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Mr. CHESSER. CTC, centralized traffic control.
Mr. Chesser, I think you are to be congratulated on a very fine statement.
Mr. CHESSER. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HARVEY. And a very thorough statement, and you have demonstrated a thorough knowledge of some of the problems facing the railroad industry in dealing with safety.
Let me just say I think you have demonstrated that to a much greater extent than the witness that we had yesterday and the Department of Transportation itself has thus far, which accounts for my next question.
Were you or the Brotherhood consulted in the drafting of this act ? Did you have a hand in it at all? I notice you have so many amendments, is what prompts the question.
Mr. CHESSER. As to having a hand in it, Mr. Harvey, I wouldn't say that we did. We did consult with the Department of Transportation, and we offered a great many suggestions of what we thought should be, how the bill should be drafted.
And as a result, we offered these suggestions to you, because some of theme were not placed in the bill.
Mr. HARVEY. Well, I just get the impression here that there is such a difference, let's say, between management and the Department of Transportation, and between the Brotherhood and the Department of Transportation, that perhaps neither one were consulted, and I just wondered if they were ?
Mr. CHESSER. Well, in all fairness
Mr. Harvey. It seems to me that this is the way to draft legislation like this—to try and get the two of you together, and try and at least work out something.
Mr. CHESSER. In all fairness, I must say we were consulted. We met with them, and conferred on this legislation. However, I don't believe we say a final draft. We did discuss the bill with them, and at that time, offered our suggestions as to what we thought were good suggestions to correct the meaning of the bill.
Mr. Brown. Would you yield ? Mr. HARVEY. I will yield to the gentleman from Ohio. Mr. BROWN. I am anxious to know whether the Department of Transportation accepted any of your suggestions?
Mr. CHESSER. I don't believe so. I will stand corrected. I don't-I will defer to our counsel.
Mr. BERNSTEIN. We never saw the proposed legislation except in the form you have it before you, but there were discussions of what it would be like, and we had meetings, and we made suggestions, and one subject matter, the other was a service law, they apparently gave consideration to our thoughts.
Others, we do not know what consideration they gave, although I am reminded some 30 years ago, I worked for the Republican mem
ber of one of our administration agencies, who, when protest was made by a particular company as to how matters were being handled in hearings, and he received advice from his counsel as to how he ought to proceed, he said, “We will give them due process, and then tell them where to go."
Now, we don't know what consideration has been given the other items we submitted; actually, our full submission in writing was made after, I understand, the Bureau of the Budget cleared the proposed bill, but there were discussions with DOT, both before and after.
Mr. Brown. Is it fair to say that you were told how the legislation would be administered, but not how it would be drawn?
Mr. CHESSER. Partly that they would listen to our thoughts, but we did not know to what extent they would consider them, or what the problems were on the management side, so I don't know how they would evaluate these, and while I am speaking, if I may say, while there are 40-some amendments, the greatest number of them are purely draftsmanship, and many of them are used by renumbering sections, as we tried to do it in proper legislative form.
Mr. Brown. Did you meet with Secretary of Transportation Boyd, or did you meet with personnel down the line ?
Mr. CHESSER. No, we met with Mr. Lang and his staff and I don't want to leave the impression here to indict Mr. Lang, because he was very cooperative, and I have to say I know he is interested in a good safety bisi.
Mr. Brown. I think Mr. Lang and Mr. Boyd are in a position to speak for themselves on this subject.
Mr. FRIEDEL. Mr. Harvey, your time has expired.
Everything is relative, Mr. Chesser, but I was astounded by the figures on casualties in the coupling and uncoupling of cars that were contained in your testimony-eight killed and more than a thousand injured in a single year.
You point out that legislation has been on the books since 1893, which is designed to prevent injuries and deaths.
What actually happens in the coupling and uncoupling of a car? I had assumed this was fairly automatic.
Mr. CHESSER. No; it isn't automatic, Mr. Van Deerlin. It is automatic only to the extent that it is necessary to operate a cut lever that is attached to the apparatus that connects the cars, we call a pin lifter attachment. Now some of these become inoperative.
Mr. Van DEERLIN. And you have to put the pin in by hand, after the cars are coupled ?
Mr. CHESSER. No, sir. The pin, as the coupling is made, the pin is supposed to automatically drop. It doesn't always do that, but it is supposed to.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Then it is in the uncoupling, I presume, rather than the coupling, that these casualties occur?
Mr. CHESSER. Well, it is some in the coupling. No, I would say more in the coupling.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. What does a man have to do with the coupling?
Mr. CHESSER. In the coupling? He has to open the connection. In other words, it is where the cars are coupled, they fit something like
this (indicating). The knuckles as we call them. Sometimes, they are hard to operate. Sometimes, the lever that you lift to open that coupler doesn't work. Sometimes it is hard to work. Sometimes it is necessary for a man to reach inside of the knuckle itself with his hand to trip that lever.
Mr. Van DEERLIN. He is always standing in between the cars, though, before this coupling?
Mr. CHESSER. In this instance, he would be in between the cars. If the pin lifter and the lever is operating correctly, as it should, he doesn't have to get between the cars. The lever extends out, almost even with the side of the car.
Mr. Van DEERLIN. Now after the cars have been coupled, does he have to move in to connect hoses, and steam, and braking equipment?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, sir; not only the man that operates them, but also the carman. He may be the individual who couples the air hoses.
Mr. Van DEERLIN. I would assume that the man who is killed is run over by a car.
Mr. CHESSER. Sometimes, under the wheels of the car, or he is
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. He surely-do you have instances in which he gets caught in between the couplers?
Mr. CHESSER. This has been; yes, sir. Many lose their hands in this operation.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. The injuries would be mainly to the hands, I suppose, lost fingers, and so forth?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes; mostly.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Weil, I just can't understand why is it the equipment that is faulty? Should it be better maintained ?
Mr. CHESSER. It is faulty in operation, and should be better maintained, and some of the newest equipment, with the long draw bars, that extend out, this equipment, supposedly, when it works correctly, on impact, this so-called extended draw bar, which has the couplers on the end, will not shoot out so to speak, by a spring action, but many times, on this new equipment, it does.
We have had a lot of people injured, some killed, by this new equip. ment. Particularly if it is on a curve. We argued before the Interstate Commerce Commission on this case. We knew how dangerous it was. We tried to tell the railroads how dangerous it was. We spent $100,000, trying to make this equipment more safe before the Interstate Commerce Commission. It went into operation, and they have got a monster on their hands here. It is increasing every day.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. You mean that new equipment is not properly engineered ?
Mr. CHESSER. It is not properly engineered, it is not properly designed, in this specific instance, of these long draw bar cars.
Mr. ROGERS Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. CHESSER. No, they do not have.
Mr. ROGERS. They don't have any authority to do anything about this? Mr. CHESSER. No, they don't, Mr. Rogers. Mr. ROGERS. I see. Mr. FRIEDEL. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Watkins. Mr. WATKINS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chesser, I would like to compliment you on a very fine report. And I noted, listening to you, that you made a statement that you didn't think any change in equipment was necessary, the type of equipment.
Mr. CHESSER. My statement, as I remember, Mr. Watkins, was that it would not be necessary to put any new appurtenances on these cars. That only they be maintained and inspected properly.
Mr. WATKINS. You are not complaining on the design of the equipment that is being used.
Mr. CHESSER. Only in the instance of this one specific instance; particularly of this new car that we just discussed.
Mr. WATKINS. I also noted that perhaps you are nicely doing it, very quietly, making severe criticism on the repair system that the Pennsylvania Railroad system used; not only on the rails, but the maintenance of the equipment, like the railroad cars, and engines in the shop.
Mr. CHESSER. Well, I can give you a very good example of that. Mr. WATKINS. Well, I don't think I can go ahead.
Mr. CHESSER. On passenger equipment on the Pennsylvania Railroad, until we brought this out to particularly the Commission in Pennsylvania, on a passenger train, the pin lifters were worn, and this was on passenger equipment, and instead of repairing the equipment, they used heavy rubber bands to hold the pin lifter in place.
Mr. WATKINS. Well, I judge that that example is very good. Is it due to the fact that there is a lack of employees to repair rails? I can remember back when you would see a rail gang working all the time on the tracks. Are the tracks that bad, that you think it caused due to lack of maintenance by employees?
Mr. CHESSER. There is absolutely no question about it, and I think that the next witness, Mr. Crotty, can outline it for you in detail.
Mr. WATKINS. Would that same thought apply to the maintenance in the shops?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, sir. We have many instances where some carmen place a bad-order tag on a car which says, "Bad order," and some by instructions where they come along and rip those tags off and run that car.
Mr. WATKINS. I noticed that you represent approximately 25 unions, and I have a lot of respect for this. Is this lack of maintenance due to the shortage of employees?
Mr. CHESSER. In some cases; yes, sir.
Mr. CHESSER. I wouldn't say a shortage of operating trained employees as much as I would, probably without doubt, å shortage of employees for proper inspection.
Mr. WATKINS. Would you say that the railroads, if they made the cuts in your shop and repairs to the rail lines, they have cut too deep in employing people to do this work?
Mr. CHESSER. I don't think there is any question about it. To make a proper inspection. And this is where I think this, when this happens, it is foolish economy, when you can't get a proper inspection, and you run a train, and derail it.
Mr. WATKINS. In other words, to an extent that by taking people out of employment, then you think the railroads should have more men in these shops, and more men on the tracks to do this work?
Mr. CHESSER. I certainly think they should have more men on the tracks to do the work. Their forces are cut down to where it is impossible for the amount of trackmen that they have to keep a track in repair. Mr. WATKINS. Let me ask you a question.
The unions that you represent, do you have ample trained employees to perform these duties, to offer to the railroads?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes. There are many that are cut off, out of service.
Mr. WATKINS. I say, trained employees, now, employees that are capable of going in there and doing the job, making a repair, mechanical repair to a locomotive, or breaking down the undercarriage. Do you have that? Do you have ample men to offer them?
Mr. CHESSER. Yes, sir.
Mr. WATKINS. I didn't think I had been here over 2 minutes, Mr. Chairman.
Would you give me just another minute? I have a nice story I want to tell.
Mr. FRIEDEL. One more minute.
Mr. WATKINS. Do you have an apprentice system on maintenance employees ?
Mr. CHESSER. In the shops, you mean?
Mr. CHESSER. I think we have gentlemen here that could answer that question.
Mr. WATKINS, Because I feel that as long as there is a real shortage of trained people in this field—not only your field but other fields and I would like to know that.
Mr. CHESSER. I will see that you get the answer.
Mr. WATKINS. Oh, well, at your convenience, you can send me a note on it. I would like to have that.
Mr. FRIEDEL. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. WATKINS. Now, if the chairman would just give me 1 minute, I think I can tell a story that you would enjoy. [Laughter.]
Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman, I think I can point out that yesterday was Mr. Watkins' birthday, and out of generosity, perhaps he could have the time.