On the Choo Choo tonight and tomorrow night

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Mark D
Conductor
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Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

On the Choo Choo tonight and tomorrow night

Postby Mark D » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:10 am

Yeah, I'm assigned the dog watch two nights in a row at the choo choo shop. It's usually a nice and easy task, but being alone and having something nasty go wrong is what keeps me awake all night.
I'm supposed to do it again on the 14th at SPUD, but am trying to get out of that one. I dislike everything about SPUD. It's stressful.
All sorts of rules that change every year on how to get in and get out of there. Gates are locked and one has to know the 'code' to open it, parking is restricted and more. If they left the rules the same I would know what to do. But I get there late at night and don't know the rules because I don't have clear rules telling me what I must and must not do.
I'm getting too old to want to deal with that stuff. No, make it I have become too old to want to deal with that stuff.
And, since I haven't had the time to properly maintain my cars, I'm down to one that needs a water pump today just to get to the Locomotive shop tonight and back home again after I've done two nights on the engine. That car needs a lot more than a water pump, but I don't have the time to do what needs to be done.
And after being at the locomotive shop for two nights, sleeping on the tool car floor between tricks, I'm ready to go home. And to go back into the Cities on the 14th for another night at a place that I hate to be near, well, I'm trying to find someone else who can take my place.
I'll probably wind up going there because nobody else wants to do it either.


Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 3416
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: On the Choo Choo tonight and tomorrow night

Postby Mark D » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:43 pm

So I lived through it!!!! Mind you, the engine never moved more than two hundred feet, and that was to take on coal. Getting ready for Santa Train 2019 version.
On the first night I was late because I had to put a water pump into my car before I could get there. Long story.....
I got there around 10:00. Guy who was on it was more than happy to dump the load on my lap. But that's what I went there for, so I took it.
I got off at about 8:00 AM. Tried to get some sleep in the Grand Canyon, but the heating system was a bit on the lean side. All it could warm my roomette to was 50 degrees. I froze for a few hours and then decided I'd had enough of that.
Went into the shop and found things to do, and then it was time to back the engine out to load coal. The tender was filled with water at that time too. I helped put the hoses away and then it was back in the cab, at 7:30 in the evening. My relief came along at 8:00 AM, right on time.
I am also supposed to keep it hot on Dec. 14 over the night, but I have a lot of other issues going on right now and I told Steve that I would still do it, but if I could find someone to take over for me I really would appreciate not having to do that trick.
Well, I found a replacement and I'm home and have already gotten some of the issues taken care of. But there's more in store for me tomorrow and the next day and the next, etc.
I got in the cab yesterday at about 5:00 PM and got off at 8:00AM. That's a long trick!

Steve came into the tool car just as I was about to leave. Well, then I told him I had found a replacement for myself. When I mentioned who, he replied, "do you know why I want you doing the hostling as much as possible?" I go, "no, I'm just another firebug."
He said "it's because you do it right, and nobody else does."
I do know I get it right because I was trained by old bull of the woods Jim French. And I know of three others on the crew who can do it as well as I. Yes, there is one proper way to do it and lot other ways that aren't so good. And I know the ones who should know better because they were trained properly, but they got lazy in their work. Some won't even keep the water up in the glass!!!
Yes, last night when I got on the water was about an inch from dropping out of the glasses.
My first order of the day was to build up water.
At the end, the water was 3/4" below the top of the glass rather than an inch above the bottom. Meanwhile, I was doing all sorts of other chores, including blow-down's on the water glasses

Handling the fire of a steam engine is actually very simple. No rocket science in this. It is so simple, and so obvious I don't get it why they can't bring themselves to do it right. They know how, they're just lazy.
But I'm up there to do the job, and if I'm going to do the job I'm going to do it as right as I possibly can.

I didn't know Steve had been watching.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Fitz
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Re: On the Choo Choo tonight and tomorrow night

Postby Fitz » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:07 pm

Good for you, Mark. It's probably about time Steve let you know how he feels about the job you do. When the engine runs, few riders know of the work the hostler has done to keep the locomotive ready for the engineer and fireman to take over and run it. When in this post, when the engine ran a short distance to coal up, did you run it?
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Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 3416
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: On the Choo Choo tonight and tomorrow night

Postby Mark D » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:29 am

Hi Fiz!
No, I have zero desire to run the thing. Steve has offered from time to time, but I just don't want to. I have fired on the road at times, but to be frank, I like the night shift. I'll let the 'children' as I call them, do the firing on the road.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve


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