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Working from the extra board
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   Author  Topic: Working from the extra board  (Read 675 times)
jastew71
TRAINing
Posts: 6
Working from the extra board
 
« on: Jan 30th, 2007, 7:31pm »
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Hey all.  New to Railfan.net as of tonight!
 
I have a question about being on the 'extra board' when you start work as a conductor trainee.
 
I'm going to a recruiting session next week for Norfolk Southern in Newark Delaware.  All I know is what the job description says, but I'm really curious to know 'typically' how many hours you can expect to work when you start.  
 
I'm not worried about overtime, but my concern is not getting enough work.  I know there may not be a typical forty hour work week, so will it vary that much or can one expect to be working lots of hours.  
 
Thanks,
Jim


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prostock19
Historian
Posts: 486
Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #1 on: Feb 1st, 2007, 6:48pm »
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There are alot of "Ifs" there.  Right now, with things slow, work has been slow.  Extraboards cover vacancies and extra work that pools and assigned jobs can't cover.  When no one is on vacation and no one is marking off sick, the extraboard slows down.
 
On the road, overtime starts at all different times.  For me on CSX, Overtime starts after about 9 hours to Dewitt, 9 1/2 to Worcester, 12 To Boston, and I think 16 or 18 to Buffalo.  The longer you go, the longer it takes to get on overtime.
 
As for the yard, overtime starts after 8 hours.  Also, if you are called to take another yard shift on your rest, that whole shift is time and a half.  I am not sure if your agreement there is the same or not.
 
If you want, contact me off list and I'll give you a site where people may better answer your questions about the NS.


« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2007, 6:49pm by prostock19 » Logged
1tufconductor
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Posts: 8
Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #2 on: Feb 7th, 2007, 11:59pm »
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Yeah, it just depends, I am in NE Ohio and the board is slow, right now. some of the guys are getting 1-3 days a week, "something they wouldn't tell you"  That is Ohio, coal is slow and ore is slow, and freight is slow too.  It will pick up in a month or so. Typically this is the slow season (Ohio)
I also have friends down south who are working every day through the winter.  You should be Ok, as long as you make it through the slow times.  Best of luck.


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thoroughbred_05
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #3 on: Feb 12th, 2007, 11:10am »
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Like the previous posts ,there are many variables,after x-mas things can slow down.When there are big things going on in the real world guys will mark off,Super Bowl,High School,College,Or Pro Games,hunting or fishing season openers,weekends and vacations,you get the idea.There are times that may go on for weeks or months at a time when you will get called out on your rest or close to it,as well as periods through the slow winter months when you may only get 2 or 3 starts per. week.Remember  the slow times when your thinking about that next big purchase,as this job can be rollercoaster, one minute you can't miss on getting good jobs off the extra board the next thing you know your stuck in a rut getting nothing but a couple of basic days a week.

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Hawko
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #4 on: Feb 13th, 2007, 12:02pm »
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Does your company guarantee you a certain amount of money for working the extra list?  Here on the BNSF they guarantee us about $2800 a half (two weeks), if we stay marked up.

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prostock19
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #5 on: Feb 13th, 2007, 8:07pm »
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on Feb 13th, 2007, 12:02pm, Hawko wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Does your company guarantee you a certain amount of money for working the extra list?  Here on the BNSF they guarantee us about $2800 a half (two weeks), if we stay marked up.  

Damn.  My extraboard, at 80% is guaranteed a little over $1600 a half.  It sucks because if the 1st week's paycheck is short, then we have to wait and see if the 2nd week we make up or get the guarantee.


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Hawko
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #6 on: Feb 23rd, 2007, 12:50pm »
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I like working the extra list because of the variety. I think it is a good way for a new guy, like myself, to learn.  Folks on the BNSF conductors' extra list out of La Crosse, WI work trips to Northtown (Minneapolis, MN), Savanna, IL, Galesburg, IL & Cicero, IL.  We also cover locals, dog catches, work trains, yard work & switch tending.  The one thing I do not like about the list is not knowing when I am going to work.

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prostock19
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #7 on: Feb 25th, 2007, 2:44am »
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That is a big thing about an extralist.  The not knowing.  I HATE being 1st out.  I am dying for the phone to ring.  Will I get a recrew? An Extra? A tramp?  Someone Misscalled?  Etc... Or will I sit for 24 hours waiting.
 
One good thing, I am qualified on more territory than my extraboard covers, so I am often called to work in that territory.  Kinda nice when our board is slow.  I could be 5th out and I'm going to work while the others wait.


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levi79
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #8 on: Sep 7th, 2007, 11:45pm »
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 It all depends on the if's. What the guarantee set at if the RR your gonna work has one, and if traffic is insane or crappy how many people they are keeping on the extra board if your seniority will hold the xtra board. Dont concern yourself with wondering about getting enough work but more adjusting to a life style of being on call 24 365. It may be fun for a while but beats you down after a spell. As for how the xtra board works is it's a filler pool for the guys on regular pool jobs when they lay off or what ever ( add in all the if's there's a ton). The pools tend to be more old heads that like to have an snowballs chance in hell of known when there gonna work and how often during the work week. The extra board is more for the guys that cant hold the pool because of seniority, or wanna work more and in turn make more. There's just way to many if's and dont really wanna write a novel on how the RR works. Best way to figure out how it works is to just hire out and see if you like it, you can always quit alot of new hires do.[ftp][/ftp]

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wasteland1952
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #9 on: Oct 19th, 2007, 11:47pm »
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Hi every body!  Just joined the site tonight.
 
This topic interests me, but not from the perspective of the original question.  I've worked for the federal govt. for many years, and will be eligible to retire with over 30 years combined military and civil service this next year.  I wondered about working for the railroad.  But unlike the person who did the original post, I'm not concerned about getting too little work, rather, I'm more concerned about not having any time at home.  In fact, working 1, 2, or 3 days a week would be OK with me.
 
From what I see here, it seems when you're a new hire, you have to be ready to work whenever they call you.  The UP and BNSF seem to make that pretty clear on their websites.  So, is it absolutely impossible to be able to take a vacation or trip during the coming year?  Do you have the opportunity to know that next July or August you'll have a week or two period where you won't be called?  Or am I so far off base it's not even funny??
 
THX!!
 
Mike


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Gadfly
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Posts: 232
Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #10 on: Oct 20th, 2007, 11:53pm »
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Most ANYBODY who goes to work on a railroad works what is called the Extra Board. It is determined by seniority.  The new guys are on the bottom of the list.  I won't  
"sugar coat this", OK? You can expect to work nights, weekends, holidays. You can forget about Saturday and Sunday with your family.  It could take YEARS to get on a regular assignment. This will, of course, depend on your particular situation---when you were hired, what the work force situation is, who's retiring, and a lot of variables.  I am giving you the worst case scenario, and you best EXPECT it to BE that way. First off, generally, your first vacation will be a year off.  Likely, you will NOT get the weeks you want. It could be in January when it is -15 degrees.  Again, the older guys get first dibs on vacation.  You could, indeed, only work a couple of days per week, or ride the guarantee, OR you might work 20 days straight without a day off and if it is in the clerical craft, you could work on STRAIGHT time for those days, and NO overtime!!!!!  Depends on the agreement you are under.  Under the agreements we were under (and it's been a few years since I worked), if you were "moving from one assignment" to another from the Extra Board, no overtime!  If you worked overtime on a static assigment, the SAME assignment, YES!  You can find yourself working at one location today, then driving 60 miles or more to another, then another, then another. You might work 3rd trick tonight, and return to 2nd trick tomorrow.  If you are called to protect a crew assignment, your start time can vary.
 
Having done this as a young man 30 years ago, I would advise you AGAINST trying to be hired to a railroad in a CRAFT. You might snag an excepted (management) position depending on your background.  In craft, for one thing, with 30 years already in ONE career, you are too old to start out trying to, for example, hop up and down on freight cars!  Railroading is NOT a nine-to-five, romantic job about "choo-choo's" and playing Casey Jones or being the "brave engineer"  (Casey Jones, btw, had no business running trains and the details of his wreck are simply that he ran a stop board and  rear-ended another train that was trying to clear up while doing a "saw-by"!)  Second,  you would have to work (I am assuming, of course, you are near 50 or so) until you were 80 to garner a railroad pension.  You must know that RR retirement is separate from Socialistic Insecurity, and you must work for at least 10 years to become vested in it!  Then, once vested in RR Retirement, you LOSE everything you gained in Social Security during those previous 30 years unless you DO work a full career    So! Should you work for 10 years under RR Retirement and something happens to you (like a disability or an injury), instead of the SSI benefits based on those years, your disability pension will be based on those TEN years, NOT the years in SSI!!! Unfortunately, the RR retirement system is based on, and assumes, you will come to work as a young buck, then work for 30 years to age 60.  Regular RR employees who start out at a young age, accumulate 30 years,  they can retire at 60 or when they attain 30 years, whichever comes first.  This means that having already had a full career in Federal service, you would likely never LIVE long enough to achieve the pension---unless you DID land a management job which does have some additional perks and monetary benefits. Honestly? It isn't worth it to you to try a craft job. It is ROUGH, DANGEROUS, has an extremely disruptive livestyle, and is NOT what people, especially starry-eyed railfans THINK it is!
 
If you are still determined, well.......................good luck!  I think you will be disappointed.
 
 
Gadfly
retired and glad of it!!!!


« Last Edit: Oct 21st, 2007, 12:00am by Gadfly » Logged
wasteland1952
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #11 on: Oct 21st, 2007, 8:57pm »
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Thanks, Gadfly!  That's exactly why I posted my message.  I wanted to hear the truth, and not some romanticized account of railroading.  I'm amazed that the railroads are doing as well as they seem to be.  Why anyone would want a career like that is beyond me.
 
And you're right, I'm almost 56.  I'm in reasonably good shape for my age, but I fully realize I'm not a kid anymore.  Thanks for telling me like it is.
 
Mike


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Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #12 on: Oct 21st, 2007, 9:43pm »
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That's why I made it sound as ROUGH as possible to show the WORST case scenerio.
I want people to see that, at the worst end, it could be that bad!  However, while the hours can be tough, the lifestyle is rough on families, and morale can be  bad as well,  on the OTHER end of the spectrum, it could turn out not to be so bad as it seems!  Obviously, railroad men have endured this for over 100 years and made it to have a GOOD pension and retirement, so it can't have been so onorous and to the right of the scale, else the railroads would have been begging for help all the time. Indeed, when they advertise for help, you will find the interview room FULL of eager applicants.  About half of these will not remain to the end of the interview because, when they DO find out how the railroad life IS, they will BAIL or FAIL.  I think it probably DOES take a special breed of person to be a railroader. There is a certain inner call that pulls this person to that life, and also separates him from the "choo choo foamer" and the professional railroader.  Sure, they both "like" trains, I think, but it is in a different way.  To the railfan it is a fascinating "toy" that actually gets in the way of his vocation. To the professional railroader, it is actually DOING the job and BEING immersed in the work and getting a totally different kind of satisfaction from it.  The train buff spends hours out at the yards watching trains; the professional does the job, then goes home to his family. Hard to explain, but the attraction, I think, is often hard to define and difficult to accurately distinguish.
 
So the professional railroader WORKS inSIDE the industry, cusses the company for all he's worth, gripes about the conditions while finding that, while, yeah, it is a ROUGH way to make a living, he gets enough satisfaction from being a railroader to put UP with the horse manure.  He does make a living, earns reasonably good pay (comparable to many college-degreed white collars, puts his kids thru school, and retires on  $2800 to $4000+, so its not so bad as to cause the companies to go begging  I did it!  I made it!  So have thousands of others for the last 100 years or so! I also lucked out by being hired out on a "single point" seniority roster, being furloughed, going onto that Extra Board, then being called BACK to my original point where I worked the following 20 years on FIRST trick (7:00-3:30), rest days Saturday and Sunday!   It couldn't have worked out better!!!!  Like I said, I was a young man when all this occurred, so it all worked well.  
 
SO! If you feel you MUST work, unless you are forced out, I would either stay PUT where I am, retire and get a job delivering parts at AutoZone, or you might explore a MANAGEMENT job with a railroad depending on your current qualifications, etc.  You never know, you might FIND something, work those additional 10 years and garner an additional company pension on top of the RR monies to add to your Federal one!'
 
 
ME?  I'm going fishin'    
 
 
Gadfly


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edward
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #13 on: Oct 31st, 2007, 5:25am »
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I also found out that having a reg yard job is no guarantee that you will have it very long esp if its a prefered yard job as someone will always bump you off it, In 25 yrs the longest i have ever held a yard or road job was 1 month as someone with more whiskers was always bumping me, One time i got bumped off 5 jobs in 1 day, I found out the only way not to get bumped on the railroad is to be #1 on the roster and not many of us are going to have that luxury of being # 1 on a roster.
 
The only good thing about it was that under conrail you had 5 days to make a bump, so you could be off for 5 days if you wanted to.
 
I also believe that being a hogger or trainman is no life for a married person as you are rarely going to spend much time with your wife and kids, The divorce rate among T&E on the class one roads is very high.


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Gadfly
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #14 on: Oct 31st, 2007, 11:51pm »
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It sure is no picnic.  
 
Gadfly


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D._E._Jones
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #15 on: Nov 22nd, 2007, 8:41pm »
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Edward,
     I had the opposite problem. I was the second youngest engineer on the Cotton Belt Railroad Texas seniority roster for maybe 18 years. As men would retire, or die, the roster only became smaller, because no one would be hired below me. In that position, I was forced on yard jobs at SP's Miller Yd. in Dallas ,TX. I worked a midnight switch engine for more than 5 years at one stretch ( because no one else wanted it ), and even more years than that off and on. I also worked many evening and daylight jobs. I hated it, and dreamed about working thru freight, or even the extra board . Then one day the Union Pacific showed up, and instantly I became an old head. I am now able to work what I consider the best pool jobs out of Longview, TX. Now in an ironic twist,  I don't have the seniority to work a yard job. LOL. As I look back, I see that  clouds can have a silver lining. On midnight switchers, I had Saturdays and Sundays off, I was also able to be at home until my children were grown.
 
D.E. Jones


« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2007, 10:08pm by D._E._Jones » Logged
CN5710
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Re: Working from the extra board
 
« Reply #16 on: Oct 14th, 2008, 3:06am »
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I became a engineer in 1997 and I am still on the Extra Board
 
Sunday & Monday are my rest days.


« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2008, 3:07am by CN5710 » Logged

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