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Thread: how to get a railroad job

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    Default how to get a railroad job

    I explained how I got hired 17 years ago.

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    Probably should be retitled "How I got a job in TY&E service."

    The initial hiring process for TY&E is similar for signal, but the technical acumen bar is set higher for signal. We have an apprentice course, and there's an opportunity to qualify for the kind of position I hold, which makes me very difficult to bump. But signal tech jobs are few and between. Most guys are maintainers or else signalmen on a crew.

    And I make about as much as a guy on a busy train service pool, but I'm home every night, can sign out when I want to, whenever I want to. And I cannot be furloughed, not for several years.

    One of my friends who's an engineer (and a modeler) says I made the right decision by choosing signal over train service.

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    Be careful what you wish for on a railroad job.

    Layoffs are the norm. New technology, stronger locomotives have all equaled less need for people. Transportation is a risky department to go into. CSX has already laid off a large amount this year and rumor is they are not done. 2016 will be a hard year for many on the railroad. Bottom line, to keep the stock price up many railroads are looking to reduce labor as much as possible. You can always go work for a railroad contractor, half the money, double the travel...
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    They run driverless trains here in West Aussie on some of the longest coal freights...
    They also use driveless trucks
    "Rio has the largest fleet of autonomous trucks in the Pilbara and uses trucks produced by Japanese manufacturer Komatsu. BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group also have autonomous trucks but use models produced by US company Caterpillar."

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/minin...09-13z28v.html

    and some states are looking into it for the passenger gig too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    Be careful what you wish for on a railroad job.

    Layoffs are the norm. New technology, stronger locomotives have all equaled less need for people. Transportation is a risky department to go into. CSX has already laid off a large amount this year and rumor is they are not done. 2016 will be a hard year for many on the railroad. Bottom line, to keep the stock price up many railroads are looking to reduce labor as much as possible. You can always go work for a railroad contractor, half the money, double the travel...

    Exactly what I tell guys! Yet, every time we hire a bunch of new guys, they rush out and buy a new truck...then get furloughed.
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    Lets face it, at least on the US side one of the biggest issues facing our nation is simply we do not need nearly as many people as we did just a few decades ago to get stuff done.


    Weakened Unions can only keep two man crews on trains in the US for a while, soon it will be down to one. For "safety" reasons it might take a long time to get it to zero. Truck drivers, Railroaders, Forklift and Equipment operators etc are all too often being replaced by computers (general term). We continue to increase population but the amount of jobs are decreasing. Its the ok paying lower middle class jobs that are on the way out and in a hurry!

    PTC will deliver a major blow to railroad transportation departments all across the US when its in full effect.. And remember PTC, a legislated bill being subsidized by tax money.... Aint if funny how it all works.
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    And yet we still have a heck of a time moving corn and beans to market due to power and crew shortages system wide. So which is it? Are they over staffed or under?!?!?

    Railroader is one of the jobs I hope to wear some day to follow in the footsteps of my dad and his dad. Neither were on a train, both were supporting roles behind the scenes. Communications, telegraph, telephone, and Internet. There are alot of jobs on a railroad that haven't anything to do with running a train.

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    When I hired on with the Northern Pacific back in '69 I walked into the Trainmaster's office at 11:00 and went to work the same night as a switchman. Three days of on the job training with no pay and I was "in". The old timers didn't like the fact I was being paid the same and didn't have a clue as to what railroading was all about. Looking back I don't blame them. They played plenty of pranks on me for the first six months. How the world has changed. My only regret was that I did not own a camera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    a legislated bill being subsidized by tax money....
    No, PTC is not being subsidized with taxpayer money, not for the Class 1s: they are paying the full cost. It is an "unfunded mandate," and you will see see that phrase used often when Class 1s discuss PTC deadlines and requirements.

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    Kalbert,

    Its all about operating ratio. Trains site true, power shortages happen, true. Mostly driven by desire for a great operating ratio. When there is slack, they retire power sell off assets. Cant have a bunch of power in storage these days. When it picks up they are left scrambling around. Yes there are a ton of none transportation jobs left, but this year I have witnessed a lot of people being let go in Engineering and Mechanical Departments. For two class one's that I deal with this was a bad year for the physical plant and in all the meetings I have 2016 will be a very bad year. Track improvements are being cut, and retires are not being replaced. Its a business, more with less is the moto.

    Go to the CSXT job opening page. 22 total job listings. That is system wide. All areas from corporate office to conductors. Only 22 posted jobs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    No, PTC is not being subsidized with taxpayer money, not for the Class 1s: they are paying the full cost. It is an "unfunded mandate," and you will see see that phrase used often when Class 1s discuss PTC deadlines and requirements.

    Paul I work in the industry, we are receiving some funding for these projects. They are going in as signaling upgrades and fall under grants. Its not a direct PTC fund, in the shell game of big business we are still able to get money from Uncle Sam to help out on these projects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    All areas from corporate office to conductors. Only 22 posted jobs.
    Same with BNSF -- 24 positions on the job external job website. And the forecasts for 2016 business aren't sounding all that great.

    But as long as there are signal contractors on the property (and there are scores), then we union signalmen cannot be furloughed.

    And now that I'm halfway up the Seattle District seniority roster (after nine years, if you believe it -- the roster covers the entire Northwest Division), I'm tough to furlough as it is. Our contract requires a minimum number of signalmen on the system, and that number currently encompasses most everyone on all the seniority districts.

    And with all the new signaling apparatus going in to support PTC, commuter trains, Bakken oil, faster intermodal transit times, that has meant more signal maintainer positions, especially here in the PNW. The demand for signal employees is growing.

    And once I have ten years' seniority, if I am furloughed, I'm paid anyway -- part of the New York Dock case as it effects signalmen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    Paul I work in the industry, we are receiving some funding for these projects.
    I hear you, Bob. I painted with a slightly too broad brush. Similar stuff going on up here -- new signaling apparatus going in to speed up Amtrak, and it's coming with PTC equipment ready to install.

    But the vast bulk of PTC funding is coming from the Class 1s' coffers. I'm sure that's been cutting chunks off the bottom line year over year since 2009.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I'm sure that's been cutting chunks off the bottom line year over year since 2009.
    Billions. All because of two bozos: one had to smoke pot on the job and the other couldn't be convinced to turn off his cell phone while working.

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    I don't see full automation happening. Computers are just too unreliable--they too depend on humans to program them, and most software has tons of glitches in it. Believe me, I work inside of that industry and I sure as hell wouldn't want trains running with a complete reliance on computers. There are some things that are never going to be entirely automated.

    Take the driverless car, for instance. They may perfect the technology, but who's going to INSURE it? What company is going to take on the risk and liability of the driverless car? I don't know about you, but if I'm in an accident, I want a person to be at fault, even if it's me!

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