Any Amtrak engineers on here?????

SteveM76 May 17, 2007

  1. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    I'm currently a locomotive engineer for CSX and my wife and I are thinking of moving to Arizona to be closer to her family. If I go to another Class 1 I'll have to start all over again as a conductor and that is just out of the question. I'm wondering what the hours are like at Amtrak and what kind of salary can I expect. I'm on an extraboard now so I'm used to the crazy hours but I can't take too much of a pay cut. Thanks for any info you guys can share.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  2. alxmoss0609

    alxmoss0609 TrainBoard Member

    1,238
    113
    29
    Imma gonna miss you steve if you move
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  4. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    Thanks Charlie:teeth: . I have checked it but it doesn't give the info I really want that can only come from someone who has experienced it. We don't have Amtrak here so it is tough to find out the info I need. I read somewhere that an Amtrak engineer can make around 80k a year. That is about where I'm at but I just wanted to make sure before I take on a major move and give up the seniority I have at CSX, not to mention my 3 weeks vacation.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  5. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    It is amazing how many people they are hiring now!!! None are near Arizona though:sad: . The best part is that they prefer engineers from Class 1 railroads:thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: .
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  6. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
    This is true! and for anyone else who may entertain ideas about being
    an AMTRAK engineer, the ONLY way you are going to get there is the way Steve just mentioned.
    Any other way is going to take by starting quite literally "from the ground up".

    Also Steve, I would guess the 80K to be an accurate figure. I have heard from scuttlebutt and also from AMTK people that their pay scale
    is somewhat less than freight scale, but that again is not a unilateral
    statement. In my own personal experience, I was making less money
    as an engineer than I had been making as a brakeman on commuter train. Since I had very little engineer's seniority, I was relegated to working the &^%$ jobs at the bottom of the list. The commuter job I held as a brakeman was the 4th or 5th highest paying job on the commuter pay scale. It would have taken me quite some time to get back up to that pay bracket as an engineer.Another reason why I retired when I did.

    Also for anyone considering railroad employment...
    I can easily understand Steve's reluctance to make a move to another
    railroad. In railroading, seniority is EVERYTHING and it is the ONLY thing
    you have of value. Even someone who has one day more seniority than you can make of world of difference in what jobs you can hold or when
    you get a vacation. When you are making the sort of money Steve is
    making- and let me tell you, he is putting in ONE WHOLE HELLUVA lot of hours to do that-your life style will adjust accordingly. Suddenly you can make those needed home improvements or buy the new furniture or
    car you need or want. To lose that kind of income can lead to economic fiasco!

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  7. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

    5,006
    2,009
    90
    Hey,
    The good thing about Amtrak is the nationwide senority. We had guys go thru Transit's LETP.Stay for about 1 year & go to Slamtrak. They worked out of NYP & then transfered to So. Cal.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  8. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
    I had systemwide seniority with the BNSF, but my engineers seniority
    was a different date from my conductors seniority.

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  9. Thirdrail

    Thirdrail In Memoriam

    1,201
    0
    25
    Seniority is only for union jobs.

    Seniority may be everything in train and engine service, but only about 15 percent of railroad jobs are in train and engine service on Class I railroads. There are many thousands of non-union jobs in the industry where your ability to do the job has more to do with your advancement than when you were hired. I spent 38 years in the industry and ended up spending the last 18 in charge of traffic (sales, pricing, marketing) for a short line and never once worked in a position subject to seniority. :cat:
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  10. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
    That percentage may be true, but their are very little salaried or exempted jobs on class 1s. B & B and M.O.W.is mostly "scheduled" as is Signal Maintenance,Mechanical and most Clerical and Yardmasters. I used to get
    a kick out of a Ticket clerk I know. He had 35 yrs seniority and was on
    the extra board and FINALLY got a permanent assignment about 2 years ago. I thought the extra boards in the Operating Department were
    bad....!!!!! lol

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  11. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    That is exactly how our caller-runners are!!! Right before they retire they can finally hold a 1st shift job.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  12. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    Is that really a good thing though? We have often wondered about that at CSX. Can a guy in nowhereland West Virginia decide that he wants to move to the city, roll me, and then I'm stuck going to whatever place I can hold? CSX runs in some very remote places that remind me of the movie "Deliverance" in West Virginia and I'm sure with only 7 years seniority (3 of that as an engineer) I would end up in a place like that. Another thing I worry about is the lack of stability with Amtrak. At least with CSX I'm pretty sure I'll have a job tomorrow (even though they want to get rid of us every day:angry: ).
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39

    and,sadly.Steve, that is how it is on all the carriers. Spend thousands
    of dollars to train you,only to try to find every way possible to fire you!

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  14. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

    5,006
    2,009
    90
    A sad,but true fact. :angry:
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  15. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    It just keeps getting worse and worse, especially with our attendance policy. I have a friend who is also a CSX engineer that used to be a clerk for Amtrak. He told me that he was treated really good there. The only reason he came to CSX was to try to get back home in Atlanta. He has been stuck in Louisville ever since he hired in.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
    Those blasted "attendance policies" or "attendance guidelines"(BNSF)
    have got to go!

    It seems to me that the carriers will eventually use that "attendance
    policy" as a bargaining card in contract negotiations. IE agree to a
    150/160/180 mile basic day OR remove the distinction between road engine/switch engine and we will make the "attendance policy" go away.

    The so-called "trip rates" that some unions are agreeing to are bogus as
    would be any increase in the basic day mileage. Nobody seems to understand that. If the operating unions agree unilaterally to trip rates
    you will all find that you will be switching out your own train after you
    yard it because you have to work out the "miles". There goes a bunch
    of yard jobs!!! The UTU is STILL without a contract OR any substantive
    negotiation since 23:59 on 12/31/04.

    Fortunately the courts ruled in favor of the rank & file on the F.M.L.A
    act. I strongly suggest to anyone who has a severe or chronic medical
    condition that requires routine or repetitive treatment and/or therapy
    to apply for F.M.L.A. with the intermittent clause. I did that myself so that I could mark off when I needed to see the doctor or had a "flare-up" of my condition. Again this applies ONLY if you or your spouse has
    a serious medical condition that requires ongoing treatment. I was told
    to apply for FMLA for myself,due to my medical problems, in order to protect my job and avoid the terms of the "attendance guidelines".

    Now if only we could get some serious negotiation done on a new contract. The carriers are the only ones benefitting from this delay.
    Their officers get millions of dollars in bonuses while the rank & file get
    a tiny,mandated C.O.L.A.

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  17. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39

    That was one of the big concerns of the "rank & file" over that fiasco
    several years back of the proposed BNSF/CN merger. A Canadian engineer or conductor could roll a U.S. guy but not the opposite. Canadian labor law prohibits a non-Canadian from taking a job in Canada if there is a qualified Canadian for the job. Believe me, there are some sweet jobs up in that northern tier for switch engines and road switchers, not to mention pool trains . I can see covetous Canadian eyes looking them over.

    Steve, you already know how cutthroat it is in your division when a
    job opens up. You have one more days seniority than your good buddy,
    but if he has a better job than you, hey! its friendship out the window, but your buddy can grab the less desirable job you just vacated. Now imagine the same thing happening, but with no ability to claim the vacated job.

    That whole merger thing was one big scam. The overall holding company
    would have been a Canadian company but it would have given both railroads the ability to "hide" their mistakes in the other country(inspections,maintenance,accounting etc). Thank the Lord that our
    gov't was able to see what was about to happen!

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  18. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

    617
    1
    17
    That sounds crazy Charlie! We just signed a single system agreement that puts us on continuous detention time after 15 hours, meals raised to $20.00 for the first 24 hours and $10.00 each additional 12, engineer certification went up, $2500.00 signing bonus, raise retroactive to the beginning of the year, and company performance bonuses among many other good things. They made it sound pretty sweet at first but we had to give up our 30 day moves to vote this in:angry: . It is all because we have a few people that like to stay displaced over the weekend once they get rolled and the company is fed up with it. Those of us that stay marked up have to pay for these few individuals' actions.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  19. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,904
    163
    39
    Dont recall much of a problem with the "30 day" hold rule on the BNSF.
    If a guy realized he made a mistake, chances are he would "temp" on
    other jobs until he burned up the 30days and then make another move.
    We had guys "temping" all over the boards ALL the time. It was a way of life for a lot of guys. Dunno about your boards,but our engineers extra boards in the Chicago terminals went pretty high, 15-18years to hold a decent slot. Most of the guys on it stayed for a while cuz you could make the really BIG $$$$ there.
    Personally, I didn't like ANY extra board. Once I was "old" enough to
    start owning regular jobs , I would bid on whatever I could get. Sure I
    got some crummy jobs, but I knew I would have regular days off and I
    could adjust my life to it. Some of the jobs weren't big payers but the
    hours were liveable and life could have some pattern. My wife & I(she was an educator)made enough money to pay tuitions,buy new cars and
    take nice vacations. Leave the extra boards to the guys who care more about the $$$$ than the quality of life.

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008
  20. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    19,998
    15,061
    243
    This has been very intriguing and educational.. Just a few more reasons I want nothing to do with working for the RR. Although all my coworkers and friends ask me why I don't get a RR job since I love trains so much, this just adds more reasons why it's not for me.
    Especially with a family.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2008

Share This Page