Posted by: Roger | March 28, 2011

Which Would You Rather Be?

The conductor?
Or the Engineer?

The conductor rides the point to protect the crossings as the train backs up three miles to do its switching.

The engineer at the front gets to sit on a comfy seat, toot the horn, clang the bell, and stay out of the rain.

Given that I have seen not only the conductor, but also the brakeman precariously perched on the sides of propane tank cars as the train backs up, I have to assume that railroads consider this to be safe. But, better not catch that conductor stepping off his perch while the train is moving slowly! Why, that’s downright DANGEROUS! Never mind that old 1950s Santa Fe training film that taught brakemen and conductors how to safely dismount moving cars. Oh, well. Nanny to the rescue. No boo-boos for train personnel now. Twist your ankle stepping of a moving car! INEXCUSABLE! YOU’RE FIRED. Fall off a tank car and get cut in half… Oh, well, NEXT APPLICANT!

Miss Me Yet? I'm old, folded, spindled, and mutilated, but I did serve a useful function.

Note to BeanShuffler (BNSF, now that it no longer means Burlington Northern Santa Fe) management: If you don’t like it, fire me, not them. If the conductor had a caboose to ride in, he wouldn’t have to cling to a 30,000 pound bomb like a pilot fish praying for safety from the shark.

FULL DISCLOSURE: These three photos were taken on different days, but the conductor and engineer are the same, ON DIFFERENT DAYS (a few weeks apart). Don’t blame ME, Mr. BNSF and predecessors, YOU eliminated the safe caboose for this nonsense.

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