There are still plenty of guys out here with 30 years or more that new hires learn from, and I never said I know more about railroading than you do. You had 30+ years and I only have 7. I would hope that you know more than me. Of course, the key word is has. Alot of your knowledge is useless out here today, and I don't mean to offend by saying this. It's just the truth.
You are talking to me about steam engines when the jobs in my yard are run by one counductor on the ground doing everything with a box strapped to his chest controlling a remote engine. You are talking about power braking like it's the holy grail, when in fact on most subdivisions it's just not necessary today. The old school engineers want to show their "skill" by running hot in to an absolute signal, and then throw on the air at the last minute while still in the 8th notch, or drag the train thruogh a sag without notching off. They basically think they are wasting time by having to use the dynamic brake. Forgetting, of course, that if you get by that signal today, you're on the street for at least 60 days. You also get in trouble for exceeding the speed limit. I know in your day all that would likely be swept under the rug. Now they have to notch off to go into dynamic, poor them.
I just saw the total switching related deaths per year for the past 35 years chart, so I can say for sure we are safer today.
Going by butts260's post, some people are believing some of the incorrect infomation on this thread. The fact of the matter is engineer trainiees are taught power braking and many other skills on my part of the railroad. They may or may not be able to use those skills on certain subdivisions in normal operations.
The training lasts about a year, class room alone is a month in Atlanta. It's not done on the pods like you say. And everyone has at least 5 years on the ground before they even go to Atlanta on my division now. My home terminal takes 7 years on the ground, at the least, and now any yard conductor is already running an engine. Doing the same thing it took up to 5 guys to do.
So just give me a break with the new RR's don't know what they are doing thing, and get your facts straight.