Page 1 of 10 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 100

Thread: Getting Hired by the Railroad

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Temple, Texas.
    Posts
    15

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Bladeslinger,

    That is some excellent information you posted. In reference to the book you mentioned, I guess that was kind of your own book of sorts and a great one at that.

    I'm in the military and will pursue a conductor's position with Norfolk Southern after retiring next year at the "old" age of 39, with 21 years service under my belt. I've talked to a few folks who work for NS, and like you mentioned, a military background is a huge plus. I'm very fortunate for that as it does force you to mature very quickly and follow a disciplined lifestyle. I hope NS doesn't consider a 39 year old over the hill. I figure I've got some 25+ years of good work left in me.

    My question for you would be, is it advantageous to apply in multiple cities, NS wouldn't frown on that would they? Let's say for instance I applied in Fort Wayne, Indiana and at Columbus, Ohio, I guess as long as I was invited to the interview and they weren't on the same day it would be alright...similar to what you did?

    Another question is of location. I'm currently in Virginia, but essentially would be willing to relocate anywhere on the NS system to gain employment. Cost of living here is a tad bit too high for me anyways even though I live on a military base now. Would I even be considered for a position in Columbia, South Carolina or Decatur, Illinois if I didn't live there? I would obviously relocate there simply by means of willingness to take the job. A few folks I've spoken with say on the BNSF they pick from the local area first. Well, if you ask me that's a crock, because in the military I move every 2-4 years anyway and most of that is overseas, so it's really hard for me to have a place to call home due to that constant on the move factor. I'm originally from Indiana by the way. I'm curious if you know what NS's stance is on that and hopefully they would take a servicemember's background into consideration.

    I have 10 years of heavy equipment operator experience and then I cross trained into radio and television broadcasting which will make 11 years in that field when I retire. Lots of lugging camera gear all over the U-S as of now. Like your K-mart and factory experience, I've done a lot of irregular shifts and carried the old pagers many a days. I've also been on deployment to Iraq, which I'm not sure if NS would give a hoot about, but I did manage to dodge all the bullets and IED's and come out alive :-)

    I appreciate you taking the time to post here and you can count on me asking you more questions and even PM'ing you if that's cool.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Ed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    .
    Posts
    475

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it and have a few questions, currently I'm a freshman in high school, and am considering the railroad as a career when I graduate. I'd like to go to NARS and try for a position when I'm 18. Would they frown upon that since I would be very young? Also would being an Eagle Scout help since it involves lots of outdoor activities?


    Thanks!

  3. #3

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    I assume you meant my post here was my "book", right?
    Anyway, I was 35 when I hired on, and they have hired people on my seniority district up into their 50's. We have one guy who was a former trainman/engineer/trainmaster for the BNSF years ago, I don't know his whole story, but I do know he was mid 50's when he hired on with NS. He did it after they adopted the 60/30 retirement program, so he could get the years in he needed to retire with full benefits. I'm not sure how far past 60 he'll have to work to do it, I know he still had a few years to go though. But we have a lot of brand new people in their 30's and 40's working out here.
    As for applying in multiple cities, I'll tell you what the recriuter at my 4th and 5th hiring session told me when I asked the same question. It was the same fellow a guy named Jim Miranda at both hiring sessions (he also was at the very 1st hiring session I attended as well). I applied for the Piedmont Division at the 4th session which our end of the seniority district extends from Atlanta to Greenville, SC. At the 5th hiring session I applied on the Georgia Division, which covers most of Georgia and some of Florida. He told me that if I were to be selected for both areas that they'd give me my choice...as it turned out I was not selected for the Georgia division, but was the day before for Piedmont. Looking back, I'm kinda glad...for many reasons I won't go into at this time though.
    The only thing about being considered for another location is that the hiring sessions are all local. They hire for a specific area, and you have to be at that hiring session to get hired for that area. We have had a few people transfer to our division from others though, but it takes an act of congress to do it! Military service MIGHT help in that aspect, I don't know. When I hired out, a guy from Florence Alabama hired out as well...he later moved to Georgia to work, but then about 6 months after we all marked up, he quit and went back into the military, rather than transferring to the Alabama division. I don't know if he attempted to transfer or just didn't like working for the railroad. He was very gung ho when we were in conductor school, but seemed to lose interest rapidly after we marked up.

  4. #4

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    >Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it and have a few
    >questions, currently I'm a freshman in high school, and am
    >considering the railroad as a career when I graduate. I'd like
    >to go to NARS and try for a position when I'm 18. Would they
    >frown upon that since I would be very young? Also would being
    >an Eagle Scout help since it involves lots of outdoor
    >activities?
    >Thanks!

    I'm not sure what NARS is, but no your age won't hurt you at all, we have quite a few people 19-20 years old who haven't been out here very long. I wish I'd started a long time ago myself, so I'd have better seniority. I'm sure being an Eagle Scout won't hurt.

    Here's the thing to remember about starting young...you're gonna be out there until you're 60 if you want full retirement! But if you wait until you're in your 30's to get on the railroad, then you'll never be in the top ranks of seniority, because there are always going to be tons of people ahead of you...but if you start while you're young and your seniority keeps creeping upward, by the time you're in your 40's and 50's you'll probably be in the top 10 or 15 in seniority, because a lot of the other people who start at the same time as you or even later will be older and will retire sooner, and the one's hired before you will mostly be older, and be gone long before you will.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    La Junta, Colorado, U.S.
    Posts
    336

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Lots of great info in that post!! I think it should be anchored.

    One thing I would add is to be sure to stress safety in your interview. If you ever had a previous job where safety was stressed and there were numerous safety rules, be sure to bring this up because that is a big plus.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Temple, Texas.
    Posts
    15

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    "I assume you meant my post here was my "book", right?"

    Roger that Bladeslinger. Nice to know there's older folks who hire out too. As for hiring out past age 50, that's pretty amazing in itself. I guess 39 isn't so bad after all. I figure the location(s) I select to submit my application online will be the place I'll settle down and live. I'm on the go a little too much right now and look forward to finally buying a house and all that good stuff.

    I might prefer the midwest, but the south is tempting with its milder winters. But when it boils down to it, I'll just take what's available as the military requires you to be flexible on a constant basis. If and when granted the opportunity to interview and they notice I have a Virginia address, I'll just have to explain my situation and the reason for choosing a particular location. No worries...driving, flying...I'll do what ever it takes to travel to the respective hiring locations.

    I tried to hire on directly out of high school when I graduated in 1986, but with the recession going on then, it was pretty difficult. I might have tried using my Uncle's position as a trainmaster with Conrail in Elkhart, Indiana as a little leverage to get in the door, but decided the Air Force was the best route at the time to build character, experience, education and maturity. I look back on it now and am happy about the route I took and the chance to serve my country.

    Look forward to hearing more from ya

    Ed

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    In a bar...
    Posts
    2,275

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Yup, stress safey over and over again...i learned that they like that.

    Age, for the most part shouldn't be an issue, although i've often heard that railroads are a little wary about 18 year olds...most of the guys getting hired are 19-20. For example, January of 2005, i tried to hire out w/ the BNSF out of Temple, i was 18 (a month away from being 19). Well i wasn't hired, but i talked to some1 who was in the know and found out my age was the issue. So i went to NARS that fall, and was hired by the BNSF out of Temple for March 13 (yea i'm starting day 3 this morning :) :) )
    --BNSF Conductor--

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, You Ess Of Eh.
    Posts
    2,562

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Excellent info. This should really be anchored.

    While some might get discouraged after reading this, for me, this has only whetted my appetitie for becoming a railroader for life.

    I can also suggest that if you don't want to jump into a class one operation right away, or maybe if you'd like to see if the job activites are right for you, that one might consider first joining a small shortline. I volunteer at the WSRR as a brakie (and sometimes mechanic). I've learned alot, so if you're in doubt, try a small road to cop a fell.-Jeffrey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Binghamton, NY
    Posts
    439

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    Bladeslinger,

    Lot of great information that I can backup myself. I was an NS conductor in Allentown, PA for 2 1/2 yrs. I got off in an attempt to save my marriage. Dumb mistake...shoulda known it was done anyways. Shame too, cause I'd be in Engineer school about now too.

    But great post that is spot on. If things don't work out now with my girlfriend and job..I may look to hire on with CSX in Albany or maybe in Jersey somewhere..but I just got a supervisory position at work and like what I do...so wwe'll just have to see...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Chico, California, USA.
    Posts
    9

    Default RE: Getting Hired by the Railroad

    As I am an EX rail myself, believe me I would not recommend hiring on with Railroads these days. It's becoming very strange out in the Railroading industry. The latest news is that BNSF and other RRs are now making the big push with the Federal Government to allow them to run trains with only one person onboard. This is insane at best!!! I personelly view all that is happening and wonder about the lack of safety and the issues involving everyday safety violations that occur on a daily basis. It's not safe for the employees or the general public. And believe me, they occur more frenquently that you might think. Who would want to work in an envionment that is dangerous at best and is becoming more dangerous as time goes on due to Corperate policy and the Government's lack of involvement. This breeds contempt among the ranks of the employees and and attitude of "who cares."

    So as I say I really don't recommend it as a way to make a living.

    Riptrack

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •