Jump to content
spinnaker

So what can an engineer make?

Recommended Posts

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

Edited by spinnaker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

They work long hours, need a lot of training, are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people on board, etc. There's a reason "Engineer" is the highest AU member title. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

The Conductor may be "in charge", but the engineer position requires a lot more training, skill, and responsibility. An engineer can perform the duties of a conductor (at least on a freight train), but not the other way around...

 

The engineer has the best job on the railroad...ask anyone...even the railroad president may secretly covet that position... ;)

Edited by railiner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll reply to this when I get home and I’m at my laptop. Right now I’m on my phone and it’s not that comfortable to type a whole story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

 

So I'm going to address the "pay scale" first. Amtrak pays hourly. Norfolk Southern pays by type of job. Whether it be a yard job, road job, mileage, etc. When I was working for NS the most I brought home in one day is about $425.00 that was a job that paid mileage. I also worked a yard job that paid me about $200 a day. NOW if the job works over 8 hours, you get overtime aka paid by the minute. The longest I worked was 18 hours. That was as a trainee and I didn't make what the conductor and engineer made. I made the trainee rate.

 

At NS as a Conductor Trainee or more commonly referred to as a "CT" you get paid $600.00 a week PRE TAX. From the time you start in Georgia to the time you are marked up. It's $600 a week. If you mark off you'll lose a days pay for how ever long you're marked off for. Once you're marked up or a Certified Conductor you'll make 80% of the full pay rate. So for instance if a days pay at the full 100% is $100 at 80% you make $80. You get a pay increase every year. to 85% 90% and 100%.

 

Since that posting is for Conway Terminal I'll tell you what I know about what you would do out of that terminal. Working out of Conway you'd go as Far East at Harrisburg. You'd take road trains to Altoona, Harrisburg, and points west. I'm not sure where you'd go west of Conway but you would go west and east. You would take a train to say Altoona, go to a hotel get 10 hours of rest and then when they have a train for you to take back to Conway you'd go back home. That could be as soon as your 10 hours of rest is up or 24 hours after you arrive at the hotel. So when they say talk to your family about the lifestyle you'd live, they ain't kidding! You would work all kinds of crazy hours. Day work, night work, you name it. You want off for your sons birthday? HA! They don't care. You want off for a ball game? Tough s&%t you gotta work. The railroads don't like excuses of why you can't come to work. Oh it's Christmas and you want off? You're a funny guy. Get to work! Oh it's thanksgiving and your family is coming from overseas? I don't give a hoot get to work. When they say they hire for nights, weekends, and holidays.. They aren't kidding. Very few of my shifts at NS were daylight. Very few. I worked a lot of weekends, and I worked on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

 

As for what makes the job worth "so much" is the unions. They have contracts with the Railroads and that's where the pay comes in. When I worked for NS, if I touched 2 trains in one work day, I was entitled by the contract to 2 days pay.. Ask me how many times they paid for me for it? No. That's until my terminal super got involved. If I worked outside of a certain area I was yet again entitled to a second days pay. And they rarely paid that claim. Now the one thing that drives up your pay is what's called "detention time". After a certain amount of time in the hotel without being called to return to point A. You collect pay for it.

 

As for the conductor is boss why don't they make as much?? Yes the conductor is on charge of the train, it's movement, the crew, and anything else you can think of. Why don't they make as much? Well it's simple. Conductor is the entry level job. The Engineer is the senior man and has the experience.

 

Now as for what you'd be doing as a Conductor I can give some details. You would be riding on the Head End, calling signals over the radio and in the cab, walking the train if you set off a hotbox detector or break a knuckle, riding a shove when required and hanging on railcars for an extended period of time, Talking to the dispatcher one the radio, writing down Track Authorities, and a lot more.

 

As for working passenger versus freight. It's all a matter of preference. I've worked both. Hours of Service wise.. I prefer freight. Lifestyle wise. I'd take passenger. Trust me it's not an easy choice. But IMO it's a personal choice. Working Passenger on a good day is easy, same with Freight. On a Bad day it depends on which you wanna do more. Deal with someone giving you attitude, or walking a 10,000 foot train trying to find out what's wrong with it while there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 10 degrees out to find out you broke a knuckle on one of the cars on the hind end, just to walk to the head end again to walk to the rear of the train with a 60 pound knuckle in your arms.

 

I'm hoping I put it in perspective for you enough to make you decide what you wanna do.

 

And I also have a Topic on Careers on the Rails which anyone can post job postings to the railroads. So feel free to browse over that as well.

 

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

 

Yeah cause of the unions. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

 

So I'm going to address the "pay scale" first. Amtrak pays hourly. Norfolk Southern pays by type of job. Whether it be a yard job, road job, mileage, etc. When I was working for NS the most I brought home in one day is about $425.00 that was a job that paid mileage. I also worked a yard job that paid me about $200 a day. NOW if the job works over 8 hours, you get overtime aka paid by the minute. The longest I worked was 18 hours. That was as a trainee and I didn't make what the conductor and engineer made. I made the trainee rate.

 

At NS as a Conductor Trainee or more commonly referred to as a "CT" you get paid $600.00 a week PRE TAX. From the time you start in Georgia to the time you are marked up. It's $600 a week. If you mark off you'll lose a days pay for how ever long you're marked off for. Once you're marked up or a Certified Conductor you'll make 80% of the full pay rate. So for instance if a days pay at the full 100% is $100 at 80% you make $80. You get a pay increase every year. to 85% 90% and 100%.

 

Since that posting is for Conway Terminal I'll tell you what I know about what you would do out of that terminal. Working out of Conway you'd go as Far East at Harrisburg. You'd take road trains to Altoona, Harrisburg, and points west. I'm not sure where you'd go west of Conway but you would go west and east. You would take a train to say Altoona, go to a hotel get 10 hours of rest and then when they have a train for you to take back to Conway you'd go back home. That could be as soon as your 10 hours of rest is up or 24 hours after you arrive at the hotel. So when they say talk to your family about the lifestyle you'd live, they ain't kidding! You would work all kinds of crazy hours. Day work, night work, you name it. You want off for your sons birthday? HA! They don't care. You want off for a ball game? Tough s&%t you gotta work. The railroads don't like excuses of why you can't come to work. Oh it's Christmas and you want off? You're a funny guy. Get to work! Oh it's thanksgiving and your family is coming from overseas? I don't give a hoot get to work. When they say they hire for nights, weekends, and holidays.. They aren't kidding. Very few of my shifts at NS were daylight. Very few. I worked a lot of weekends, and I worked on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

 

As for what makes the job worth "so much" is the unions. They have contracts with the Railroads and that's where the pay comes in. When I worked for NS, if I touched 2 trains in one work day, I was entitled by the contract to 2 days pay.. Ask me how many times they paid for me for it? No. That's until my terminal super got involved. If I worked outside of a certain area I was yet again entitled to a second days pay. And they rarely paid that claim. Now the one thing that drives up your pay is what's called "detention time". After a certain amount of time in the hotel without being called to return to point A. You collect pay for it.

 

As for the conductor is boss why don't they make as much?? Yes the conductor is on charge of the train, it's movement, the crew, and anything else you can think of. Why don't they make as much? Well it's simple. Conductor is the entry level job. The Engineer is the senior man and has the experience.

 

Now as for what you'd be doing as a Conductor I can give some details. You would be riding on the Head End, calling signals over the radio and in the cab, walking the train if you set off a hotbox detector or break a knuckle, riding a shove when required and hanging on railcars for an extended period of time, Talking to the dispatcher one the radio, writing down Track Authorities, and a lot more.

 

As for working passenger versus freight. It's all a matter of preference. I've worked both. Hours of Service wise.. I prefer freight. Lifestyle wise. I'd take passenger. Trust me it's not an easy choice. But IMO it's a personal choice. Working Passenger on a good day is easy, same with Freight. On a Bad day it depends on which you wanna do more. Deal with someone giving you attitude, or walking a 10,000 foot train trying to find out what's wrong with it while there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 10 degrees out to find out you broke a knuckle on one of the cars on the hind end, just to walk to the head end again to walk to the rear of the train with a 60 pound knuckle in your arms.

 

I'm hoping I put it in perspective for you enough to make you decide what you wanna do.

 

And I also have a Topic on Careers on the Rails which anyone can post job postings to the railroads. So feel free to browse over that as well.

 

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

 

Yeah cause of the unions. ;)

 

 

 

Wow thanks for the detailed synopsis. I am singe so the travel would not get to me but I also don't like working endless hours. Certainly not at my age. And at 59 (even though I am more fit than many people half my age) it sounds like this is a pretty demanding job. It just seems like something that would be different. I am in IT and really don't want to finish my career that way. Just looking for something different to do for the next 6 or 7 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great details on clear descriptions of task! I knew it's a tough job but I could do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

 

So I'm going to address the "pay scale" first. Amtrak pays hourly. Norfolk Southern pays by type of job. Whether it be a yard job, road job, mileage, etc. When I was working for NS the most I brought home in one day is about $425.00 that was a job that paid mileage. I also worked a yard job that paid me about $200 a day. NOW if the job works over 8 hours, you get overtime aka paid by the minute. The longest I worked was 18 hours. That was as a trainee and I didn't make what the conductor and engineer made. I made the trainee rate.

 

At NS as a Conductor Trainee or more commonly referred to as a "CT" you get paid $600.00 a week PRE TAX. From the time you start in Georgia to the time you are marked up. It's $600 a week. If you mark off you'll lose a days pay for how ever long you're marked off for. Once you're marked up or a Certified Conductor you'll make 80% of the full pay rate. So for instance if a days pay at the full 100% is $100 at 80% you make $80. You get a pay increase every year. to 85% 90% and 100%.

 

Since that posting is for Conway Terminal I'll tell you what I know about what you would do out of that terminal. Working out of Conway you'd go as Far East at Harrisburg. You'd take road trains to Altoona, Harrisburg, and points west. I'm not sure where you'd go west of Conway but you would go west and east. You would take a train to say Altoona, go to a hotel get 10 hours of rest and then when they have a train for you to take back to Conway you'd go back home. That could be as soon as your 10 hours of rest is up or 24 hours after you arrive at the hotel. So when they say talk to your family about the lifestyle you'd live, they ain't kidding! You would work all kinds of crazy hours. Day work, night work, you name it. You want off for your sons birthday? HA! They don't care. You want off for a ball game? Tough s&%t you gotta work. The railroads don't like excuses of why you can't come to work. Oh it's Christmas and you want off? You're a funny guy. Get to work! Oh it's thanksgiving and your family is coming from overseas? I don't give a hoot get to work. When they say they hire for nights, weekends, and holidays.. They aren't kidding. Very few of my shifts at NS were daylight. Very few. I worked a lot of weekends, and I worked on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

 

As for what makes the job worth "so much" is the unions. They have contracts with the Railroads and that's where the pay comes in. When I worked for NS, if I touched 2 trains in one work day, I was entitled by the contract to 2 days pay.. Ask me how many times they paid for me for it? No. That's until my terminal super got involved. If I worked outside of a certain area I was yet again entitled to a second days pay. And they rarely paid that claim. Now the one thing that drives up your pay is what's called "detention time". After a certain amount of time in the hotel without being called to return to point A. You collect pay for it.

 

As for the conductor is boss why don't they make as much?? Yes the conductor is on charge of the train, it's movement, the crew, and anything else you can think of. Why don't they make as much? Well it's simple. Conductor is the entry level job. The Engineer is the senior man and has the experience.

 

Now as for what you'd be doing as a Conductor I can give some details. You would be riding on the Head End, calling signals over the radio and in the cab, walking the train if you set off a hotbox detector or break a knuckle, riding a shove when required and hanging on railcars for an extended period of time, Talking to the dispatcher one the radio, writing down Track Authorities, and a lot more.

 

As for working passenger versus freight. It's all a matter of preference. I've worked both. Hours of Service wise.. I prefer freight. Lifestyle wise. I'd take passenger. Trust me it's not an easy choice. But IMO it's a personal choice. Working Passenger on a good day is easy, same with Freight. On a Bad day it depends on which you wanna do more. Deal with someone giving you attitude, or walking a 10,000 foot train trying to find out what's wrong with it while there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 10 degrees out to find out you broke a knuckle on one of the cars on the hind end, just to walk to the head end again to walk to the rear of the train with a 60 pound knuckle in your arms.

 

I'm hoping I put it in perspective for you enough to make you decide what you wanna do.

 

And I also have a Topic on Careers on the Rails which anyone can post job postings to the railroads. So feel free to browse over that as well.

 

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

 

Yeah cause of the unions. ;)

 

 

 

Wow thanks for the detailed synopsis. I am singe so the travel would not get to me but I also don't like working endless hours. Certainly not at my age. And at 59 (even though I am more fit than many people half my age) it sounds like this is a pretty demanding job. It just seems like something that would be different. I am in IT and really don't want to finish my career that way. Just looking for something different to do for the next 6 or 7 years.

 

 

I'll be honest. At 59 it's not worth it. All railroaders are eligible to retire and receive a full Railroad Retirement Pension at age 60 with 30 years of service. You wouldn't be able to get a lot out of RR Retirement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

 

So I'm going to address the "pay scale" first. Amtrak pays hourly. Norfolk Southern pays by type of job. Whether it be a yard job, road job, mileage, etc. When I was working for NS the most I brought home in one day is about $425.00 that was a job that paid mileage. I also worked a yard job that paid me about $200 a day. NOW if the job works over 8 hours, you get overtime aka paid by the minute. The longest I worked was 18 hours. That was as a trainee and I didn't make what the conductor and engineer made. I made the trainee rate.

 

At NS as a Conductor Trainee or more commonly referred to as a "CT" you get paid $600.00 a week PRE TAX. From the time you start in Georgia to the time you are marked up. It's $600 a week. If you mark off you'll lose a days pay for how ever long you're marked off for. Once you're marked up or a Certified Conductor you'll make 80% of the full pay rate. So for instance if a days pay at the full 100% is $100 at 80% you make $80. You get a pay increase every year. to 85% 90% and 100%.

 

Since that posting is for Conway Terminal I'll tell you what I know about what you would do out of that terminal. Working out of Conway you'd go as Far East at Harrisburg. You'd take road trains to Altoona, Harrisburg, and points west. I'm not sure where you'd go west of Conway but you would go west and east. You would take a train to say Altoona, go to a hotel get 10 hours of rest and then when they have a train for you to take back to Conway you'd go back home. That could be as soon as your 10 hours of rest is up or 24 hours after you arrive at the hotel. So when they say talk to your family about the lifestyle you'd live, they ain't kidding! You would work all kinds of crazy hours. Day work, night work, you name it. You want off for your sons birthday? HA! They don't care. You want off for a ball game? Tough s&%t you gotta work. The railroads don't like excuses of why you can't come to work. Oh it's Christmas and you want off? You're a funny guy. Get to work! Oh it's thanksgiving and your family is coming from overseas? I don't give a hoot get to work. When they say they hire for nights, weekends, and holidays.. They aren't kidding. Very few of my shifts at NS were daylight. Very few. I worked a lot of weekends, and I worked on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

 

As for what makes the job worth "so much" is the unions. They have contracts with the Railroads and that's where the pay comes in. When I worked for NS, if I touched 2 trains in one work day, I was entitled by the contract to 2 days pay.. Ask me how many times they paid for me for it? No. That's until my terminal super got involved. If I worked outside of a certain area I was yet again entitled to a second days pay. And they rarely paid that claim. Now the one thing that drives up your pay is what's called "detention time". After a certain amount of time in the hotel without being called to return to point A. You collect pay for it.

 

As for the conductor is boss why don't they make as much?? Yes the conductor is on charge of the train, it's movement, the crew, and anything else you can think of. Why don't they make as much? Well it's simple. Conductor is the entry level job. The Engineer is the senior man and has the experience.

 

Now as for what you'd be doing as a Conductor I can give some details. You would be riding on the Head End, calling signals over the radio and in the cab, walking the train if you set off a hotbox detector or break a knuckle, riding a shove when required and hanging on railcars for an extended period of time, Talking to the dispatcher one the radio, writing down Track Authorities, and a lot more.

 

As for working passenger versus freight. It's all a matter of preference. I've worked both. Hours of Service wise.. I prefer freight. Lifestyle wise. I'd take passenger. Trust me it's not an easy choice. But IMO it's a personal choice. Working Passenger on a good day is easy, same with Freight. On a Bad day it depends on which you wanna do more. Deal with someone giving you attitude, or walking a 10,000 foot train trying to find out what's wrong with it while there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 10 degrees out to find out you broke a knuckle on one of the cars on the hind end, just to walk to the head end again to walk to the rear of the train with a 60 pound knuckle in your arms.

 

I'm hoping I put it in perspective for you enough to make you decide what you wanna do.

 

And I also have a Topic on Careers on the Rails which anyone can post job postings to the railroads. So feel free to browse over that as well.

 

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

 

Yeah cause of the unions. ;)

 

 

 

Wow thanks for the detailed synopsis. I am singe so the travel would not get to me but I also don't like working endless hours. Certainly not at my age. And at 59 (even though I am more fit than many people half my age) it sounds like this is a pretty demanding job. It just seems like something that would be different. I am in IT and really don't want to finish my career that way. Just looking for something different to do for the next 6 or 7 years.

 

 

Also...I don't know if railroad retirement has changed in the past few years, but I was under the impression that you had to put in thirty years before you could draw a dime from it. It's supposedly a pretty good pension once you qualify, but if you aren't prepared to make a long career of it...well, thanks for playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. You don't need 30 years to draw from Railroad Retirement. As long as you have your 5 years in, your vested and can draw from it when you retire.

 

Yes it is an amazing pension plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what makes the job worth so much?

 

The fact that you don't get sick time, can't take most medications while you're performing service and if you miss a call, you may have blown your income for the pay period and a good sickness may straddle pay periods.

 

Then, of course you should save your money just in case you mess up since NS is known for this tactic:

 

Railroad blames its crew for Kentucky train crash. And sues them.

 

 

 

The suits says the two ignored a signal that required them “to be prepared to stop.” The suit says the two were negligent in failing to maintain a reasonable lookout, including a watch for wayside signals that govern the movement of the train.

The two also failed “to pay attention to their duties,” failed to properly control the movement and speed reduction, and failed to announce to a dispatcher that they had applied an emergency brake so that “other trains in the vicinity could be notified of the event.”

The suit says the two men are liable for damages to the railway’s property, including, but not limited to, damages to the locomotives, rail cars, tracks, right of way, communications and signal equipment, expenses related to getting the train and car back on the track, transporting the locomotives for repair, and damages for loss of use of the locomotives and rail cars.

There were also costs related to removing the diesel fuel that spilled onto the soil and ground water, the suit says.

The suit seeks a judgment against Tobergte and Hall in an amount sufficient to compensate the railway company. And it seeks the awarding of an indemnity as may be payable to adjacent land owners or railway customers.

 

Edited by Thirdrail7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So what makes the job worth so much?

 

The fact that you don't get sick time, can't take most medications while you're performing service and if you miss a call, you may have blown your income for the pay period and a good sickness may straddle pay periods.

 

Then, of course you should save your money just in case you mess up since NS is known for this tactic:

 

Railroad blames its crew for Kentucky train crash. And sues them.

 

 

 

The suits says the two ignored a signal that required them “to be prepared to stop.” The suit says the two were negligent in failing to maintain a reasonable lookout, including a watch for wayside signals that govern the movement of the train.

The two also failed “to pay attention to their duties,” failed to properly control the movement and speed reduction, and failed to announce to a dispatcher that they had applied an emergency brake so that “other trains in the vicinity could be notified of the event.”

The suit says the two men are liable for damages to the railway’s property, including, but not limited to, damages to the locomotives, rail cars, tracks, right of way, communications and signal equipment, expenses related to getting the train and car back on the track, transporting the locomotives for repair, and damages for loss of use of the locomotives and rail cars.

There were also costs related to removing the diesel fuel that spilled onto the soil and ground water, the suit says.

The suit seeks a judgment against Tobergte and Hall in an amount sufficient to compensate the railway company. And it seeks the awarding of an indemnity as may be payable to adjacent land owners or railway customers.

 

 

IIRC, operating crew can purchase some sort of "job insurance" to pay them if they are suspended for operating rule violations...not sure if it would included accident liability as well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. You don't need 30 years to draw from Railroad Retirement. As long as you have your 5 years in, your vested and can draw from it when you retire.

 

Yes it is an amazing pension plan.

That is since 1995...prior to that, you had to have 10 years (or 120 months) of creditable RR service to get 'vested'...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Been going through a late mid life crisis here. Hating my present job. I got to thinking about doing something else in my last several years. of work.

 

I ran across this:

 

https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Railroad&l=Pittsburgh%2C%20PA&vjk=6b64543bce5ec464

 

 

Granted it is Norfolk Southern freight but I imagine Amtrak has a similar pay scale for engineer? Is it about the same?

 

 

$90K starting with 17% bonus??? Wow! Where did I do wrong? I don't make near that and I am also a trained professional. Admittedly I don't know much about the details of a being a conductor or engineer but it has to be better than what I do now.

 

So what makes the job worth so much? And I thought conductor was really the boss. Why do they make so much less?

 

Not sure I would even want to be conductor on a passenger train. Having to deal with a lot of the hassles they need to deal with.

 

So I'm going to address the "pay scale" first. Amtrak pays hourly. Norfolk Southern pays by type of job. Whether it be a yard job, road job, mileage, etc. When I was working for NS the most I brought home in one day is about $425.00 that was a job that paid mileage. I also worked a yard job that paid me about $200 a day. NOW if the job works over 8 hours, you get overtime aka paid by the minute. The longest I worked was 18 hours. That was as a trainee and I didn't make what the conductor and engineer made. I made the trainee rate.

 

At NS as a Conductor Trainee or more commonly referred to as a "CT" you get paid $600.00 a week PRE TAX. From the time you start in Georgia to the time you are marked up. It's $600 a week. If you mark off you'll lose a days pay for how ever long you're marked off for. Once you're marked up or a Certified Conductor you'll make 80% of the full pay rate. So for instance if a days pay at the full 100% is $100 at 80% you make $80. You get a pay increase every year. to 85% 90% and 100%.

 

Since that posting is for Conway Terminal I'll tell you what I know about what you would do out of that terminal. Working out of Conway you'd go as Far East at Harrisburg. You'd take road trains to Altoona, Harrisburg, and points west. I'm not sure where you'd go west of Conway but you would go west and east. You would take a train to say Altoona, go to a hotel get 10 hours of rest and then when they have a train for you to take back to Conway you'd go back home. That could be as soon as your 10 hours of rest is up or 24 hours after you arrive at the hotel. So when they say talk to your family about the lifestyle you'd live, they ain't kidding! You would work all kinds of crazy hours. Day work, night work, you name it. You want off for your sons birthday? HA! They don't care. You want off for a ball game? Tough s&%t you gotta work. The railroads don't like excuses of why you can't come to work. Oh it's Christmas and you want off? You're a funny guy. Get to work! Oh it's thanksgiving and your family is coming from overseas? I don't give a hoot get to work. When they say they hire for nights, weekends, and holidays.. They aren't kidding. Very few of my shifts at NS were daylight. Very few. I worked a lot of weekends, and I worked on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

 

As for what makes the job worth "so much" is the unions. They have contracts with the Railroads and that's where the pay comes in. When I worked for NS, if I touched 2 trains in one work day, I was entitled by the contract to 2 days pay.. Ask me how many times they paid for me for it? No. That's until my terminal super got involved. If I worked outside of a certain area I was yet again entitled to a second days pay. And they rarely paid that claim. Now the one thing that drives up your pay is what's called "detention time". After a certain amount of time in the hotel without being called to return to point A. You collect pay for it.

 

As for the conductor is boss why don't they make as much?? Yes the conductor is on charge of the train, it's movement, the crew, and anything else you can think of. Why don't they make as much? Well it's simple. Conductor is the entry level job. The Engineer is the senior man and has the experience.

 

Now as for what you'd be doing as a Conductor I can give some details. You would be riding on the Head End, calling signals over the radio and in the cab, walking the train if you set off a hotbox detector or break a knuckle, riding a shove when required and hanging on railcars for an extended period of time, Talking to the dispatcher one the radio, writing down Track Authorities, and a lot more.

 

As for working passenger versus freight. It's all a matter of preference. I've worked both. Hours of Service wise.. I prefer freight. Lifestyle wise. I'd take passenger. Trust me it's not an easy choice. But IMO it's a personal choice. Working Passenger on a good day is easy, same with Freight. On a Bad day it depends on which you wanna do more. Deal with someone giving you attitude, or walking a 10,000 foot train trying to find out what's wrong with it while there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 10 degrees out to find out you broke a knuckle on one of the cars on the hind end, just to walk to the head end again to walk to the rear of the train with a 60 pound knuckle in your arms.

 

I'm hoping I put it in perspective for you enough to make you decide what you wanna do.

 

And I also have a Topic on Careers on the Rails which anyone can post job postings to the railroads. So feel free to browse over that as well.

 

There is a reason why it is one of the better paying careers with no college degree required.

 

Yeah cause of the unions. ;)

 

 

 

Wow thanks for the detailed synopsis. I am singe so the travel would not get to me but I also don't like working endless hours. Certainly not at my age. And at 59 (even though I am more fit than many people half my age) it sounds like this is a pretty demanding job. It just seems like something that would be different. I am in IT and really don't want to finish my career that way. Just looking for something different to do for the next 6 or 7 years.

 

 

I'll be honest. At 59 it's not worth it. All railroaders are eligible to retire and receive a full Railroad Retirement Pension at age 60 with 30 years of service. You wouldn't be able to get a lot out of RR Retirement.

 

 

 

Probably true but I am not worried about retirement, OK I am some and really wish I had a traditional pension, But as long as things don't fall apart in the next 20-35 years I will be pretty much set. Just looking for something different to pay the medical insurance and other bills for the next 6-7 years.

 

It is a wonder how I did not start getting a job in rail. I had at least a couple of friends in grade school whose fathers made a pretty good living in rail. But we lost touch and I was off to other interests. You don't think much of things like pensions when you are 18. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So what makes the job worth so much?

 

The fact that you don't get sick time, can't take most medications while you're performing service and if you miss a call, you may have blown your income for the pay period and a good sickness may straddle pay periods.

 

Then, of course you should save your money just in case you mess up since NS is known for this tactic:

 

Railroad blames its crew for Kentucky train crash. And sues them.

 

 

 

The suits says the two ignored a signal that required them “to be prepared to stop.” The suit says the two were negligent in failing to maintain a reasonable lookout, including a watch for wayside signals that govern the movement of the train.

The two also failed “to pay attention to their duties,” failed to properly control the movement and speed reduction, and failed to announce to a dispatcher that they had applied an emergency brake so that “other trains in the vicinity could be notified of the event.”

The suit says the two men are liable for damages to the railway’s property, including, but not limited to, damages to the locomotives, rail cars, tracks, right of way, communications and signal equipment, expenses related to getting the train and car back on the track, transporting the locomotives for repair, and damages for loss of use of the locomotives and rail cars.

There were also costs related to removing the diesel fuel that spilled onto the soil and ground water, the suit says.

The suit seeks a judgment against Tobergte and Hall in an amount sufficient to compensate the railway company. And it seeks the awarding of an indemnity as may be payable to adjacent land owners or railway customers.

 

 

 

Wow. And I thought the airlines can be evil. I've never heard of an airline going after someone that causes damage to an aircraft even though it happens sometimes. If they did the unions would have a cow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest looking at your hobbies, the way you spend your spare time, and any other interests you have, and a satisfying career may come from that. It may pay a lot or not much at all, but you will enjoy it. For example, I think crescent-zephyr's suggestion of working on a tourist railroad is excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vesting went to 5 years from 10 for most pensions, but keep in mind that doesn't mean you get the whole pension. It just means you don't lose what is already earned. There are still restrictions on what you get at what age and years of service that vary widely depending on the retirement plan in question. As an example, I collect an early retirement pension, based on 35 years of service, with actuarial reduction for age at retirement (56 1/2 in my case), full pension at 60. If I had left before retiring, and worked in a different industry, I would still have 35 years, but the age at which you can collect a full vested pension is higher (65), making the reduction (.5% per month below full ret age) to a specific age steeper. Plus I kept full medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage until I go on medicare, when they will provide the gap (and the dental optical and prescr) If I went out vested I would forfeit that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vesting went to 5 years from 10 for most pensions, but keep in mind that doesn't mean you get the whole pension. It just means you don't lose what is already earned. There are still restrictions on what you get at what age and years of service that vary widely depending on the retirement plan in question. As an example, I collect an early retirement pension, based on 35 years of service, with actuarial reduction for age at retirement (56 1/2 in my case), full pension at 60. If I had left before retiring, and worked in a different industry, I would still have 35 years, but the age at which you can collect a full vested pension is higher (65), making the reduction (.5% per month below full ret age) to a specific age steeper. Plus I kept full medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage until I go on medicare, when they will provide the gap (and the dental optical and prescr) If I went out vested I would forfeit that.

Yep, I was laid off in '93 with vesting in a retirement plan. I'm holding off collecting it so I can get the full $xxx/month. Not a lot, but it's better than nothing. :)

Edited by AmtrakBlue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my job the key was 55 and 20 meant keep the medical. If you went out before 58 though, you can not be employed otherwise you forfeit the medical. When I was financially set, (56 1/2) I said "I don't want to do this anymore" and any activities I undertake now are as a non employee (1099) not a W-2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Vesting went to 5 years from 10 for most pensions, but keep in mind that doesn't mean you get the whole pension. It just means you don't lose what is already earned. There are still restrictions on what you get at what age and years of service that vary widely depending on the retirement plan in question. As an example, I collect an early retirement pension, based on 35 years of service, with actuarial reduction for age at retirement (56 1/2 in my case), full pension at 60. If I had left before retiring, and worked in a different industry, I would still have 35 years, but the age at which you can collect a full vested pension is higher (65), making the reduction (.5% per month below full ret age) to a specific age steeper. Plus I kept full medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage until I go on medicare, when they will provide the gap (and the dental optical and prescr) If I went out vested I would forfeit that.

Yep, I was laid off in '93 with vesting in a retirement plan. I'm holding off collecting it so I can get the full $xxx/month. Not a lot, but it's better than nothing. :)

 

What I found out, is that the amount you get isn't linear. If you have in 15 years, you don't get 50% what you would have gotten after 30 years. Its back-end loaded. With 15 years you get like 15%. 25 years you get like 75%. Its the final few years, just before 30, that it quickly climbs to each 100$.

 

And with 15 years, it isn't 15% of today's amount, but 15% of what was retirement payments back when you hit 15 years (which was a few decades ago).

 

For me, that old pension, with 15 years of service, is today, enough to pay the cable bill. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Vesting went to 5 years from 10 for most pensions, but keep in mind that doesn't mean you get the whole pension. It just means you don't lose what is already earned. There are still restrictions on what you get at what age and years of service that vary widely depending on the retirement plan in question. As an example, I collect an early retirement pension, based on 35 years of service, with actuarial reduction for age at retirement (56 1/2 in my case), full pension at 60. If I had left before retiring, and worked in a different industry, I would still have 35 years, but the age at which you can collect a full vested pension is higher (65), making the reduction (.5% per month below full ret age) to a specific age steeper. Plus I kept full medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage until I go on medicare, when they will provide the gap (and the dental optical and prescr) If I went out vested I would forfeit that.

Yep, I was laid off in '93 with vesting in a retirement plan. I'm holding off collecting it so I can get the full $xxx/month. Not a lot, but it's better than nothing. :)
What I found out, is that the amount you get isn't linear. If you have in 15 years, you don't get 50% what you would have gotten after 30 years. Its back-end loaded. With 15 years you get like 15%. 25 years you get like 75%. Its the final few years, just before 30, that it quickly climbs to each 100$.

 

And with 15 years, it isn't 15% of today's amount, but 15% of what was retirement payments back when you hit 15 years (which was a few decades ago).

 

For me, that old pension, with 15 years of service, is today, enough to pay the cable bill. :D

Oh, I know. I know what the pension will be at full “maturity” which is why I’m waiting - so I can pay my cable & electric. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So what makes the job worth so much?

 

The fact that you don't get sick time, can't take most medications while you're performing service and if you miss a call, you may have blown your income for the pay period and a good sickness may straddle pay periods.

 

Then, of course you should save your money just in case you mess up since NS is known for this tactic:

 

Railroad blames its crew for Kentucky train crash. And sues them.

 

 

 

The suits says the two ignored a signal that required them “to be prepared to stop.” The suit says the two were negligent in failing to maintain a reasonable lookout, including a watch for wayside signals that govern the movement of the train.

The two also failed “to pay attention to their duties,” failed to properly control the movement and speed reduction, and failed to announce to a dispatcher that they had applied an emergency brake so that “other trains in the vicinity could be notified of the event.”

The suit says the two men are liable for damages to the railway’s property, including, but not limited to, damages to the locomotives, rail cars, tracks, right of way, communications and signal equipment, expenses related to getting the train and car back on the track, transporting the locomotives for repair, and damages for loss of use of the locomotives and rail cars.

There were also costs related to removing the diesel fuel that spilled onto the soil and ground water, the suit says.

The suit seeks a judgment against Tobergte and Hall in an amount sufficient to compensate the railway company. And it seeks the awarding of an indemnity as may be payable to adjacent land owners or railway customers.

 

 

 

Yes they are known for that. And there is no reason for it.

 

 

 

So what makes the job worth so much?

 

The fact that you don't get sick time, can't take most medications while you're performing service and if you miss a call, you may have blown your income for the pay period and a good sickness may straddle pay periods.

 

Then, of course you should save your money just in case you mess up since NS is known for this tactic:

 

Railroad blames its crew for Kentucky train crash. And sues them.

 

 

 

The suits says the two ignored a signal that required them “to be prepared to stop.” The suit says the two were negligent in failing to maintain a reasonable lookout, including a watch for wayside signals that govern the movement of the train.

The two also failed “to pay attention to their duties,” failed to properly control the movement and speed reduction, and failed to announce to a dispatcher that they had applied an emergency brake so that “other trains in the vicinity could be notified of the event.”

The suit says the two men are liable for damages to the railway’s property, including, but not limited to, damages to the locomotives, rail cars, tracks, right of way, communications and signal equipment, expenses related to getting the train and car back on the track, transporting the locomotives for repair, and damages for loss of use of the locomotives and rail cars.

There were also costs related to removing the diesel fuel that spilled onto the soil and ground water, the suit says.

The suit seeks a judgment against Tobergte and Hall in an amount sufficient to compensate the railway company. And it seeks the awarding of an indemnity as may be payable to adjacent land owners or railway customers.

 

 

IIRC, operating crew can purchase some sort of "job insurance" to pay them if they are suspended for operating rule violations...not sure if it would included accident liability as well...

 

 

Job Insurance only covers T&E Crew when they are pulled out of service. Not major lawsuits like this. That job insurance will pay crew members while they are out of service. And Crews swear by it cause they know how management is.

 

So how much would an Engineer on the NEC make? Or corridor services in California or Midwest?

 

I can tell you that 6 figures a year isn't uncommon at the full pay rate more so within the NEC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×