I’ll be the first to own the fact that when your husband works for the railway, life kind of sucks. Sometimes I complain about it, but doesn’t everyone complain about the things they can’t control?
Once my husband came home from work and said a coworker mentioned, “your wife is that one that blogs and complaints about the railway?”
Sigh. It’s not that bad.
Earlier this month I had a good reminder about the luxuries of living this crazy on-call life with a railway engineer/conductor. I know I’ve written about the struggles of railway living and solo parenting as a CN wife and CN Mom, but guys, there are some great things about a having a husband who works for the railway
6 Things I love about the Railway.
Let’s revamp the conversation because I’m working on being more positive and less of debbie downer. Let’s talk about all the really awesome things about railway family living. And because someone asked I write more on railway life, and I’m not sure where else to begin. Send me an email at hello [at] simplymombailey [dot] com with all your great ideas.
He Loves His Job.
For real, my husband loves his job and a happy worker is a happy life. Sure, he has his moments but at the end of the day, he really does enjoy being a Conductor/Engineer for the railway.
This is his forever and always job and not just because the railway offers an amazing pension and retirement package, but because he enjoys the work.
He also really enjoys travelling to the small towns he visits from checking out the local coffee shop scene, not just taking in breakfast at a local diner. This life works for him.
I Love My Bed.
Because my husband is gone most of the week… I get the entire bed to myself most of the time. It’s heaven. I sleep so much better when I dont have to share it with someone else, and we all know how little sleep mama’s get.
The railway life is conductors and engineers take trains places – Drive the train to a terminal 8-10-12 hours away, stay the night, and then come home. That’s typically a 24-36 hour leave of absence and usually means I get a night without anybody else in the bed.
Yes, please. I love having the ENTIRE bed to myself… even if it’s for 4 hours before tiny terrible sleeping toddlers crawl back in.
Full Days Together.
Sometimes the work is crazy and he’s gone, then he’s home to sleep, and gone again. It’s only seeing him for an hour or two in passing, but life on the railway means you get to kinda choose your hours…
The maximum they can book off with CN Rail is 24 hours after a trip (there are a few more complicated things involved with that). If he does that he gets to spend more than 2-3 hours in the evening with us. Every certain number of miles, he also gets the opportunity to take 48 hours rest. That’s no weekend, but it’s a solid amount of time to spend as a family that doesn’t involve only bedtime routines and dinner time.
After working a few weeks on a yard shift, I missed having mid-day lunch with my husband and spending an afternoon with the kids. This little luxury is more enjoyable to me than the evening rush to do dinner, and put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour. But that’s because it is my normal.
Trains are Kinda Awesome
Maybe we’ve embraced trains a little too much, but as a family, we absolutely love everything railway related.
- I’m slowly collecting books on the history of the region and the railway development.
- Currently, renovating our basement for a train-themed AirBnB
- We might own a Conductor Uniform for passenger travel…
- and other train memorabilia and artwork.
- We dream of taking rail trips both locally and abroad.
- We went to Jasper with the kids.
- Stopping to watch the trains is not an unusual activity both pre and post kids.
The Pay is Awesome.
If the days are going to be long, at least there better be good pay, hey?
He Always Takes the Leftovers.
Anybody else hate leftovers as much as me?
One of the best parts about the railway is because he’s gone for 24-36 hours, he lives on leftovers which mean no more cold chicken for lunch, and leftover pork for dinner again.
I Get to Do My Thing Most of the Time.
There’s this conversation lately about the intention of self-care, and I think there’s a lot of value in having the rhythms of our life. One of my solo parenting survival tips is just doing my own thing regardless of my husband’s lack of a schedule.
I think this is why I struggled when he was home on a yard shift because the routines I had interfered with the new schedule.
I might not get to go to Yoga Class every Tuesday night or see the dentist on a Saturday, but I do get the evenings to myself to blog. I get to enjoy the quiet chaos of early mornings with two kids, and I get to just do my thing. I’m never waiting because I gave up on waiting. Dinner is served at 4:30 pm, and if he shows up at 5 pm, that’s awesome.
I’ve learned to give up on waiting because a 10-hour run could last 14-16 hours, or he could be home in 6 hours. But, you never know and guessing will stress you out. Just do you, and weave your husband back in when he gets home.
Railway Life & Family Can Work…
It just takes some adjusting and adapting. There are many parts of this stupid job as a railway conductor (engineer) that really drag down on my life, but there are some great things. Yes, I would love to go to work, or plan a hair appointment, or have company for dinner, but that’s just not our thing. We’ve been together 6 years (married), and he’s been working on the trains for 10. Here’s to another 25 years of chaos.