Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby apodino » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:38 pm

As someone who started Train Simming recently driving on the New Haven line I became curious on something. Are Metro-North conductors and engineers only qualified on one line at the same time or are they qualified on multiple lines? For example, would a conductor be qualified on the New Haven line and the Harlem line at the same time, or just one or the other. Also, are engineers limited to one equipment type at a time or multiple types. So could an engineer be qualified on both M8s and M2s (If they were still around), or even M8s and M7s? And better yet, could an engineer be qualified on an EMU type, such as an M7, and also a Diesel type such as the P32 or the related shoreliner cab car?

I assume no Metro North crew is qualified on either Port Jervis or Pascack Valley since these are operated by NJ Transit.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:27 pm

It's very common to have qualifications across the East-of-Hudson system, and all manner of equipment that runs on it. Compared to a system with many, many more lines like NJT or the MBTA there's not a high absolute number of lines to qualify on. 3 mainlines, 3 branches...that's it. On the MBTA by contrast there are only a few "ironman" engineers and conductors qualified on both the northside and southside halves of the system, as keeping up qualifications on all 13 lines of both halves of the system chews up so many extraneous hours it's impractical for crewmembers to even try for it unless they truly want the bragging rights for bragging rights' sake.

Not a lot of rulebook variation EoH, either, as it's just a uniform cab signal configuration and (for now) Waterbury dark territory. And not a large spread of differing equipment types, either: M2 (for now), M3, M7, M8, P32AC-DM, BL20-GH, Shoreliners/Comets...and P40DC's, GP40-2H's, and Mafersa coaches for SLE Bridgeport schedules after they crew-change to MNRR in New Haven. With limited variance in where they'll appear as obviously M3/7's are captive to Hudson/Harlem electric territory only, P32's and Shoreliners/Comets are the only push-pull sets that will ever go to GCT, and the straight-diesels and GCT-incompatible Mafersa coaches will never overspill shuttle or co-mingled SLE territory. The NJT North Jersey Coast Line alone has more equipment variance than nearly the entirety of MNRR EoH: literally everything on the NJT equipment roster can or actively does run those schedules.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:51 pm

MN crews are initially qualified on all lines and branches except for Beacon Line and for some the Waterbury Branch.
It is up to individual to maintain qualifications (one trip a year) but I have seen persons at top of seniority list get bumped .
So once your qualified and you loose qualifications. MN will have you RE-Qualify on your own time and dime
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby apodino » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:12 pm

Thanks Everyone. As someone who works in the airline industry who knows a bit about railroad ops I was curious about this. Thanks again.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby truck6018 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:50 pm

Currently engineers are initially required to be qualified on all three lines and conductors on two or three depending on where they live. Qualifications on lines get lost over time so it's not uncommon for individuals to only maintain qualifications on only one line. Some conductors are also qualified on the West of Hudson.

Not all crews are qualified on all equipment. Some engineers are not qualified on the M8's.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby CRail » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:59 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:On the MBTA by contrast there are only a few "ironman" engineers and conductors qualified on both the northside and southside halves of the system, as keeping up qualifications on all 13 lines of both halves of the system chews up so many extraneous hours it's impractical for crewmembers to even try for it unless they truly want the bragging rights for bragging rights' sake.

No one qualifies for "bragging rights." Once qualified on a given territory, that qualification doesn't expire unless a year goes by without operating over it. Anyone who's looking to be valuable to the railroad (and be compensated accordingly) will keep all qualifications current to be able to work any assignment that comes their way.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:36 pm

A little history here if I may. In my early Metro-North period when Metro-North first took over I was qualified on all New Haven territory except for Derby Junction to Waterbury plus the lower Harlem between Woodlawn and North White Plains. I had thought that would be enough but I soon learned if you wanted to really make money at least in New York you needed as much territory as possible. Thus I qualified on the Hudson from MO to Croton, my first job there after qualifying on my day off, I had a regular job on the Harlem at the time was on a Saturday when they called me to deadhead to Harmon for a four bagger (2 round trips all on locals). Nobody in Harmon except for the yardmaster and maybe one other person ever heard of me but that was OK, I made good bucks that day. Not too long after that I qualified on the Harlem from North White Plains to Brewster just as the electric operation was officially beginning. Almost immediately after qualifying I again ran a job on my day off this time to Brewster on one of the only trains to stop at Mt. Pleasant, I managed to find it without any difficulty and it was a good trip. Right after that with a major change of jobs I bid in 979 and 990 which consisted of one round trip between Grand Central Terminal and Put. Juncrtion and it was a nice easy job with perfect hours for me. I had lots of opportunities to work extra off that job and at that time the job itself was just one round trip. The only qualifying I did with Metro-North after that was that they required a special qualification for engineers in order to work yard and emergency jobs and I took a PM emergency job. The company did not give me any grief with that as they wanted engineers qualified everywhere possible and by that time I had a lot of territory. As for the period in the earlier years of Metro-North you had mostly former NHRR people in New Haven, Stamford and Danbury and they did not expand their territory to any great extant, they didn't have to as they had enough seniority that they would never have to leave their home territory. Ditto for the former Central folks in Poughkeepsie and Brewster and Harmon as well. North White Plains was more of a melting pot with engineers from all over everywhere working in and out of there. In New York (Grand Central Terminal) you had more of a tendency for engineers to be qualified on a lot more territory. Many of the engineers had Harmon, North White Plains and New Haven and a good number of the eventually did Brewster and Poughkeepsie as well. The ones on the extra list were for the most part qualified everywhere and on everything. At leasst in New York the more territory you had the more opportunities you had to make bucks and that was the name of the game and I suspect it probably still is that way. During my time as an engineer with Penn Central, Conrail and Metro-North I was once qualified on just over 800 miles of territory but never all at once. I did not go to the trouble to qualify somewhere just for bragging rights but to open my opportunities for bidding and working jobs. I worked very well for me. Most but not all of the territory that I was qualified on I got paid for qualifying but some I had to do on my own. It all worked well for me.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby brettj22 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:50 pm

Just curious... What work do MNR conductors on WOH lines to qualify and then maintain their qualification? Is there any routine work over there for MNR crews?
Last edited by brettj22 on Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:53 pm

I very much enjoyed reading Noel Weaver's account of working for Metro-North in the early years. Thanks Noel.

Btw, we had been discussing crew qualifying. Is one trip a year enough?

DutchRailnut wrote: It is up to individual to maintain qualifications (one trip a year)...
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby RearOfSignal » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:52 pm

brettj22 wrote:Just curious... What work do MNR conductors on WOH lines to qualify and then maintain their qualification? Is there any routine work over there for MNR crews?


MNR crews only provide flag protection WOH.
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Re: Are MNR Crews Qualified on more than one line

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:I very much enjoyed reading Noel Weaver's account of working for Metro-North in the early years. Thanks Noel.

Btw, we had been discussing crew qualifying. Is one trip a year enough?

DutchRailnut wrote: It is up to individual to maintain qualifications (one trip a year)...


Thanks for your kind remarks. I don't know just what the requirements are today but back when I was working an engineer had to work a line at least once a year and after that one trip his qualification would be extended for a year. If an engioneer was not able to actually work a job over a particular line in the previous twelve months he or she could make a review trip with an engineer for the purpose of retaining qualification. I got in to that situation a couple of times while I was working the River Line back in the 1970's and very early 1980's when my time got close on the New Canaan Branch and between New Rochelle and Penn Station. In both cases I took a day and review the road with an engineer riding the head end of a passenger train. We had to get a ride slip from the rules examiner for that purpose and the engineer on the job we rode had to sign that we rode the job in question. Most of the time I actually ran the train that I was using for my review trip. With Metro-North the only time I came close was while I was working one of the GCT emergency jogs and I had a few days left for the New Canaan Branch. Lo and behold a breakdown provided me an opportunity to run one of the through jobs out of New York to New Canaan before I had to make a review trip. It worked fine for me. Generally the emergency jobs were good opportunities for an engineer to stay qualified everywhere because we made frequent trips up the road somewhere. It all worked for me.
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