Short post today. I need to prepare for my “Rules” exam tomorrow.

Working for a railroad, at least here in Canada, we have rules that we need to follow.  This ensures the safety of the employees and the general public.  We have an entire book filled with everything from Timetables to handbrake charts to understanding signals.  There are subsections in each rule.  When I first hired on at CN, our rules instructor made it very clear that almost every rule in the book is written “in blood”.  Meaning an injury or death caused changes in how we railroad over the past 100+ years.

Railroaders NEED Rules. We can’t live by “code” alone.

Every three years, I need to be recertified as a Rules Qualified Employee.  It’s stressful.  Studying and preparing for a job that I’m already doing is difficult.  After all these years, the way I work is second nature: mostly invoking common sense to stay safe.  But when sitting in a classroom doing the exam, wording the answers correctly is the hard part.  Even harder for me is writing out the answers to the Signals portion.  

Green means Go

Yellow means Slow

Red means NO! NO! NO!

Not even close.  There are variations on how the signals are displayed, Yellow over red.  Green over red over green.  Flashing yellow, double flashing yellow, it goes on and on.  There’s even letter plates on the masts that add to what the instructions are for how to use that signal.  I haven’t seen a signal in almost four years.  Remembering what they all mean is challenging to say the least.

Tomorrow I am going to rewrite my rules and hopefully be stress free afterwards.  But until then: Clear signals all the way.

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