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Old 02-13-2007, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default The Rail Industry

A cousin of mine is starting to get involved in the rail industry. I decided to research it further and noticed the local tech school has a bran new course dedicated to that field. Anyone here involved in that industry and have any pointers to help me get started? What can I expect? For those who don't know I made less than $15K last year, so I need a career change.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Rail Industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by fantastic88
A cousin of mine is starting to get involved in the rail industry. I decided to research it further and noticed the local tech school has a bran new course dedicated to that field. Anyone here involved in that industry and have any pointers to help me get started? What can I expect? For those who don't know I made less than $15K last year, so I need a career change.
Before you chooses to make a career out of it, I would suggest a little hands on experience. If you are single, not really tied down, and don't mind a bit of hard work, sign up with one of the rail grinding outfits.

There'* only a few firms that do it, but the pay is pretty good, room and board is included, and you get to see America (and probably Canada too) Catch is, it'* like working on a submarine or an oil rig without the risk of being drowned. You spend weeks at a time on the rails.

Plan B - see one of the recruiters for the class I railroad in your area.Probably Union Pacific or BNSF. You don't need a tech school to get started. Last two people I know got hired and put through school by their employers (both as brakeman, one on the Florida East Coast Rwy, the other on CSX)

Either way, try it first if you can. It'* not a life that suits everyone.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:41 PM   #3
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BTW, for those who don't already know, don't even think about working at a switching yard, the injury and fatality rates are horrendous. And by injury, they usually mean amputation.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Rail Industry

Actually, You might get ahold of Bill Buttermore on this list. He actually is an engineer of the railroad operating variety.

Otherwise, there are lots of jobs associated with railroading that are not operating related. There are jobs as signal maintainers, track crews, repair shop people, etc...lots of people are employed by railroads beyond the conductors, engineers, and brakemen.
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
If you are single, not really tied down, and don't mind a bit of hard work, sign up with one of the rail grinding outfits.
Hmmm.. sounds interesting. Will look into that.


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don't even think about working at a switching yard, the injury and fatality rates are horrendous.
I haven't really looked into that yet. I suppose its because of all the harmful chemicals, caustic acids and such.



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You might get ahold of Bill Buttermore on this list. He actually is an engineer of the railroad operating variety.
Will send a PM to him.

Good info guys, keep it coming.
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:33 PM   #6
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Prescott, I think Brian is referring to the yards where trains switch tracks and etc, I don't think there'* any chemicals, just sharp wheels and fast moving trains...I could be mistaken..
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fantastic88
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don't even think about working at a switching yard, the injury and fatality rates are horrendous.
I haven't really looked into that yet. I suppose its because of all the harmful chemicals, caustic acids and such.
Umm, no, it'* because if you make a mistake near a free rolling RR car, it squishes your fr*gging arm off.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonneVille
Umm, no, it'* because if you make a mistake near a free rolling RR car, it squishes your fr*gging arm off.
Yeah, it'* like working on the deck of an aircraft carrier...you always have to keep your head on a swivel cause there'* so much going on..and a 100 ton railroad car isn't very forgiving of mistakes. Don't let this dissuade you, it'* not as bad as it sounds. Your employers will spend a lot of time teaching you how to act around the equipment...even something as mudane as getting on or off a moving locomotive has a technique to it (gear to ensure that if you loose your balance, you fall "away" from the locomotive or piece of rolling stock.)

As an occupation, railroading has gotten much safer over the years. In a modern hump yard, cars are sorted by gravity (they roll down a short hill, known as a "hump" and are slowed down by retardars that squeeze on the flanges of the wheels) This requires less direct involvement of human beings around the moving cars. Brakeman still have to move around the cars to connect the air brake lines, set brakes, fix busted couplers, etc..but the time spent between equipment is pretty low.

By far, most fatalities on railroad property occur at grade crossings, followed by bridges and yards. Very few of the people hurt or killed are railroad employees. Nearly all of them are tresspassers, vandals, thieves, and idiot drivers. (To the tune of about 300 per year in the US)
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:34 AM   #9
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I agree clm2112. Lots of kids horse around on tracks and especially track bridges. If you are on a bridge with a train coming and can't out run it or get your foot stuck, you are obviously screwed. I don't understand to this day why people don't take it seriously.
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