Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)?

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Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)?

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:53 pm

At my local train station, there are a few parking spaces reserved for “PTI”: Professional Transportation, Inc. I thought at first that it was a taxi that served Amtrak passengers, but there are minivans parked there all the time.

I looked up the company and it is a shuttle service for railroad crews: in this case, Norfolk Southern.

Why is this needed (instead of just using Uber when needed, instead of a staffed minivan waiting all the time)? And where would crews need to go: just to a hotel, or out in various places along the tracks from time to time?

The station is a large Norfolk Southern base, so I’d think that crews who live in the town could drive themselves to work.

Thanks.
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Re: Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)

Postby NorthWest » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:01 pm

Crew vans are there to haul crews out to and back from trains that are being stored in sidings or have died on the law on the road from the crew base, and to shuttle them to hotels at their away terminal. They have railroad radios installed and familiarity with the property on which they must drive, which Uber drivers would not, and have a contracted availability, where Uber drivers might at times be unavailable.
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Re: Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)

Postby atsf sp » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Also a lot of locations needed to be traveled to are not mapped and a lot of times railroad owned property. Most Uber drivers would not want to drive miles along ROW ballast or in a foot of mud in a yard.

NorthWest also makes the great point in the time availability. When you are called for a train your taxi better be there on time to get you to that yard. PTI at our yards (or was at our yards) had terminal drivers who assist at the yard and take you to the hotel and then had road drivers that would take you between terminals or just to dead trains along the line.
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Re: Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:45 am

Deadhead crews is one other use. Some days there is an imbalance of crews at one end of the road. In these cases, we sometimes take the vans. These services have several advantages for the railroad. First, the drivers are supposedly trained to be safe around the railroad. The drivers are low paid, but previously the clerks did many local moves. Before, many of the longer runs were done by local taxi companies. The disadvantage was that they needed to contract with one in every town. This means several bills, and the possibility of lack of required liability insurance. The cabs rarely had radios, so they sometimes had a hard time finding us, especially if the plans changed since the call.
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Re: Why is a shuttle service needed to transport crews (PTI)

Postby Gadfly » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:07 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:Deadhead crews is one other use. Some days there is an imbalance of crews at one end of the road. In these cases, we sometimes take the vans. These services have several advantages for the railroad. First, the drivers are supposedly trained to be safe around the railroad. The drivers are low paid, but previously the clerks did many local moves. Before, many of the longer runs were done by local taxi companies. The disadvantage was that they needed to contract with one in every town. This means several bills, and the possibility of lack of required liability insurance. The cabs rarely had radios, so they sometimes had a hard time finding us, especially if the plans changed since the call.


In the old days, the clerks did the crew hauling. Sometimes it was combined with the porter job whose duties included hauling crews, cleaning stations, loading baggage during train time, supplying the printer shacks with paper. We were not happy to see these "scab" outfits taking our jobs away. But.....it eventually came to pass with new contracts and as old heads retired. If one got called for that job off the extra board, it was a pretty good gig as opposed to trudging the yards or bookin' cars. Sometimes you'd be called upon to drive to a different yard to pick up something. I used to look forward to the Crew Hauler gig. Except for cleaning the station(s) and tower, all you did was ride around! :wink: I still call "em (PTI) scabs! :wink:
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