Author Topic: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use  (Read 855 times)

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C855B

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BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« on: July 17, 2016, 10:52:51 AM »
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Aside from working for SP four decades ago, I've been a RR radio listener for nearly 50 years, so pretty much am "up" on RR jargon (all trades have their shop-speak, BTW). However, new to me is the sudden consistent BNSF employee use of the word "motor", as opposed to "power", "unit", "engine", etc.

Was this an edict handed-down from on high? Timing seems to coincide with new radio procedures implemented a couple of years ago.*

* - The chatter from the new radio procedures is over-the-top. It's going to be interesting to see if there will be changes in light of the NTSB assessment that last year's Amtrak crash in Philadelphia was in part due to distraction from radio traffic.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 11:01:46 AM »
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Motor was the common term on the CB&Q but that was a long time ago! 
Brian

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Hamaker

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 11:12:02 AM »
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On occasion I watch a TV show named Wheeler Dealers which is based in England.  It's about a couple of Englishmen who purchase then restore and sell older automobiles. They always refer to automobiles as "motors". Just doesn't seem right, but...............
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C855B

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 11:41:51 AM »
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The antique use of "motor" by CB&Q is no surprise given their early adoption of internal combustion power, but even given that I'm listening to ops on an ex-CB&Q line wouldn't explain it since the current crews would certainly not have been around then. Also, that I've heard the dispatcher use it - based in Dallas, with zero connection to local history - makes me think something is afoot.

"Motor" in the British sense has been around for a century, or more. "Motor" to them is also a verb, meaning to go for a drive.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

Missaberoad

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 11:47:38 AM »
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One point to ad, with a two man crew the Conductor can handle the radio allowing the engineer to concentrate on the track ahead.
Also the CROR (and I imagine every other set of railroad rules) puts the responsibility for identifying fixed signals on both crew members.
I think it would be reasonable to conclude that the Amtrak accident was equally atributed to an engineer operating alone rather then too much communication over the radio.

Back on subject, when I did my practicum on CN last fall engine was still the prefered term. Unsure about BNSF but we do have a member or two on the inside, hopefully they can shed some light. :)
Ryan in Alberta

nkalanaga

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 02:54:40 PM »
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Part of the reason the British call autos "motors" is that the common term, in the US and UK, used to be "motor cars".  The US shortened it to "car", the British shortened it to "motor".

I'd never heard that the CB&Q called diesels "motors", but then, I never had much interest in the CB&Q, being at the other end of the BN.  However, while it's common to call electrics "motors", the Rio Grande Southern also used the term for their Galloping Geese, so it wasn't just the CB&Q.
N Kalanaga
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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2016, 04:27:57 PM »
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Part of the reason the British call autos "motors" is that the common term, in the US and UK, used to be "motor cars".  The US shortened it to "car", the British shortened it to "motor".

I'd never heard that the CB&Q called diesels "motors", but then, I never had much interest in the CB&Q, being at the other end of the BN.  However, while it's common to call electrics "motors", the Rio Grande Southern also used the term for their Galloping Geese, so it wasn't just the CB&Q.

The root of the term "motor" originates with the original semi-perminately coupled FT units.  ABBA units were referred to as "motors". You can reference this in Burlington Bulletin #4 on page 4.  Cabooses were also called waycars.
Brian

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pedro

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 07:08:34 PM »
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The antique use of "motor" by CB&Q is no surprise given their early adoption of internal combustion power, but even given that I'm listening to ops on an ex-CB&Q line wouldn't explain it since the current crews would certainly not have been around then. Also, that I've heard the dispatcher use it - based in Dallas, with zero connection to local history - makes me think something is afoot.

I can't speak to the origins, but everywhere I've worked on the former Q, (Denver, Lincoln, Alliance and Chicago) has used "motors" so it's nothing new or unusual. Regional or railroad-specific slang terms are handed down through the generations. Railroaders tend to work a long time and generally in the same terminal or subdivision. There are still people working in 2016 with seniority dates that pre-date the BN merger. New guys want to fit in, so they pick up the slang quickly. Anyone who ever served in the military (or any specialized vocation) can relate.

As for the dispatchers, there are still some that came from the clerk ranks, were operators, local dispatchers, then made the move to Ft. Worth. They're required to make annual visits to their territories for familiarization, so it's not surprising they also pick up the local lingo from the territory they're dispatching, no matter what their backgrounds.

Anyway, I'm glad there's still these differences despite the Borg-like nature of modern railroading. Keeps it somewhat interesting.

nkalanaga

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 12:41:37 AM »
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Brian:  Maybe they thought of the FTs as self-contained electrics?  That was part of the difference between the GN, MILW, and NP in the 40s.  The GN saw a diesel-electric as an electric that didn't need wires, and, since their Cascade electrics worked very well, they were eager to dieselize.  In their case, the electrics served a very limited region, and were more nuisance than help, economically, except through Cascade tunnel  Add fans to the tunnel, and diesels could replace them.

The MILW had much the same attitude, and the corporate suits worked very hard to replace not only steam but the electrics.  Steam was easy to get rid of, but their electrics were economically, and operationally, successful, as well as paid for.  They held out a long time, until they basically wore out.

The NP, which had no electrics, saw them as an overly complicated truck, and didn't trust them.

Thomas Edison is reported to have once predicted that all American railroads would eventually electrify, but then added that it would only happen when the power plant could be put in the locomotive.  It was, and they did.

I knew that the CB&Q called their cabooses waycars, and they had some ancient ones.  The oldest one I can find in Robert Del Grosso's "BN Caboose Book" was built in 1871, and survived to serve the BN.  Railfans went to Colorado to see the remnants of the D&RGW narrow gauge, while the BN had a caboose built the same year the RG's first locomotive was delivered, and it outlasted all but a RG tourist train.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 12:58:36 AM by nkalanaga »
N Kalanaga
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 01:58:35 AM »
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I can't say that I've noticed a specific or marked change in terminology recently.  For example, a typical response of the BNSF crews responding to Barstow Diesel Service would be "good power, 3900 on the low."  I occasionally hear the BNSF Mojave division dispatcher on the channel I listen to, but I haven't noticed a change there either, though I could easily have missed it.  Usually they're just apologizing to their crews about congestion in Barstow or problems on the UP, by way of explaining why they're not moving. ;)


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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 06:27:46 PM »
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Brian:  Maybe they thought of the FTs as self-contained electrics?  That was part of the difference between the GN, MILW, and NP in the 40s.  The GN saw a diesel-electric as an electric that didn't need wires, and, since their Cascade electrics worked very well, they were eager to dieselize.  In their case, the electrics served a very limited region, and were more nuisance than help, economically, except through Cascade tunnel  Add fans to the tunnel, and diesels could replace them.

The MILW had much the same attitude, and the corporate suits worked very hard to replace not only steam but the electrics.  Steam was easy to get rid of, but their electrics were economically, and operationally, successful, as well as paid for.  They held out a long time, until they basically wore out.

The NP, which had no electrics, saw them as an overly complicated truck, and didn't trust them.

Thomas Edison is reported to have once predicted that all American railroads would eventually electrify, but then added that it would only happen when the power plant could be put in the locomotive.  It was, and they did.

I knew that the CB&Q called their cabooses waycars, and they had some ancient ones.  The oldest one I can find in Robert Del Grosso's "BN Caboose Book" was built in 1871, and survived to serve the BN.  Railfans went to Colorado to see the remnants of the D&RGW narrow gauge, while the BN had a caboose built the same year the RG's first locomotive was delivered, and it outlasted all but a RG tourist train.

Great insight on all the above roads and their view of diesel power!
Brian

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nkalanaga

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2016, 01:45:47 AM »
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All collected from books.  I read a lot...

In this case, all from different books, each about the particular railroad.  None of the authors compared their subject's attitude with any others, but put them together and it makes for some interesting corporate insight.

Not being that interested in the PRR, I've never read much on them.  I wonder how, or if, their attitude towards diesels varied between the electrified and steam-powered divisions?
N Kalanaga
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fire5506

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2016, 03:38:53 PM »
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I've worked for the FEC Rwy for 33 years and the term "motor" is used here also. The FEC never had any electrics or FT's.



Richard looking at MP 242 while working for the FEC Rwy.
Richard looking at MP 242 while working for the FEC Rwy.

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nkalanaga

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 01:46:09 AM »
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Interesting.  Maybe it's spreading, or maybe it came naturally as an alternative to the steam "engine".  After all, on a steam loco, or most devices with reciprocating steam engines, the engine drives the wheels directly, while on a diesel the engine drives a generator, which then drives the motors, which turn the wheels. 
N Kalanaga
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w neal

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Re: BNSF's Use of the Term "Motor", and Radio Use
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 06:28:30 AM »
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As Pedro confirms, its a Q thing indeed. I've been hearing it around Galesburg for several years. Its is very nice to hear that the term from those days is still very much in active use.
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