• UK train driver wanting to move to US

  • 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 UKtraindriver
 
Hello,
This is my first time on this forum so please be kind.

I’m currently a mainline train driver in the UK which is like a Class I Locomotive Engineer in the US. I’ve always wanted to move to the US but the immigration is so tough. My question is, are there any companies or depots in the US which have a shortage of conductors/engineers and would be willing to sponsor from the UK/abroad? I know the answer is generally no but I am just wondering if there are any obscure depots, for example, in remote parts of the country where they are struggling to recruit conductors/engineers and therefore would sponsor someone for an EB-3 visa. I also appreciate that whilst I would have to start as any other trainee would and would have to do all the training, my experience as a train driver may help demonstrate that I have the right skills for the job.

Thanks for any advice. I am expecting the answer to be a firm no but just want to check if there is any possibility at all. I do understand that most, if not all, railroad companies will require you to be a citizen/permanent residency so it would be a matter of getting a green card on my own first (which unfortunately looks near impossible).
  by qboy
 
There are quite a bit of furloughed qualified Engineers and Conductors throughout the industry right now with FRA licenses. I'm not saying there aren't any smaller obscure companies looking for train crew. Your chances are extremely low.
  by UKtraindriver
 
qboy wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:11 pm There are quite a bit of furloughed qualified Engineers and Conductors throughout the industry right now with FRA licenses. I'm not saying there aren't any smaller obscure companies looking for train crew. Your chances are extremely low.
Thanks for your reply. Oh I completely agree, I think it’s very unlikely if not impossible as I’ve acknowledged in my first post. Nevertheless, this is the only glimmer of hope I have of fulfilling my dream of moving to the US as there is no other way I can obtain a green card. So I’d rather research and be told a definite no rather than not try and look back in a few years, regretting and thinking “what if”. And sorry to hear about the furloughed engineers/conductors.

What depots/railroads/regions would you say have the biggest shortage of train crew? I would imagine it would be somewhere rural/remote such as Alaska but if you could suggest (or guess) some specific locations/rail roads so I could research further, I would be grateful.

Thanks again
  by UKtraindriver
 
Any suggestions or even educated guesses at which railroads I could try my luck with? Thanks :-)
  by qboy
 
Sorry I don't have insight on jobs...unfortunately some of my fellow furloughed co workers are also looking for those possible vacant jobs that aren't in great numbers.
  by Engineer Spike
 
Things are messed up recently, due to the epidemic. The railways had laid off many workers. Where I work, the cutback workers are almost back. I have heard that in other places, the numbers are quite high. Add to the fact that many railroads have been pressured by the stock market to streamline operations, things are tight. It is also tight in passenger, since travel restrictions are in place.

It would be hard for a company to justify that there isn't a pool of qualified applicants for the railway, and that they should be allowed to import help. This seems to be reserved for medical and computer people. The silver lining is that you may have a better chance heading to Canada. Since it is still part of the British Empire, you might have a shot. They run the same equipment as in the US, and operations are generally the same. I have first hand knowledge of this because I work in international service.

Just to give you and idea of how things work, usually crews from more than one terminal are in the same seniority district. Sometimes there is a terminal which is quite remote. If nobody will willingly take the job, then the lowest seniority guys are forced there. This happened to me early in my career.

You can alway hope to find a nice American or Canadian girl.
  by UKtraindriver
 
Thanks for the reply Engineer Spike. Yes, I am looking into Canada too. The good thing about Canada is that I could apply directly for permanent residency through the Express Entry programme so I don’t even need a company to sponsor me.
The US, on the other hand, is so much tougher because there isn’t even an application I could apply/am eligible for. You’re absolutely spot on with your last sentence, it’s the easiest way to get in haha.

It would be hard for a company to justify that there isn't a pool of qualified applicants for the railway, and that they should be allowed to import help.
I was picturing a conductor/engineer outpost in the middle of the wilderness so thought I might stand a slim chance haha :-D
  by photobug56
 
Forget the US. Healthcare alone is a huge issue, what Canada has is more or less like what the UK has. In the US you'd have to pay for your own until you had an employer who might pay for it. Also, while Trump is in office you'll never get a green card - you have to be rich these days to immigrate. Only issue for you otherwise, you should probably avoid Quebec Province.
  by Engineer Spike
 
The railways do have pretty generous healthcare plans for employees. If one did come here, there are traveler healthcare plans. One of my colleagues on the Canadian side often travels to the US. She told me about how her son needed emergency surgery while in Boston, MA. The travel plan picked it up. She also was mentioning the comparison between the two countries healthcare systems. This lady had good first hand knowledge because she is a registered nurse.
  by UKtraindriver
 
Interesting to know, Engineer Spike. Not that it looks like I’ll be moving to the US anytime soon but even if the healthcare system is bad as photobug says it is, that would not put me off from moving to the US. Particularly when you compare taxes and cost of living (houses, cars), the US is far better than the UK or certainly not worse off. (I’m speaking very broadly, of course it will vary by location)

And the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK is in crisis even before the virus came along so it’s not hard to envisage one day that healthcare will be privatised. Indeed, there are rumours/worries that now the UK is out of the EU, the US will try to privatise healthcare in the UK in exchange for trade agreements.