The Railroad Life · The Wife Life

What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Railroad Wife – Part Three


So by now you are thinking, “This lady knew nothing about the railroad.” And I would say, “That is correct.” When my husband started working for the railroad it was a huge learning curve…for all of us. While this is true with any new job the railroad is like no other job. Here is one more thing I wish I knew and this is something I would have never thought of…like never thought of. I actually don’t know of another job that you would need this. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

So, I wish I knew before I became a railroad wife that we’d need to pay a monthly fee for income protection. Yes, you read that right. My railroader pays a monthly fee to a third party company for income protection. Often railroaders are suspended without pay for the most ridiculous things…and by ridiculous I mean ridiculous [insert sad face and eye rolling emoji here]. My railroader was once told that if he couldn’t do the little things right how could they trust him to do the big things right. So if you can’t zip your safety vest right to the top it means you might derail a train?!?! This logic boggles my mind.

Shortly after my railroader qualified as a conductor one of the engineers he was working with suggested he apply for income protection just in case he is ever suspended for when he is suspended. So of course, we thought this would never happen to my hard-working, rule-following, newly-qualified railroader. Oh boy, were we wrong. We didn’t know that the railroad has a fail system in place to not only discipline their workers but also hit them where it hurt…right in the pocket book. The railroad hands out fails like police officers hand out tickets trying to meet their quota at the end of a month. This whole system boggles my mind as well. I get that you need to make sure your workers are doing their jobs properly and safely but this system basically pits the manager against the workers. Not great for morale, to say the least.

We were very thankful to have income protection when my railroader was given his first suspension. Anyone new to the railroad, make sure you get income protection. Apparently there is more than one company that offers this protection but we are with Brotherhood’s Relief and Compensation Fund. They have been excellent to work with and are very prompt in getting payments out. They have been providing income protection to both Canadian and US Railroaders since 1912. That’s a long time and it kind of blows my mind that they have been needed for so long. This one might have actually deterred my railroader from applying had we known this is almost a requirement.

If you enjoyed this post you might be interested in reading Part One and Part Two of this series.

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