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How to become an Amtrak locomotive engineer

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How to become an Amtrak locomotive engineer
Posted by Trainfan25 on Sunday, July 22, 2012 8:33 PM

 

Hi I'm pretty much a newcomer here. First off I'm 15 and coming into my sophomore year of high school. I want to be an engineer for Amtrak when I grow up. It has always been my dream. I get good grades and I never and will not use drugs and alcohol(at least until I'm 21) I'm also not a foamer and though I enjoy watching trains I don't try or try to act like I know everything about trains. What can I do now to help me accomplish my goal? Thanks for all of your advice as I appreciate all the help I can get!    

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, July 23, 2012 8:29 AM

Study everything you can in high school...then go to college if you have good learning skills and interests...the more you know the better off  you are..but you've got to want to know to learn.

If you want to know more about trains and railroading, go to the library...there are hundreds of books on the subject...pick and choose or read them all. 

You don't say where you live.  But, check with your local railroad offices, maybe a yardmaster or trainmaster can tell you what your local railroad requires of you.  If near Amtrak, the same thing.  Check, too, TRAINS magazine for information about training schools.

There are vocational style training courses and there are college courses with degrees.  Driving a train is only one of probably thousands of jobs on railroads, too, so look them all over and then decide.  If college is out of the question and no real vocational courses avaialbe, or no railroad is hiring at the moment you wish to get a job, check out opportunities in the transportation corpes or railroads in the Army or other service unit.

But most important: educate and learn, learn and be educated.

 

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by Trainfan25 on Monday, July 23, 2012 9:30 AM

 

I live in the Philadelphia area but I want to live in New York when I grow up.

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, July 23, 2012 10:41 AM

You're young yet....

 

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, July 23, 2012 8:39 PM

You're not a foamer?Big Smile...phew...thanks for clearing that up. Big Smile

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:44 AM

I don't know that AMTRAK is doing the 'initial' training of engineers or if they are still 'poaching' qualified engineers from freight carriers and then training them on the highlights of passenger operations.

On freight carriers, new train service employees are hired as Conductors and work as Conductors for a year or more until they are called into Engineer Training in seniority order.  If they successfully complete engineer training they will then establish engineers seniority on the appropriate territory - during periods of depressed operations, they may have to temporarily work as a conductor until business picks up and they are needed as a engineer again.  If they are not successful in completing the engineers training, their employment will be terminated.

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:48 PM

Trainfan25

 

Hi I'm pretty much a newcomer here. First off I'm 15 and coming into my sophomore year of high school. I want to be an engineer for Amtrak when I grow up. It has always been my dream. I get good grades and I never and will not use drugs and alcohol(at least until I'm 21) I'm also not a foamer and though I enjoy watching trains I don't try or try to act like I know everything about trains. What can I do now to help me accomplish my goal? Thanks for all of your advice as I appreciate all the help I can get!    

 

If you want to be an engineer for Amtrak, go to school and become the type of engineer that designs and builds stuff.   Or an electrical engineer... I'm sure there's plenty of use for them on the corridor. 

You can always become the engineer that waves to the people at grade crossings anytime in life.  But you may never get the chance to go to school (as easily) as you can when you get out of high school.

I did go to college, but I'm kicking myself for not going into engineering... a field probably would have enjoyed.  Maybe someday.   I just started a new chapter in my RR career, so I'll see where it leads.

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by PARTSGUY on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:03 PM

Hi Trainfan25, Well, I sincerely hope there IS an Amtrak that's still in existance when you're old enough to put your keister into the right hand, or middle seat. With the political climate such as it is right now, (please, no rebuttal's) I don't see any, or new monies coming from the Government for a railroad that can't stand on it's own two feet. Politician's HATE Amtrak, and they're the knuckle head's that created it! Oh' sure,  the corridor will most likely be in existance, but only because it alone generate a viable $income$ for it's "owner's." 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:19 PM

Welcome to the Forum young sir!  Hope to hear from you more often.  And I'm not so sure I'd want to move from Philly to New York.  New York  (I'm assuming you're talking about the city), if it's anything like North Jersey where I'm from the only thing keeping people there are all the great pizzarias, burger joints, diners, and bakeries.  Otherwise they'd have left a long time ago.  Nothing wrong with Philadelphia and it's environs.  I've visited there many times and enjoy myself tremendously each time.

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, July 27, 2012 12:21 AM

Did we scare him away?

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 27, 2012 8:08 AM

zugmann

Did we scare him away?

15 year olds have short attention spans.

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Posted by petitnj on Friday, July 27, 2012 8:56 AM

Stay in school and get an engineering degree (mechanical, electrical, computer, biomechanical, industrial, chemical...). In spite of the grim reports on jobs I have never had as many companies call the school and look for college educated science and engineering grads. Only go to tech school if you have a specific goal and have talked to someone in the industry who knows what the requirements are.

Then once you have some time, volunteer at a tourist railroad and become an engineer for them. Pay is poor but the hours and scenery are great.

We have a great need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) folks out here and the world still pumps out MBA's!

Stay in school.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, July 29, 2012 4:58 PM

Well, of course the MBA mills keep pumping out MBA's, that's their business!  Think they care what happens once you walk out the door with an MBA and nothing else and can't find a use for it?  They've got  theirs brother, that's all they care about.  There's a great surplus of lawyers as well but the law schools keep pumping them out too.  Another story.

And if that aspiring young engineer is still out there, I say get a good education son, but follow your dreams too.  If they don't pan out at least you'll have something to fall back on.   If higher education's not your bag then be a craftsman, the world's always going to need plumbers, electricians, HVAC specialists, auto mechanics, and so on.  You won't get rich but you'll always be workin'.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 30, 2012 6:55 AM

Still being school aged - become a double threat - devote your mind to a academic curriculum and devote you hands into developing a salable craft skill.  There will always be a demand for one or the other and you can command top dollar where both are required.

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