Freight Salesman on the RVRR
Engine #17 crosses
the Boulevard as the flagman protects the train from any unruly
motorists. 2/11/1971. Collection of Frank
Engine #17 crosses the Boulevard as the flagman protects the train from any unruly motorists. 2/11/1971. Collection of Frank Reilly.
Initially I got them all to give us (CNJ - RV) only one or two cars on a trial basis. If they were happy with the service and transportation costs (always lower than trucks), then we'd increase it to more carloads. It worked very well and took months to get the customers confidence, but they saved money and received their goods in a timely manner and damage free manner. After a few months I'd have most or all of their business.
Bob Clark, president of the RV, was very happy with my efforts and the CNJ was very happy with all the truck diversions to his railroad. The LV wasn't too happy because much of their interchange business followed the new business to the CNJ, but they didn't seem to care.
During my first visit with the local company official I'd ask when was the last time they had seen or been contacted by a CNJ, DL&W, or LV freight salesmen. The answer was usually "never" or "at least 5 or 10 years ago". I kept in touch with them on a regular basis to maintain good relations and see if they had any problems with rail shipments or any new business. If there was a problem I had it corrected promptly. Then occassionally I'd take them out to lunch, which helped our relationship.
Some of my best days on the RV was when I'd spend the day with the RV train crew riding with them in the locomotive, taking plenty of color slides, and sharing a brew with them after the day was done. The most challenging part of the day was crossing Rt. 22 in Union (near the Flag Ship). The poor flagman took his life in his hands everyday trying to stop the speeding cars on Rt. 22 that wanted to beat our train across the grade crossing.
I pledged to him the words piggyback or TOFC would never be spoken by me on his property to any industries on the RV. I kept my pledge. I said I would only go after new business that was currently moving by truck. After a few weeks the new business began to materialize. Bob Clark and I became friends and continued our business (and railfan) relationship until I left the CNJ in 1972 to create the Morris County Dept. of Transportation Management, from which I just retired on Sept. 1, 2004.
I really enjoyed working with the folks on the RV and their customers.
Head Back to the Station!