Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

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hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

ADVANCEMENT: Presently FTEs are required to accept mandatory promotion to Locomotive Engineer and attend Locomotive Engineer Training (LET). This can occur at any point after one (1) year of train service experience. LET lasts approximately 1 month at the Norfolk Southern Corporate Training Facility in McDonough, Georgia and approximately 5 to 6 months in the field. Total training normally lasts 6 to 7 months.

This is from the Job description as posted on the NS site. I'm assuming that means once I get hired and get a years experience under my belt I HAVE to become an Engineer.

Honestly - Aside from a lot of walking and hanging on rail cars how phisically demanding is this job??

COEN77
Posts: 1777
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:11 am
Location: Richmond, Va

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by COEN77 »

There are two people onboard the train the conductor & engineer in road service. Your confusing yard and road work. Yard work it's switching cars to build trains for the road train crews. Yard work is shift work it's 8-12 hours then go home. Road work a T&E crew is assigned to a train they go to the final destination doing whatever is necessary in the work orders which means if cars need to be set off or picked up at industries they do it ect...then it's to the hotel/lodging for a minimum of 10 hours or longer rest till it's their turn to be called to take a train back home. By "turn" there might be other road crews already in lodging that need to get called to work ahead of you it's "First In, First Out". Train crews can work no more than 12 hours by federal law after that they are required to have rest. Don't try to understand all the details. That'll be learned over time.

Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by Gadfly »

hounddog wrote:
COEN77 wrote:
hounddog wrote:Seems a little odd - why would they hire someone on as a conductor first, rather than bringing them on as an engineer initially to learn the ropes.
So, essentially I will only be "running" a train. I'm assuming because of the Union aggreements I wouldn't be allowed to do anything else? (such as helping the engineer couple the cars to assemble the train)
You've got things backwards. The conductors job is to be on the ground to get the freight cars coupled together take off hand brakes couple air hoses even make a brake test if necessary. Everything concerning the freight cars is the conductors responsibility. The engineer only moves on the instructions of the conductor while making up a train in the yard or during set offs/pick ups. The conductor is the engineers eyes on the ground while making a move by radio contact sometimes hand signals. MOST train lengths average 1 to 1 1/2 miles long. The conductor is responsible for making sure the engineer is informed of anything that will affect the movement of the train. In essence a conductor does all the ground pounding work on the train. Some railroads have agreements that eventually a conductor will be forced to become an engineer. It's easier to learn the ropes running as a conductor before becoming an engineer. Once you have the knowledge of what it takes to work the ground an engineer has a better understanding of the moves being made. Besides they are two different crafts under two different union contracts.

So I would help assemble the train, ride with the engineer to the destination, then help unload/ uncouple the cars? Or would I be working strictly at the Cleveland yard? Also being on the extraboard mean working five hours one week and sixty-five the next (quote)

Probably not. It is more likely that you, if hired, will be on an "Extra Board", especially on a ROAD crew. Road crews *usually* make more $$, but have to be away from home more. Depending on the local situation and the local employees, this could be the "preferred" situation (due to the $$), or some may prefer the Yard work so they can be at home more. Just 'pends on how folks feel. They "bid" their seniority for what suits them better and what's available. I've seen shop men that preferred 2nd or 3rd trick--even tho they stood (seniority-wise) for 1st. Don't "hope" for work at your local yard when it is unlikely! It is more likely you will be away from home a lot in the first years unless you are extremely lucky! "Expect the worst, and be thankful when it works out better than you thunk!" That way you won't be disappointed.

They would NEVER put people on engineer positions first, IMHO! Really, now! Who in their right mind would put inexperienced people out there, not knowing or having experience with Operating Rules, Signals, and procedures on such a dangerous job? It is TOO easy to set up a collision, split a switch, turn a train over to do that. You can KILL people that way!

Depending on whether your extraboard is 'guaranteed', you could, indeed, work 5 hours one week and 65 the next. Trust me, NS ain't gonna have you sitting on your tail doing nothing and getting paid for it! They'll furlough you in a skinny.

NO ONE can tell you HOW it will work out. If you WANT the job, you will have to pay your dues, suffer the furloughs (if any), work around the hardships and build enough whiskers to hold a long-paying railroad job. There's no way around it.

Let's not get the cart before the horse! :)

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

My brother works for Amtrac on a road crew. He builds new and repairs old tracks for a subcontactor. He works Mon-Thurs (mostly) - then drives home thurs night. Typically, he leaves Sunday night to be in lodging so they can be at the job site Monday morning. Occasionally, he has to work over on Friday to finish up jobs and sometimes Saturday and Sunday if thier really behind. Most of his hours are dictated by where or what company they are laying track for (steel mill, ford, etc). I'm assuming my schedule would resemble this?
This "waiting" for a train to come home on - how long would they make you wait? What happens if there is NO train (work) for you to do when you get to lodging?
Could you work in the yard one week, then be on a road crew the next or do you or the Union choose what you'll be doing?

If I am on a road crew laying track what would I be doing ? - seems like that would be the most labor intensive job.

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

COEN77 wrote:There are two people onboard the train the conductor & engineer in road service. Your confusing yard and road work. Yard work it's switching cars to build trains for the road train crews. Yard work is shift work it's 8-12 hours then go home. Road work a T&E crew is assigned to a train they go to the final destination doing whatever is necessary in the work orders which means if cars need to be set off or picked up at industries they do it ect...then it's to the hotel/lodging for a minimum of 10 hours or longer rest till it's their turn to be called to take a train back home. By "turn" there might be other road crews already in lodging that need to get called to work ahead of you it's "First In, First Out". Train crews can work no more than 12 hours by federal law after that they are required to have rest. Don't try to understand all the details. That'll be learned over time.

Could I leave out of home base on a Road crew get to destination, be put into lodging in Pittsburgh then be put onto a yard crew there? (Just for example)

COEN77
Posts: 1777
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:11 am
Location: Richmond, Va

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by COEN77 »

Your trying to put to much into it. Road is road yard is yard it's different classes of T&E service. No they can't put you on a yard job out of the hotel at the away from home terminal. You'll work whatever your seniority allows. Low seniority the worst jobs higher seniority better choices on jobs. Your brother working track force is a different craft entirely they go where they're needed they usually work 4/10 hour days with 3 day weekend. That won't apply as a conductor. Where you'll work will be determined by what your seniority allows but once you're assigned to a job most likely you'll only work in that defined area. I could could on but it'll confuse things.

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

Can anyone tell me the physical address(s) of the N.E. Ohio NS yards?

Thanks

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

COEN77 wrote:Your trying to put to much into it. Road is road yard is yard it's different classes of T&E service. No they can't put you on a yard job out of the hotel at the away from home terminal. You'll work whatever your seniority allows. Low seniority the worst jobs higher seniority better choices on jobs. Your brother working track force is a different craft entirely they go where they're needed they usually work 4/10 hour days with 3 day weekend. That won't apply as a conductor. Where you'll work will be determined by what your seniority allows but once you're assigned to a job most likely you'll only work in that defined area. I could could on but it'll confuse things.

I think I'm starting to understand. Would they assign you strictly to road or yard work, or as a newbie would it be a mix of both?
I think you're saying if you're assigned to the yard you would assemble the train. If you were to be assigned to the road you would unload (unhook) the train.

Thanks for your time, just trying to understand the job so I don't go into this blind.

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

By the way - I have no criminal history. I do have some credit issues. I am a little overweight I'm 5-6 and about 210pds. My BMI comes out to 33.5. Do I have anything to worry about in this aspect?

Chuck84
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:36 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by Chuck84 »

My BMI is not far from yours. As long as you can fit through a 16" opening you will be fine

COEN77
Posts: 1777
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:11 am
Location: Richmond, Va

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by COEN77 »

hounddog wrote:

I think I'm starting to understand. Would they assign you strictly to road or yard work, or as a newbie would it be a mix of both?
I think you're saying if you're assigned to the yard you would assemble the train. If you were to be assigned to the road you would unload (unhook) the train.

Thanks for your time, just trying to understand the job so I don't go into this blind.
You'll work according to your seniority. You'll frequently get bounced around to varies jobs. Everyone goes through it some people handle it better than others. I like to think of it as a form of initiation paying ones dues. When I hired out it took a year to learn look for the lousiest job no one wanted and take it. It didn't last the entire work season but for 4-5 months no one pulled me off of it.

hounddog
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Cleveland, Ohio Conductor / recruitment session

Post by hounddog »

Is senority based on length of time or time served?

Wish me luck next Tues. Looking forward to a new career!

Any suggestions/advice for tools of the trade in the event I do get hired?

Thanks

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