Tuesday, December 24, 2019

More About Crew Hours

Merry Night Before Christmas everybody!

Here's a little Christmas treat from an actual ex-New Haven employee.

As a follow up to an earlier post on crew switching, I received an interesting email from Bart Hollis, who worked NX-15 from Waterbury to Naugatuck in the '60s, primarily serving Uniroyal.

He confirmed what I suspected was the "norm" for local freight crews of the era:

"It was noted as being what we called an outlaw job. That is 16 hours was normal. As you correctly pointed out, if you worked 16 hours, you had to have 10 hours rest. You also correctly indicated that it put the job back two hours for the next day. Not considered acceptable. The workaround was to claim 15 hours and 59 minutes on duty time. We got paid for 16 hours, but could start work in 8 hours. Those 8 hours included travel time, shower, supper, breakfast and pretty much a short nap. By Friday, we were pretty much exhausted, but well paid.

This policy was used by the crews of any of the locals I worked. We never claimed 16 hours unless it was to "punish" the trainmaster. I doubt you'll find this in any of the official company books, but it was universal on the NH."

This also reminds me of another comment from somebody at the Chicago clinic, that if a crew thought they could finish up the day in less than 8 hours, they would hurry up and do so. Since they were paid by mileage (essentially, for "the job"), they got paid the same if they did it in 6 hours or 8 hours. But if it was going to take longer than 8 hours, then they would take their time and stretch it to 12 (outlawing in their era), or in my era, almost 16 hours. This is because they would be paid overtime for hours worked over 8, and if they were going to have to "work late" then they might as well make it worthwhile. 

In my case, the local (usually HDX-5 from Hartford to New Hartford, but later NX-25 from Hartford or New Haven), comes through the layout twice. Although I'll should push the return back farther. But it does provide additional operational options for Chris on the Valley Local.

Bart also commented on the rates of pay:

"Also, by my time there, there were four pay rates, at least for train crews. In order of rate, highest first: Yard which was solely within a single yard limit, Local which was listed in the assignment book as such, Through local which was a through freight that made three or more stops for pickup or setout, and Through which was a symbol train that made two or fewer stops during it's trip."

This is interesting, because it provides a rate of pay for a train like NY-4/YN-3 Cedar Hill to Holyoke and return, but also did some switching on the way, rather than a local freight.

Thanks for the info, Bart!

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