Author Topic: Steam Crew Availability/150 Volunteer Hours  (Read 6733 times)

Fred L. Kuhns

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Steam Crew Availability/150 Volunteer Hours
« on: May 30, 2009, 02:37:25 PM »
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Steam will start on July 4 in earnest.  We cut back our steam program this year not because of money, but because of manpower.  We only have a few people with boiler licenses, and Real Life seems to keep getting in the way.  We'll be running it Fathers Day weekend; all weekends of July and August; Labor Day weekend; and more weekends in September if the crew is available.

   James,   Thanks for the information on the steam program.  The BOD may have to consider the possiblity of hiring an engine crew for the summer months as the railroad gains in size and has the ability to attract paying customers.  The thrill of steam really brings in the paying customer.  Even better an engine crew that is retired from the work a day world.  So may customers that you could use both paid and volunteer and have a larger program.     Thanks for your reply.   THANKS,  Fred L. Kuhns
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 06:48:48 AM by Ed Lecuyer »

Ed Lecuyer

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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 02:53:28 PM »
(topic split/editied from May Work Planning thread.)
Ed Lecuyer
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Hans Brandes

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Re: Steam Crew Availability
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 05:24:49 PM »
Guys,

I'm going to throw this one out there. I am aware that you have a requirement for 150 hours of off the rail work in order to become eligible to be train crew at WW&F. A number of us at MNGRR have been qualified, licensed steam engineers for some years and some of us are qualified firemen/hostlers over at Conway on 7470. So there is a core of us who have pretty in depth steam experience.

In past years we have been fortunate to have Jason and Brian step up and help with steam crew assignments during heavy operating periods (Santa Fest/Polar Express) when we are operating numerous days in a short period. This has saved our butts more than once.

What is your thought on possibly having some of us work with your steam crew to learn the engine and the route so that we can become qualified on your ROW despite our not having 150 hours on the ground or being qualified as Trainmen or Conductors? This is something for you to ponder as we would not want to step on any toes or conflict with any WW&F rules or protocol (I came up through the ranks at both MNGRR and Conway). If this interests you, I can discuss it with my fellow steam crew members.

Hans

Mike Fox

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Re: Steam Crew Availability
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 06:42:58 PM »
The powers above can discuss this amongst themselves, but I will offer my take on it.
The best way to get to know the line is hands on. Learning where the crossings are, what the name of each of them are, milepost locations, rules, etc. are all something learned during the 150 hours. After the 150 is reached, brakeman training can commence. Once a Certified Brakeman and good knowledge of handsignals (we don't use radios), then you can continue to move up.
   So the best way to get you time in is come on up and get dirty. Plenty to do. And an extra hand is always welcome.
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

James Patten

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Re: Steam Crew Availability
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 07:17:11 PM »
Hans, let me speak a bit to your post.

Once the 150 hours have been attained, then someone previously qualified on another road (as brakeman/engineer/etc) can move up relatively quickly through the ranks.  If you are already a qualified brakeman elsewhere, then in a day or two you could be qualified on the WW&F.  Once you've gotten to the 150 hour point.

The purpose of the 150 hours is that it gives both the organization and the volunteer a chance to check each other out.  The WW&F does things a little differently than other organizations.  If the volunteer decides the WW&F is not the place for them, they will have figured that out before they've put in 150 hours, usually.  Likewise the organization gets to know the volunteer, and makes sure this is someone who isn't potentially dangerous to himself or those around him (we've had a few like those).

Additionally, up to half of the 150 hours can be attained on off-site work, such as attending train shows or doing machine work for the railroad in your own private machine shop (for example).

Dana Deering

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Re: Steam Crew Availability
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 05:21:10 AM »
I want to add my .02 to the 150 hours discussion.  I would not support waiving the requirement regardless of the current steam crew manpower squeeze.  The 150 hours work to the advantage of both the railroad and the new volunteer.  They give the volunteer a chance to see if the railroad is a fit for them, to see if their philosophy matches the one we try to maintain at the WW&F. Sometimes it just isn't what some are looking for, and that's OK. It also tests their own commitment. And it gives them time to get to know the road. 

As for the museum, there is an underlying philosophy that it is about the railroad and the preservation of Maine Two Foot History and not about any individual.  The 150 hours gives the long time museum folks, who have all had to meet the same 150 hour requirement, a chance to see whether or not the new volunteer is a fit for them.  There are the safety aspects and the learning of the road and the way things are done at the WW&F. And, there is the whole sense of ownership or partnership that comes from putting in those hours literally from the ground up and this tends to separate the "annuals" from the "perennials".

I know that sometimes it can take a while to reach those 150 hours but there is great value in that requirement and I would not want to see that changed.  I think it has helped the WW&F pick up some good, solid, dedicated people and also helped nip potential problems in the bud.

I would like to see the "off site" hours limited for new volunteers trying to reach the first 150 hours but that is another discussion for another day.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 06:34:13 AM by Ed Lecuyer »

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Steam Crew Availability
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 06:46:50 AM »
At the beginning of 2008, I had something like 100 hours of volunteer time at the WW&F (spread over 5+ years.) At first, I was rather irritated that I would still not be able to help on the train crew. Instead, I decided to put a full-press effort to make it to Sheepscot in 2008 whenever I could.

By the beginning of 2009 I had well over 200 hours in and have started brakeman training.

And I couldn't be more proud. I'm now in full support of the 150 hour requirement. In that last push, I really did get to know the museum better - to the point where I felt comfortable making decisions, finding things to do, keeping safely out of other's way, etc.

As James said, there's plenty to do - even if you are 'from away.' Maybe the BOD can list a few needs that the away people can volunteer for on the forum/web site. (For example, I don't have a machine shop, but I have a computer that is on almost all the time - allowing me to manage the forum.)
 
Ed Lecuyer
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Fred L. Kuhns

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Re: Steam Crew Availability/150 Volunteer Hours
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2009, 09:23:01 PM »
  Ed,  Thanks for explaining the 150 hour rule makes great sense.  For all volunteers at other musems that I have worked .  Each year we are required to sign a form that outlines the need to know the safety rules and requirememts of the railroad.  One musem requires team leaders to hold safety meetings  on each project and have volunteers who work sign off.  The longer I work on museum projects and programs the more paper work, however in todays world the need for strong safety and work rule requriement are justified.          Fred L. Kuhns

Joe Fox

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Re: Steam Crew Availability/150 Volunteer Hours
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2009, 08:53:30 PM »
Personally, I like the hole 150 hour rule, however, I have known guys at the museum, who make exceptions for people to start doing things here and there a little early, if you show genuine interest in the museum, and show up at least twice a month. I don't want to get any one in trouble, but I am just saying that is how I have experieced a few things in the past with becoming a brakemen. However, some people, have shown up, seemed real interested and then all of a sudden just decided to quit showing up all together. If the WW&F's crews would have spent time training this person, it would have only been waisted effort. I think it is honestly up to the BOD, and training officers as to who they think may be able to sneak in here or there to do a little bit of training in private, like I got when I first started.

Joe

P.S. Please no one take this the wrong way. Like I said, I like the 150 hour rule, but maybe a consideration can be made for the ones that have worked/volunteered on a railroad before. However, make sure that they are commited before any type of training.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 08:59:46 PM by Joe Fox »