Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachusetts

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Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachusetts

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:23 am

Hello everyone,
Recently I have seen multiple job postings on the CSX website for conductors in Readville, Framingham, Worcester, and West Springfield, Massachusetts. This after quite a long period of barely any job postings on the site other than what seemed like corporate positions in Jacksonville and maybe a handful of craft jobs scattered around the rest of the CSX system. I would like to apply for one of these conductor jobs but I'm apprehensive. I currently have a federal job that I've worked at for nearly ten years. It's not my dream job however. I have read AND heard for quite a while that CSX would like to abandon everything besides Worcester-West. I've read it on these forums but have actually heard it from a friend of mine who is a locomotive engineer for Pan Am. Are these rumors warranted? If they are it seems it would be rather foolish to take a gamble by leaving a secure job with benefits only to be furloughed for an indefinite amount of time or worse. Any replies would be much appreciated, especially from CSX employee who would have some relevant knowledge of this. Thanks.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby COEN77 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:47 am

After 10 years in a federal job I'd look at it as 1/3 of the way to a retirement. Starting over with the railroad is just that starting over. No one can tell you what might happen. I've known lines that were suppose to be abandoned get life put back into them then there's the others that were leased to a shortline railroad and those that were abandoned. Everything is about business. Furloughs are a reality on the railroad. People are hired in a seniority zone which can be in a 500 mile radius or bigger. Which means a person can move around if their seniority allows it. A lot of "what if's?" on the railroad.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby Gadfly » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:00 pm

SlotCanyoneer wrote:Hello everyone,
Recently I have seen multiple job postings on the CSX website for conductors in Readville, Framingham, Worcester, and West Springfield, Massachusetts. This after quite a long period of barely any job postings on the site other than what seemed like corporate positions in Jacksonville and maybe a handful of craft jobs scattered around the rest of the CSX system. I would like to apply for one of these conductor jobs but I'm apprehensive. I currently have a federal job that I've worked at for nearly ten years. It's not my dream job however. I have read AND heard for quite a while that CSX would like to abandon everything besides Worcester-West. I've read it on these forums but have actually heard it from a friend of mine who is a locomotive engineer for Pan Am. Are these rumors warranted? If they are it seems it would be rather foolish to take a gamble by leaving a secure job with benefits only to be furloughed for an indefinite amount of time or worse. Any replies would be much appreciated, especially from CSX employee who would have some relevant knowledge of this. Thanks.


Stay put! It may be a job you don't like. but 10 years in could be thrown away. If you were furloughed or your job was threatened, I could see it. But just to to quit for a job that *may* not BE there in a few years, or because you are chasing a dream of "railroad romance", I wouldn't do it. Railroading is not very glamorous! Really! :-)
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby Cowford » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:04 pm

Reminds me of that rhetorical worker that stayed in a job they didn't like for years and years, only to get hit by a bus a day after retirement.

Without knowing your personal situation, nearly 10 years of service is, in the scheme of things, probably not a big deal. Do your research and carefully weigh your options, but also listen to your heart; there are few things sadder than a co-worker who dislikes their job or career, but never does anything about it.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby COEN77 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:40 pm

You mentioned the federal job is not your dream job. Working for the railroad might look good from the outside looking in. The reality it's a tough life involving a lot of sacrifice. The obvious being on call 24/7. I spent 36 years on the railroad 30 years as a locomotive engineer with 34 of those working the road. The last 2 years I decided to work a 5 day yard assignment to be home every night. Most times I ended up working 12 hours. Even with 36 years the best job I stood for occasionally was 2nd trick with Sunday-Monday off days. I didn't stand for weekends off there were those few guys with better seniority. Just being honest.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby AmtrakLocomotiveEngineer » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:09 pm

Don't do it. Working east of Worcester used to be great, but then the company moved management around and brought new trainmasters in from down south and other parts of the system. They came to cut, and don't understand how the jobs in Readville and Middleboro have to work around the T & Amtrak's schedules. If you would like to pursue a job on the railroad, apply to Amtrak, of Keolis. Passenger conductors have it MUCH easier than those working freight, especially local jobs that work out of Readville and Framingham.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:31 pm

Thanks for all the responses. I have applied to Amtrak and I am even open to applying to the P&W, whom I know is now owned by G&W. I have thought about applying to Keolis but their starting training rate for a conductor is ridiculously low!! 10.00/hr until completing training!! No way I could do that. But certainly if other positions open up I would be open to applying.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:42 pm

Also to Coen77, I do realize that the railroad is not necessarily someone's ideal "dream job" so to speak. I was briefly employed by a regional rr in my area 13 years ago, but resigned in training before I was marked up. Ever since then I regret it and wish to give it a shot again but there is alot I would give up as mentioned before. I guess my definition of "dream job" isn't what some may think. What I mean by that is having a career in an industry that one has a passion about. Having a career that means more than just showing up to work for the paycheck and the benefits. So much to consider but I still have time on my side. I am only 35.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby COEN77 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:56 pm

Railroad is a lifestyle more than career choice. One either loves it or hates it. Those who hated it left. When the railroad called everything else was put aside because railroad always comes first. That's all I'm saying. I think you took it that way. I wish you luck.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby Engineer Spike » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:13 am

Now with Hunter in power, all crew boards will be cut down to nothing. Other jobs will be consolidated. If your hire out now, the chance is you will be furloughed.

Why not try to see if there are other government jobs, which might better interest you?
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby AmtrakLocomotiveEngineer » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:09 am

Hire with Keolis. Their training rate might not seem appealing, but the work isn't as tough on your body as freight is. Also, they're funded by the T, so you've got plenty of job security.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby SemperFidelis » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:22 pm

The military seems to be getting entirely out of railroad operations, handing that and maintenance over to federal employees (if I read the story about the subject correctly). As you have many years in with the federal government and would have a leg up on any new hires, I would recommend searching federal jobs and go that route. Would mainly be switching jobs aboard bases, but it would keep you from wasting your 10 years in and get you into a career you'd really enjoy.

I am not aure if any bases up that way have rail servide, but if you're wiling to relocate I am sure you could find something.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby enterprise11 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:44 pm

AmtrakLocomotiveEngineer wrote:Hire with Keolis. Their training rate might not seem appealing, but the work isn't as tough on your body as freight is. Also, they're funded by the T, so you've got plenty of job security.


I concur, sock away some cash if you can and tough out the training rate for 8 weeks. After you graduate class you will start earning 75 percent Assistant Conductor rate. You'll make good money your first year out because you'll be on the extra board.
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Re: Prospects of being a CSX new hire conductor in Massachus

Postby Gadfly » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:16 pm

SlotCanyoneer wrote:Thanks for all the responses. I have applied to Amtrak and I am even open to applying to the P&W, whom I know is now owned by G&W. I have thought about applying to Keolis but their starting training rate for a conductor is ridiculously low!! 10.00/hr until completing training!! No way I could do that. But certainly if other positions open up I would be open to applying.


When I, after working as a laborer at full rate, I was furloughed, I was then asked to train as a Line of Road Clerk. To do so, I had to go to McDonough, Ga (Southern RR) @ 125.00/wk! I even had to pay my own gas/car expense back and forth to Georgia and NC. But I realized that this was the path I had to take to keep a "current" connection to a career I was determined to follow. Sure, it was tough, but I also realized that this was NOT just a job, but a commitment to myself and the railroad. I was 32 y/o, and I did NOT want to go back to some cotton mill, work at a parts counter,and go down to obscurity. This is what I wanted to do. I am NOT a railfan per se, I do not follow it as a hobby. So I hitched up my belt, sucked in my belly, and said, "OK, let's do this". It led to a world of machinery, some of which I would've never seen otherwise, a tough, but challenging career as a clerk and sometimes Agent, handling trains and signals, dealing with passenger and freight (Southern Crescent then Amtrak)--even working with mainline steam trains (4501, 630, 2716, 610, 611 et al)--something that rail buffs would've given their eyeteeth to do. It WAS a tough life at times, fun at times, always stressful, but ultimately rewarding. I cussed it, HATED it, loved it--all at the same time. it even got to be a part of me I will never get out. There's just something about those rails..................... Sure was rough with the Trainmaster screaming for the waybills for the pig trains and hotshots, the printer smokin' with bills that never seemed to print fast enough, the train order wire buzzing, paper a-flyin' ever which way, clerks racing in and out, trying to build trains in the yard and get 'em out. Today, yeah, after all that, I guess I am proud of what I did & wouldn't trade it for the world. :wink:

I can't say whether this is for you or not. Training rates and apprentice rates can't be helped; it IS what it IS. No one can say how it will work for you. It did for me. If it is something you truly want, then you will have to do whatever it takes. The railroad is not going to pay you to do what could be a complex job at some "nice" rate without training. They, too, are taking a risk that you will be a safe, productive employee. Should you get hurt, then it costs them much $$$ only to have to start over training yet another employee.

Anything worth having sometimes involves some sacrifice. Ask yourself if a railroad career is really what you want, is it just a railfan's dream, or is it really WORTH all the lifestyle and family changes that will have to be made. :-)
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