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  #11  
Old December 6th, 2012, 09:27 PM
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chazrobitaille chazrobitaille is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

Hmmm....I bet some sort of recorded announcement that could be triggered when we get close to either station would help take the place of the station attendants. Boomtown wouldn't be too much of a problem, but there is a TV and sound system at Johnson now (installed by corporate, according to the tech guys that we complain to about it being too loud) that would have to be moved. Who knows, if we start asking for it now, maybe something will happen in a decade or so haha.

That reminds me, something else that I was thinking about was running 4 coaches on the green train. I know they started the process of rotating the coaches out to restore them There is one parked by the shop that hasn't been touched in a very long time, and the 2nd coach on the green train will still need to be refurbished. If we had all four coaches and working sanders on the green train, it would be great to have the extra coach. There have been many days this season when it wasn't quite busy enough for 2 trains but lines were pretty long with 1 only running 3 coaches.

Apart from Johnson having a pretty small margin of error, were there any other problems running 4 coaches?

Oh, and one more thing (just to keep this post nice and scatterbrained) Anyone have any polishing tips? So far it seems like the pink stuff from our supply cabinet works great for the brass, as long as it doesn't sit and dry on there too long. I've tried both Transmission fluid (One of the mechanics suggested it) and a liquid turtle wax from the supply closet on the painted parts of the boiler jacket. Both worked pretty well, and it looks pretty good for about 3 days, then it needs another complete wipe down. When I'm firing, I try to do a walk around in the station every few trips and wipe off all the steam oil that sprayed out of the stack, keeps things lookin' good.

The builder's plate on the front of the green train is proving difficult, the pink brass polish just gets lodged in the nooks and crannies and dries. I was thinking using a really soft buffing wheel that could get around all the letters. Nothing that would scratch, just enough to get all the junk off.
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  #12  
Old December 7th, 2012, 02:26 AM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

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Originally Posted by chazrobitaille View Post
but there is a TV and sound system at Johnson now
a TV in the TX depot? blasphemy!

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Originally Posted by chazrobitaille View Post

Apart from Johnson having a pretty small margin of error, were there any other problems running 4 coaches?
you mean BT right...there aren't any problems in TX because that platform is more than long enough unless something has changed...I know in BT it is a tight fit but not a problem for most engineers as long as your not going to fast

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Originally Posted by chazrobitaille View Post
Oh, and one more thing (just to keep this post nice and scatterbrained) Anyone have any polishing tips? So far it seems like the pink stuff from our supply cabinet works great for the brass, as long as it doesn't sit and dry on there too long. I've tried both Transmission fluid (One of the mechanics suggested it) and a liquid turtle wax from the supply closet on the painted parts of the boiler jacket. Both worked pretty well, and it looks pretty good for about 3 days, then it needs another complete wipe down. When I'm firing, I try to do a walk around in the station every few trips and wipe off all the steam oil that sprayed out of the stack, keeps things lookin' good.

The builder's plate on the front of the green train is proving difficult, the pink brass polish just gets lodged in the nooks and crannies and dries. I was thinking using a really soft buffing wheel that could get around all the letters. Nothing that would scratch, just enough to get all the junk off.
sounds like your doing what we did...Turtle wax on the paint and the pink stuff on the brass...3 days? we polished paint and brass every morning ...sometimes we'd skip the brass if we didn't have time, but always did the paint...and the pink stuff you have to be real light with, let it dry, then go back and buff with the blue towels, just have to use some elbow grease...too thick and it gets too messy ...we'd put it on one side of the engine, move to the other side, put some on there, go back to the first side and buff, then do the other side...and i made the same mistake with trying to clean the plate with the brass cleaner...just makes a mess...seems like we used something in a spray can...think it might have been wd-40 or some type of degreaser if it happened to be in the shop maybe (when the engine is cold)
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  #13  
Old December 7th, 2012, 04:43 PM
JStroop JStroop is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

I'll second Vance's reply... we polished and/or cleaned the brass, boiler jacket, drive arms, and driver wheels every day. If we skipped a day for whatever reason, it was just that much dirtier the next day. I think when you have an operation with as much oil, soot, dirty water, and smoke - you can't expect the engine exterior to stay clean for more than one day.

Vance is also right about the polish - a light touch is better - it only takes a thin coat then a buff for the brass to look good. If you put too much on and then don't go back and buff it, it gets kind of cloudy looking and is counter-productive.

Just be careful when you're standing up on the high sideboards and polishing the bell, that Steel doesn't crank up the (memory escapes me what it's called) smoke stack all the way and makes it vomit boiling-hot water all over your back, simultaneously ruining all the work you've just done and blistering the bejeezus out of your back 2 days before you leave for a backpacking trip.
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  #14  
Old December 8th, 2012, 06:53 AM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

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that Steel doesn't crank up the (memory escapes me what it's called) smoke stack all the way and makes it vomit boiling-hot water all over your back,
it was the blower right?

we had a canvas tarp that covered most of the boiler when it was time to fire up/refire the engine if we had polished it already...I've been splashed by that smokestack too and it did not feel good but it sounds like I def did not get it as bad as you (I was on the ground so i could get out of the way)
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  #15  
Old December 8th, 2012, 09:53 AM
JABBS JABBS is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

No, it was when he cranked up the air pump all at one time instead of a little at a time.

I have trouble seeing the need to use turtle wax on the boiler jacket. I would think that would be problematic, especially if the engine was hot. I just remember using transmission fluid, diesel, kerosene, or some combination of the 3 to clean the painted surfaces of the boiler jacket and drivers.
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  #16  
Old December 8th, 2012, 02:51 PM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

it was the air pump...now I remember...I can hear the sound now followed by the spew from the stack

remember using diesel on the drivers at night while the oil/grease was still warm and easy to wipe off...you always had make sure the new guy knew not to get near the piston that went in the steam cyclinder
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  #17  
Old December 9th, 2012, 04:42 AM
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chazrobitaille chazrobitaille is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

Thanks for all the tips!

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Originally Posted by VanceCope View Post
a TV in the TX depot? blasphemy!
I agree...the railroad was one of the few relaxing places left in the park, but between the sound system and all the roller coasters (especially when Mr. Freeze launches when we are under it) I can hardly hear myself think sometimes. Earlier this season, I pestered the IT people enough about the levels in Johnson been too loud (passengers couldn't hear me talking at all and I'm pretty loud) They came out and check it and pretty much said they can't lower the level because it's all corporate sponsors, and they are required to blare that stuff at the passengers all day. Ugh. They had it off for most of fright fest and it was glorious.

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you mean BT right...there aren't any problems in TX because that platform is more than long enough...
Right, I mixed that up.

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3 days? we polished paint and brass every morning
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Originally Posted by JStroop View Post
I'll second Vance's reply... we polished and/or cleaned the brass, boiler jacket, drive arms, and driver wheels every day.

I know...it's something I've been trying to work on, but finding the time is difficult. There aren't many crew members that are in the habit of polishing, and because I have to grab the paperwork from ops in the morning, I usually end up cleaning the station and track instead of the train and locomotive. What I meant was the brass doesn't get too tarnished over a 3 day period, it stays pretty bright. If I'm lucky, we have time to do a quick wipe down to get all the valve oil off, if not, it has to wait until I'm firing and can do it while we wait in the station. I've tried to set an example to the rest of the crew with cleaning constantly, but it hasn't taken yet. More direct methods of management will probably be occurring if things don't improve.

Keeping the station and train clean is just such a constant struggle too. If a 2 min. station stop goes perfectly, I have just enough time to greet the boarding passengers, sweep up the station, check the paperwork and leave, but it almost never goes according to that plan. Maybe I stress too much about trying to keep a schedule, but people act so differently when it comes to waiting for the train compared to waiting in line on a roller coaster. A 14 min. wait is not too big a deal if it is a line for any other ride, but because they can see the train right in front of them, it's like there is an extra level of impatience.

I meant to ask...how long did y'all used to get back in the day to open? We are usually scheduled to come in 1 hour and 15 mins. before opening the stations. Thinking about it now, it seems like that would be enough, but I find that every day I open, I feel rushed and things are never as clean as I'd like unless I get to come in early.

That 1hr 15mins includes walking track, cleaning the locomotive and train, cleaning johnson creek, paperwork, safety check, sandout, and cleaning boomtown. I usually try to budget at least 25 mins for the sandout, just in case the supes take a while to sign us off, or if a raccoon attacks the trash at boomtown. For instance, this Friday, we opened at 5pm, so we came in at 3:45, left for safety check at 4:35, and opened on time. On 2 train days, the 2nd train crew is literally scheduled 15 mins before they are supposed to open. If the mechanic has everything ready, that pretty much means we get to the roundhouse, and leave right after doing a brake check and walk around. Sometimes the supes are nice and let me come in early to help open the 1st train, then have enough time to clean the 2nd.
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  #18  
Old December 9th, 2012, 07:02 AM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

we'd come in somewhere between 1 & 1 1/2 hours early (2nd train usually came in an hour early too)...i think schedule wise it was just an hour but most of us didn't mind working a little bit off the clock to get stuff done

you also have to keep in mind that mostly everyone on here worked when there were conductors and I had the (dis)privilege of doing both since they were taken away during my time there so when the engine crew arrived an hour early that's what they concentrated on, getting the engine ready...conductors were responsible for cleaning the depots, track, and coaches as well as getting paperwork from the office...we also didn't clock in when we walked through the gate, that was all done by hand, so you could show up early and not get hassled about it...so I can see where you'd have less time to polish daily

do all three crew members come in an hour before or does the 3rd coming in at the later? I know at the beginning of the end of the conductors the red tag was allowed to come in an hour early but the conductors were scheduled for 15 till opening so it fell on me to get everything clean and do safety check...also we also didn't have to wait for the supe to sign off to sandout, only maintenance...we'd do our run and then stop at the RH to see if they signed off (sign off sheet was on the wall, I'm sure that's different now) that way we were always ready to open and if we were late it wasn't our fault...
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  #19  
Old December 9th, 2012, 08:02 AM
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chazrobitaille chazrobitaille is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

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conductors were responsible for cleaning the depots, track, and coaches as well as getting paperwork from the office.
Wow, that's a big difference, that must have been such a shock when they changed it. Nowadays whoever is starting out conducting just focuses on the coaches and track. Sometimes I blow all the trash/dirt/popcorn/sand with a leafblower up to the front of the coach, that saves some time sweeping.

All 3 crew members come in at the same time (or they are supposed to anyway) I used to come in pretty early, but now they only let us clock in 30 mins before our scheduled time (even though we don't get payed for any time before our scheduled time, regardless of how early we clock in), so I have to ask a supe if I really want to get some stuff done before we open.

In some ways, I wish we still had separate conductors (and more of them), but having everyone trained everywhere makes me feel a little safer. I feel like people who have been trained on the locomotive are a bit more safety conscious, and have a better idea of what's going on. What would be neat is if we had a separate crew of just station attendants. They could help clean, keep people informed, load and unload ect. Finding responsible people for long shifts in the station would be pretty much impossible though. One can dream...

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we also didn't have to wait for the supe to sign off to sandout
It's still pretty similar: Mechanic signs off on the safety check that we carry with us, and we go do our sandout. Sometimes the supe is smart enough to catch us at the roundhouse before we leave and they sign off then, otherwise they just meet us at Johnson when we finish the sandout. We just can't open the doors to the station till they sign off.

What really drives me nuts is on 2 train days, to put up the 2nd train, (usually 2 hrs before the 1st train) they have to have a mechanic and supe present to be taken off the tracks. I've been told its so the railroad is procedurally the same as the other rides (roller coasters ect) even though we put up without a supe or mechanic all the time when we don't have both trains out. On 2 train days though, when the 2nd puts up, it's one of the busiest times of day, and we have to wait for them to sandout, refuel, and wait for a mechanic with 300 people in the station and a full train. We get a lot of angry passengers some nights.
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  #20  
Old December 9th, 2012, 04:47 PM
VanceCope VanceCope is offline
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Default Re: Cab Rides? Station Attendents?

seems like I remember that the supe was required to be there just as a second (or third) set of eyes to confirm that the switch was being thrown in the proper position so that when the other train came around there was no question of if the switch was on the main line or the spur...same when adding the train...first train stayed in TX until 2 had stopped at the fuel stand then waited for confirmation from a supe that it was safe to go
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