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Should a person in college or high school even bother pursuing a career in freight or commercial rail anymore? It's going to be fully automated in like 40 years so why bother?

Pic unrelated


Still room for a career, it's just that you won't be driving trains for half of it - aim higher and wider, accepting that you'll be in an office for the latter half. Chances are if you're in uni though, you'd have the opportunity to aim higher than a train driver.

It should be apparent when the rounds start coming for hiring what the last batch of full time drivers will be.

In a moment of amusement though, a train driver here gets paid more after OT than a graduate engineer (as in technical side).


>In a moment of amusement though, a train driver here gets paid more after OT than a graduate engineer (as in technical side).
It's true. An (locomotive)engineer here can expect to make about $125k a year minimum.

Trainmen about $110k.


Where is here?


Los Estados Unidos


Thanks guys. Think I'm actually gonna pursue the career. Godspeed


Just be careful and do your research. If you see a terminal you're interested in working, try to find someone friendly who's willing to talk and tell you what the current hiring trend is. A few places hire like mad and then lay everyone off almost instantly, and you might be recalled in a week or it might be months. It's hard, but it's definitely worth looking into if you can stay positive about the hours and the hard work.


I don't know, man. Knowing what I know now, and doing what I do now, I don't know if I would make the same choice again.

The #rail-life isn't for everyone.


What do you mean?


Working for the railroad can be a soul sucking and crushing experience. It can also be very fulfilling. Working an extraboard and the looming threat of furloughs starting off is pretty tough for anyone.


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Why's that? I've liked trains ever since I was a kid. I specifically want to work in freight. I like watching the road go by and just thinking to myself for a few hours. It seems ideal


Here's the deal - you're not going to get a whole lot of time to do that. There's a whole lot going through the head of an engineer and a conductor at any given moment. Of course, you could just get a shit ton of time to think when you get stuck in a siding for 16 hours.

Also, don't ever let the railroad know that you have any more interest in trains than just as a career. Railfans of even the slightest degree are seen as undesirable foamers and are promptly squashed out. Now if you've got a few years in with a clean record, it's halfway safe career wise to let it slip. Your coworkers might not take kindly to that, though.

Take heed to what K-Pow said. It's the absolute most maddening and yet satisfying career I've ever come across. After what I've been through in the last six years, I don't know that I'd do it again either.


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It's frieght though, so naturally you will be in a siding for 10+ hours.

I don't mind a line for like 30 minutes with a bunch of signals and stuff. I operate well under pressure and have good short term memory.

I want to ask you this though:

Do you like your job?
How much money do you make anually? ( if that isn't too intrusive )


I kind of like it. I tried for years to hire on with a freight railroad, and eventually the application process started feeling like I was just slamming my head against a brick wall because I never got anything useful out of it, just pain and frustration. I went over to public transit light rail and I'm decently happy here. I like it because I'm home every night (well, maybe every morning - I do a lot of yard jobs from 20:00 to 04:00) and it's fairly simple as long as you keep an eye on your speed and slow the fuck down when you see a yellow signal. I don't like switching as much, though. Kinda takes the challenge out of the game when every piece of equipment can move itself under normal circumstances.

I'm on track to make roughly $38k this year if I don't do any overtime at all, but this is the railroad, so I get plenty whether I want it or not, so I'll probably end up closer to $50k. That's just at the first year's pay, though. I get a cost of living raise every year, and my pay goes up quite a bit every year for the first five years until I max out the pay scale.


>Riding jobs
Fun every once in a while, but I much prefer switching. I cannot stand sitting in sidings for more than about 45 minutes waiting on a meet.


Why couldn't you get accepted into one of the freight companies?


Or rather, why were you so unhappy about it?


I couldn't even get an interview. Beats me as to why. I tried for six years before I just gave up and decided to stick with what I'm doing now.


Are you serious? Not even a damn interview? Damn. I don't have any friends in rail company's either so I don't know what to do about that.


I didn't have any friends and I got interviews with two different class I's and hired by the better paying one.

I don't know what to tell you.


And there's the magic of it. Some will get in on the first try, others might not ever. It's not terribly uncommon.


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I don't know how it is in the US, but here in Blighty, the railway companies make potential drivers jump through a lot of hoops to get a job (probably because there are way more applicants than vacancies).
I applied for a job with FLHH a few years ago. Got to the interview part of the second stage of testing and shown the door, sadly (I generally do well in written tests, but not in interviews).
I've applied to Scotrail on multiple occasions and never even got offered an interview.

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