pros and cons of being a Amtrak Engineer or Conductor

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by treyk119, Nov 9, 2019.

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  1. Nov 9, 2019 #1

    treyk119

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    Hello to everyone. My Name is Trey and I am new to this online forum. I might have posted this in the wrong discussion area, if I have I apologize ahead of time.

    I am currently a Cutback Engineer at CSX, and I have worked here for 9 years. Things are not looking good at CSX ever since PSR has been implemented. I feel like I have less seniority than I did when I was a new hire.

    For the past couple years I have been very interested to work for Amtrak. I'm just curious if anyone has left freight railroad to come work with Amtrak. If they could list off the things they love about the change and the things they dont. I would greatly appreciate it before I start applying. I know any job can have its ups and downs. Thank You in advance.

    oh,...and should I apply for engineer first or apply as conductor and work my way to becoming a Amtrak Engineer again?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  2. Nov 9, 2019 #2

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    A good friend went from NS to Amtrak and hasn't looked back. He loves it! If you're an engineer, apply as an Engineer.
     
  3. Nov 9, 2019 #3

    Qapla

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    Since I have never driven a train and have not worked for passenger or freight ... what is a "Cutback Engineer"?
     
  4. Nov 9, 2019 #4

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    I was a Engineer but since there has been so many job cuts, my seniority has placed me back as a conductor.
     
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  5. Nov 10, 2019 #5

    jiml

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    Your resume should show both qualifications, so if you make it to an interview you'll be able to discuss it at that time. Worst case, they hire you as a conductor but know you're already trained. Not a bad place to start with a new company. Good luck!
     
  6. Nov 10, 2019 #6

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    Depending on the base it could be a lot better. Imagine a base that has just two trains a day you are pretty much guaranteed what time you will be working each day.

    Better than freights where you are on call all day and night.

    I know a lot of people who jumped from freight to Amtrak and haven’t looked back. Quality of life is better
     
  7. Nov 10, 2019 #7

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    so you think applying as a conductor is a good idea as well? Also, my annual income is always around 100K. what does the annual income look like for a Amtrak Engineer and Conductor?
     
  8. Nov 10, 2019 #8

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    I'm starting to hear the same thing everywhere. people coming from freight never looking back. There's clearly a pattern going on.
     
  9. Nov 10, 2019 #9

    Thirdrail7

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    Thirdrail7

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    That depends on where you live, where you work and how much you're willing to put in. A conductor that wants to hustle can easily make more than an engineer in some areas.
     
  10. Nov 11, 2019 #10

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    in your opinion, would coming over to Amtrak from freight be a upgrade to my family's lifestyle?
     
  11. Nov 11, 2019 #11

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    Most of us say Hell Yes!
     
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  12. Nov 13, 2019 #12

    Thirdrail7

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    That depends entirely on where you live and where you intend on working. There are plenty of same-day assignments and there are multiple-day assignments. It depends on the crew base, the seniority level of the crew base and the craft.

    I've never given a ringing endorsement. It is a calculated risk which again, depends on where you live. I advise people to stick near commuter corridors or state-supported services with strong backing. They are the least likely to disappear. Even if they are broken up or someone takes over the operation, they will need employees.

    As for the rest of it, you never know what will happen. A perfect example is what is occurring now. For years, people mentioned getting rid of the LD network and certain people rebuffed the idea. The CEOs of Amtrak usually mentioned how important is is to the viability of Amtrak.

    Now, you have the CEO making overtures to shed portions of the LD network while certain people rally to protect it. Certain states that showed disdain or indifference for their portion may not fight to preserve it under PRIIA.

    I like to remind people that Amtrak is never "a sure thing." It fights well and is "That Which Survives" (major kudos if you get that reference,) but it is subject to a yearly appropriation that may come up short...or not come up at all.
     
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  13. Nov 13, 2019 #13

    keelhauled

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    As I recall, that which survived, in the end...didn't.
     
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  14. Nov 13, 2019 #14

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

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    I am for Richard Anderson...
     
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  15. Nov 13, 2019 #15

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    Just curious. LD network? PRIIA? And just from googling Richard Anderson. What has he done to change things at AMTRAK. once again I’m freight engineer and trying to learn the passenger ways of things
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  16. Nov 14, 2019 #16

    jazzpianoman

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    This is probably a given but if your going from a freight engineer to an Amtrak engineer you have to adjust to the more rapid acceleration and timing the brake applications at stations so you don't overshoot or undershoot.

    And when your in the cab, whether engineer or conductor, enjoy that feeling of zooming down the tracks at 60 or 80 mph, making up time or just keeping the schedule. I gotta say it feels good from the coaches but it's probably a whole different level up in the cab.
     
  17. Nov 14, 2019 #17

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    Oh I’m sure. I’m a quick learner though. I was told that the schooling in Deleware was cut a little shorter if you are already a class 1 Engineer license.
     
  18. Nov 15, 2019 #18

    jazzpianoman

    jazzpianoman

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    Also if you got to choose which region or which train you could operate what would you choose?
     
  19. Nov 15, 2019 #19

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    I personally would love to be out west. My wife rather us stay close to family in the south east. I missed the opportunity to apply for a Jacksonville engineer job just recently
     
  20. Nov 15, 2019 #20

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Why not apply in both areas and see where life takes you?:)

    Also, we have a wonderful resource here on AU--a thread called "Careers on the Rails" started and updated by our own Acela150. He posts freight and commuter jobs as well as Amtrak jobs, and it's a very useful resource, whatever type of railroad job you are looking for.
     
  21. Nov 15, 2019 #21

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    Thank you very much. I can’t seem to find it though.
     
  22. Nov 15, 2019 #22

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Go to the search box at the top of the screen, and type in Careers on the Rails (no quotes), and it should come up.
     
  23. Nov 15, 2019 #23

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    ok thank you!!!
     
  24. Nov 15, 2019 #24

    treyk119

    treyk119

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    I want to thank everyone for the very valuable information. This means allot to me and I really hope to join the Amtrak family soon. If there's anything I can help anyone with please feel free to contact me.
     
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  25. Nov 18, 2019 at 2:41 AM #25

    Thirdrail7

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    How did I forget that? It is time for a refresh!!!


    It will work until Gardner jumps in front of him.


    LD Network=Long Distance Network. Amtrak basically is basically broken down into the long-distance network, state-supported network, and the North East Corridor service.


    This hasn't been the case in years.

    Jacksonville is an example of a crew base that is generally attached to the Long Distance network. Those trains are often targeted for funding cuts. So far, it is hasn't occurred.
     
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