by Duane Frank, ARR Assistant Terminal Superintendent
Webmaster'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