For years the RR has acted like our wages is the undoing of profit for the RR. I thought that was nonsense (and still do) when compared to the cost of fuel. The RR has proved my point.
Yesterday I had a chat with the Roadforeman about our long trip hours and weather or not we are saving money by combining trains and working overtime and using two crews and the cost of crew van transportation. It was particularly annoying to me as a crew deadhead right behind us. He asked me to talk with the Asst. Superintendent and the Superintendent about it too. I know he has gone to bat for us as has the other Laurel Roadforeman.
Yesterday (and the day before... it was an all night trip) we had a 126 car train out of Helena. It was combined Spokane-Laurel / MRL Missoula Laurel. We did a power swap with the MRL LM at Livingston that took about an hour. Then I prepared 46 more cars with the intent of picking them up. We set out 26 cars so the train total would be about 150 cars and 9100 ft. This train will not fit anywhere and cannot be built within the guidelines of blocking crossings at Livingston as it is 8000 feet between the crossings there. The Livingston clerk was on vacation so the list was a mess and it all took 3 1/2 hours. We ended up air testing the pick up then securing that cut for a later pickup by the next crew as we were running out of time. We put the power back on the train that we had left on the mainline and then pulled it down to ready it for the double up. 10 more handbrakes there.
My question was is it all cost effective? I suspected it is all about fuel. We used the BNSF power only from Helena to Bozeman pass. Is the fuel savings to MRL vs. the cost of new crew and crew van service off set by the fuel savings? At $3.50 / gal, I bet it is.
I'm tired, and tired of the long long days with no layoffs allowed. I agree with the RR when considering the fuel issue even though I am sure they will pitch a fit about wage negotiation like our wages are killing them. I'll not be voting on the new contract as it won't affect me. I will go into effect APR 1 and I'll be retiring MAY 1.