• Starting at 25

  • General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.
General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.

Moderator: thebigc

  by kirbster30
Hello all,

New here and wanted to say hello. I am proud to say I will be starting to work for the mta metro north railroad as a conductor in a few weeks. I am 25 years old.

I wanted to have a couple opinions on the topic.

Is 25 a good age to start? I heard a while back it was much easier to get on at age 19,20 21 and i see a person here and there starting at 20 21 years old.

I was not raised under a traditional household. Divorced parents, anxiety issues, college and was sick for two+ years undiagnosed thanks to my doctor which really set me back. So not much money saved up really, no debt though and trying to get out of the house here and get my life going.

I am excited to start this railroad career as long as I make it through training, but just wanted to know what the outlook is working as a conductor at 25. I am a little jealous of the guys who start younger

I am new here and new to this so any help is appreciated.
  by DutchRailnut
not to many who start younger, You will find a lot in your class will be way older than you.
  by Steamboat Willie
I do not agree with DRN's post being we have hired quite a few new hires within the past year or so that are within the age bracket being discussed.

The days of MN hiring younger than 20 years old into train service are long gone. Probably ended 6 to 7 years ago. And quite honestly the ones who hired out 18-21yrs of age - many of them had a difficult time adjusting. You are forced to grow up fast, the life style that comes with the job puts tremendous strain on personal relationships, and the dedication required to pass the year long program is a tall order. Over time it will become very difficult to maintain external relationships you once had outside the railroad once you get your career off the ground.

Such a small percentage land an exceptional break - a career such as one with MN at that age, and you immediately go up a few notches amongst your friends. In that age bracket, many are either partying or finding themselves. Many are saddled with college loan debt and will find themselves under or unemployed upon graduation. You on the other hand will have to make responsible choices pertaining to your new career. Is it a good idea to go away to Newport Beach for the weekend when you have to be in Brewster for 0001hrs for a yard job for OJT? Or you have the Operating Rules test on that Monday, what are the odds you are going to be reading your rule book on the beach? These are some of the very real choices you will have to make.

Approach the opportunity you have with some humility. The program as stated is roughly a year long, with an abundant amount of written and field testing. You will be required to travel and report to various locations on the property around the hour. Weekends off are the default rest days in the program although you will see the free time you have will be consumed in studying.

Employment with MNR as a conductor is extensively broken down and talked about in a prior topic that has been ongoing for 7 years. I would recommend you have a look at that at your nearest convienence.

P.S. I would not recommend you tell your future classmates or co-workers that you wished you hired out at 18 or 19 when you hit the lottery HUGE at the age of 25. Trust me.
Last edited by Steamboat Willie on Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by RearOfSignal
Starting age is not so much of an issue as is lifestyle and family responsibilities. Generally speaking, the older you are the more likely to have family responsibilities and being used to a certain lifestyle. It can be an issue for someone with a few kids and a mate to have to get used to working nights and weekends when they never did before. Even for under 25's it can be an adjustment coming to work for the railroad if they're used to going out every Friday and Saturday night. The only thing a new hire conductor will be doing for the first several years on Friday and Saturday night is 2 round trips.

I started at Metro-North as a conductor at 21, but I never had a job that had weekends and nights off, so I was already used to it. For some who start at the younger ages, it can sometimes be an adjustment to suddenly having the level of responsibility that comes with being a conductor. So youth is not always an advantage. But of course each person is different and has different circumstances and sometimes the generalities just mentioned do not apply to every individual.

The thing about working for the railroad is best summed up in a statement that might be a bit cliche`: "working on the railroad is not a job, it's a lifestyle."
  by COEN77
I haven't seen people getting hired straight out of high school since before the mega-mergers in the early '80s. Back then it was more about who you knew to get a RR job than anything else. I've worked with people that were 3rd & 4th generation railroad. I know when I got hired in the '70s the first question asked by co-workers was "whose your family member that got you the job?". When they found out it was because I was a Veteran it wasn't nice. A lot of them felt I took a job away from their kid, nephew etc...It became better after 3 1/2 years when I transferred to another location as a seasoned railroader. I'm glad that's not the case today. As for starting age during the last 12 years it was a wide range from 21 to 55 years old. I'd say the majority age was mid 20's a lot of them Veterans.
  by kirbster30
Thank you all for the insight. Its hard to think about getting in sooner. Been through a tough life up to this point. Hopefully this career will lead me to getting on my feet and retiring at 55. Cant wait dor class to start. I have alot of ground to make up