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Old 02-22-2012, 10:05 AM   #1
LeverActionMatt
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Default Anyone work for the railroad?

Im currently serving in the military. Ive been in for 9 years and im looking at making a change. Im getting my resume together to apply for several positions that are open for BNSF. Most are conductor trainee positions and one is for a carman position. I am married with two young boys and im looking for good job security and benifits. Not really looking to make tons of money just want to support my family. My questions are...

What is the best company to hire with?

Are there more lay offs with the larger companys or smaller ones?

Is it secure enough of a job to go into with the economy like it is?

What would be the best states or locations to try for?

Would a carman job be more secure than a conductor job?

And any thoughts/experience you have would be great.......

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
eobowhntr
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Not sure if UP is around where you live, but id look into them. I got hired with them 4 years ago. Been working the whole time in the maintenance of way department. Very few layoffs, train side has lots of layoffs,a guy working with me got hired on train side in may and is already laid off, so he's working m.o.w side, and we just hired about 30 guys. Just another option to look into.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

A freind of mine retired a couple of years ago
Most of his life he worked for the railroad, the last 12 years he worked in a non railroad job
Here's the rub, if you work part of your career for the railroad and part outside the railroad, you have to choose between social security and railroad retirement
You can't get both, even tho you qualify for both, federal law prohibits you from getting both
This was signed into law by president clinton
Just some fyi to help plan your future
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

I think your mistaken on this.I quit the railroad in 2008 after 17 years as a Carman for TTX Co. Its owned by all the major railroads. My understanding is that you get a combo of the 2.The thing is.If you have been married over 10 years your spouse gets 50% too. By the way.TTX wage and bennies are better than the railroads.But they are harder to get on for too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurp View Post
A freind of mine retired a couple of years ago
Most of his life he worked for the railroad, the last 12 years he worked in a non railroad job
Here's the rub, if you work part of your career for the railroad and part outside the railroad, you have to choose between social security and railroad retirement
You can't get both, even tho you qualify for both, federal law prohibits you from getting both
This was signed into law by president clinton
Just some fyi to help plan your future
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Railroad retirement is run by Social Security. You still get your money from Social security but under the Railroad Retirement plan you get Tear 1 which is your full Social Security benifit Tear 2 which is 10% of your best ten years while working. I used to be a Union rep on the Union Pacific Railroad and I went to the seminars. You have to work Five years to become vested and You have to work One day of a Month to count towards retirement. I quit to go work for Boeing in 1985 after ten years with U.P.R.R..
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:31 PM   #6
LeverActionMatt
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Thanks for all the info I appreciate it. What about overtime for those of you that work in maintenance? Is it hard to get or is it always available?
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:30 AM   #7
eobowhntr
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

In many cases its dependent on the job your working. Welders for example get more overtime than truck drivers or laborers. Depends on where you live, colder climates get more overtime because of more broken rails. Also depends on the manager, my manager has a no overtime unless its an emergency policy, but the manager in the next town over has a work all the overtime you're heart desires policy. Its safe to say you will get a fair share of overtime, just depends on allot of variables.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:50 AM   #8
LeverActionMatt
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Thanks for the info. I would be looking to work as much as i can. The carman position sounds like it would be the way to go as far as security goes. Most everything ive read and been told is that the traincrew guys get laid off often in the first 5 years or so

Thanks again for everyones help.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

dream job if you can get on with them im trying myself right now, amtrak in the bay area have alot of inlaws that work for them and theey are very well taken care of
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

My father is the Quality Control Supervisor at the Greenbriar rail car re-fab, repair shop in Finley, WA. They are super busy all the time. Converting cars to cryogen with other repairs including tankers. You may look into it. I know there is a ton of overtime with new projects and work is consistent.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

I have 40 years of RR time in with UPRR and BNSF as a loco electrician and supervisor. If your talents, training and experience qualify you, you should look into UPRR jobs as locomotive machinist or electrician. Carman work is very rough mechanical and you spend a lot of time outside in the weather. Working in a diesel shop is much more comfortable. Train crews get furloughed a lot and you are away from home and your family, tho it pays more. There is also a rumor that BNSF is going to build a major diesel shop in Pasco in the near future to replace the shop in Seattle that is falling down.
Also be aware that all RR give veterans preference in hiring. You folks deserve it.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightning View Post
I have 40 years of RR time in with UPRR and BNSF as a loco electrician and supervisor. If your talents, training and experience qualify you, you should look into UPRR jobs as locomotive machinist or electrician. Carman work is very rough mechanical and you spend a lot of time outside in the weather. Working in a diesel shop is much more comfortable. Train crews get furloughed a lot and you are away from home and your family, tho it pays more. There is also a rumor that BNSF is going to build a major diesel shop in Pasco in the near future to replace the shop in Seattle that is falling down.
Also be aware that all RR give veterans preference in hiring. You folks deserve it.

thanks for the reply. I dont have experience as a machinist or electrician but im going to apply for them anyways. I learn fast and will work hard and im willing to travel to any state i can get a job, plus i have an AS in general science and lots of training from the military so i hope all that will work in my favor. im leaning toward the maint. side of the RR since it seems like its more stable.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Lightning has it right. I was a Conductor for 7 years and am now a Yardmaster. Here is my take...

Stability will completely depend on where you hire out and that terminals needs today. I hired as a conductor and have never been layed off a day. Flip side, I work with guys that hired right after me that worked 6 mos a year for 4-5 years before it was steady. Timing is everything.

Train/Engine can be great. If you get on in a good terminal you can work a yard job and make your 60k and be home every day. Or you can work the road which can pay almost double but you better be ready to live on call and sleep in a hotel every third night of the week. Holidays, weekends, schedule... no chance, ever! The pay is good but it is a crap lifestyle imo... thats why I am a Yardmaster now.

MOW and Carmen would be my last choice, and I am very mechanical but they live in the weather, make less etc, MOW can travel a ton depending on gang assignment. Our work 8 days on 7 days off and travel the country, rough on a family man.

Diesel shop wouldnt be a bad choice, like lightning said you are mostly indoors or in the truck.

Just make no doubt about it, being layed off is NOT a conductor thing... its a rail road thing. There is no loyalty to you... If it makes sense finacially for them, you are on extended vaca, period.

Furlough is just a part of RR life for most getting started. Most of the time the end result is worth it if you can manage while you build seniority.

Try and talk to local people in the terminal you plan to hire at... they will have a real feel for which crafts will be more steady etc... It really is a case by case or terminal by terminal matter.

Last edited by Sndslgr; 02-23-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Buddy works for BNSF. He's had to travel a ton and at the beginning was sent every which way to work. He is now settled and works in Vancouver I think. They have been very good to him. He'll see more in one week than I see in a month. Lots of travel though for him.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone work for the railroad?

Worked 36 years 9 months with Southern Pacific, then Union Pacific in Signal department. Train service make the most money, maintainence of way ( Track Dept.) do the most work for the least pay. Signal makes a lot of overtime as you accumulate seniority. Major RR = union = much more pay. As a union signalman my wife was able to stay home and homeschool our girls. ( Both now with college degree's ) Best job you'll ever hate. To understand this talk to a friend of mine who broke rocks with a sledge hammer for a paycheck once. Good Luck

P.S. Ronald Reagon signed the bill to stop double dipping. He drew five pensions. Presidental, Calif. Gov, Social Sec., Screen Actor Guild, and one other.

Last edited by pugbuddy; 02-23-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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