View Full Version : Hostler ?

January 1st, 2011, 12:23 AM
I noticed the in the Achievements section of 2010 that Switching Experience is rated from Trainee Hostler to Senior Hostler. What the heck does being a hostler have to do with switching? In all my railroading experience, a hostler a beginning engineer that moves engines around the engine house and with some experience, is allowed to drive them to the yard where the engine will be met by the crew.

References - Elements of Train Dispatching by Thomas White, Chapter 8 - Engines and Cars, p227 "A Hostler is a locomotive engineer that only moves, or hostles locomotives. An inside hostler works only within the locomotive service and shop area, an outside hostler moves locomotives between the locomotive service area and the yards in the same terminal."

From The Free Dictionary.com
hos·tlerplay_w2("H0289900") (hhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/obreve.gifshttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.giflhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/schwa.gifr, http://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/obreve.gifshttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.gif-) also os·tler (http://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/obreve.gifshttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.gif-)
n. 1. One who is employed to tend horses, especially at an inn.
2. One who services a large vehicle or engine, such as a locomotive.

From YourDictionary.com
hos·tler (häs′lər, äs′-)

a person who takes care of horses at an inn, stable, etc.; groom
☆ a person who services a truck or a railroad engine at the end of a run
From Railroad.net, an article by J. D. Santucci

Inside Hostlers are restricted to working totally within a locomotive servicing area. These are designated servicing limits often indicated by a bulletin, timetable special instructions or terminal instructions. Inside Hostlers were not allowed under the rules and oftentimes collective bargaining agreements, to operate outside the servicing limits.

Outside Hostlers were just that, Hostlers that could operate outside of locomotive servicing limits. In order to perform such service, they were usually given more training as well as an extensive rules test. Outside Hostlers were allowed onto the mainline to pickup or deliver power. Oftentimes power on certain trains that operated through a terminal would need servicing or to be completely or partially changed out. This might be a location where the train was required to get a 1000-mile inspection. While the train was being inspected, the power would get serviced or switched out. If there were not a mainline fuel station at this location, it would be taken to a servicing facility to get fueled and sanded, a daily inspection and supplies. They could also deliver or retrieve power to various locations within a yard, terminal or outlying points within a defined perimeter.

Prior to Locomotive Engineer Certification, Hostlers were allowed to be Fireman or non-promoted Engineers. Since certification, what would be an Outside Hostler or Herder must be a promoted Engineer with a Train Service Certification. Inside Hostlers are required to be licensed as Servicing Engineers and are restricted to designated servicing tracks only.

Hostlers were not allowed to handle cars outside of the servicing facilities, only light engine moves. Within servicing facilities, Hostlers could move cars around if allowed by collective bargaining agreements. These were generally sand cars spotted for unloading at the sanding facility, locomotive wheel cars, prime mover cars (used to transport diesel engines used in locomotives), fuel cars and the like. They were not allowed to move these cars outside of the facility under any circumstances though. In a situation where they were not going to spot the cars, a switch crew would generally bring them into the facility and set them out there for the Hostler to handle.

I think Yard Engineer would be a better title for recognizing Switching Experience.

January 1st, 2011, 12:35 AM
Well, yeah, that and the fact that most yard switching jobs go to the old guys that have put in their time on the long rails...