What is THIS car used for please??

"I wonder why they have to mark a car especially for this? My guess was that it was for switching practice of some kind." 

Let me have a turn at explaining, too: railroading is a complicated business; these are classroom cars, used to train employees (typically operating, MOW and maintenance - of various kinds-; others, certainly) hoe to do their jobs.

There is a good photo - can't find it right now - taken inside a Gulf, Mobile & Ohio classroom car set up in the 40's to train enginemen in how to operate diesel-electric locos as the GM&O was transitioning from steam. Large scale model, cut-away machinery and drawings, etc. It was converted from an old passenger coach.

These cars are schools. Railroads will bite you in two - literally - if you don't know what you are doing.

CN heavyweight

This one looks like a rule instruction car.

 

 

 

 CN Train crews have to write the rules every 2 years and also pass a medical.

Some   CN rule instructors actually lived in the car and the car would be parked  at different terminals on the system  every so often. Maybe just for a few days  and then the car would move on. IN some cases this would save crew members driving hundreds of miles to write the rules in a big terminal like Toronto.

Most  rules instructors came up through the ranks and were pretty good guys.  

 

 

Michael Hokkanen posted:

I wonder why they have to mark a car especially for this? My guess was that it was for switching practice of some kind. 

Not sure about switching, as others mentioned more likely to have airbrake or other items displayed inside with room for training employees.

Gregg posted:

CN  train crews have to write the rules  every 2 years and also pass a medical.

The crews do not write the rules! Crews do have to pass the rules test which proves they know the rules but that is not the same as creating (writing) rules.

That said crews are responsible for "writing" rules in an indirect sense due to errors made on the job which result in injury and/or damage. When events occur there is an investigation and sometimes new rules are issued to try preventing a certain act or circumstance from occurring again which led to an incident. That is why it is sometimes said the "rulebook is written in blood" as literally sometimes a railroad employee is hurt or dies on the job which is an unfortunate fact of railroading.

In a round about way, crews do write rules.... at least their actions are the direct cause of rules from incidents or accidents. I have my own rule in the GCOR that was written after an injury in 2008 that was no fault of my own, BUT they wrote a rule after that to prevent anyone else from being injured the same way  So I didn't write it, but I caused it! 

You might hear the expression.... "Rules were written in blood", well many of them were.

In a Santa Fe GCOR from 1909 there was a section dedicated on how to treat an employee with an amputation and was squirting blood. It talked about how to make a stretcher, how the other employees were to load and carry the injured employee on that stretcher, and to give him a shot of whiskey every 5 minutes if there was no doctor on duty at the terminal. How do you think they came up with that process or why? It was a way of life for railroaders back then.

Of course none of that is in our current GCOR, now we have sections on electronic devices and social media  

 

 

645 posted:
Gregg posted:

CN  train crews have to write the rules  every 2 years and also pass a medical.

The crews do not write the rules! Crews do have to pass the rules test which proves they know the rules but that is not the same as creating (writing) rules.

That said crews are responsible for "writing" rules in an indirect sense due to errors made on the job which result in injury and/or damage. When events occur there is an investigation and sometimes new rules are issued to try preventing a certain act or circumstance from occurring again which led to an incident. That is why it is sometimes said the "rulebook is written in blood" as literally sometimes a railroad employee is hurt or dies on the job which is an unfortunate fact of railroading.

You're right.  I assumed everyone would  be discerning enough to understand that one must write a test, not actually create the rules. Please accept my humble  apology.

 

Ever heard of a tell tale sign?

EBT Jim posted:

So, these are mobile  classrooms, that travel around the system?

Yes, back in the "good old days" of first generation diesel units. Even EMD had more than one "Service Dept. School Car" that moved around the railroads in the late 1940s thru the late 1950s.

It's more cost efficient to go through this hassle, than to have employees come to a central location for training?

That is the way it is done today, and has been since the 1970s.

Interesting.

 

Don't feel bad about the semantics of your statement.  Few are left today in train or engine service who wrote out the answers to rules examinations in longhand.  We called it writing the rules, but it was really writing the answers to the questions.  I am retired, but I did it twice:

  • When I hired out, I had to write the answers to the entire 600 question rules examination, using an open rule book and a No.2 pencil.  The book was then sent to the Trainmaster for checking and I was expected to have all corrections made within 30 days, on my own time, upstairs in the Superintendent's office with his chief clerk as proctor.  Also, there was a Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal rules test of 50 questions that was treated in the same manner.
  • Additionally, when I borrowed out temporarily at Galveston, the passenger train left Houston over the Southern Pacific, so I had to hand write about 150 questions on Southern Pacific rules that differed from Santa Fe rules, and pass an oral examination.
  • For promotion to Engineer, I had to write the answers to the same 600 question rules examination, plus the 250 question air brake and train handling rules examination, plus the 200 question mechanical examination.  This time it had to be done in ink, and be proctored.  The book was never allowed out of the Superintendent's office.  After being graded, all three exams had to be corrected.  Then I had to sit for an oral examination on all the questions on the three exams.  For the orals, there were 5 other Firemen, so I only got every fifth question, unless somebody gave a wrong answer, and then the same question was asked to the next Fireman in seating order.  We all scrambled to avoid sitting next to two particular Firemen, one of whom failed his first attempt on the rules, and the other who squeaked by with a minimum allowable score.

None of this was multiple choice.  However, there were a few Do You Understand questions, such as, "Do you understand that employees are required to report for their respective assignments at the assigned location at the assigned time?" Correct answer: Yes.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Hot Water posted:
EBT Jim posted:

So, these are mobile  classrooms, that travel around the system?

Yes, back in the "good old days" of first generation diesel units. Even EMD had more than one "Service Dept. School Car" that moved around the railroads in the late 1940s thru the late 1950s.

Interesting.

Was those EMD "Service Dept School Cars" all theory  (book work)?

EBT Jim posted:
Hot Water posted:
EBT Jim posted:

So, these are mobile  classrooms, that travel around the system?

Yes, back in the "good old days" of first generation diesel units. Even EMD had more than one "Service Dept. School Car" that moved around the railroads in the late 1940s thru the late 1950s.

Interesting.

Was those EMD "Service Dept School Cars" all theory  (book work)?

No. LOTS of physical examples in the class room.

EBT Jim posted:

So, these are mobile  classrooms, that travel around the system? It's more cost efficient to go through this hassle, than to have employees come to a central location for training?

Here's why it's more effective to do mandatory instruction and training in the field instead of at central locations:

  • Employees are absent from their assignments for less time, lessening the effect on crew availability.
  • Duplicate payments are reduced.  The employee scheduled for training gets the pay his assignment earns while he was marked off for training, and the extra board employee who actually works the assignment gets paid the same.
  • Employee transportation, lodging and meals are a zero expense if training is held at the home terminal of the employee.
  • Because training is usually a daytime activity, employees usually benefit from some extra family time.  Normally, they are marked off for two days in order to be rested and available for their scheduled training day.  Training counts against employee hours of service requirements.
  • It is easier to select and schedule employees for training in the field so that the classroom space is fully utilized each day and critical assignments do not have to be annulled.

Of course, there is the overhead: travel expenses for the instructor(s), and -- if a classroom car is used -- it is expensive and annoying to transport it, as the scheduling of the car requires that it be expedited, and nobody at the railroad likes a one-car expedited movement.  But, like it or not, a good Division will handle and transport the instruction car efficiently and professionally.  If it needs to be in the head end of No.24 and there's only an hour to get it shut down, over to the depot, and switched into No.24, it'll be done.  And, unless it has to be run as a special movement, the train it moves in was going to run anyway and the only actual extra cost is switching the car into and out of the train and spotting it at the new location, and even some of that might be absorbed by using a regularly assigned switch engine and the crew just gets less spot time to play dominoes.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

This thread really has me thinking.  

During the 1970's, Santa Fe revised its operating rules and issued a new rule book, in a blue vinyl cover with screws that could be removed to insert new pages as rules became revised.  (Previous saddle-stitched books required manual notations of "See Revision" or, very occasionally a paste-in page.)  The Trainmaster held a number of classes to go over the new rule book and we could voluntarily attend.  As it was voluntary, it did not count against hours of service.

My pal David Cassidy and I went to one of the classes.  Also in  attendance was an Engineer a bit junior to us in seniority who was a notorious motor mouth.  Nice fellow, but he talked endlessly.  So, after each rule was reviewed, he had a question, usually totally unnecessary.  Cassidy and I were rolling our eyes and looking at our watches.  This guy was burning our daylight and we wanted to hit some balls at the driving range after the class.  Finally, I procured a paper towel and wrote this note on it: "X. X. Xray (not his real name, did you guess?) Report to the crew office at once."  He got up and left.  The class started to move right along.  After about 45 minutes Mr. Xray returned and did not ask any more questions.  After class ended Cassidy and I walked over to see where we stood on the board.  Matthews, the head crew clerk called me over to the window and told me that Xray had showed up with a note upon which he recognized my handwriting.  "We didn't call you in," he told Xray.  Gee, I wonder why I got the note, mused Xray.  "Well, if I were you, I'd go back over there, sit down and stay shut up," replied Matthews.  He knew even without being told.

Laidoffsick has probably worked with Xray, and I'll bet he could guess his name.

On a later occasion, the railroad started an annual training program for managers.  By then I was a Road Foreman of Engines, and these classes were held in Kansas City, as field training does not work for managers due to the small number at each location.  The final afternoon presenter was a guy from the Safety Department who had gone a long way by sucking up to senior management and was absolutely the most boring trainer you could imagine.  My buddy Ed Mettler and I suffered through 45 minutes of this guy showing slides and reading the captions, until the first break.  We went out and down the hall with the rest of the class, and did not bother to stop at the men's room.  We went out the back door and spent the rest of the afternoon at Cabellas' huge outdoors shop.  Ed tried on a few bass boats, we bought some really good insect repellent, and had a pleasant afternoon.  Sometimes you just have to empower yourself.  Just ask Ferris Bueller.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Oh boy did I work with him. The common question around the lobby was WHY HASN'T HE RETIRED YET? 

He never shut up...and usually it was chatter that no one wanted to hear anyway.

He bought a big ole house with a big mortgage right before the market crashed in CA. He was forced to work longer than intended because of the situation he had gotten into with the payment. If I remember correctly he got into trouble AGAIN and decided to just retire.

 

 

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