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Long work days, little free time

Kristin became a commuter rail locomotive engineer in 1996. Before that she worked as a conductor. Kristin is 55 years old.

On Monday through Friday, I get up at 5:30 AM, leave for work at 6 AM, and provide passenger service from 7 AM to 8:30 AM. I have a five-hour break, during which I nap, work out, have lunch, read, and walk around. I then provide commuter service from 2 PM to 7 PM.

Counting my drive to and from work, I am away from home about 13.5 hours each day. I get home at 7:30 PM, eat dinner, and chat with my spouse, but not for long. If I were to fall asleep at 9:30 PM—and stay asleep, which rarely happens—I could get eight hours of sleep. I just can't fall asleep that early. I try to get to sleep by 10:30 PM. On workdays, my spouse and I sleep in separate rooms. We see friends on weekends and holidays.

I nap for at least an hour each day. The women's relief facility, a room in an office building near the rail station, has recliners for sleeping. Two to 10 women may be there at once. We all have different timetables. It takes a lot of cooperation to give everyone a chance to sleep. Even so, phones ringing in nearby offices, hallway conversations, and traffic noise interrupt our rest.

"I feel best when I exercise, nap, have lunch, and then consume some caffeine. I need to be alert when I go back to work."
-Kristin, locomotive engineer