Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.
mediccjh

The Schoolcar Experience

Recommended Posts

Heading into my first night of yard posting. My one and only concern is actually getting a senior guy that doesn't want to train me. If I can get someone that is willing to train me, he/she will have my undivided attention... and my gratitude.

You will get someone willing to train you as best as they can, most people down here are willing to help and share whatever knowledge they have with you as long as you are willing to listen and follow instructions.   Ask a lot of questions regarding the yard, the moves, make sure you do everything as they thought you in school car and if you are not sure about something ask  and ask again.  Good luck.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heading into my first night of yard posting. My one and only concern is actually getting a senior guy that doesn't want to train me. If I can get someone that is willing to train me, he/she will have my undivided attention... and my gratitude.

 

Most trainers genuinely do want to help you. The regulars in the yards are usually pretty good and have a ton of knowledge. Some are better than others. I always stress the importance of taking notes during yard posting since you will see a lot of locations in a short time, and that thing that seemed common sense and easy to remember in the first yard you posted in will be a distant memory in a couple weeks as you absorb the rest of them.

 

Definitely ask questions (there are often things an instructor may not remember to cover), and try to learn the common moves at that location. In yards you'll want to know:

 

-Where the car wash is, if there is one. And if you have R46/68/142/A/143/160/188 equipment if you must wait for car equipment to bungee the springs before going in (some yards it's OK).

-How to enter and leave the yard. If the yard leads to more than one put in location, how to get to each.

-What tracks you require permission to come off of in the yard

-What tracks you never require permission to come off of in the yard (yes, there are a few locations where you will get lectured over the radio if you ask for permission when you've gotten the lineup instead of just moving out)

-Any areas of the yard where certain equipment cannot go or is restricted (AKA not taking B Division equipment up the IRT flyovers in Concourse or 207 Yard)

-Where the car desk is. Sounds silly, but it's here for a reason. Six months from now you may work a yard job in that location and your partner may be brand new (newer than you) as YX. Now you get the laundry list of moves. First move is to pull something out of the barn. Where's the car desk?

-When you're drilling in the yard (making cuts and adds) where you have to go to get behind the signals necessary to make moves onto and off tracks associated with cutting/adding

-The track numbering scheme in each yard, so if you are given a track number for a put-in, or a yard move, you can find it.

-Any abnormalities of the yard. Derails, tracks without third rail, loop tracks, hand throw switches, circle K signals, mainline jacks, ready to proceed punches, tight tracks, anything hard to see, etc.

 

Switching you'll want to learn the same things, but in locations where relays are also performed you'll also want to learn the relay moves. There is more than one way to relay at a train at any location, you'll want to learn all the moves.

 

I cannot stress the importance of taking notes enough. Also everyone in your class will "get" a slightly different posting experience because of different trainers and different days (different moves). If everyone takes notes, you can all compare when you meet back up with your class, and the knowledge gained is greater.

 

Yes the practice moving the train, and improving your train control, and practicing station stops on layups and put-ins that make use of the mainline may well be good and exciting, but that's not why you're being posted. You're being posted to familiarize with the physical characteristics of the railroad.

 

Some of your trainers will probably try to show you the non-schoolcar way of doing things. While I will never tell anyone to do anything that isn't schoolcar, resist the urge to automatically block this out. Even if you never intend to do it this way (and I certainly don't recommend taking a shortcut you don't understand), recognize it's something you might encounter out in the field. Even if it's not something YOU did wrong, it could be something a partner does wrong in the future, someday when you're working a yard job. You might want to ask about the shortcut, and even take notes about it because a senior person can usually explain the pitfalls of such a shortcut, and how to troubleshoot them. With so many new people and the YX program, it's entirely possible for you to be one of the more experienced people in the yard on a given day in a few months. You need the knowledge of the equipment to correct silly mistakes that can occur when people take shortcuts. Things like, what happens if angles are pulled in the middle of the train? How will you know what's wrong, and what will the train do to indicate this could be the problem? Or why is there no indication? Or what happens if you want to add a train and the couplers just won't line up? You'll want to get this stuff down as it's fairly basic.

Edited by SubwayGuy
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be like a sponge. Absorb everything, good and bad. Ask questions, even if you think they are dumb. Better to ask the question and be sure, then to do something wrong and try to explain yourself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting school car on 12/1.  I was just wondering about how long after starting did it take to get your uniforms . Dont want to buy too many blue slacks and gray shirts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get some. Regardless of how long it takes. You'll never get stuff that fits. You might be a lucky one but out of everyone in my class, not one had it perfect. We all had something to send back. I'm posting right now, that's over 2 months in & I'm still missing or waiting on uniforms. Keep yourself prepared. Get navy blue slacks & we had to have light blue shirts. If yours says Gray, get gray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. So far yard posting has been an interesting experience. Filled 2 mini note pads with notes from the yards. Learned from vets of what they do (and them telling me not to do it that way) and having them critique my operating on the moves. Very helpful & without naming them, they all have been great.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No prob. Probably gray cause conductors wear blue. My first week, everywhere my class went, kept getting asked if we were a new class of conductors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished 1st week of yard posting. It was amazing. Vets were so helpful. Even though at times we had to wait hours to make moves, they could have just sat there and did nothing but some said "C'mon, I'm going to introduce you to the characters of the yard" Showed me they actually cared enough to show me stuff that.......really had nothing to do with moves. Next week is mostly station switching. That could be interesting. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished 1st week of yard posting. It was amazing. Vets were so helpful. Even though at times we had to wait hours to make moves, they could have just sat there and did nothing but some said "C'mon, I'm going to introduce you to the characters of the yard" Showed me they actually cared enough to show me stuff that.......really had nothing to do with moves. Next week is mostly station switching. That could be interesting.

 

Vets are always willing to help those who are willing to listen....

 

The problem has been with these " oh yeah I know this" attitudes with some of these folks... Or just not even listening at all...

 

Or just plain clueless and its a miracle they got to yd posting.

 

Seen it myself first hand.....

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vets are always willing to help those who are willing to listen....

 

The problem has been with these " oh yeah I know this" attitudes with some of these folks... Or just not even listening at all...

 

Or just plain clueless and its a miracle they got to yd posting.

 

Seen it myself first hand.....

 

^^^ Yup. New guys wrapping it around as they approach lunar white timers, asking for permission to leave a track when the jack is red/red in their face, disappearing while they're on the clock and not telling anyone where they're going, copping an attitude when someone declines them as a student (it's nothing personal when this happens...some will take you, some won't...and some you don't want to take you anyway), and you try and pull them aside and say, "listen this is how it is, just so you protect yourself" and all you get is a bunch of "I know this, I know that, they told us this that and the other thing, it's not supposed to be that way, i ain't [something or other]" caca...

 

Attitude is anyone's worst enemy down there. Be humble, know your job, and move in relative silence, not making a name for yourself and you will be fine...

 

There are humble ones too who are willing to put in their work and learn the job and they will go far...

Edited by SubwayGuy
  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the nice men & women who helped me during my yard posting. Even though I still have a lot to learn, you made me understand the job better. Helping me with radio lingo, operating a train smoother, making sure I never rush & that safety is #1. etc. I hope to see them again when I YX. .

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First day of orientation. thirty t/o's and 20 c/r's. Got our Id's, lots of speeches and paperwork to be filled out. The journey begins. 364 more to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished up final day of classroom stuff and start yard posting on Monday. It seemed like it took forever to get to this point but at the same time everything seems to be going by so quickly, I can't wait.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's great Ken. I'm on YX now. Get ready to watch a lot of TV. Lol. Nah, you'll get a trainer T/O, do a couple of moves, then head to crew room to watch TV. Bit of advice, bring something to keep you occupied. Veteran T/O's control the remote. But seriously, you'll enjoy it. You'll get the tour of the yard, learn moves, & radio language. Plus alot more. If you get a guy that really seems like he doesn't want to teach you, ignore it & just do what is asked if you. If you get the ones that really take pride in teaching you, PICK THEIR BRAINS. They can teach you a lot and make sure you understand. Don't hesitate to ask questions. You will really like station switching. Relay jobs make the day/night go by quicker. Don't take shortcuts. The vets can do tthat.....you cant so keep the school car method. If you're in the B div, you're gonna like 179 st.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips. I'm A div, but I do really want to get B, OPTO and especially C div certified (work trains seem like a ton of fun) but that is a little while off for me. I also want to keep studying. My instructors sorta scared me with stories about people who made it all the way to the final then failed because they forgot a lot of the stuff they had learned in school car while yard and road posting.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips. I'm A div, but I do really want to get B, OPTO and especially C div certified (work trains seem like a ton of fun) but that is a little while off for me. I also want to keep studying. My instructors sorta scared me with stories about people who made it all the way to the final then failed because they forgot a lot of the stuff they had learned in school car while yard and road posting.  

He is right. A lot of people get caught off guard by the final, it is all stuff you did in school car and it comprises all of the moves you made, trains you operated, just pay attention during school car and it comes to you naturally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything is fair game for the final, it's not hard. You will see shortcuts out in the field, and it's good to know them because whether or not you love them, hate them, will use all of them, some of them, or NEVER use one...you will encounter them in the field, if not you then someone else doing it, and it's good to know how to protect yourself and your partner if possible.

 

Many new T/O's are so eager to show off "what they learned" when they come back to schoolcar they'll even answer questions wrong on quizzes and exams based on something they saw in the field. Don't make this mistake!

 

Same goes for any practical you take as well. When in schoolcar, do schoolcar. When you're on you're own you can do whatever you want, and suffer the consequences for it if you choose unwisely. But you will not make it through schoolcar, if you do other than schoolcar.

 

And don't forget your signals. Yes, even as write-ins, they have a nasty habit of showing up on the final exam.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly. I've seen some stuff that would make you think it would be a good idea to take the shortcut, but you never know who is watching. I'm doing school car way all the way. I've gotten giggled at for thoroughly checking a train, but you know what......they have the job. I'm still earning the job. If it takes me a little longer now in YX to prep or check a train, so be it. I'm doing it the right way & they can't fault me for it. That train is my responsibility & yes the trainers are showing you the ropes, some do the proper way, some do the quick way, in the end, they always tell me, don't trust anyone's word. Do the way we are being taught. Hell, I was in a crew room & instead of watching TV, I was going through the rule book. Don't care if they know I'm new. In the end, I'm staying on top of my game & not become complacent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick question on AVAs.

 

Lets just say you request Monday off 20 days in advance and your RDOS are Tues/Wed.  You are granted that Monday off.  Then just so happened on that particular week the crew office changes your RDOs to Mon/Tues.  What happens to your AVA ? Can you re save it ? Or are you out of luck and they just pay you the 8 hrs extra on your check ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your AVA will remain in your bank if a day you request that has been approved falls on your RDO. You will not be charged an AVA for the date you requested, since it's your RDO.

 

Same goes if you pick vacation in days, and one of your vacation days falls on your RDO.

 

If that happens to you with a vacation day, the next time you request a day off, make sure to use your vacation balances first. Unlike AVAs, unused vacation will be paid out to you around the end of each calendar year (and taxed at supplemental payment rate, or almost half). So you want to use vacation and PLDs first, then OTO, then AVAs last since they roll over.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious, I called the IVR and checked my "sick leave status" and it says "You are only on the 30% list".  I never called out sick, not even once.  What does that mean ?

 

Thanks and Happy Holidays to everyone here !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ When you are a new employee, you are placed on the 30% list until you demonstrate a good sick usage record which puts you in the upper 70% of employees with sick records.

 

The 30% list is N-O-T the same thing as the "sick control list".

 

However, on the 30% list, you must substantiate any sickness of more than 2 days with doctor's lines, and must provide your address you are staying at when booking sick to Transit. However, since you are probationary, you will want to substantiate every sick instance with doctor's lines, at least until you finish probation.

 

If you demonstrate a good sick usage record, you will at some point receive a letter in the mail telling you that you are on the 70% list (this is a good thing). These letters coincide with the sick year which runs from May 1 to April 30. While you are new, you will continue receiving 1 sick day for each month of service. On May 1, you will get 12 sick days. Those will be the only ones you get until the following May 1, when you will get 12 more, and so on.

 

Those employees who are not on the 30% list (aka on the 70% list) must only substantiate any sickness of more than 3 days with doctor's lines, and do not have to provide their address they are staying when calling out. If you keep good sick time, you can look forward to this someday.

 

Sick control is far more restrictive, and is a separate list for people Transit considers high risk of being sick abusers. They have even more restrictions placed on them, including every sick instance requiring doctor's lines, being subject to home visits, and having to call in and out of the house. You will want to stay off this list during your career, going on it can be a pain in the a*** and it's not always easy to get off. I don't have a copy of the contract sitting in front of me, and can't really go off memory for this question, since I don't want to risk a misquote, but someone else may be able to provide more info about the particulars of what being on sick control entails.

Edited by SubwayGuy
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I had been off probation for 2 months before I called out and they still asked for my address. Also, I never got a letter saying I'm in the 70% but I did get a letter saying that since I only used 1 day of sick leave that I could cash out 8 hours if I wanted (which I didn't)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.