Thursday, April 23, 2009

Movin' on Up

My husband checked the furlough board and today it has shrunk significantly! He's gone up several places in his rank, and several people have completely dropped off of the board. If business picks up even a little bit, he'll probably work at least a little before the end of the summer. Yea! If you are in the railroad business, I wish you the best during these hard times. May we all find sufficient work to keep the bills paid.

Two More Reasons to Hope

So my husband's been furloughed since early January. He was furloughed from the railroad before he even marked up to conductor- quite discouraging. Last week I was feeling hopeful that he might get back to work because of the Railroad Safety Act of 2008. Today I have more reason to hope. I read on a railroad wives' forum that the summer is traditionally a busier season- so even if the economy is bad, maybe the railroad will enjoy a little nudge this summer. The same poster noted that lots of guys take vacation during the summer. My husband is about 40 out right now on the furlough board. He is in a huge subdivision-- one of the busiest in the country. Maybe enough guys will take vacation to give my husband a little experience. He needs the work. If you're in the same situation, have hope. Maybe things will get a little better for the summer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 - A Source of Hope

The Metrolink collisions last autumn were followed by the passage of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which (then) President Bush signed into law. It will affect the number of hours that railroad service crew members can work, and the number of consecutive hours that they will be required to have for rest at home. It will force the railroads to provide more at home rest- instead of having them rest in cots at the station or at hotels away from home. The railroad will also have to give them at least 10 consecutive hours of rest before they can even call them. These new requirements will force them to use more crew members, so I'm hoping that it will result in my husband getting called back to work sooner. It goes into effect July 16, 2009. I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to see if my husband will be able to get back to work. Click on this link or more information about the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Switchkeys and Radio - Turned In

My husband drove down to the yard and turned in the switchkeys and radio. An oldhead was there and tried to encourage him. "Don't worry," he said, "As long as your not in the bottom 45 on the furlough board, you'll probably get called back." Problem is, he IS in the bottom 45 on the list. Then again, anything could happen. Half of our house has been stripped of paint now. It's great that my hubby has enough time to make the repairs we need.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Email Me If You Need to Contact Me

A recent comment on this blog was from a woman who is in need of some additional information about railroad life. I was not able to personally reply to that post because my software protects the anonymity of posters, if they choose to be anonymous. Anyone who would like more information about railroad life is free to email me at: railroadwife at gmail dot com. Substitute the appropriate symbols in the address-- I don't want end up on a bunch of spam lists, so I typed that out the long way.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Switchkeys and Radios

We got the dreaded call today. The railroad wants their switchkeys and radio back. That's pretty depressing for me. Actually, I was at work my state job, that, due to funding issues, isn't currently paying me). My daughter answered the phone, thinking it was her aunt. To her shock it was the railroad calling. She had heard us talk about the other two guys we know of who got THE CALL, so she knew what it was about. My husband gave me the news when I got home. My heart sank. For us, this was our only real opportunity for advancement that we've ever had. For my husband, this was a big opportunity. It's not the railroad's fault, so we're not mad at them. It's just the way things are.

The good news is that he is still on the furlough board. He's not been let go-- it's just that we know that they aren't planning on having him back soon. My husband isn't as discouraged as I am. He has lots of marketable skills that make him pretty employable. I'm just sad for him, because I worry that he won't get to go back to this job, which I think is the coolest job he's ever had.

He's much more detached.

As I write this, he's outside scraping our siding. He's been keeping busy by taking care of much needed repairs to our old home. Even if he's furloughed for a year, he'll be busy the whole time, and our house will look really great after a year.

If the railroad hasn't called him back after a year, he might go look for something else. Right now he's working hard on our house.

Some of the Guys Got the Dreaded Call

My husband got a call yesterday from a fellow trainee. This guy told my husband that the railroad called and requested that he turn in his radio and switch keys. That sounds ominous. We are hoping that my husband won't get that same call. We know of two guys this week who got that call.

Meanwhile, I am not getting paid very often for my work with a state agency. Fun!