abc8251 wrote:I applied to an Engineer position with Amtrak out of Philly. Do you think that was a waste of time? I graduated recently from the Modoc Railroad Conductor program. The posting said they prefer Engineer certification, but I've heard they hire "off the street" as well. I actually believe I'm capable of doing the job (with training of course). I am very mature and safety aware. I never take chances, and I have excellent judgment (don't mean to brag lol). Engineers do have a lot on their shoulders though, and you're the only one in the cab. I think they should have a second set of eyes up there.
You have been given good advice. Not an expert by any stretch, but IMHO, one is actually better off without the "railroad U" thing. I can' say they won't hire off the street, but I DO know they prefer to promote from within. These are people who have been around awhile. They know the ropes, the railroad culture, the particular way of doing things unique to the business, the lingo. In order to be safe on the railroad, one must also spend time ON it in order to learn the hazards.
This is not a criticism but an observation. To me it is amazing the number of people who decide that railroading is for them, and they want it NOW. They want to waltz right in as if they've been doing it forever. It just doesn't work like that. While they might hire off the street in rare cases, railroads usually have a sh--pot full of furloughed employees with seniority over newbies. Anytime there's openings, these can be "forced" to the board OR they have to resign instead before YOU are hired. Since these people were essentially "laid off" (often seasonally), they aren't likely to just up and quit!
They want those jobs, so they will protect their seniority. Any new hires will come in at the bottom of the roster, receiving the worst assignments (usually).
Going to some "school" never guarantees getting hired. Some railroads look negatively on this & would rather hire and train employees off the street. That way they don't have to undo any bad habits that don't fit with their particular way of doing things. Its kinda like why they often won't hire rail buffs who gush and coo over how much they "Luuuuuuuuuuv" the railroad.
They are a safety liability.
I hope you achieve your goal. As to "applying to an Amtrak Engineer position", stop and think a moment. Who would really hire someone off the street for a dangerous job with no prior experience, no knowledge of the Rules, no experience with signals, no feel for the job? It is truly unrealistic, like hiring an airline pilot with no prior experience with flying!
If Amtrak doesn't work out, try one of the freight roads like NS. Don't even mention the Modoc thingie. Gud Luck!!!!!!