Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.
April 7, 2017
Who wants to be a railroader? Ask any kid – though, sadly, not as much today – if he likes trains and would like to become an engineer. The question is rhetorical. As a shit-eatin’ grin fills and beams from his face that emanates from deep inside his gut. I would even venture to say that those who are railroads, not necessarily because the ever wished to be, are nevertheless serious about their profession and take pride in their enormous responsibility, which, by-the-way, not everyone is capable of. The odd work hours, constantly on call unable to keep promises because his job trumps everything else – literally. And the work environment? No, there’s no office. Only hard steel-on-steel; bitter cold or egg-cooking hot; snow, plenty; rain, buckets. Case-in-point: It’s 0600 ’ve been on duty for many hours already, and as my train rolls into town a biblical deluge looses so much rain and hail that it appears to be making bullet holes in the windshield of the crew van from which I must exit to begin spotting cars at Almira Farmer’s Warehouse. Who in his right mind loves this!? What is it that makes a relatively sane man want to expose himself to such inclemency to wrangle thousands of tons of train with precision. There is no answer. It is – simply – what we do: To overcome any and every obstacle to get the job done, irrespective of our comfort or personal wishes. Indeed, an unusual breed and brotherhood, we are: said with collective pride.