Want to get a job at NS or maybe CSX

Matt Kiker Jul 22, 2005

  1. Night Owl

    Night Owl New Member

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    hello
    i am new here. i wanted to ask a question. if you do start in one craft and decide to switch to another craft ..in all cases you would lose you seniority? i too figured to start in track or signal working system a opposed to a yard or sector(learn ropes from more of a ground position ) and once i had a couple yrs in look to migrate into mabe transportation or dispatching etc. any help is appreciated. sorryi guess this thread is a tad bit old. thanks
     
  2. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    There are exceptions to every rule on the railroad, especially NS so to take your example:

    You could start in the track dept. but if you then try to swing over to transportation later, you'd have to start your seniority all over again in T&E. Same thing if you try to go the other way. Going from train service to MOW is a fresh start on the roster.

    On the other hand, if you start in train service as a conductor, you can go to dispatching or management and keep your seniority intact in your prior craft. I know several people who dipped their toes in the management pool and decided to flow back to the operating crafts later. Don't know why it's that way but that's the rules.

    As for learning the ropes...working in different crafts might help a little but it's not worth the price you'd pay in seniority. Just start where you want to be and stay put. You'll learn what you need to know without confusing the issue by switching crafts. Seniority is everything so you don't want to give it away.
     
  3. Night Owl

    Night Owl New Member

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    Thank you, for the sound reply : )

    It is much appreciated.
     
  4. Burlington Northern Fan

    Burlington Northern Fan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Railroad Time

    Switching crafts, your time from the day you start on the railroad counts towards your retirement. Even if change crafts. Just not your senoirity date in the new craft it starts over. I switched from a shop laborer to a conductor my time towards retirement and vacation time, personal leave days all went with me, just not my senoirity in my new craft. Then once I completed my conductor class I went on 2 weeks vacation, IT WAS GREAT! So that was cool. My conductor classmates give me a bad time. But I earned it. Hope this helps Shawn
     
  5. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    Good point. I should have mentioned that all your RR service counts in that regard. Still, the seniority in your craft might make the difference between getting furloughed and working sometimes. I know I missed getting cut by only one man when I was just getting started. A bunch of the other guys weren't so lucky.
     
  6. CNW 1518

    CNW 1518 TrainBoard Member

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    Im going to an interview for freight car repairer in a few weeks..

    What should I be looking for from NS?
     
  7. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    Here it comes from a retiree. If you are a railfan, KEEP it to YOURSELF! Make up your mind to DO the job EXACTLY as told. FORGET all about the crap you read in some railroad magazine or your own ideas. Do EXACTLY as you are told! Whatever you DO, when you go to your interview, don't start gushing about how you just LUVVVVV them trains, blah, blah. Do that, you may find yourself standing outside wondering WHY you didn't get hired! After all, you've been 'watching' trains all your life---ever since you wuz a kid an' you know all there is to know about trains, right? WRONG! Many HR people and managers do NOT LIKE rail buffs! Saw WHAT? That's right! They don't LIKE railfans! REALLY! Why? Because they have sometimes proven to be a DANGER to themselves and other employees! Because they are (sometimes) harder to train and are too busy "foaming" about the railroad to DO the job at hand. Trust me, I've SEEN it with my own eyes! YOU do NOT know "all there is to know about trains"! You are NOT to spend your time worrying about "OH LOOK, there's such 'n such engine 'on the point', blah, blah, blah!!!!!!!!!!! The railroad doesn't give a rat's ---- about what's "on the point"! It ain't none of yer business! :tb-ooh:You are to train to DO the job they TELL you to do, do it RIGHT, make NO mistakes and forget about what else (except that which affects yours and others' safety) is going on out there. You start "railfanning" on the railroad, and they will PUT THE SKIDS UNDER YOU SO FAST YOU WON'T KNOW WHAT HIT' CHA! And that leads to my next point.

    Railroading is NOT some choo choo fantasy. It is a ROUGH, GRITTY, DIFFICULT, DANGEROUS way to make a living! You will be required to sacrifice home, family, activities, hobbies, events, your childrens' (future kids?) school sports and events. You will encounter managers waiting for you to screw up the least little bit so they can write you up and run you off. Don't believe me? Just ask any railroader what "run-off insurance" is?:tb-shocked: When you do go out there, you may be shocked to find just how different it really is from all the "dreams" you had as a kid. It is NOT a job: it a total lifestyle change and commitment that MANY people find they just cannot make. It does take a special breed to be a railroader. I am telling it as brutally as I can to prepare the dreamer (if he IS one) for the shock it truly is. The railroad enviroment is like nothing you have ever done before!

    If it works out better than I've told you, then fine. But don't be shocked if it IS a shock. I've seen plenty of what are really "railfans" (we called 'em 'foamers') get really dissolutioned once they got out there and actually worked the job. It AIN'T no toy! All I can say, at this point, YMMV. It works out for most of us, saddens and crushes others.

    GF
     
  8. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    OH! I forgot! FORGET about all those "railroad U" courses that waste lots of money and don't guarantee you'll land a job! The railroad will train you the way they want you to work. All those course do is transfer money from your pocket to them that's doin' the trainin'!

    GF
     
  9. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi GF,

    Any ideas why there is such a visceral disdain for railfans?

    I understand the job demands; 24/7 work schedule, the danger and need for safety while entrusted moving 10's of thousands of tons of stuff, much of it deadly. I can imagine the absolute need to be fully competent, aware and present when working on the railroad or you will be killed or maimed, or you will kill or maim someone else.

    In the occupations I am familiar with someone who enjoys the work is not a pariah. Is it a corrosive and uncaring work environment that leaches out any enthusiasm for the craft, such as with public education or the defense industry; a burnout occupation? Or maybe the workforce is full of bored or angry folks who would rather be doing something else?

    The more I read and understand about prototype railroads, and hear their stories, I feel more admiration and gratitude for the folks who do the work. I am too old to work for the railroads but sometimes I imagine in my next lifetime I will be a real engineer. I have been an Electrical Engineering for 33 years and still love my work. It just seems like a tragedy to have to hide one's joy and enthusiasm for work.
     
  10. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    It isn't all bad, not ALL the time. But I tell it straight, I tell it ROUGH, and I tell it the way it is. If you can separate the fantasy for choo choos and little trains around the Christmas tree, if you can simply do the job, enjoy what you see and do, ignore the anal bosses and get over the bad lifestyle, you can make a good living out there! Stay "foamed up", worrying about every little detail on the RoW that ain't your business, you won't last!

    In subsequent posts, I will tell you what I encountered in my job with Southern/Norfolk Southern over those 30 years.


    GF
     
  11. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    In the occupations I am familiar with someone who enjoys the work is not a pariah. Is it a corrosive and uncaring work environment that leaches out any enthusiasm for the craft, such as with public education or the defense industry; a burnout occupation? Or maybe the workforce is full of bored or angry folks who would rather be doing something else?...........................(quote)


    It is, indeed, a corrosive and even abusive relationship that exists on the railroads. The industry is tradionally a very militaristic and parternalistic environment. The work is stressful because of the lifestyle and pressure put upon the employees. I remember a System Gang supervisor everybody called "Screaming Gene" whose response to any mistake or problem was to scream and cuss out his employees and/or take them out of service without pay. I am surprised somebody didn't stove his face out the back of his head! It-was (and in some cases) and still IS! There is nothing "genteel" about railroading.

    Railfans. Yes. railfans are sometimes mocked and scorned mercilessly by employees, and, some of them DESERVE it! The pimply kid w/ the huge glasses in the Christmas movie, "Polar Express" is a classic example! The "know-it-all". The guy that shows up on the RoW where he isn't even supposed to BE (trespassing) dressed in striped overalls, so-called "railroad" cap and red bandana with a half-ton of cameras PUSHING the employees out of the way so he can get a shot of an old freight drag. Or the employee comes out to a steam excursion about to depart, and the "foamer" yells for him to get out of the way. Heck, the employee is taking the orders up to the head end so they can LEAVE, and here's this guy yelling at ME? Stuff like that! So, yeah, we mocked 'em and snickered at them behind their backs because of the rediculous get-up. and called 'em "The National Railway 'Hysterical' Society! :ru-tongue: Now the more reserved ones, we didn't mind at all!

    GF
     
  12. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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    I can relate to deserving mocking; the dog owner who lets their dog bark incessantly, the motorist trying to merge with traffic while driving 10 mph slower, or driving in the left lanes at whatever speed they feel like (usually slower than prevailing traffic).

    When I am trackside I am focused on the railroad and not aware of the environment the employees are working in, but I can relate to how that environment would affect me personally. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I can't change that environment but I can be more respectful of the railroad folks by staying out of their way as they go about their duties.
     
  13. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Some are good some are bad.My bad ones are the guys with 4 cameras 3 tripods and scream at me to close the windows and doors on a loco in summer with no air!I did it once and the only reason was that the guy let us sit in his ac!

    We have a state trooper that takes our pictures out by his house. hes so darn cool cause he will bring us lunch!He is interested in not only the industry and its history,but the guys doing it. If he was still a road trooper I am sure I could do a ride along with him lol.Now that would be fun!

    Be respectful and you will not have an issue with rails. Oh and when I pay my conductor a dollar to goout and do the karate kid crane pose,just keep filiming and laugh with us.
     
  14. Virginian Railway

    Virginian Railway TrainBoard Member

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    I have two cousins who work for NS in Fort Wayne, one is an engineer, and the other is a new conductor. I have a friend at church who recently retired and was an engineer, yet sometimes he had to leave the choir Sunday morning to go to Harlan.
     
  15. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    After I hired to Southern, I learned I had a 2nd cousin that was a NW Yardmaster (I think that was it) at Suffolk, VA in the 1960's-70's. His name was Roger Walker. I never got the chance to talk to him. I wish I knew how to find out about him or anywho may have known of Mr. Walker, but it was so long ago........................

    Gadfly
     
  16. Gadfly

    Gadfly New Member

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    Most fans are respectful and don't cause problems. Eh..............there are a few that make you remember 'em.

    I was working 2nd trick at an outlying station (agent/clerk) alone. In the afternoon, a young kid came to the ticket window wanting info about Amtrak. I gave it to him----brochures, a schedule, etc. He asked a few innocent questions and "left". Or so I thought. I glanced outside and he was up on a switcher idling on the house track!!!:tb-err: AAAACK! I couldn't have that, so I went out and politely chased him off the engine. He rode away. Next day, he was BACK asking questions. It was mildly annoying because I was busy doing waybills for an outbound shipment. But I stopped and answered his questions. Next day.....same thing. Bunches and gobs of railroad questions. I almost ran out of things to tell him! Heck, I didn't know HALF the stuff he wanted to know; I was still learning it myself!

    The week ended, I observed my restdays (which happened to actually be a weekend that time) and was marked back up on the Extra Board. This time I was at Charlotte Yard so he couldn't get at me, and I forgot about the kid on the bicycle with a million questions.

    One afternoon my wife's Nova was skipping so I put plugs and points in it (for those who remember the old distributor system), and drove the car around the block to see if it cured the stumbling. When I pulled back in the yard, never even dreaming I'd see this kid again, he came riding up the driveway! Where the h---did HE come from? He rode his bike all the way across town. He couldn't find me---until I drove the car around the block and he SAW me! DRAT!!!:tb-wacky: Now he's coming over uninvited every other DAY. Showing up at evening meantime, Or if I was working, he'd come and sit for awhile and leave. This became bothersome until, after putting up with for a time, and at the urging of my wife, I gently told him I didn't want him just coming over like that.

    I was on furlough after that, and decided to ride one of the steam trips for grins and giggles, and shortly after boarding the train (Southern 4501 and F7 6133 pulling it)......GROAAAAANNNNNN! OH NO! Here comes this very kid and latches onto me like a leech!!!! (insert some very uncomplimentary adjectives muttered under breath!) By the time we had gone from Columbia to Spartanburg, SC, I had had ENOUGH! The guy just worried the CRAP outta me; he didn't know when to QUIT!!! So when we stopped at Spartanburg for water, I gave him the slip, spoke to the Terminal Superintendent, Mr Spearman for permission, whom I had worked for previously, and slipped up into the cab of the F7 to ride the rest of the way home! He looked everywhere for me! Hee! HEE! I snuck down off the engine at Charlotte and slipped to my car without being caught!
    It is 6133 that is now at the Spencer Transportation Museum, the very one that 'helped" me get away from the annoying railfan!

    GF
     

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