27. November 2011 · Comments Off on Where’ve I Been? · Categories: Places · Tags:






02. November 2011 · Comments Off on Light At the End Of It · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

Railroad flagging is like working in a tunnel this time of year. It’s dark when I get up in the early hours, print the paperwork that was sent during the night, call the dispatcher to check in, and drive around to pound my boards in along the railroad right-of-way. Some of them get placed in obscure locations that most humans will never visit, but that are commonly seen every day by people who work on or along the tracks. As the daylight hours have shortened, I’ve been briefing the crew I’m protecting in the dark.

And then it’s dark at the end of the work day when I go around and take the boards up, drag my carcass back to the hotel, plug in everything to recharge, and go to bed “early”. During the day it’s a nonstop parade of things to do, trains to talk through my limits, construction crews who need time near the track to accomplish things, and other people working elsewhere under my protection that need to be notified and cleared when trains are coming. It’s like juggling with very large objects, none of which I have my hands on. One needs to adjudicate the various urgencies presented and also protect everyone from harm while allowing work to progress.

After 9 weeks in that tunnel, working in a variety of areas and challenges, I’m climbing out and looking after myself for a while. Recharging is something literal in some cases; the battery pack I use to power my two-way mobile radio won’t completely charge in the time I have off between 16 hour days. And so it is with myself, I need some recharging as well that takes more time.

So if you’re wondering how I am, call me late next week and I’ll have time to talk. To my friends in AZ, look forward to seeing you all again soon, and to basking in some warm sunlight after a good night’s sleep.

04. November 2010 · Comments Off on Lakefront Days · Categories: Places · Tags:

I spent 6 weeks in the Chicago area, working as a railroad flagman. Most of that time was in the same spot, 63 hours a week. Each morning on my way to the jobsite, I stopped at a nearby bridge to pick up my faxed paperwork from the night op. Some of the photos in this album were shot from a bridge that is being demolished.

I’m trying a new way of posting photos. You can mouse over them for titles, or click on any one to enlarge it and look at the rest of them enlarged. Clicking directly on an enlarged photo takes you back to the post and thumbnails. Your comments about usability are welcomed.