The Hard Working Conductor

(My Favorite George Ash Story)

by Duane Frank, ARR Assistant Terminal Superintendent


Duane FrankWebmaster's Note: George Ash worked for the Missouri Pacific for 10 years and then began working for the ARR in 1968. He was the number one conductor in seniority with the ARR before retiring in 1996. -- JC

George was working as a conductor off the extra board in Anchorage during the peak of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline Boom. This is where you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a rotating call sheet. When you tie up for rest, you go to the bottom of the list of, say, 10 conductors, and as the ones ahead of you are called out for a job, you move closer and closer to the top. Well, George had worked about 3 weeks straight of being called on rest (get off work, then come right back in 8 hours), and was in need of a break. The crew caller denied his request for a day of leave, so George laid off sick. In those days they would send a trainmaster out to your house if they suspected you of abuse of sick leave.Well, here comes Charlie Drum out to George's house and knocks on the door. He says,"George didn't you hire on the railroad to WORK?!". And George says ,"Yes, Charlie, I did. But if I wanted a drink of water, I wouldn't call the fire department!"


© 1998 Duane Frank