“Sleepy” was our nickname for a guy who was on Midnight shift at Shady Grove Yard (A99).

You could hear sleepy approach before you ever saw him.  He was so tired he couldn’t lift his feet to walk.  He would enter the train control room (TCR) shortly before the end of the PM shift wearing sandals or slippers and sort of shuffle across the floor — ‘schuff – schuff – schuff’.

Often, Sleepy would crash out before we left.  He could sleep anywhere, in any position.  Sometimes he would lay his head on the cold steel rack base.  Other times he would fall asleep standing up.

One night, someone came running into the TCR saying that there had been an accident outside — a train had hit a car.

The crash occurred at the grade crossing shown in the first photo in this post.

Apparently Sleepy and a train operator each thought the other would stop at the crossing and neither one did — although trains are supposed to stop prior to all grade crossings and there are stop signs for vehicles.

Sleepy’s personal vehicle had been hit and pushed about 80 feet northwest (to the right in the photo).  It was caved in on one side and came to rest very close to the third rail.

Luckily, no one was hurt.  I’m not sure which insurance company paid — Metro’s or Sleepy’s.

Midnight shift was (and is) very hard on a lot of people.  Sleep deprivation was something that the Safety dept. would periodically play lip service to but nothing was ever done about it.  Metro continues to allow employees to work 16 hour double shifts, day after day, with no limit.

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2 Responses to Sleepy

  1. JessMan says:

    maybe he has narcolepsy

  2. That’s possible. I have a friend that suffers from narcolepsy.

    My main concern was/is employees who are sleep deprived while on duty — regardless of the reason. Most of them were working too much OT, which management continues to allow. Regardless of what they say about excessive OT costs, the facts are that a) OT is assigned by management, the union has nothing to do with it, and b) OT actually saves most companies money because it allows them to avoid hiring new employees and paying the additional benefits.

    Metro’s own Safety dept. has issued warnings about the effects of sleep deprivation but they are not taken seriously.

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