Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company--Automation

Main topics: Early life, Nashville, school and marriage. Started in Transportation in 1963 in Louisville at $19.20 per day. Job severed with 282 award and became a switchman. Gained seniority and had more educational background. Influence of wife when racial barriers made position unpleasant. Became brakeman when switchman job was cut. Move to Glasgow where racial situation was bad. Gained experience as locomotive engineer on General Motors, General Electric and Alco locomotives. Around 1968 began to see other opportunities that could be open to him. 1971 became assistant train master, a position that proved to be valuable experience. 1977 became traveling engineer or road foreman. Then made immediate supervisor over locomotive engineers. Presently training of locomotive engineers is part of his responsibility. Utilization of the locomotives, new computerization for centralized train control. F7 Series, EMD, General Electric most sophisticated, centralized traffic control (CTC), service areas, modernization of equipment, unit train, road bed and increase in speed limits. Tracks and roadway the same location as in steam days. Necessary for rebuilding daily and the improvements on the locomotives themselves. Cotton outlines the boundaries of the Louisville Division. Terminals of the Louisville Division including the Monon Facilities. Discussion of the hump yard at Osborn Yard in Louisville. Cotton's responsibilities include thed following: training of personnel (apprentice engineers and supervisors), terminal breakdown and derailment procedure. This section also explains the regionalization of various areas of responsibility. Continuation of derailment sight procedure and notification if hazardous materials is being leaked and other general responsibilities. Strikes and the reason for training supervisors to operate the locomotives. Family Lines team approach, coming of women to the locomotive positions; some policy approach of the Family Lines that are important: Incentive program, scholarship awards for supervisors' children, scholarship opportunities for employees, higher level of education of training for new employees. Unionization and its effect on the company and present employee problems.
Moved to Louisville about 14, went to Louisville Polytechnical School run by the YMCA. After he joined the L&N in the Commerce Law and Traffic Department, he went to University of Louisville to take railroad law. Earlier worked in mimeograph department and as a clerk in mailing department. Depression hit and he moved to the Embargo Bureau. One of his main accomplishments was the updating of the tracking system. L&N was using a paper system and Harkleroad looked over other systems to find a better method. In 1965 with the use of telex and Western Union along with IBM, he was able to make needed modifications. Next in importance was to tie shippers into the system so that they could receive the information they needed but not receive restricted information. Final coup was to sell top officials on the importance of the system and the negotiation with the local union regarding the operation of the system. Positive aspects of real time, and the computerization of the train yards. Run through trains versus the unit train. Discussion of the workings of the Embargo Bureau and its involvement in moving people from Oklahoma to Baldwin County, Alabama. Observations on subjects surrounding working with car equipment: Car service items; car committee; special cars; shippers; car cleaning; constructive placement; cross-town switching; custom underframe car; rules for handling explosives; dunnage/wooden pallets to shipper.
Early life and education. Was a Hollerith clerk at beginning of work experience with L&N. Larkin describes this period when these machines functioned as the forerunners of IBM machines. Good description of the punchcard and the information it carried. IBM brought out Hollerith and then with the coming of World War II, the computers began to take work projects from many different departments. Procedure for disbursement described. This covers the time period from 1920 into the 1960s. Resistance and/or astonishment as to the areas that the computers would be able to handle. Discussion of payrolls and the explanation of the changes over from the auditor of disbursements from 1963-1968. Creation of the Management and Information Services Department and its function. Examples of the work done by this group include: jobs from all chief clerks; jobs from other departments; and stock records from the L&N common stock. Example of how bills with errors would be noted by the computer and adjusted where necessary. Comments on car accounting, Cybernetics & Systems, Inc., and its relationship to the L&N, use of computers in Chicago before computers were on location here in Louisville.