July
19
Posted on 19-07-2010
Filed Under (Calgary 1970s, CPR) by Broken Rail

The month of August was a time of famine working the spare board I worked for 2300 Government August 4, a 1500 Extra on August 5, the 2130 Pulldown on August 8, and the 1430 Pulldown on August 12 when the strike on the CPR became a national walkout and I was laid off. Not one to let the grass grow underneath my feet, a friend of mine told me of a place that was hiring and I went there and placed a job application. I was hired by Western Electrical Contractors that had their office on the NW corner 10th Ave. and 4th Street Southwest, I was hired to work in their warehouse three doors west, where they ran an outlet called Saveon Electrical were they sold electric supplies to the public. My job in the warehouse was to drive their delivery truck to and from building projects where their electicians were working and deliver materials to the jobsites, and to pick up leftover material when the jobs were finished. When not doing that I worked in the warehouse cleaning up, and stocking incoming materials, I used to take my lunch breaks on the back loading dock that faced the CPR tracks running west of Calgary, and wished I was working on trains arriving and departing. On September 9, 1973 I was called back to work and placed on the No. 8 Relief a swing job for the Pusher assignments, after four days I was bumped and went to a vacancy on the No.11 Relief that worked afternoon shifts at the Industrial Yard Office I worked this assignment for about a week when I was bumped back to the spare board for the rest of the month, and October which was a busy month where I got in 18 shifts plus 2 at over time. One of the more memorable shifts was working the 1600 A Tramp with a yard foreman named Paul, and his helper named Larry (the wiener), I got a real laugh out of the two of them trying to figure out how to explain to the General Yard Master Harold McAfee how on an earlier shift that week they had managed to put all the piggyback trailers destined for Winnipeg on an outgoing train for Vancouver, and the Vancouver piggyback traffic on an east bound headed for Toronto.

I was still riding my 10 speed bicycle from home to work, riding up and down Ogden Road I would see trains arriving and departing for the East. I lost my drivers license at the end of September for six months, and the thought of riding my bicycle in the winter did not appeal to me, I knew I did not have enough seniority to hold road assignments of the Calgary, but from what I heard I could hold the trainman’s spare board out of Medicine Hat, Alberta. All assignments in the Alberta District went up for bid every six months at the change of timetable on the last Sunday of April, and October so I placed a bid for Medicine Hat, the change of card bids came out in the middle of October, but the company said I could not go because I did not have six months experience, I appealed this to my local chairman Peter Lens of the United Transportation Union Local 1884, he in turn took my appeal to the UTU General Chairman Philip Burke who made a ruling that I should be allowed to transfer effective November 7, 1973.

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