one of the few and proud wants to be one of you

Otrainman Dec 29, 2013

  1. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    Hello all,
    I have been in Communications Operations in the Marne Corps now for 20 years. I am headed to two hiring events in 3 days in a week. I have been a die hard train fan since watching Southern/Frisco trains run though Alabama. I know I can live the life of the railroad. the two jobs I am interviewing for is signal maintainer and conductor. I am nervous about the interview process and the unknown at this point. I am looking to anyone one that can give me advice on being the best applicant possible. The only issue I have is that I have not one relative that has worked on the railroad. Other than that my family is use to me being on the go as I have been back and forth to war over 9 times. I have been with out seeing my wife and kids for up to 14 months and I know 30 days or however many will not ever be a problem.
    In the Marines I have always stressed safety and my track record shows it. I could easily go another 10 years in the military but my blood is in the rail industry and this is my chance. I just want to make sure I don't stumble and fall. Please tell me all that you can. thanks and Semper Fi. Gene the Marine
     
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Gene, Welcome to the Train Board, glad that you're on board. I can't help you, but there are many TB members who I'm sure will be happy to give you advice. Good Luck
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    OK here goes...

    From a fellow vet.(Army),I thank you for your service!
    Now from the retired hogger....

    Nice to see you got an invite to the "hiring" events. The journey of a thousand miles(literally) begins with a single step.
    Railroads like veterans because they are organized and can follow directions and instructions and have a discipline to their work habits.
    Wear clean,neat clothing,business casual is always the best, don't do T-shirt and jeans,above all dont wear any clothing advertising alcohol,tobacco or with profanity on it. Since you are a Marine I doubt very much you will have a problem with you physical appearance. If you have facial hair(I doubt it since you are a Marine) be sure it is trimmed and groomed(hint...if it ain't on your ID or drivers license-lose it!) Hair neat,clean and groomed. Again, knowing you are a Marine, you wont have a problem there either.
    Give straightforward answers to any questions you are asked or are required to write an answer for. BY ALL MEANS don't even attempt to answer questions with answers you think the railroad would want to hear. Interviewers want to hear a quick answer,not one that takes time for you to make up. Have all documentation necessary to support what you have on your resume, or C.V. ie if you are a college graduate, have a copy of your sheepskin. Bring a copy(with raised seal) of your DD214. Be sure to "blow your own horn" ie if you are an Eagle Scout or a licensed A & P mechanic be sure to tell them. Do not use profanity in your answers and try to stay away from the cliche and/or "buzz words" also "You know" "like" "he goes" "would you believe" etc. If you enjoy "adult" beverage, you may find yourself abstaining from that for very long periods of time, since you will be on duty frequently and you are subject to random drug and alcohol screening. I averaged at least once a year for testing. I dont drink at all, so it's not a problem for me. You have a broad base of experience with the Marines. Just like the Marines, the railroad "owns" you 24/7/365. Railroading is not a family friendly occupation, not that the military is, but at least in the military,with some rank, the government will provide lodging for your family. The railroad wont do that. Be prepared to work at least twice within any 24hour period. Be prepared to be called at all hours of the day or night. Make sure your wife is an understanding woman because if she answers the phone and hears a womans voice asking for you and that woman can make you go to work but your wife can't persuade you to stay home. Remember you will be working with very heavy,soulless moving equipment that at times will make little or no discernable noise. You will be working outside in all sorts of weather and chances are part of it will be while hanging on the outside of moving equipment, in the dark,trying to clutch a lantern and a radio while giving instructions to your engineer who can't see you or what is in front of the cars he is shoving.
    One other word of advice, don't act like a "foamer" or talk like one. If the interviewer asks if you like trains, be non-committal, say you have nothing against them. I was asked why I wanted to go railroading by the personnel lady. I told her that many economists(at that time) considered railroads to be a growth industry and I considered that exciting. She agreed with that opinion.
    My best wishes to you in whatever your career choice may be. If you do go railroading, work safely, you want to go home every day to your wonderful wife and children.

    Charlie
    Army veteran
    Retired locomotive engineer(BNSF)
    Chicago/Aurora IL
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gene-

    Welcome to TrainBoard! Best of luck hiring on!
     
  5. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    Welcome aboard, Marine. I hope you get hired, Gene, and thank you for your service to our country, keeping it safe and free for the rest of us to live as we do.
     
  6. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    Thanks Charlie not only for your advice but for your service that paved the way for me
     
  7. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    Fitz I consider myself lucky to serve my country
     
  8. Burlington Northern Fan

    Burlington Northern Fan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to Train Board, Not sure where you want to end up in the country, But BNSF is looking to hire about 200 people for conductor trainee postions in the Western Nebraska terminal of Alliance NE. We are a town of about 8000-9000 people. A majority of us are employed by BNSF. We may be alittle small for some people, but for the job and the cost of living. This place is pretty hard to beat. If you are interested in coming out, message me and would show you around town and the area. Also Thanks for your service to our Country!
     
  9. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    I noticed that.....I was invited to a hiring event in two places on the same day. I don't want to decline because I want to go where ever bnsf needs me. I am hoping I can find a way to get considered for both. I love small communities.....you thoughts BN Fan?
     
  10. Burlington Northern Fan

    Burlington Northern Fan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Always Keep Your Options Open
     
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Sage advice!


    Charlie
     
  12. Burlington Northern Fan

    Burlington Northern Fan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Be glad to help out, Let me know what I can do. Shawn
     
  13. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    I will do that gentlemen. .i now have 5 hiring events with 2 on the same day but I have informed them that I will be at another location that date. One question I do have is the avail start date the start of training or something else....
     
  14. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Can't say for sure, but I am guessing it's the start of your training. In my case, the day I started training was my conductor's(and railroad)seniority date. Your carrier seniority and your Railroad Retirement seniority should begin on the first day you receive compensation for service. If you receive a student stipend, you are being compensated for service. Just an aside, my roomate in conductor's training was a 19 y/o young man. I was like his 2nd father! LOL He had been a stock boy at a local suburban supermarket. The money we made in training($50 p/day student stipend + $25 p/day expenses)was more than he made as a stockboy! Remember also,when you are hired, operating department employees(conductors,engineers,switchmen etc)have hours of service that are goverend by federal law. You are not to perform service after 12 hours of continuous on duty service. An official can't even talk to you about railroad business after 12 hrs on duty. Remember that when you tie up from a job and it is under 12 hours, if a supervisor wants to speak to you, DO NOT tie up your job(or sign out on the register)until AFTER you have had your chat with them. While he or she is speaking with you, you are technically still on duty.
    My best wishes go with you on your job quest.
     
  15. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    Gentlemen thanks I will have a offer now for the medical. You all totally prepared me for this thanks
     
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    You are well on your way! Let me say this in the way of wishing you well; on the BNSF when you are given authority by the dispatcher to take the signal leaving your terminal or upon completion of your track warrant for track authority they will tell you...
    "Have a safe trip".

    I wish you the same!

    Charlie
     
  17. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    We don't get DD214s with raised seals. I separated in August, took almost a month, got a copy in the mail, and a link to go download a digital copy.
     
  18. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I'd still advise you to get it registered with your city or village clerk.

    They handed me mine in a big auditorium in Ft. Hamilton just after we disbarked the USNS Buckner at Brooklyn Army Terminal. Then I reported to the pay officer, threw him my last salute, he handed me a fistful of $50s and my pay voucher and wished me well. I shook hands with my buddy Bob T. and wished him all the best. My next stop was LGA and the UAL ticket counter. I was gonna do Pullman accomodations to Chicago,but the guy I talked to at Ft.Hamilton couldn't handle that. Pity!

    Charlie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2014
  19. Otrainman

    Otrainman New Member

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    Well gents I have conditional offer,have done strength test and back ground..medical is in a couple of days and everything will be finished in less than 30 days..man this has been an efficient process...I can already feel green and orange in my veins
     
  20. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That's excellent news! Having been through much the same recently, I know exactly how that feels. And it's great, isn't it?!
     

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