• Transitioning to a Career in the Railroad Industry as a Mechanical Engineer

  • 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 twillkickers
I am a mechanical engineer with a few years of experience in manufacturing (metals fabrication & steel mills.) However, my true passion has always been transportation and I would like to move into a career in the rail transit industry. I have applied to a number of openings at Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, NY MTA, SEPTA, and others, but I never seem to hear back. I did have a screening call with Amtrak HR a couple weeks ago, but I have not heard back - even though I expressed sincere interest in the position. I know networking and knowing people can be very important when looking for jobs, but I don't know anyone who is in this type of business. Does anyone have advice on getting my foot in the door to these companies? Are there any job fairs that might help? Should I emphasize any particular skills on my resume?
  by Engineer Spike
It could be several things. A friend at Amtrak says that they get so many applications, that they take the first X number that they receive, and the rest go in the trash. This may all be wrong, but you never know. I guess the key is to jump right away when a job is posted. One other point is that the railroads like people who work non traditional 9-5 jobs. They want some evidence that you can drag your a** out of bed at 0300. Now most hiring is done online. Back when I got hired, it was done in a hall. One that I went to was at a veteran' organization (VFW, or American Legion). The time to arrive was something like 0500. At precisely that time the door was locked. A few boneheads were knocking on the door at 0501, but were told that their lack of punctuality was not what the railroad was looking for. Another point is safety critical job history. You could get killed on the railroad, and the car's paint won't even be scratched. Lastly, they want someone who will stand outside all day in a blizzard. You named passenger railroads, but even they have to make up trains, switch out bad ordered cars....

There was a young kid who posted about his poor luck in hiring out. I mentioned that he ought to join the local volunteer fire department. Here he would work a safety critical job, in extreme weather conditions. He would also be required to jump out of bed at any time to respond to an alarm.