• Questions about UP Train Crews working out of Bakersfield

  • Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.
Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by MichaelB86
Hi guys. First post. I apologize if this should be in the employment section, my question pertains more to the territory on which the work is done, rather than the job itself. But I'm no expert.

I've recently been given a conditional offer for Train Crew in Bakersfield. During the hiring session I was told that this particular position would generally work from Bakersfield to West Colton. But looking at the territory, I've noticed that the line from Bakersfield over Tehachapi forks and one end goes to Los Angeles while the other goes to West Colton. Is the Bakersfield/Los Angeles portion an entirely different district? I know I would be apart of the Roseville service Unit, so I assume I would travel and work withing those confines but West Colton is apart of the Los Angeles service Unit. So apparently THAT doesn't matter? Does the Service Unit only dictate where one works? Thus travel between two different service unit doesn't matter? I originally figured crews out of Bakersfield would travel either North to Fresno, or South to LA or Colton. If that isn't true, then what determines who goes where?
  by karldotcom
You would be working trains from Bakersfield to both West Colton and Los Angeles. The majority head toward West Colton but there are intermodal trains that head to LA. Or some trains may take the LA route if there is a service disruption the other way. Generally you would work a train, spend your rest in a hotel, then take another train back to Bakersfield. If there is no train available, then a van takes you back. The LA Service Unit is built around agreements where you can be called for trains all over the LA Basin, and also include jobs out of Mojave yard. There are switch jobs that originate out of Bakersfield, but I would guess you need seniority to work them.
  by MichaelB86
Okay, thanks for your reply. That does seem a little confusing. I live in the LA area (like a mile from West Colton yard actually and would have applied there had a position been open) and start training on the 14th. At the hiring session I was told that I would be apart of the Roseville Service Unit thus I could only work in that area even though they overlap. Oh well, I guess I will find out soon enough. Thank you for your help.
  by Pj
You may end up in Mojave yard as well. IIRC, Mojave yard is a lower seniority area so you could be forced there, or be the only place you can hold.

Service units and crew districts are separate and apart in many areas of the company. There are Bakersfield to Fresno runs (high seniority last I saw) and the BAK-West Colton, Bak-LA, Bakersfield-Yermo and yard jobs/locals in between.

So in short, wherever there is an immediate shortage, that's where you may end up.

Training is now about a six month process and you'll may float around your seniority district.

In the end, will come down to the seniority zone and local agreements.
  by MichaelB86
Yeah, I'm in class right now with a week left before my first bout of OJT and it was explained to me that Mojave is the furthest south I could hold in my Service Unit. Everything below that is Los Angeles. Even the Managers don't know where me or the other Bakersfield dudes are headed lol
  by karldotcom
There is another UP interview session in on May 15th in Bakersfield, so it sounds like they are going to start an additional class.

Are there even jobs to hold in Bakersfield. I researched Mojave a little further and the extra boards protect the jobs on the Lone Pine Branch, the coal and soda ash trains to Searles, and the cement plant at Monolith, and I think there is a rock train from the Antelope Valley to Sun Valley.

Let us know what you hear....and how OJT goes.
  by MichaelB86

Us Bakersfield guys here in class are still in the dark and we start OJT on Monday. From what I'm hearing is that we are going to fall under management from the LA service unit. LA service unit owns the route up to Bakersfield while the Roseville service unit supplies the crews. I guess it goes back to an old agreement from the Southern Pacific. I've spoken with an engineer who hired out with the SP to work in LA but after the merger their boards were taken down and they were sent up north to work in the Roseville Unit. Being from the Roseville Unit, I can work a train from Bakersfield to LA or West Colton but I CAN'T do any job in LA or West Colton. So if I'm taking a train to Bakersfield from WC or LA and it needs to be put together first me and my Engineer don't do that (hopefully that includes the air test lol). We just hop on the train and go. The Superintendent came in and spoke to us and I asked about this situation and he had no idea lol

As for jobs in Bakersfield. There is only ONE yard job in Bakersfield. There are a couple of locals which is probably where our OJT will take place. Other than that I'm being told I might be sent to Mojave or Fresno.
  by karldotcom
Oh yes, the union is very particular about protecting jobs. If you were to make some switch moves in LA or West Colton, you would be taking someone elses work away. If you are in the yard, a carman should be working on any fix, etc. At least that is what I have read.

Thanks for keeping me informed. Do you have a place rented in Bakersfield? If you knew you were going to Mojave, you could locate midway, like in Tehachapi...but if you were then sent to Fresno for an extended time that wouldn't be so great.
  by MichaelB86
Well, I plan on staying in a hotel in Bakersfield for OJT. If they send me elsewhere then the company will put me up in a hotel. Other than that, I don't know too much lol At least the pay gets better because training pay is crap.
  by karldotcom
I went to the session yesterday in Bakersfield. They said there is a class of 8 scheduled for the end of June, and one in July. Also said the yard training is in Mojave and the RCL training in Roseville.

They also said UP business in CA has increased 6% from last year. He also stated that everyone hired in 2013 was still working. I think he said 3 went to Fresno.