TOM DRISCOLL - CONDUCTOR

 

There are two types of Conductors who work for the railroad. People who are paid to collect tickets and wear a hat badge that reads "CONDUCTOR", and then there are real Conductors,  people who accept the responsibilities and challenges of Conducting a train and thankfully, just go out there every railroad day and do the right thing.

I can think of about 40 people total  (you know the type, Roger Shadduck, Dave French, Joe Motte, John Newman, Mike Hersey, Moe Burke, Mike Brown, WG Porter, Bob Chessia, Dean Davidson, Messias, Annette, Major Dad McCaughey, Johnny Rioux, etc. et all) on the New England Division who fall into the second category and Tom Driscoll is right in there with them.

We have our fair share of "fakers," who get big into the authority role, love to pound their chests and do a lot of screaming and yelling with the "I'm the boss" bullcrap attitude....The same clowns who hide up in the engine or in the Conductor's office when all hell breaks loose. Operational problem or passenger conflict??? They'll pull a Houdini on yah, guaranteed.

We also have our fair share of clowns who couldn't make a pimple on a real Conductor's ass. You know the type. Collect tickets then run off and hide, to (fill in the blank) somewhere out of the line of fire.

These are the same clowns who complain because, as they put it, the "union never does anything." Ironically, Tommy is also a union rep, and he spends half of his life keeping many of these (fill in the blank) employed.

The one thing the railroad and it's passengers will always get from Tom Driscoll is 100 plus percent effort. Tom has always been the epitome of what a Conductor was suppose to be when they invented the job 150 years ago.

Railroad life has not always been a cakewalk for Tommy either. While juggling his life to devote time to his childhood sweetheart of a wife and his six sons, Tommy simultaneously found himself being bumped out of Boston, working 150 miles away in New Haven to support his family.

Imagine that? Think about commuting 300 miles round trip a day, 5 days a week for 8 hours pay, while our present day "wonders of railroading" moan and groan because they screw each other out of a 5 day Conductor flag assignment....Oh, and we're so familiar with their (fill in the blank) out there on these flag jobs, but that's another story (again, just fill in the blanks, you'll figure it out).

Oh yes, and we know what a great sacrifice you clowns must make every time you have to lower yourselves to working (if that's what you want to call it) a passenger train.

I remember quite well a good friend of mine, Mr. Jim Reddington, who owned a Surveying company in East Greenwich, telling me how Tom Driscoll was one of the few people he felt good about seeing when they were surveying the "Shore Line" prior to the Electrification Project in the early 1980's.

"Tom Driscoll showed up to work," Jim said. "I always felt safe and at ease when working with Conductor Flagman Tom Driscoll."

As a new hire trainman in 1986, I worked with Tom a number of times in work train and yard service. I remember a few times screwing up royally, once even derailing a train at the old Branford yard in Connecticut, and not once did Tom belittle or antagonize. That's why I always enjoy listening to bozos who couldn't switch out a two car train to save their lives, badmouthing new hire trainmen who have received jack for car handling yard switching training. What a contrast indeed.

Besides being good guy, Tom's work ethic as well as his commitment to his craft, his duties and his passengers restores the faith many of us long for in our fellow railroaders, because, as the late, great Leo O'Donnell put it so bluntly, "there really are some useless sacks of (fill in the blank) out there, and they should have fired the ones that hired them."

I would honestly suggest that many of you malcontents out there who don't give jack about your craft, duties and future seriously consider tearing a few pages from the Book of Driscoll and get a taste of what being a Conductor is all about.

Tom Driscoll is a good man, a great friend and a true railroader, and I am so happy I have had the pleasure to work with him, learn from him and have him as a devoted friend and coworker.

 

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