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Thread: Life on the railroad

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimr1cos View Post
    When my son worked for UP he informed me that you "run" a train, but you never "drive" it.
    Jim
    On the former Soo Line, we run trains. Nobody ever uses the term driving.

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    The person who operated a trolley car was a "motorman."

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    In the upper Midwest and Canada we "run" trains, not drive them. You drive things that you can steer.

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    And yet, everyone objects to the terminology used by someone who actually does it.

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    Interesting conversation. When I was an enlisted man on an M60A1 tank I was the driver. The tank commander (who we called tank riders behind their backs) told us where to go, left, right straight, stop go and when to back up while we were maneuvering. When in an AA, motor pool ECT we had someone outside the tank ground guiding us. So we never really "drove" the tank. Someone else was always in control. Yet my job position/title was "tank driver". Later when I became a tank rider (tank commander) I controlled what the driver, loader and gunner did plus did all external communications using the radio and engaged targets with both the main gun and .50 machine gun as needed. So at that time was I still a tank driver?

    If the guy running the train wants to call himself a driver that's fine by me.

    Rick

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    "Run" or "Operate" make more sense to me. "Drive" infers that you have some control over the direction, as in driving cattle (you're making them move in a particular direction), a car or any other vehicle with steering. Ships and boats are "piloted", not driven, for whatever reason. Airplanes are "flown". Trains...there's nothing to 'drive', but there's plenty to operate or run!

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    Verbs and titles don't exactly match in the boat world. You can pilot a boat, but a boat pilot is not a crew member. He is someone sent by the harbor master to maneuver your boat into the tight confines of the harbor and the skipper is responsible for doing what he says. Closest I can think of to a tank driver would be the helmsman.

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    soooo, what do you call the thing that makes a robot car go?
    If a plane has a pilot what does a drone have?
    I think this is discussing something that really doesn't change what is really happening. Just don't get thrown under the drivers!
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Ah, yes. Life on the railway. Over 13 and 1/2 years in with Canadian Pacific now as a track maintainer. This year I'm on a surfacing crew behind LD tie 3, just about to go into winter service.
    Working on the steam in kamloops....#2141.
    --------
    Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Komata View Post
    Paul

    Thank you. However, from a linguistic aspect, RailOhio's comment intrigues me, hence my question. FCC notwithstanding, what is the term used to describe the act of 'driving' a locomotive in the USA?



    Your countrymen dive cars (automobiles) as does the rest of the world, but based on RailOhio's comment, evidently your engineers / railroads use a different term for a person in a locomotive cab who is in charge of the motive power of the train.

    As this individual can't 'Engineer' his locomotive (that doesn't make linguistic sense), what would that word would be??

    Thanks.
    The word would be "RUN" trains....I've run trains since 1972. I'm retired now (retired in '08 from the UP as an MOP)
    Bill

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