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Thread: Train Crew Life

  1. #11
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    I certainly have had that particular field of vision enough in my life!

    CT

  2. #12
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    Boody IL. USA
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    Everyone has pretty much said it.It is a way of life and it gets into your blood.But there is a whole lot of hurry up and wait.As far as plusses I personally like the views that I get to see that most other people don't.Also watching the seasons change and not looking at a cubicle everyday.Well I guess the inside of a engine is a cubicle but at least the view changes.
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  3. #13
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    Mar 2000
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    Anoka, MN USA
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    The only negative aspect I can see for now is that being on call and time away from home. Which are pretty big issues. I have had allot of that in the military already. How much time off say does BNSF give their employees?
    Matt Taylor


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  4. #14
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    Sep 2000
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    moweaqua, il. try to spell that one!
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    here is my take, i use to work for the ns with ed pinkley, i loved the job but hated who i worked for, the management can be something else to deal with, many people on management have never switched a train, mch less even throw a switch and they are going to tell you how it should done and fire you if not done right. i worked the local from decatur for 3 1/2 years of my time and loved it, granted it was 12 hours and more everytime out but we had fun. however if you are married and have kids it is very hard to adjust, if i was still out there i would not be married by now, i seen my wife maybe 1 hour in the morning when i got home and that was it until 2 days later when the cycle repeted itself. and i did my fair share of marking off to do my own things but that can get you in trouble out there. as far as pay, it is good, if you work non stop, and everyday. benefits are good as well. i went back to construction work and really wish i had the benefits still, but my home life and family outweighs that by far.
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  5. #15
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Grants Pass, Oregon
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    51
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    Originally posted by Charlie:

    I am a retired locomotive engineer from the BNSF but I was also a brakeman/switchman & Conductor. I worked both freight and passenger(commuter) trains.

    Charlie
    Charlie, which of these jobs did you enjoy most?

    [ November 15, 2005, 02:58 PM: Message edited by: vagabond ]

  6. #16
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    Jun 2005
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    Grants Pass, Oregon
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    51
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    Originally posted by CP&E 3207:

    I think this situation is worse out west where BNSF and UP are extremely short on crews, I don't think it is quite that bad in the east.

    I've heard a lot about how short BNSF and UP are on crews, and I have been trying like crazy to get on with them, especially with BNSF, because their application process is so much easier than UP's. I have applied for dozens and dozens of BNSF conductor positions, and have received the standard rejection e-mail for each of them. Often they include this paragraph, "If you are interested in a career with BNSF Railway, and have not
    attended the National Academy of Railroad Sciences, check out the
    Conductor, Welding, and Mechanical training programs available at the
    National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS) located at the Johnson
    County Community College in Overland Park, KS. Their website is
    www.railroadtraining.com. Good luck as you seek a railroad career."

    Is that the only way to get on with a BNSF or UP, or do they occasionally hire people without the academy training? I have a good work history, but I'm wondering if my age (42), or the fact that until the last couple of years most of my work experience has been in sales and customer service, are working against me?

    Anyone have any ideas on how to get to first base...an interview or test?

    Thanks!

  7. #17
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    Northwest Montana
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    It does read as though they want some experience or training. Before they'll hire for that type of position.



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  8. #18
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    Mar 2001
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    Originally posted by vagabond:
    Charlie [/qb]
    Charlie, which of these jobs did you enjoy most? [/QB][/QUOTE]

    =================================
    Each craft had its own good points and drawbacks, but I did enjoy working as a trainman on the commuter trains the most. I met a lot of nice folks. Sure there were a lot of stinkers too, but the good ones outweighed the bad.
    I also would meet friends and former colleagues from another employer from time to
    time. That was always enjoyable since we could "catch up" on what was going on in our
    lives.
    Working as a switchman was nice when the
    weather was good, but real hell when it was
    bad. It is also a lot more dangerous than a conductor or engineers job. As an engineer or
    conductor, you have a lot more responsibility
    for your train and if something happens, the
    first person who catches the heat is the conductor. Being an engineer means that you
    dont have to be out in the horrible weather, but having to deal with the hazards of the job
    can give you ulcers and hemmorhoids. It's no
    fun when you set some air on a downgrade cuz your dynamics have either failed or are ineffectual and realize that the airbrakes are
    slow in taking effect and that red board staring
    you in the face is getting closer. Just before I stopped working, I was the engineer on a Sunday AM commuter train. On a WB trip we
    were on MT3 as opposed to the normal MT1.
    AS I was approaching the Cicero Ave Station
    I noticed the passengers crossing the main at
    grade instead of using the pedestrian subway
    that they are supposed to. I started whistling
    to gain their attention. I already had begun my
    braking routine, however the trespassers continued to cross the tracks in front of me.
    One woman was carrying a child about 6yrs old
    and she was stumbling on the ballast trying to
    reach the platform before the train. I had to put the train into emergency to prevent trapping her and the child between the train and the wall of the pedestrian subway to the
    platform. Had I not been able to stop, these people would have been crushed to death.
    That was NOT a fun day, but typical of what an
    engineers life is like.

    Charlie

  9. #19
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    Mar 2001
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    Chicago IL
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    Originally posted by vagabond:
    [Anyone have any ideas on how to get to first base...an interview or test?

    Thanks! [/QB]
    =================================

    Register with your State Bureau of Employment
    for railroad employment. See what they have to say. Normally the BNSF will train you locally
    on the property. They dont send conductor trainees to the NARS any longer. When I hired on, they did!

    Charlie

  10. #20
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Grants Pass, Oregon
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    Charlie,

    Thanks for the informative and extremely helpful insights. Most people outside of the industry like myself have no idea what stresses and dangers you guys face. I see what you mean about the ulcers and 'roids!

    Your experience with the woman and the child sheds more light on a question I was asked a couple of years ago in an interview with Amtrak for an Asst. Conductor position. (I didn't get the position, and ended up taking another non-railroad job.) Anyway, in my panel interview I was asked how I would feel about searching along side the tracks for body parts. Definitely not a question I had been asked before in any non-railroad job interviews!

    Thanks, too, for the tip about the State Bureau of Employment. I'll give it a try. It's frustrating to hear about how short-handed the railroads are, then not be able to get a sniff from anyone. I'm tempted to go to NARS, but at 42 years old, I'm hesitant to quit my job and relocate to Kansas for the duration of the training, with no assurance of a railroad job when I complete it.

    [ November 23, 2005, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: vagabond ]

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