Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
11/22/2017 10:05:29 PM
Posted: 9/26/2004 4:49:05 AM EST
My 18 year old son just got hired by Norfolk Southern RR as a conductor trainee. He did the drug test, physical, and paperwork for the background check about a month ago. The RR told him it would take about a month to get the results from background check. He is supposed to go to McDonough Georgia for the classroom part of the training. I am wondering if McDonough is or was hit by bad weather and that is why there has been a delay in hearing from the RR? I'm wondering what any of you Railroaders think of N.S.?
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 4:53:34 AM EST
I'm an operations Mgr. at a UP yard. My Uncle is a switchman for NS. He likes it. I don;t know if the NS is like the UP, but if it is one month usually means two.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 4:54:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 4:59:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By dodgem:
My 18 year old son just got hired by Norfolk Southern RR as a conductor trainee. He did the drug test, physical, and paperwork for the background check about a month ago. The RR told him it would take about a month to get the results from background check. He is supposed to go to McDonough Georgia for the classroom part of the training. I am wondering if McDonough is or was hit by bad weather and that is why there has been a delay in hearing from the RR? I'm wondering what any of you Railroaders think of N.S.?



I have worked for the NS for 28 years. They are known as a hard ass bunch even among other railroad management. I don't work in transportation but from what I hear, they will work him as much as the law allows (literally !) just to see if he will stick it out. Outside of that, it pays well and has good benefits which are often hard to get these days.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:03:21 AM EST
I am Engineer for the BNSF.That sounds about right for time frame of getting hired.New hires on our railroad take hair sample drug test now.Not sure of the N & S procedures.

The N & S is one of the big dogs in the RR industry,they run a very tight ship and take Safety to a new extreme.I ave heard they are not the best out fit to work for.But your son is fortunate to get hired at such an early age.While most kids are going to school amassing debt.He can start out making great money with great benifits.

Tell him to stick with and dont expect to be home every weekend and Holiday.Alot of young guys dont stick with it because of the hours we work.

If you have any more questions shoot me an email.

Jm03
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:06:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By Jm03:
I am Engineer for the BNSF.That sounds about right for time frame of getting hired.New hires on our railroad take hair sample drug test now.Not sure of the N & S procedures.
The N & S is one of the big dogs in the RR industry,they run a very tight ship and take Safety to a new extreme.I ave heard they are not the best out fit to work for.But your son is fortunate to get hired at such an early age.While most kids are going to school amassing debt.He can start out making great money with great benifits.
Tell him to stick with and dont expect to be home every weekend and Holiday.Alot of young guys dont stick with it because of the hours we work.
If you have any more questions shoot me an email. Jm03



Yes, safety is a big deal on the NS unless thet REALLY want something done in a hurry then it starts to go and go in a hurry.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:13:04 AM EST
NS is a largely humorless organization, run by a tax attorney (Dave Goode) and they will can people at the drop of a hat.

To get an idea of just what NS thinks of their employees, their locomotives used to be the only ones in the country without working toilets, instead having a bucket & a bag. Imagine how that smells, nice black locomotive on a hot southern summer day with a bag of piss & poop along for the ride (pitch it out along the right of way? ok, you're fired!)

When Conrail was split up by NS & CSX, the PA governor made NS agree to put REAL TOILETS in any locomotive leading a consist through PA.

Dave Goode has a working shitter in his office, but he was too cheap to provide one for his crewmen. Does that tell you enough about any company to know what their values are?

Oh yes, they canned all the Conrail upper mgmt when they took over, because by God they were NS and they knew everything. The ensuing meltdown was almost as bad as UP's legendary CF after absorbing SP. CSX let the Conrail guys stay on, and had a much smoother transition (although SCX now has other problems)

Your son can make good money, but he has to toe the line or the Nazi's from Norfolk (that's what they are known as, I didn't make it up) will give him 30 days off faster than you can say "pink slip"

A good company for the obedient team player, less so for the independently motivated types.

Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:45:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By Merrell:
NS is a largely humorless organization, run by a tax attorney (Dave Goode) and they will can people at the drop of a hat.

To get an idea of just what NS thinks of their employees, their locomotives used to be the only ones in the country without working toilets, instead having a bucket & a bag. Imagine how that smells, nice black locomotive on a hot southern summer day with a bag of piss & poop along for the ride (pitch it out along the right of way? ok, you're fired!)

When Conrail was split up by NS & CSX, the PA governor made NS agree to put REAL TOILETS in any locomotive leading a consist through PA.

Dave Goode has a working shitter in his office, but he was too cheap to provide one for his crewmen. Does that tell you enough about any company to know what their values are?

Oh yes, they canned all the Conrail upper mgmt when they took over, because by God they were NS and they knew everything. The ensuing meltdown was almost as bad as UP's legendary CF after absorbing SP. CSX let the Conrail guys stay on, and had a much smoother transition (although SCX now has other problems)

Your son can make good money, but he has to toe the line or the Nazi's from Norfolk (that's what they are known as, I didn't make it up) will give him 30 days off faster than you can say "pink slip"

A good company for the obedient team player, less so for the independently motivated types.




This is True.But dont let it scare your boy off.One thing about working for the rail road is you get what you put in to it.Do your job, go to work most of the time and everything usually works out for the best.It still a pretty good job though considering all the factory jobs are pretty much gone.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:17:58 AM EST
I worked for a Maintenance of Way rail road Contractor I hope he likes 100 hr weeks and living in Motels. My Experience with Norfolk Southern Is that they will work Your A$$ off They are a very serious bunch. Rail Road Work Is A Very Dangerous Job You always have to Be aware Of Your Surroundings 100% of the Time look both ways Listen to the noises the tracks make and listen for trains not only you have to look out for your self you have to look out for your co workers . I have had to Physically a Remove couple of my Co workers from the Path of on coming trains on several Occasions and they have done the same for me. Then You have To keep an eye out for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) They are all ways Giving Railroad workers a very hard Time and Trying to hand out Personal fines.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:22:15 AM EST


Not to threadjack, but you guys might like this.

www.csx-sucks.com/
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:28:20 AM EST
I wouldn't worry "too" much dodgem, around here (Oregon) RR jobs are fairly "Coveted" and I'm sure they (The rail-roads) have plenty of applicants to choose from when selecting new hires (Thus causing it to take awhile for the process to work through).

BTW, just as an aside, I used to work for Norfolk and Way before they went bankrupt. You guys remember them? They promised overnight coast-to-coast shipping by rail. Our motto was "Norfolk'n way"
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:51:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2004 6:52:26 AM EST by shamayim]
Worked for the old Southern RR (before the merger) back in the '60s. There are times when I wish I'd stayed, but Grad school called louder. Don't know how they treat emplyees now, but back then it wasn't too bad---and the money was good compared to other options.

BTW, McDonough, GA is a southside suburb of Atlanta, so any reports on storm damage in Atlanta will be accurate for where he is.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:51:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2004 6:52:44 AM EST by Rob877]

Originally Posted By Waldo:

Not to threadjack, but you guys might like this.

www.csx-sucks.com/



This Is My Favorite Pics From csx-sucks.com


Link Posted: 9/26/2004 8:16:35 AM EST
I won't get into the politics, but NS has some of the best training in the business. The McDonough facility churns out these guy in large numbers just to have them go off to other RR's. They do work guys hard. Safety is paramount for NS. Safest RR in the US for 15 years plus. McDonough is 20 to 30 minutes south of Hotlanta. As stated above, same weather for both places.
Oh, there are ex-Conrail managers that were brought over during the merger.


ByteTheBullet (-:
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 9:11:25 AM EST

Originally Posted By Merrell:
NS is a largely humorless organization, run by a tax attorney (Dave Goode) and they will can people at the drop of a hat.

To get an idea of just what NS thinks of their employees, their locomotives used to be the only ones in the country without working toilets, instead having a bucket & a bag. Imagine how that smells, nice black locomotive on a hot southern summer day with a bag of piss & poop along for the ride (pitch it out along the right of way? ok, you're fired!)

When Conrail was split up by NS & CSX, the PA governor made NS agree to put REAL TOILETS in any locomotive leading a consist through PA.

Dave Goode has a working shitter in his office, but he was too cheap to provide one for his crewmen. Does that tell you enough about any company to know what their values are?

Oh yes, they canned all the Conrail upper mgmt when they took over, because by God they were NS and they knew everything. The ensuing meltdown was almost as bad as UP's legendary CF after absorbing SP. CSX let the Conrail guys stay on, and had a much smoother transition (although SCX now has other problems)

Your son can make good money, but he has to toe the line or the Nazi's from Norfolk (that's what they are known as, I didn't make it up) will give him 30 days off faster than you can say "pink slip"

A good company for the obedient team player, less so for the independently motivated types.




From all I have learned at ARFCOM about unions then anyone in a union at NS will never get fired.

Link Posted: 9/26/2004 9:16:06 AM EST
Thanks for all the info. My son hasn't been called to leave yet, we're still waiting on the call. He has his eyes wide open as to what he is getting into. We live in a smalltown north of Pgh. There are really no good jobs around here and he is really fortunate to have the chance to work on the RR. He has grown up seeing me work hard in a carbon/coke/graphite plant. It's dirty work in pretty crappy conditions. I've been there for 17 years and I make $12.65/hour. So he has a pretty good understanding what hard work is about. He himself has worked as a busboy/cook at a loal restaurant for the past 2 years. He has always wanted to work on the RR, and he went to 3 hiring sessions. The first one had 200 applicants, he got no interview on that one. The following hiring session he was selected out of 70 applicants for an interview, but he never heard anything after that. So he went to a third session in August and they told him that he had been hired in June but they weren't able to get in touch with him. So they sent him for Drug test and physical and background check and at the present time he is waiting to hear from them as to when he goes to McDonough for the training.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 9:46:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2004 9:48:56 AM EST by Master_Blaster]
My wife's friend works as an engineer for Norther Pacific, & they have been integrating automated systems big-time, though to what specific applications I don't know. As a result, she has been transfered to at least 5 different jobs (& various shifts) over the past year, w/ no foreseeable stability in sight. Nonetheless, she sticks w/ it for the pay & bene's, though she's also working part-time as a paharmacy tech, as a back up, in case she ever gets pinked. She has ~12 years to go before she can retire w/ full pension + benes, though, considering what they've put her through, I think she'll get laid off just before she can log the full time in.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:53:09 PM EST

Originally Posted By dodgem:
Thanks for all the info. My son hasn't been called to leave yet, we're still waiting on the call. He has his eyes wide open as to what he is getting into. We live in a smalltown north of Pgh. There are really no good jobs around here and he is really fortunate to have the chance to work on the RR. He has grown up seeing me work hard in a carbon/coke/graphite plant. It's dirty work in pretty crappy conditions. I've been there for 17 years and I make $12.65/hour. So he has a pretty good understanding what hard work is about. He himself has worked as a busboy/cook at a loal restaurant for the past 2 years. He has always wanted to work on the RR, and he went to 3 hiring sessions. The first one had 200 applicants, he got no interview on that one. The following hiring session he was selected out of 70 applicants for an interview, but he never heard anything after that. So he went to a third session in August and they told him that he had been hired in June but they weren't able to get in touch with him. So they sent him for Drug test and physical and background check and at the present time he is waiting to hear from them as to when he goes to McDonough for the training.



It's good when you're young and eager to travel & don't mind wall-to-wall work, and the pay is nothing to sneeze at either. He just needs to keep in mind that things that would slide at another outfit won't go unnoticed at NS. You veel obey za rulz! (they claim it's for the Harriman (safety) award, but it's really just to keep their workman's comp & such cut to the bone. (not that I would blame any company for doing that)

Conrail (& predecessor roads) employees were always pretty cool, laid-back but got the job done, at least they're not as bad as Union Pacific, which sues Lionel & a few others over using their name without paying a 5% "gratuity. Fockers.


Waldo, that SCX-Sucks site is great. The internet must drive some CEO's crazy, lol.

Link Posted: 9/28/2004 12:49:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By Master_Blaster:
My wife's friend works as an engineer for Norther Pacific, & they have been integrating automated systems big-time, though to what specific applications I don't know. As a result, she has been transfered to at least 5 different jobs (& various shifts) over the past year, w/ no foreseeable stability in sight. Nonetheless, she sticks w/ it for the pay & bene's, though she's also working part-time as a paharmacy tech, as a back up, in case she ever gets pinked. She has ~12 years to go before she can retire w/ full pension + benes, though, considering what they've put her through, I think she'll get laid off just before she can log the full time in.



Wow, I actually know who you are talking about. She won't ever get "pink slipped" or laid off, either. She will hang onto a yard job, a local, or get forced out onto the road and resign because she doesn't want to do that work or have to come up with some sort of disability.

And the Northern Pacific hasn't existed since 1970, when it was merged with the Great Northern, the Spokane Portland & Seattle, and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy to form the Burlington Northern, which after the 1995 aquisition of the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe (Santa Fe) becamse the current BNSF.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 1:00:08 PM EST
From everything I've heard I personally would not want to work for the NS. Seems every industry poll of actual railroad employees I've the BNSF comes out on top as the best one to work for. And I'm not just saying that because I work for them.

Railroading is just one of those things you have to try to know if you can handle it or not. The weird hours, lack of schedule, non-weekend rest days, being out in the elements, etc are just too much for a lot of people to tolerate. It's really more of an alternative lifestyle than just a job.

One thing that would concern me as a newhire is the current trend of downsizing crews. The engineer's job has been eliminated on many yard switch jobs in recent years and the railroads are trying to go to 1 man crews on many through freight jobs and locals with a roving conductor/utility man to assist as needed. Most people don't think it's a matter of if, but when.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 1:07:01 PM EST


Boomer, do your trains shitters look like this?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:43:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2004 7:45:14 PM EST by Boomer]

Originally Posted By KA3B:


Boomer, do your trains shitters look like this?



Some of the older ones look that bad, which is why most rails don't use them unless you gotta go REAL bad.

Here's what a new one looks like:

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 10:28:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Boomer:
From everything I've heard I personally would not want to work for the NS. Seems every industry poll of actual railroad employees I've the BNSF comes out on top as the best one to work for. And I'm not just saying that because I work for them.

Railroading is just one of those things you have to try to know if you can handle it or not. The weird hours, lack of schedule, non-weekend rest days, being out in the elements, etc are just too much for a lot of people to tolerate. It's really more of an alternative lifestyle than just a job.

One thing that would concern me as a newhire is the current trend of downsizing crews. The engineer's job has been eliminated on many yard switch jobs in recent years and the railroads are trying to go to 1 man crews on many through freight jobs and locals with a roving conductor/utility man to assist as needed. Most people don't think it's a matter of if, but when.



This is correct.Tell your boy to go in to the Engineers program as soon as he can.The first GPS enabled train started on my line today.

Can you say Bye Bye Conducter?? All of the screens and functions are on the Engineers side of the cab.And believe it or not it works.

My .02
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 10:34:41 AM EST
Don't work for the Railroad but I have been known to run a train
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 1:35:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jm03:

Originally Posted By Boomer:
From everything I've heard I personally would not want to work for the NS. Seems every industry poll of actual railroad employees I've the BNSF comes out on top as the best one to work for. And I'm not just saying that because I work for them.

Railroading is just one of those things you have to try to know if you can handle it or not. The weird hours, lack of schedule, non-weekend rest days, being out in the elements, etc are just too much for a lot of people to tolerate. It's really more of an alternative lifestyle than just a job.

One thing that would concern me as a newhire is the current trend of downsizing crews. The engineer's job has been eliminated on many yard switch jobs in recent years and the railroads are trying to go to 1 man crews on many through freight jobs and locals with a roving conductor/utility man to assist as needed. Most people don't think it's a matter of if, but when.



This is correct.Tell your boy to go in to the Engineers program as soon as he can.The first GPS enabled train started on my line today.

Can you say Bye Bye Conducter?? All of the screens and functions are on the Engineers side of the cab.And believe it or not it works.

My .02



I've heard on the NS they force people into the engineer's program by seniority, post-85 from the top down.

And not to start a war or anything, but I really don't know which crew member will eventually be left on the train. Kind of depends on which union does a better job at selling out the other, unfortunately. All I know is that under the present working conditions I personally would not be too excited about being out there by myself for 12 hours and I can think of a few people I would be scared as hell to be running against.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 1:48:16 PM EST
I love trains.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:11:01 AM EST

Originally Posted By Boomer:

Originally Posted By Jm03:

Originally Posted By Boomer:
From everything I've heard I personally would not want to work for the NS. Seems every industry poll of actual railroad employees I've the BNSF comes out on top as the best one to work for. And I'm not just saying that because I work for them.

Railroading is just one of those things you have to try to know if you can handle it or not. The weird hours, lack of schedule, non-weekend rest days, being out in the elements, etc are just too much for a lot of people to tolerate. It's really more of an alternative lifestyle than just a job.

One thing that would concern me as a newhire is the current trend of downsizing crews. The engineer's job has been eliminated on many yard switch jobs in recent years and the railroads are trying to go to 1 man crews on many through freight jobs and locals with a roving conductor/utility man to assist as needed. Most people don't think it's a matter of if, but when.



This is correct.Tell your boy to go in to the Engineers program as soon as he can.The first GPS enabled train started on my line today.

Can you say Bye Bye Conducter?? All of the screens and functions are on the Engineers side of the cab.And believe it or not it works.

My .02



I've heard on the NS they force people into the engineer's program by seniority, post-85 from the top down.

And not to start a war or anything, but I really don't know which crew member will eventually be left on the train. Kind of depends on which union does a better job at selling out the other, unfortunately. All I know is that under the present working conditions I personally would not be too excited about being out there by myself for 12 hours and I can think of a few people I would be scared as hell to be running against.



I agree totally.Hopefully they will never get a one man scenario by the FRA.Matt Rose said in a Time Mag interview last year that they will try it(one man crew) on the Trans Con if possible in the future to compete with truckers.

Hard to tell what will happen but it wont benfit the employees any.That is for sure.
Top Top