Back To The Tracks

I mentioned the other day how I have been with CN for 15 years now (Read about it here:15 Years of CN). Over the last few years I have been in management and generally stay in the yard organizing the movements in and out of my territory. It has its challenges and I really enjoy them. Sometimes I’ll go back to my roots and get out in the yard and work with a switching crew.

Today I took a train as a conductor from North Vancouver to Boston Bar. This is because we have been short workers as of late and the workload has felt like it has increased. So out came my old notes from when I first hired on. Pages upon pages of assistance that made my first trip back on the road a smooth sailing.

Now I am in Boston Bar with the other crews in the bunkhouse. It has had a severe upgrade since I last stayed here. Nicer rooms with a Smart TV. So far, everyone I have run into has been jovial and nice. The crews are respectful and I feel that I have been equally respectful towards them over the years. This doesn’t feel like management vs union. More like we are all in this together- working towards a common goal- move the trains safely.

Now comes the part that was always tough- waiting for a call for the train ride to return home. The call may be in a couple of hours, but could be up to half a day wait. Uncertainty is tough. But that’s how the railroad works. For now, I’m going to get some rest and wait to see what happens.

Soup’s On

There are some days that you just need a warm bowl of soup. I enjoy making a soup stock/bone broth, cutting fresh vegetables, adding some meat and letting it simmer. It produces a warm, hearty flavor and emanates a heavenly smell that fills your home. Such a beautiful thing to enjoy on a cool autumn night.

Sometimes, you need it quickly as well, but don’t have all day. Tonight, I made chicken noodle soup. From a packet inside a box. The smell wasn’t the same as making soup from scratch. But I did have a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup after about ten minutes. I grabbed some plain crackers from the cupboard which I crumbled a handful into my bowl.

It was exactly what I needed tonight. A quick bit of warmth in my belly. Convenient and easy.

Bedroom Fireplace

I never thought of having a fireplace in our bedroom as being something I needed. But once we bought this home, I am beginning to wonder how we lived without it. Especially last winter as well as right now, as we are entering the same seasonal chills.

I’m not about to say that having a gas fireplace in our bedroom isn’t a luxury. Far from it. Having a fireplace in any room brings forth warmth and comfort. But to fall asleep with the flickering flames and heat is wonderful. Even better today is that I was chilled last night having to work outside. Ending a night shift with a warm fire to fall asleep to is a total luxury.

I hope you are finding ways to stay warm and enjoy your slumbers. I am off to sleep with a cozy fire on.

15 Years of CN Rail

Folks, I have been with CN Rail for 15 years so far. The job has had many ups and downs. Lots of changes as well in my career. From starting as a conductor, to being a union representative, to Yard Coordinator to my latest role since 2016 as Transportation Manager.

CN Rail has been one of the best and most random jobs I have ever had. I fell into it by accident because of a former coworker at a different job. I can honestly say that without that initial suggestion to apply- my life would not be where it is today.

I have put in crazy hours which has earned me a decent pension, share matching, and salary bonuses. Not all of it was easy. I still struggle sometimes at work if things are not going as planned. But I have a great team that I work with and they make coming into work all that more pleasant. The results of owning the home I have, putting the kids into better schools, vacationing as a family- all of that is because of this career.

I will be putting in at least 25 years of service before I retire from CN Rail. I may stay longer if life requires it. But for now I can say that an end date is closer than my start date was.

Feel free to check some of my previous posts about CN: by clicking on the links below:

10 Years

Steam Train

CN 100

Proud of Where I Work

Autumn Walks For Health

Over the last couple of days, I have been enjoying a nice autumn walk with my wife. Yesterday was a 5km walk and today was about 3km. What’s different this time, is I’m the one asking to go on these walks.

I’ve been asking my wife to go on these walks because she stopped doing them. Summer was busy and her routine got disrupted as she went from one job to another. Getting her out again has been helping her in processing and clearing her thoughts. I have been doing my best to be a sounding board for her while we get some exercise. she has been noticeably happier these past few days as well.

Admittedly, even though it’s been cool outside- the views and sunshine have made it worthwhile to get out. The crisp air has helped with breathing and getting the heart rate going. Our pace has been quick and steady, really making the heart and lungs work.

I have also wanted to get a bit more mobile as work has had me fairly stagnant. Either sitting in a desk or driving a vehicle around. I have not been as active as I once was when I first hired on 15 years ago. As I get older, I really should be more active, eat healthier, and cut back on alcohol. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

I hope the weather stays nice- even if it’s just for a bit each day. We can squeeze in a walk during those times. I like holding her hand and discussing our lives.

Halloween Is Over

It took less than 30 minutes for me to pack up the Halloween decorations and put them back into the attic. And of course, I decided to bring some Christmas decor down. Specifically the one that has brought the family the most joy.

Creepy Santa has Returned. He came out of the attic the day after Halloween- knowing that his time to emerge and terrify was upon us. He immediately disappeared into his first hiding location. Waiting to be discovered.

The only other decoration that makes an appearance so soon is Timmy- our tin soldier. All year-round he sits in the corner of our outside front entryway underneath our security camera. Once Halloween is over- he gets turned to guard our entrance. I was thinking that I may move him to the upper balcony instead, so he can watch over the neighborhood. He is the perfect pop of color needed for our house.

Because the weather was so nice today, a part of me was almost ready to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. But some of my plans were changed around and the idea fell towards the back burner only to be ignored completely by sundown. Maybe it’s too soon for Christmas decorations. Hahaha.

Have you begun slowly Christmas decorating as well? Or do you bring everything out at once?