Several of my relatives--most of whom have passed on--worked in various capacities in the railroad business. One was an engineer for the Illinois Central--just like Casey Jones. His first job for the IC was as a fireman. No, he didn't put out blazes, in the old days firemen on trains were responsible for shoveling coal to power steam powered trains. However, by the time my uncle was a fireman, the Illinois Central was only using diesel power locomotives. Arcane union rules kept the fireman position alive until railroad after railroad declared bankruptcy in the 1960s. Train buffs like to blame the creation of the interstate highway system for the fall of the railroads, but union payroll featherbedding played a part.
So taxpayers should be suspicious when unions want to add people to the payroll. Because I believe it's all about extracting dues from paychecks and nothing else.
How many drivers are on a Greyhound bus?
The union for Amtrak's locomotive engineers urged the railroad on Tuesday to put a second crew member at the controls of trains on the busy Northeast Corridor, where a derailment killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.
"The public would never accept an airline operation with a single person in the cockpit," the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said in a statement. "There is no reason that rail employees and rail passengers' lives should be viewed any differently."
Brandon Bostian, 32, was alone in the locomotive of Train 188 when it derailed May 12, about 10 minutes after departing Philadelphia for New York.
Amtrak hasn't had a second crew member in the locomotive of its Northeast Corridor trains since Congress ended the requirement in the early 1980s, the union said.