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A backwards world and railroading.

  • nomad...
    your last statment about about some of the younger new hires just wanting to get on and go is one of the biggerst reasons why railfans that cant seporate the hobby part of them from the railroad worker while on duty is what i was getting at... thats why i said that braks railroad company would fall apart in days... i know befor i hired out i thought the job was all glory and fun... but that soon turned to a daily grind of haveing to look over my shoulder and cover my own *** evey min on the company proporty fearing for my job....and that is what alot of buffs dont see... they only still see the glory part of the job.. and you said it when you said that it was never that way...and it only gets worse and worse on the crews with the head hunting strike fear into the ranks style of managment... im not saying that its not normal to like the just saying that in my own personal exparinces with working on the railroad...the job has it highpoints..but they are few and far between... its hard for me to come to work with jumping up and down enthusiasum (i know i buchred that when you never know if your going to be called to the carpet for breaking a minor rule..... and you know its impossable to follow every rule to the letter..becouse if you would never get a train to move..let alone over the road.... so the only thing that realy keeps me going and not turn in my papers to try another kind of job is the money... where i am at... their are very few high paying jobs and the ones that are need 4+ years of college and some kind of degree...other then t hat..most of the jobs here are in the 8 to 12 buck an hour range.. about half of what i am making as an engineer now... so a paycut to try something else is out of the question for some time to it boils down to money for me.... its just a pay check... but in guess in some way i envy you ..that after 30+ years of a railroad lifestyel..and all the changes that have happend to the industry over them years... that you can still be happy to come to work... my hat is off to you on that brother....
    csx engineer
    "I AM the higher source" Keep the wheels on steel
  • csx engineer-- As we've gone back and forth on this topic you've made me think a lot. I've come to a couple of conclusions. First, I guess I have to admit that in some ways I'm just an overgrown kid. That's OK, though, because that attitude keeps me interested in life and gives me the ability to look for the good in things instead of the bad. The other thing that sticks in my mind is this, though. You and I have been around the block a few times, so we both know that the people you work with can make a huge difference. You can be lucky in who you work with, you can be lucky in who your bosses are, or you can be lucky in both. Over the years I've pretty much been lucky in both. Oh, I've had a few rotten SOB's come my way over the years, but I've managed to outlast 'em all. Maybe that's what the difference is. Anyway, just a thought. Wish I had more time, but I gotta run. Have a good one, Bro.

  • One of the flags being railfans that I haven't seen mentioned in this discussion is the fact that railroading like any other company in any field is a business. The railroad perspective on foamers is they live in the past and don't take the business side seriously enough. Can you imagine the reaction to a new college educated accountant or mechanical engineer who tried to get a railroad to consider operating a steam engine? It would be something along the lines of, "Not another one!". Nostalgia is fine if asked for it. Solving the operating and logistical problems is what they are looking for. Keeping antiquated equipment and lines open because we know the history won't cut it. That is where foamers fall down on the job.
  • ndbprr-- We've actually batted this around to some degree, but without stating it as such. As mentioned, csx engineer and I have both seen new hires that only lasted a few weeks or months, and it's usually because they're basically foamers who had no idea that it's actually WORK. Seems kinda dumb, but it happens. Your comment that they don't take the business side seriously enough is right on the money. My advice to all railfans ( including myself ) is to remember that if the railroads can't make money, there won't BE any railroads. Steam, etc. is fun, and we all love to see historic equipment on the rails, but at best these things are P.R. tools, not money makers.

    --JD Nomad
  • hi and thank you guys for this thread. I have been in aviation for 16 years and am considering a career change. I enjoy trains (I will go out of my way to see one) but not sure if I qualify as a foamer. I live in Phoenix, and the UP is hiring, and we have a light rail system coming to the city, it seems like the time might be now. csxengineer88's post reminded me of me. There is nothing fun about being stuck in the cramped confines of an airplane on a 110 degree day, or working out on the asphalt, and I tire of the people who think I am "lucky" to be an aircraft mechanic. It is a job. I am sure that a train service job would be no picnic, but I am equally sure I can do the job. Anybody's opinion on this subject would be appreciated. I suspect there are people on this forum who have forgotten more about railroading then I could hope to know. Thanks.
  • I spent 25 years working in radio and TV broadcasting, on the air, so I know a lot about a job people think is glamorous. Because I had a family, I did not want to move frequently as so many young people do in that business. I ended up anchoring and producing weekend, morning, and midday newscasts for all those years. In the final years, delivering morning news on Christmas Day, for example, told me I was not wrong in thinking about retirement. I had grown to be highly bored and disgusted with the content of most TV newscasts.
    The point is: the two rules mentioned above are very important. If you don't like what you're doing, you have to find a way to leave. Some young people think being on TV for the news would be great, and it has its rewards, as does driving a train, I'm sure. But batting out a script or recording a satellite feed of a big story only minutes before air time creates tension. If equipment balks, you're stuck with a big window of time to fill. Getting up at 2 am for all those years was a drag. Being constantly recognized in stores, etc, is a very big headache after a while. If you're feeling moody while you're grocery shopping, you have to smile when someone makes a flip remark about the news, or blames you for the bad weather, even though you're not the weather guy.
    Much much more happens behind the camera than in front of it, and after a while, it is just a job. I could also go on for a long time about news media in general. I grew tired of reporting bad bad things with very few uplifting stories.
    The enthusiasm of the young people amazed me, but I realized it was good, because eventually they would learn their craft and do well. I could not do that any more. I'm just glad the job lacked the danger of railroading. No lives were ever at stake when I worked, but I was tired of arrogant, pompous people who thought TV news was the most important thing on earth.
    To sum up: every job can be a headache. None is glamorous. All involve much more work and daily grind than outsiders can imagine. You really have to find something outside of work to keep your sanity. Trains do it for me. If you want to work in a particular field, no matter what you think it might involve, understand that it is work, work, work. The rewards are few and far between in this frenzied world of high speed technology.
    Thanks for 'listening' to this rant. George.
  • Well, like everyone said, railroading has its ups and downs. It can be interesting at times, and boring at others. My having been a tower operator for a road back here in the Chicago area, had its ups and downs. The days when I was busy were great, and the weekends and holidays were something else. Midnights too were often slow. Some of the old things that happened I remember today, and wish I could turn the clock back, but, that can't be done.
    Like everyone said, put your application in and keep pushing at it with whoever you put it in with. If nothing else, put an application in with every railroad around, maybe one is sure to come through for you. And now in this day and age, when most of the people my age are either dying or retiring, they are going to need more people. I am of the "babyboom era" so that means most of us are done working. Me, well that is another story. If you like trains and want to work for a railroad, do like everyone has said: put in your application, but make no mention of being a railbuff. You can tell them down the road, when you have been there for awhile. Good luck and happy hunting for whatever road you go with! ralph zimmer