This video does a pretty good job of portraying what life on the spare board (on call) is like, and it reminds me of why I usually work nights.
All coductors have spent at least some time on the spare board, and we all remember getting the dreaded middle of the night phone call from the crew dispatcher. I'm usually half comatose when they call me, and I have to fumble around to find a pen and piece a paper to write down the run number. Sometimes I set the alarm clock and try to sneak in an extra hour sleep before getting out of bed and taking a shower. I then drive to work at some ungodly hour in the pitch dark while the rest of the world is fast asleep.
The conductor in this video works for a freight railroad somewhere in the midwest, but the scenery they show is pretty similar to what we see on Metro North. Thanks to conductor Rich Simon and Tom Finn for bringing this video to my attention.