The job itself can be great, and can be just as boring and numb as any other.
It is quite possible KCS has no female conductors, my railroad has none.
We did have a female engineer, but she retired.
Be prepared to be away from your kids and home for several days at a time.
Until you have enough seniority to hold a yard job or a local turn. You will ride the extra board or be in pool service.
The hardest physical part of the job will be having to pick up and carry a knuckle, about 90 lbs.
I know, you already said you tossed lumber around for years, I have flipped a stack or two of plywood myself, and we both know it’s the mass and inertia and balance that counts…none of which applies to picking up a piece of steel about the size of a basketball.
Lining switches and tying hand brakes is about the most physical it will get, but be prepared to work in every type of weather you can imagine, from snow to driving rain to 102 degree summer days.
Most of the job is mental, being alert and aware of what is going on around you, and figuring out how to get the work done in the least amount of moves and time.
KCS, like all carriers, will want you to focus on personal safety, so stress that in your next interview, and trust me, there is a safe and efficient way to do this job, there is zero reasons to take any risk.
Be prepared to be ostracized for a while, the male work force in T&E service will give you a hard time, first because you’re a new hire, or “newbie” and second because you’re a female…toss it right back at them, most of what they spout off about is simply to see if you can take the heat, so don’t go running to the trainmaster if your feelings get hurt, stand your ground instead, and once they see your serious about the job, they will quit giving you a hard time.
Most of the folks I know at KCS are pretty good at what they do, and a pretty good bunch of folks, you should like working there.
You didn’t say how old your kids were, but understand you will not be home every night, and most likely will not be able to take them to and from school, show up for birthdays and such…the railroad will own you and your time.
If you kids are old enough to care for themselves, of if you have someone like a grandparent that can watch them, great, if not, then you will have to make arrangements for them.
By the way, we have a female conductor here on the forums, who is also a RCO, remote control operator, which means she can run a remote control locomotive.
Her name is Sara, hopefully she will jump in here and add her experience to this.