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Changes coming to railroad

Published: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 11:05 a.m. CDT

From Jim Stalker


Rumor has it that Warren Buffet’s little railroad company is working diligently to kick all conductors off of trains. Currently, there are two men riding in the engine of a trainload of coal, oil and other not so obviously seen cargos traveling through Creston 24/7 days of the week. It might seem the engineer is most important as he is driving the train. Not so, the conductor serves an equally important position as he has to read the signals posted along the tracks. Keep abreast of the front and rear as well as all that space in between. He is responsible for all the paperwork and must at all times act as backup engineer and observer of the track present and future. Plus other duties I’m not fully aware of. Warren and his group of top management wants to delete that position, purely to improve profits, or so it would seem.

I’ve also been told that there is a move on to get rid of the crew transport vans. How would they be able to exchange a crew (one man or woman) out in the middle of nowhere? Here’s the one we need to be especially aware of. I have observed that it takes about 13 to 15 minutes to exchange a crew and get on their way. These transport van people have to be on call, drive out into the country (in all kinds of weather) and pick up and drop crews. Probably a costly but necessary chore.

Here’s one possible solution. Each train would stop at our station to exchange crews. Sounds easy enough. Here’s the downside. A train coming from the west would block both crossings at Elm and New York Avenue for about 15 to 20 minutes to eight hours at a time, while trains from the east could easily change crews and move on out, that is until they started to stack up, which they tend to do from both directions, sooner or later. There is one bright spot, we can kiss that quiet zone goodbye, as well as the millions it would have cost us to build it, because the track will always be loaded.

Even if none of the above were to happen, we might still build a quiet zone at Elm, also a bad idea. The horns would still blow at the New York Avenue crossing. One block distant, we will hardly enjoy quietness.

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