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Career Change---Am I crazy?
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   Author  Topic: Career Change---Am I crazy?  (Read 439 times)
BUCABIN
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Posts: 31
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #20 on: Oct 11th, 2011, 9:53pm »
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Thanks for that info DRAWHEAD, so if I were to work in Williamson as a conductor, I would report to duty in Williamson and then work a train from Williamson south or north? Would they call me to go to Kenova if a train in Kenova needed to go to Williamson? Or do the guys in Kenova work the trains south into Williamson? Thanks, I am just curious how all this works.
 
Also do the railroads offer overtime? or do you strictly work 40 hour weeks?


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DRAWHEAD
Chaser
Posts: 91
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #21 on: Oct 11th, 2011, 11:10pm »
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I'm not sure if Williamson W Va. is the home terminal for those guy's.I know there are guy's that hired out in Portsmouth,Ohio wich is their home terminal and they work to Williamson and back and there are guy's from Bluefield  that work to Portsmouth.That whole area is the Pocahontas   Division.Portsmoth is kinda split right smack in the middle between the Lake and Pocahontas Divisions.There are guy's from Portsmouth that work also to Columbus and Bellevue.Ohio as their senority allows them to work either direction.I think the guy's that hire out in Williamson only work to Portsmouth,Kenova,or Bluefield.I know it may sound confusing,also the RR is run as eastbound and westbound traffic in those areas same as going to Columbus/Bellevue even though the track actually runs north/south after leaving Portsmouth.

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BUCABIN
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Posts: 31
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #22 on: Oct 11th, 2011, 11:23pm »
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Wow, thank you so much, this is good info that I am learning.  I guess what I need to do is find out just exactly where are the home terminals located for CSX in Eastern Kentucky and NS in WVA.
 
In Eastern Kentucky I know there is the yard at Russell, Also Paintsville, Martin, snd Shelby.
 
As for NS, Williamson and Kenova are the only 2 I know of.


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Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #23 on: Oct 12th, 2011, 1:09pm »
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on Oct 11th, 2011, 9:31pm, DRAWHEAD wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Well with NS you will start out as a conductor trainee/ACT.You will go down to the training center in McDonough Ga. for a few weeks then go back to your home terminal to then start training on the territory you will work.You will work with a conductor maybe in the yard,on the road or maybe even on a local.The conductor you may work with may only have a year or two on the railroad themself! That's no lie either!!!! I had a conductor once who had only been promoted himself for two months and they threw a trainee along with him on a road train where we got stuck going into another yard along the route where both the conductor and trainee had never been before and the conductor didn't even have that peticular radio yard channel programed on his radio! He called up the trainmaster before we even left telling him the situation and that we would have to go to the other yard where he had never been.He was asked first if he was refusing to go and the trainmaster told him that he had to go with the trainee on my engineer qualifications.That peticular trainmaster is now the system road foreman of engines.Safe railroad huh!  
 
Anyhow your ACT training will last 6 months before you become a conductor,some trainees down by Williamson W Va.only got 3 months because the RR was so short of help.Eventually whenever they get to you and need engineers you will have to go to the engineer training LET school,same place down in Ga.That is the NS policy.You will eventually have to become a engineer sometime be it whenever they send you.You will also have to pass the LET schooling.If you don't pass the second chance they give you then you are out of a job and that is no joke! I have seen it happen to a few people in my career already.Perfectly good conductors who were damn good at their job could not pass the engineer tests and and only missed from passing by a few points and they were SOL.
 
When i hired out it was a bit different as i didn't have to go to the training center and was trained right at the home terminal where i hired and had 2 weeks training on different jobs on the road,yard,and locals.I then worked on a local as a brakeman and also off a brakeman extra board for a few months and then took a conductor test about 9 months after i was hired.Exactly 14 months after i was hired i got sent to engineer school as they were so short of help.Talk about getting thrown right into things.I'm not sure how CSX is and what there hiring policy is? As Gadfly said the RR is a love/hate relationship!    

 
It doesn't make any sense, does it? I myself was thrown onto jobs I had never ever "cubbed" with no help at all--even tho I told the Agent and the call clerk I had never qualified on them. Only on the FRA-rules jobs you HAD to qualify on; the others, well, you were just SOL. If you messed up, you'd STILL get taken out of service for it!!!  Damn if you do, damn if you don't!  You couldn't WIN!!! If it hadn't been for the other clerks helping me.............
 
One night I was working 2nd trick OP and got a brand-new dispatcher, rushed thru training, and thrown to the lions before he was ready.  When things kinda quieted down about 7PM, the dispatcher wire buzzed and the boy said,
 
"Ahhhh, Gary......(long pause)....I. uh, need to get, ah, an engine back from  Arrowood Yard to the Roundhouse for maintenance, and I.....ah......need to swap out the engine on the local. but-uh..............I'm not sure how to do it."
 
"OK, Donnie," I said, "Let me call you right back. I want to check on something".
 
Past practice (and any NS/Southern employee has heard THAT before!) dictated that we cut orders for the Local that read, "C & E, Yardmaster and All Starting, and engine 5005. Run Extra Charlotte Junction to Arrowood Yard and MP 124.3 (inaccurate--I forgot what it was!), not protecting against other Extra trains......blah, blah, blah."
 
I quickly checked the book because I was new myself, but not AS new as the dispatcher was and called him.  I had an idea of the simplicity of it, but it was TOO easy to get run off over Rule violations.
 
"Donnie, all you gotta do is run the Local, Charlotte Junction TO Arrowood WITH engine 5026, ......................Period.  Yer cuttin' two orders instead of the usual ONE.l  I'll put a note from you telling the crew to swap out engines in that yard.  Then get the Local to call me on the radio and TELL me the engine number, and I'll buzz you back.  THEN you send me an order with the NEW engine number and transmit it to the  yard shanty for the conductor to copy, and that will fix that!"
 
"OH! Now THAT was simple, wasn't it," said the dispatcher.
 
I think a LOT more times than we like to admit, we were in over our heads on the railroad!!!  
 
GF


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penn_senseless
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Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #24 on: Oct 14th, 2011, 3:32pm »
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Ive harped on this one as well, seeing those districts on NS you'd like to work at, are you really into the outdoors....im not sure those locos have chem toilets on them there, and you have to make like a bear, and sh!t in the woods using patented NS "Poop bags".
 
Dont forget to sign the bag before you turn it back in, musnt piss off the EPA
 
Ive often wondered, what the hell happens if youve had some undercooked hot wings or pizza the night before, and get the explosive runs (we've all had them)....MESSY.
 
Just another thing, anyone know if  guys working yard in Buffalo get frostbite alot working out in the six, and being left there all day to f'ing freeze? they dont care.


« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2011, 3:34pm by penn_senseless » Logged
BUCABIN
Enthusiast
Posts: 31
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #25 on: Oct 14th, 2011, 10:45pm »
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Well, lack of a toilet on a locomotive is not really a big issue to me, as I am a big outdoors type. I have even used the old outhouses back in Kentucky.
 
But anyway, I am interested in working for the railroad, and my cousin knows 2 train engineers in Kentucky, but I think one of them may be dead by now. I will talk to her and see who they are, and maybe the next time I am there for a visit, I will sit down and talk it over with them and get some more answers.


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gp80mac
Historian
Posts: 303
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #26 on: Oct 15th, 2011, 12:51pm »
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on Oct 14th, 2011, 3:32pm, penn_senseless wrote:       (Click here for original message)

Ive harped on this one as well, seeing those districts on NS you'd like to work at, are you really into the outdoors....im not sure those locos have chem toilets on them there, and you have to make like a bear, and sh!t in the woods using patented NS "Poop bags".
 
Dont forget to sign the bag before you turn it back in, musnt piss off the EPA
 
Ive often wondered, what the hell happens if youve had some undercooked hot wings or pizza the night before, and get the explosive runs (we've all had them)....MESSY.
 
Just another thing, anyone know if  guys working yard in Buffalo get frostbite alot working out in the six, and being left there all day to f'ing freeze? they dont care.

 
NS engines have had toilets in them for years.  Your info is a little outdated.  


« Last Edit: Oct 15th, 2011, 12:51pm by gp80mac » Logged

~ gp80mac ~

All of my posts are my opinion ONLY, and do not reflect the opinion of any company, railroad, organization, or other person.
Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #27 on: Oct 15th, 2011, 6:23pm »
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on Oct 14th, 2011, 10:45pm, BUCABIN wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Well, lack of a toilet on a locomotive is not really a big issue to me, as I am a big outdoors type. I have even used the old outhouses back in Kentucky.
 
But anyway, I am interested in working for the railroad, and my cousin knows 2 train engineers in Kentucky, but I think one of them may be dead by now. I will talk to her and see who they are, and maybe the next time I am there for a visit, I will sit down and talk it over with them and get some more answers.

 
You still need to ask 'em what "run-off insurance" is and why they need it!
 
GF


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BUCABIN
Enthusiast
Posts: 31
Re: Career Change---Am I crazy?
 
« Reply #28 on: Oct 28th, 2011, 6:14pm »
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Thanks Gadfly, I will be sure to ask about it, and if need be I will purchase it.
 
I am still looking into various positions with the railroad. Conductor would be my 1st pick, however I am still going to talk with some conductors and find out more about the "on call' aspect.
 
I have talked with some guys in track repair and they seem to have a little more stable schedules than conductors and engineers.
 
 
I am also aware that the railroads lay off quite a bit, but if I am not mistaken, they can draw unemployment when they are laid off.
 
If I am ever laid off and draw unemployment, that wouldn't bother me too much, as that would just give me more time to spend with my family and friends.


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