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I'd  like to convey a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to Tom. He is retiring as an engineer with the New Jersey Transit railroad, with today being his last day. Well done, Tom!

Since a boy, I have always looked up to locomotive engineers and still do in my mid-seventies. What an interesting railroading career he has to look back on and imagine the stories he could tell. Tom is also a master modeler and has shown us time and again his talent and expertise in assembling/modifying, refinishing, and lettering locomotives and freight cars. If I had a fraction of his talent, I'd be happy. We are fortunate to have him as a member here and for the contributions he has made and continues to make on this forum.

So nice work, Tom, and may you enjoy a happy and satisfying retirement.

Last edited by Yellowstone Special
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@Yellowstone Special, Vern, this is a great send off to a great model railroader, a master painter of freight cars and locomotives, all Awesome. I do not personally know Tom Kreiglok, but seeing his workmanship on these OGR Forum pages is always Eye Candy, I envy his talent. Therefore, we wish you many happy years in retirement. Now the fun begins. Happy Railroading Everyone

Tom the retiree:

Congratulations on your retirement! Enjoy!

It took me but a few weeks to LOVE being retired!

Tom aka "Number 90" opined...

"Setting the air and climbing down from the locomotive for the last time is kind of sobering, but you are fortunate in that you have something to do.  Congratulations on your last run, and best wishes for a great life in retirement."

I thought I would be dancing for joy as I strolled away from the locomotive for the last time. (Given the rapid changes that were taking place within the industry, I had really begun to look forward to retirement that last year or so.)

BUT... when I started gathering up my stuff while still in the cab... it all hit me: That was the last train I will ever handle. In fact, a lot of things that I loved about railroading... would no longer be experienced first hand.

That was indeed sobering, and the moment was filled with melancholy.

Saying the goodbye's, it didn't help that the young (to me) Trainmaster choked when he shook my hand in good bye.

Instead of dancing across the parking lot, it was a rather quiet and emotion-filled walk to my awaiting pick up truck. I did not expect that.


Last edited by laming

Thanks again, everyone!

The railroad was a rewarding place to work when I hired out. Unfortunately, the politics and bureaucracy of being a state owned entity, slowly crept into the daily operations. Like everything, it changed.

Running trains is fun, even when extraordinary events occur. The experiences all melt together, the good and the bad, funny and sad, to create a life experience that is difficult to put into words. Walking away wasn’t as hard as I thought, other than the friendships that will be a bit more distant now.

Being on the railroad was a way of life. From getting calls at 4 in the morning, to cover various jobs, to driving all hours to get to work. Sleeping over in a coach to be sure to be on the job the next day during a heavy snow storm, happened now and then. Deadheading with other employees on the trains, in the wee hours of the morning made for an unusual social gatherings with the daily commuters.

The pay was great if you wanted to work all the time. Otherwise, you weren’t getting rich working on the railroad. Usually, the average employee was a “rainy day” employee, where they had a comfortable home life balanced with life on the railroad.

Finally, with the responsibilities entailed with working on the railroad, safety and efficiency were hand in hand. Violate any of the 3800+ rules we worked under, you were going to be punished. 10 days off for running a switch, 15 days for damaging equipment, 30-45 days off for passing a stop signal are common punishments. I had “out of service” insurance my whole career and never needed to use it. In railroad language, I never was “called onto the carpet” for any major transgression.

I was lucky, I never screwed up badly, to incur the wrath of the company hearing officer. I am also glad I never injured another employee by accident. Mistakes could happen to anyone. We all had our small transgressions, but usually they were dealt with in a unofficial manner, or fixed and covered up, leaving no trace.

So with that, I am moving on. I am still intrigued by the rail industry and the hobby, both past and present, and being able to be a spectator rather than a player definitely suits me at this time in my life.

Thanks again!


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