• First Post... What would you do???

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Kourptid
I’ve been working for Union Pacific for three years now (mechanical shop laborer / Fireman & Oiler). My bid job is a mover/hostler. I like what I’m doing to a point. But can’t stand how the management is. I’ve been kind of throwing around the idea of going to a short line. I just can’t see myself working and putting up with all the BS much longer there.

I just want something a little more kick back, and it sounds like a short line might be more like a ma and pop owned business, unlike the big class 1 railroad monopolies.

Plus I’m thinking I’m still young and it would look good on my resume. What would you do?

Thanks Bryce
  by BR&P
Welcome to the site Bryce. If you scroll down the various forums you'll find one "General Discussion - Employment". Look through the back pages there and you'll find several discussions of this very issue.

There is a trade off and neither is "right" or "wrong". Generally speaking the Class I's pay more money and have a larger number of jobs available. As you build seniority you'll have an increasing choice of which assignments to work. On the other hand the big guys can require irregular hours, overnight stays at an away terminal, and often are more rigid on discipline.

Short lines range from regionals which are more like a Class I, to extreme mom-and-pop and everything in between. And they range from very professional to fly-by-night. You will probably get less pay but some of them only work days, some may offer weekends off, and you would probably stay closer to home. Also many short lines use their people in more than one job - you might repair track Monday, run a freight Tuesday, and work in the loco shop Wednesday, etc.

It's a personal choice. Some guys leave the small ones for the big ones, and vice versa. Some guys would not be caught dead on a small outfit and others have made a long and happy career at it.
  by Kourptid
Thanks anyone eles. Was kind of thinking PHL, but really want to get out of California and was thinking of RailAmerica at the ARZC.