For discussion of the various Class III Lines of WATCO Companies. Class II holdings should be discussed in the relevant separate forums above.

Their website is here:
A list of their holdings is here:
  by Brakey
Hi all!

Just got hired on as an Engineer for the new Grand Elk Railroad in Michigan, which is part of WATCO Companies! Happy to come out of relative unemployment for almost 2 years!

I was just wondering if anyone knew what kinds of benefits WATCO offers it's Shortlines. I know we are getting benefits, but nothing has been given to us yet (waiting for March 9th start up date). Already know rate of pay and what not, just wondering what the benefits were.

Thanks for any help!

  by BR&P
What did they tell you about radios? I was told that at least some WATCO lines require their crews to furnish their own radios. I'm picturing hand-helds but was told even the engineer has to have his own. If you have a full-size AAR radio it can't be fun to swap ends and lug the thing 3 or 4 units. That's NFG! :-D
  by Aa3rt
Brakey-I've moved this topic to the "General Discussion-Employment" forum where you are more likely to get a response.
  by jerichofan
March 9th Start Up Date?? I read April 1 for start up. Is that for employees or the across the board takeover of the entire line from NS? Please let me know here and via. e-mail [email protected]

Michiana Railfans Yahoogroup listmaster
  by Brakey
Hmm, haven't heard anything about the radios yet. Not sure what anything is yet though either. Start up for some (training classes and so forth) for some is March 1st, not sure when everything goes "live" though. Will try to keep you updated when I can!
  by e.sillery
I'm not sure about Grand Elk but in Tuscaloosa they provided the radios. They had one per set of engines. When you switch ends you take the radio with you. It was no big deal was a cheap Radio Shak radio. with a magnetic base antenna on the roof. The conductors had hand-helds with out mics. All of their equipment is old and barely passes FRA inspections, when they actually pass. We ran from Tuscaloosa, AL to Artesia, MS on track that was rated at 15-25 MPH. Talk about long and boring!

Benefits.... Our engineers topped out at 17.50 an hour. The medical inns. was so high most could not afford it. We got a GM that was about 26 years old that was a foamer. Had wet dreams at night about trains. I resigned my position at NS and went to work for Watco so I would have time at home with my son. Big mistake. After 13 months of being screwed and almost being killed due to them not enforcing safety rules I cut my losses and left.
  by throttlebender
Sounds like a nightmare! Are there ANY good shortlines or regionals that are good to work for that pay more than 18/hr?
How are WSOR, TCW, DMVW, NPR to work for?
  by jz441
Florida East Coast pays $27/hr, Pacific Sun RR (Oceanside, CA) also $27/hr, Pacific Harbor Lines (Long Beach, CA) about $25/hr... :wink:
  by Brakey
Yea, its doing good here on the Grand Elk Railroad.

Our salary ranges from $18-19/hour. 40 hour paid guarantee.

Insurance isn't too bad, but not like the big railroads.

Have radios (brand spankin new!) in all the engines, no need to swap back and forth in switching ends. Conductors and switchmen all have brand new handhelds with mics also.

Over all, not too bad considering the current economy.
  by VicVega
Last i heard, the Iowa Interstate pays 21.22/hr for conductors. 40hr guaranteed per week. All assigned jobs work 5 on 2 off. Not sure, but i remember the pay on the TC&W was pretty much in the same range.
  by throttlebender
What about Engineers on Iowa Interstate? Good benefits? I've heard good things about the outfit
  by VicVega
throttlebender wrote:What about Engineers on Iowa Interstate? Good benefits? I've heard good things about the outfit
Same pay for engineers and conductors
  by matawanaberdeen
Who are these losers spamming the dam board!