RE: Vacancy procedures within the St. Louis HUB

We have updated the Vacancy Procedures as they apply to the St. Louis Hub.  Attached are the updated and corrected procedures. Hopefully this update will eliminate the dropped turns issue along with crew’s being forced to work assignments they are not required to work.


There has been no agreement change, these procedures take the agreement into its intended practice. These will become effective July 23rd.


In the past the agreements were not being complied with and forced the various Local Chairman to protect such work by imposing restrictions on Stepping up. With the changes being implemented with the carrier we no longer have a need to impose those penalties.


Please note that if you are the junior person in the pool in “ok” status you can be forced to step up to fill a vacancy, if no senior person wishes to pick up the extra work.


If there are any questions, feel free to contact your Local Chairman.



Brian Young

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PDF icon DUPO.ENG_.VPS_.Update.pdf333.62 KB

Denny D’s Did You Know 2.21 Electronic Devices

Lately there has been some concerns raised regarding crew members using electronic devices when they shouldn’t be. I’m sure most of us remember the incident in 2008 when the passenger train hit the freight train in Chatsworth, California. Tragically, 25 people lost their lives. The investigation determined that the engineer of the passenger train was texting at or near the time of the collision. One of the outcomes from this was an emergency order issued by the FRA regarding usage of electronic devices by train crews. Before this incident, the railroad had rules regarding the use of electronic devices, but now those rules are made even more restrictive by Federal Regulation. Violation of electronic device rules now not only can result in discipline from the company, but civil penalties as well. Beyond the penalties, there is something else just as important to keep in mind. If you were using an electronic device and involved in an incident with the public such as hitting a trespasser or a vehicle, a derailment that causes damage to the public, or a hazardous chemical release, there is a very real probability that you could be looking criminal prosecution and litigation against you personally. It is important to know when it is and is not ok to use electronic devices and what type of use is permitted.


 The GCOR glossary specifically defines what constitutes an electronic device. The conductor’s walkie-talkie is not considered an electronic device for purposes of this rule. One crucial element to keep in mind is that 2.21 differentiates between use of personal electronic devices and railroad supplied device.


Personal Devices Prohibited

Turned off and Stowed

  • On a moving train
  • While a crew member is on the ground. Remember that this applies while the conductor is down giving a roll by, or the engineer is doing his inspection.
  • While the train/engines are being inspected or readied by someone else. This would apply while sitting in 301 and the carmen are performing your brake test or your engineer is walking through and checking out the locomotives.


Personal Devices Permitted 

  • To respond to an emergency or radio failure 
  • Camera. Stand alone camera only and only photos of safety concerns. Cell phone camera use is prohibited for any reason.
  • Calculator. Stand alone calculator only, not the one on your cell phone.
  • Deadheading. If deadheading on a train, use is permitted only if riding on a trailing unit.
  • Cell Phone: Voice communication only and only while stopped. 
  • May be used to refer to rule books. The rule books must be stored and wireless capabilities turned off. I recommend putting your device in airplane mode prior to turning it off, that way the wireless capabilities are already off when you power it on to reference the rules. Also, if your battery is dead, you don’t have your reference documents.
  • In a crew room. It is okay to use your device to update your stored rule books. This part of the rule changed with the recent SSI. Provided that all duties have been completed, texting and internet use is permitted in a crew room. Proceed with caution, make sure you are not sitting at the table or near another crew doing their job briefing.
  • Remember texting, games, and internet usage is never permitted on a locomotive whether moving or stopped, unless deadheading on a trailing unit.


Railroad Supplied Devices  


This part of the rule would apply to managers and the conductor’s work order reporting cell phone. Railroad supplied devices must also be turned off and stowed when not in use. The exception to this is the work order reporting phone. This device must left powered on at all times per SSI Item 15. The reporting may be done after a job briefing with other crew members and may be done from the ground if the employee is not fouling the track. Use of the device is prohibited on a moving train. Finally, managers may use their devices for FTX reporting and other communication. If they are riding with you, their device must be turned off and stowed while moving just like yours. 


Compliance of GCOR 2.21 is a critical rule. If there is an incident involving the locomotive you were on, even 200 miles down the road and a few days later, the event recorders will be downloaded and cameras will be viewed. If you are in violation of 2.21 you are not only putting your own job at risk, but you are also jeopardizing the career and livelihood of your fellow crew members. As one my favorite old head conductors use to put it, “this ain’t no hobby.” While there are days I get frustrated, I tend to forget a lot of the headaches out here on the 10th and 25th of each month. I need this job and I’m sure most of you do as well. Let’s take some time to think about and look out for each other when making our decisions on how we do our jobs out here. 


August Missouri primary election registration deadline approaching!

The Missouri primary election is August 7th. This is when Missouri will be voting on Prop A (the Right to Work proposition). If you aren't registered to vote, please register before the registration deadline on July 11. I have attached a link where you can print out the registration or find your local office to register in person. Not voting helps the other side win.


rules class

      The carrier has changed its process for rules class, the service unit is no longer in control of the scheduling process. The region is handling all scheduling as well as the location of rules class’s. 
    When the region selects to have a rules class, the location for the class will be decided by the home terminal of the majority of the employees in the rules class. 
  For instance, If they are going to have a 10 person rules class and 6 are working in Dexter then that will be the location for the class, yet they will fill out the class to 10 from other locations and those employees will be required to report to Dexter for rules class. 
   If this happens to you, you must be rested to attend rules class.  If you are expected to report to a location other than your current terminal, you are to notify CMS and have them deadhead you to that location early enough that you can check into the hotel and get your rest prior to the class beginning. You can drive your personal vehicle and be reimbursed auto miles. At the conclusion of the rules class if you do not feel safe and rested enough to drive home notify your instructor and stay in the hotel for rest then notify CMS and deadhead home. 


PTC & Davis Jct. Update

I spoke with a couple of people about PTC and Davis Jct. Apparently the system is not activating, showing a gray state beyond Davis onto the main. After waiting 5 minutes, crews are entering the main. Once the train clears Davis Jct. the system activates and puts you into suppression, thinking you shouldn’t be out there yet. The 5 minute timer is not going to start with the system still in the gray state. If within 1,500 feet and after selecting your track, the system is still gray, I recommend calling the dispatcher to have the PTC desk talk to you. Do not take it upon yourself to do soft cutout or place it into Restricted Mode to bypass the issue. I believe there is an issue being caused by the update from June 1. In the meantime I will see what I can find out.

Vote NO on Prop A

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6-hour No Blanket calling



I am sure everyone is aware of the blanket calling by the AVR for vacancy procedures. We have been working with CMS to modify the process as follows:

When there is a vacancy first out and the extra board is exhausted the AVR will begin to call those in “OK” status when you refuse the call, he/she will be placed on a 6 hour no call for open vacancies.

This means the next time there is a vacancy you will not be called for a 6-hour period, unless your turn stands for the call.

For this process to initiate in you can either not answer the call, select the option to refuse the call or simply listen to the prompt by the AVR “Attempting to fill vacancy” then hang the phone up.  

Under the above 6-hour no call you can be called again if you are being called under another set of vacancy procedures, i.e. being called to protect another board’s vacancy. This will start a new 6-hour timer under that vacancy process and so on.

If under the 6-hour no blanket calling you can still be called for your turn and are expected to take the call.   

I hope this helps ease some of the burden we are all under with the endless calls in the night and while trying to get rest, no process that involves CMS is flawless, I am sure there are going to be instances where this fails. Do your best to let your Local Chairman know of the issue or send me the details as soon as possible.

This is currently in place as of 6/5/2018 for all Engineer Boards in the St. Louis HUB. If there are any questions, please contact your Local Chairman or myself.






The exceptions for The Next Governing Signal Rule and Delayed In The Block with PTC are gone.


So if your next signal is more favorable than the one you are running on, your speed cannot be resumed until you knock it down.


Delayed in the Block depends on CTC or ABS. 


CTC: Prepared to stop at the next signal until that signal is visible and it is some type of proceed indication.


ABS: Restricted Speed until able to see the next signal and the track to that signal and it is some type of proceed indication.


PTC does not relieve you of these requirements.





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