train yes, but from engine knuckle on rear of locomotivesto front of locomotives, Im in charge.
He can ask me to move, but I dont have too.
He can order me around, but I decide how much weight his orders carry, if he asks I may respond better ;-)

I guess UPRR spends more time on the "wrong" side of the cab, than the right side. :-D Imagine thinking orders are taken from a brakeman. Unless we are switching cars, building the train, etc., the ENGR/CNDR carry almost equal weight. I, however, run the TRAIN, not the engines. It's all me, with no help, from the wrong side of the cab. I can get my own orders, copy my own warrant, throw my own switch, if needed. The other guy? He can get orders, copy warrants, throw switches, and THAT'S ALL. He can't run, not even move the train. I don't need his permission. All I need, is Authority to occupy the main track, a proceed indication, either wayside, cab or verbal, and the items I need to legally work. I have, and will (unfortunately) again be asked/ordered to run the train by myself, sans conductor. No pick-ups or set-outs, and no switches to be thrown, is all it takes. If "HE" was so almighty, and important, why wasn't he on the train with me? Is it that the carrier knows I am quite capable of working without him? (even if he is a complete, and total "load", I still prefer to have him over there, sleeping the night away, while I am awake and working) Safety would seem to dictate his need to be on board, but the carrier understands he is "dead weight", so to speak. I wouldn't give up the second guy, for any amount of money, or reward. Not the same sentiments, from the "other" side of the cab, though :( UPRR is entitled to his opinion, and so am I. Too bad he has been "tainted" by the BS the carrier seems to relish serving up, to those newer guys, on the job. Regards :wink:
  by TB Diamond
On BNSF the operating rules stated that the engineer and the conductor were jointly responsible for the operation of the train. Maybe that has changed in the past four years? By the time I retired many of the conductors were dual qualified. However, the duties of the conductor and the engineer were very well defined. I ran the engine, he or she ran the train. Out on the road, by yourselves, a measure of diplomacy was normally practiced. Of course, there are always exceptions. Prior to P.E.B. 219 I got into a few disagreements with brakepersons and cannot recall loosing a one. During my entire career this type of situation only rarely ocurred, however.

  by GN 599
There are alot of conductors that do good work and the job thats supposed to be done. When I have my hands full with a 12,000 ton train I dont need to be worrying about copying a warrant or filling out a signal awareness form. I think there are alot of folks who make being conductors and brakemen viable jobs. They take care of the train and I take care of the engines and go, stop and backup when they tell me too. Its all about respect. If a guy does a good job then I go by the old conductor is the boss rule because he deserves it. Now a guy who is always asleep then thats a whole other story.

  by Engineer James
I always thoguht it was the Conductor, then The Engineer, then the Brakeman. Atleast thats how it was desccribed to me by my late grandfather. (Engineer for NYC/PC/CR, at Livernois Yard, in Detroit, MI)

  by charlie6017
But going by the posts..........and this happens in all professions, some people just don't do their jobs correctly. This can be due to laziness or imcompetence or what have you. Then others have to pick up the slack. In Golden Arm's case, you have a seasoned pro who really may not need any help in many situations. It probably helps to have the same engineer and conductor team which may only happen in cases of having a lotta whiskers. That's where each may know what the other is thinking by having experience on the road and with working together often. I'm sure it makes a less stressful trip. If I'm a newbie conductor, I would find it hard to tell a 25 year engineer "what to do."

  by roadster
As the engineer I respond to directions for movement from the conductor. They are in charge of the train, responsible for the consist and placement of the cars within the train. I am responsible for the locomotives in my charge and their safe operation and reg.s compliance. The brakeman operates under authority if the conductor. Both conductors and engineers share responsibility for the safe operation of the entire train and have the authority to stop the train if the other is operating unsafely. With most rains operating with just the 2 crew members it pretty much a shared responsibility. Thats why we have job briefings to discuss the work and how we are going to operate, if the situation changes or one operates differently the briefed then everything stops till we have another briefing to get on the same page again

  by 8th notch EMD
I cant believe this is even a topic. I have joked about this with oldheads at work but never in a serious discussion. Real railroaders just do their job leave it at that and go home. EVERY road train should have two people on it, maybe I'm lucky but we dont have any dead weight conductors in our pool, they know their job and do it well. If a conductor does their job well it makes my job a lot easier, and SAFER for all involved. I think this was just started to get the ranks pissed of at each other.

  by UPRR engineer
First off, this wasnt started to upset the ranks.

Everyones posts was excellent. LOL i have to let everything soak in that has been said here so i can come back with a good post.

Lets try to keep this friendly also, id rather talk then yell.

  by UPRR engineer
GOLDEN-ARM wrote:I guess UPRR spends more time on the "wrong" side of the cab, than the right side. :-D Imagine thinking orders are taken from a brakeman.
Too bad he has been "tainted" by the BS the carrier seems to relish serving up, to those newer guys, on the job. Regards :wink:
Who spends more time on the wrong side of the cab? :-D Your the one playing both jobs my friend. :wink:

I know where your coming from, i work around guys like you, and ive been there brakeman and there conductor a time or two. Here on the Old UP there is a clear line in whats expected of the conductor, brakeman and engineer. You work in a different environment i guess where hogs are asked to pick up the slack and its considered ok to put your nose in the conductors matters. Around here that doesnt go over too good. Ive ripped on a number of engineers when i worked as yard foreman and as a conductor who thought they were gonna decide. (Let the games begin, i use to say) Thats when it turns into a power stuggle, and thats no way to work. Working with, and around a "hoghead switchman" sucks. Even though i dont care for the unions, these jobs are union jobs, and crossing crafts is bad news.

  by cifn2
so are most companys carrying a 3 man crew? Engineer, Conducator and Brakeman?

  by UPRR engineer
Well here we do sense theres soo much local work to be done. Sometimes they call a "conductor only" crew when they are pretty sure they're only gonna go out and dogcatch straight run threw trains. About 95% of the time its a three man crew on this district. I do see three man crews still on mainline trains that have work en route. The brakemans job is still alive and well on some threw freight.

Maybe for that reason, here the pecking order is still the same as it was years ago, two guys in train service on the crew and one in engine service.

  by 8th notch EMD
I sure am glad my ego is not so out of control that I have to feel in charge of a train. I am also glad I dont have to work with some of the people posting on here. I bet they are a real prize to work with. Those that are good at something dont have to pat themselves on the back continuosly like a certain person here do so often. Do your job, make sure everyone goes home the same way they came and call it a day. We are all in charge of the train just at different times of the day depending on what is being done, nuff said.
  by TB Diamond
An example of one of the disagreements I had with a brakeperson: Stopped at red absolute. Dispatcher came on and instructed us to take the power switch on hand and line it for our route. Now, there is a rule on how to do this correctly. The rule is not subject to personal interpretation (nor are any others). This particular brakeman thought otherwise and did not properly perform the task. I so informed him when he was back in the cab. He refused to do the job as called for in the rule book. No big deal. The conductor was in the second unit so I relayed the situation to him and requested that he instruct the brakeman on the proper procedure. He did so. The switch taken on hand and lined properly, we proceeded down the road at restricted speed to the next signal. Was I being an ego maniac? Think what you will, but had I proceeded there was a definite danger that the train would have wound up on the ground.