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Possible short time solution of shortage of Amtrak engineers and conductors.

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Possible short time solution of shortage of Amtrak engineers and conductors.
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 10, 2021 1:59 PM

I have borrowed this from a post on another site.  Of course there are probably other problems that I invite others to list

Two points.
1. Gardner's testimonty did not cover the question has him lucky as he was able to avoid answering any question why no employment openings for T&E have been posted for any LD crew locations.
2. Railway age has come up with a proposed temporary solution by allowing some retired T&E employees to come back to work. Would require legislation by congress.

Congress, Unions Can Cure Rail Worker Shortage - Railway Age

This proposal could work easily for Amtrak as engineers and conductors sped most of their time inside of the trains. However, I see freight RR problems as many very older conductors could not take the long periods of outside the loco running drop and pickup with the brake checks. Also, the broken into train examinations.

Amtrak could benefit quickly from retired freight engineers on various routes. Retired freight conductors maybe not so much but they certainly could be used as assistant conductors and learn the ropes with on-the-job experience.

Congress, Unions Can Cure Rail Worker Shortage - Railway Age

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, December 10, 2021 2:15 PM

While I can't speak for every retired railroader.  Those that I know, while they enjoyed what they did for their livelyhood, have no desire to do it again.  RRB payments and other Pension payments for the most part mean they will never HAVE to work another day to maintain their life style.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, December 10, 2021 9:06 PM

BaltACD

While I can't speak for every retired railroader.  Those that I know, while they enjoyed what they did for their livelyhood, have no desire to do it again.  RRB payments and other Pension payments for the most part mean they will never HAVE to work another day to maintain their life style.

 

"Have no desire" is putting it mildly.  Most of those I know who have retired would be rolling on the floor if they were asked to come back temporarily.  Most can't wait to pull the pin and tell the railroad where to go.

Jeff

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 10, 2021 9:09 PM

Balt I agree with you but the ability to draw RRB and get a monthly from a RR might be enticing.  Also anything they earned would add to their RRB payments?   Of course would depend on how legislation is written.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, December 10, 2021 10:10 PM

blue streak 1
Balt I agree with you but the ability to draw RRB and get a monthly from a RR might be enticing.  Also anything they earned would add to their RRB payments?   Of course would depend on how legislation is written.

Ending back up in a erratic call and/or assignment working cycle - after leaving a career of such working situations - retirees have no desire to subject themselves no matter the compensation.

Considering theat one element of the government has been working tirelessly to eliminate the middle class - I would not expect any legislation to benefit any wage earner, without some element of the legislation taking back twice what was 'given'.

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, December 11, 2021 11:30 AM

If guys wanted to keep working after they reached retirement age, they wouldn't have retired.  

 

I do like the terminology.  "Allow them to work".  You couldn't get most of them back at gunpoint!

This idea is (let's be nice and say) "out of touch".  

Probably the biggest part of what keeps people at the RR is the chance at a RR retirement.  I don't think any are going to give that up to play trains another few years.  And that's overlooking training, qualifications, seniroty issues, physicals, etc. 

Also from the posted article:  "This combination remedy of legislation and union cooperation could be extended to freight railroads similarly experiencing labor shortages."

 

Ok:  he is COMPLETELY out of touch. 

In the end, maybe we should treat the disease instead of easing the symptoms? 

 

  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 11, 2021 1:59 PM

I find it hard to take anything from Frank Wilner seriously.  He was fairly high up in the UTU when it was decertified in Canada as a result of the international UTU leadership taking CN's side during a strike instead of supporting their own members (we became Teamsters shortly after).  

They've tried hiring retirees back here as well, and a fair number do come back for short periods.  But it never lasts.  

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, December 11, 2021 4:16 PM

SD70DUDE:    Maybe a short time would be all that is needed?  Also there is the possibility of part time in a month?.  Just saying?

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, December 11, 2021 4:34 PM

This isn't a short-time sort of problem.  

  

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, December 11, 2021 4:50 PM

blue streak 1
SD70DUDE:    Maybe a short time would be all that is needed?  Also there is the possibility of part time in a month?.  Just saying?

Manpower is not a short term problem in transportation.

In the rail side of transportation PSR's manpower tactics are and continue to be the issue, no matter the traffic levels.  Just saying.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, December 11, 2021 8:27 PM

IMO this proposal probably will go nowhere.  If it does then it would mainly help Amtrak as work conditions are much better than freight RRs. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, December 11, 2021 9:19 PM

Might retired freight crews who worked irregular hours be attracted to Amtrak's more regular passenger train hours?

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, December 11, 2021 10:45 PM

MidlandMike
Might retired freight crews who worked irregular hours be attracted to Amtrak's more regular passenger train hours?

For the most part, freight crews would be PO'd that they have to interact with 'passengers'.  Unit Coal trains don't have a verbal aspect.

The reality is that many of the now retired T&E personnel had opportunities during their employment history of going to work for Amtrak.  They turned the opportunity down then and are more than likely not interested in revisiting that decision in their retirement.

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Posted by Big Cat on Friday, December 17, 2021 1:53 PM

Put me in coach!!!

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, December 18, 2021 9:13 AM

MidlandMike
Might retired freight crews who worked irregular hours be attracted to Amtrak's more regular passenger train hours?

I think retirement hours are probably a bit better. 

  

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Posted by NP Eddie on Monday, December 20, 2021 4:25 PM

As information, one now retired GN-BN passenger conductor and GN, BN BNSF freight conductor told me why should I go to AMTK and for for $10,000 less per year and work nights? He would have been working out of St. Cloud to Winona, MN (2 trips) and one trip to Minot and return with two days off. I called crews on the NP passenger trains from St. Paul, MN to Fargo, ND. Three crews were assigned to the Mainstreeter and three to the North Coast Limited. The train pairings were 1 and 26 and 2 and 25. (Mainstreeter and NCL). So one crew departed Monday, second crew Tuesday, and the third crew Wednesday and then repeat the cycle.

Ed Burns

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Posted by roundstick on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 10:07 AM

Borrow them from the freight side just like the old days when Conrail and BN was on the extra boards for conductors and engineers on Amtrak till 1980 something. Love the stories of the grizzled old freight conductors in the lounge car.

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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 9:39 PM

roundstick
Borrow them from the freight side just like the old days when Conrail and BN was on the extra boards for conductors and engineers on Amtrak till 1980 something. Love the stories of the grizzled old freight conductors in the lounge car.

Bold to assume the freight guys have anyone to spare.  

  

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, December 27, 2021 10:50 AM

Tough to hire people who can easily choose to retire with a decent pension instead. Probably better to prepare for a couple of years of lean running while hiring and training their own. Many people in their 30s,40s and even 50s have no pension and no retirement savings...they might jump at a job that pays well and offers a pension at the end of it. Amtrak needs to refocus their hiring on that demographic ,and they need to be prepared to train them. 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 27, 2021 11:14 AM

Here is a listing of Amtrak openings as of Dec 23 rd.  Use  ctrl  + to view part below. 

Job Matches:
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302840 - San Luis Obispo - San Luis Obispo, CA, US, 93401
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302845 - Salt Lake City - Salt Lake City, UT, US, 84101
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302848 - Seattle - Seattle, WA, US, 98134
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302846 - Milwaukee - Milwaukee, WI, US, 53203
Quality Process Engineer - 90297998 - Beech Grove - Beech Grove, IN, US, 46107
Sr HR/EEO Investigations Specialist - 90296456 - - US
Lead Technical Recruiter - 90296012 - - US
EMCS Electronic Security Systems Mgr - 90282131 - Washington - Washington, DC, US, 20002
Project Controls Specialist - 90298950 - Washington - Washington, DC, US, 20001
Motor Equip Opr - 90295676 - Rensselaer - Rensselaer, NY, US, 12144

 

EDIT:  here is another list of all operating positions for past 7 days.

 

     Reset
Bridge Operator - 90115616 - Mystic Mystic, CT, US, 06355 Dec 25, 2021  
Baggageman-Full - 90016053 - Spokane Spokane, WA, US, 99201 Dec 23, 2021  
Baggageman/Mail - 90033600 - Seattle Seattle, WA, US, 98104 Dec 23, 2021  
Superintendent Terminal - 90299896 - Chicago Chicago, IL, US, 60606 Dec 22, 2021  
Road Foreman I/II - 90206558 - Miami Miami, FL, US, 33147 Dec 22, 2021  
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302840 - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA, US, 93401 Dec 16, 2021  
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302845 - Salt Lake City Salt Lake City, UT, US, 84101 Dec 16, 2021  
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302848 - Seattle Seattle, WA, US, 98134 Dec 16, 2021  
PASSENGER ENGINEER TRAINEE - 90302846 - Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI, US, 53203 Dec 16, 2021  
Yard Master Chicago - 90003817 - Chicago Chicago, IL, US, 60607 Dec 15, 2021  
Trainmaster - 90297516 - Chicago Chicago, IL, US, 60607 Dec 15, 2021  
Red Cap - 90104779 - Newark Newark, NJ, US, 07102 Dec 9, 2021  
PASSENGER CONDUCTOR TRAINEE - Washington Washington Dec 9, 2021  
Yard Master - 90037724 - New York New York, NY, US, 10001 Dec 8, 2021  
Yard Master General - 90040540 - Washington Washington, DC, US, 20018 Dec 7, 2021  
GEB BRIDGE OPERATOR - 90243641 - New London New London, CT, US, 06320 Dec 7, 2021  
 
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Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 7:58 AM

Ulrich

Tough to hire people who can easily choose to retire with a decent pension instead. Probably better to prepare for a couple of years of lean running while hiring and training their own. Many people in their 30s,40s and even 50s have no pension and no retirement savings...they might jump at a job that pays well and offers a pension at the end of it. Amtrak needs to refocus their hiring on that demographic ,and they need to be prepared to train them. 

 

The unknowing teaching/training of the unknowing will continue hopefully without any disastrous incidents as have occurred in the past.

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 10:34 AM

243129

 

 
Ulrich

Tough to hire people who can easily choose to retire with a decent pension instead. Probably better to prepare for a couple of years of lean running while hiring and training their own. Many people in their 30s,40s and even 50s have no pension and no retirement savings...they might jump at a job that pays well and offers a pension at the end of it. Amtrak needs to refocus their hiring on that demographic ,and they need to be prepared to train them. 

 

 

 

The unknowing teaching/training of the unknowing will continue hopefully without any disastrous incidents as have occurred in the past.

 

Or maybe have experienced and knowledgeable people teach the new hires. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 1:50 PM

I have become nervous,  looking at Amtrak's hiring criteria and training practice, whether you can get many of the likely hires to listen to the experienced and knowledgeable long enough or hard enough to get the picture... let alone the necessary self-discipline, and definitely let alone teaching it to 'the next generations' of employees...

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Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 4:40 PM

Overmod

I have become nervous,  looking at Amtrak's hiring criteria and training practice, whether you can get many of the likely hires to listen to the experienced and knowledgeable long enough or hard enough to get the picture... let alone the necessary self-discipline, and definitely let alone teaching it to 'the next generations' of employees...

 

I hope I am wrong but I feel it is just a matter of time before the next human error disaster occurs.

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 6:28 PM

Overmod
I have become nervous,  looking at Amtrak's hiring criteria and training practice, whether you can get many of the likely hires to listen to the experienced and knowledgeable long enough or hard enough to get the picture... let alone the necessary self-discipline, and definitely let alone teaching it to 'the next generations' of employees...

Every generation says that about the next generation.  

Just another form of "darn kids these days..."

  

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 7:49 PM

My point was more about every generation rolling their eyes a bit at what the previous generation thought was important -- the "OK boomer" that is the counterpart of 'kids these days'.

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 9:20 PM

Overmod
My point was more about every generation rolling their eyes a bit at what the previous generation thought was important -- the "OK boomer" that is the counterpart of 'kids these days'.

Every generation has their own challenges.  Not always better or worse, but different.  But old head RRers knew their stuff, current ones know their stuff, and future RRers will know their stuff*.   To think otherwise is just pointless gatekeeping.

* Just realize that stuff does evolve and change with time. 

 

  

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Posted by 243129 on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 9:01 AM

zugmann

 

 
Overmod
My point was more about every generation rolling their eyes a bit at what the previous generation thought was important -- the "OK boomer" that is the counterpart of 'kids these days'.

 

Every generation has their own challenges.  Not always better or worse, but different.  But old head RRers knew their stuff, current ones know their stuff, and future RRers will know their stuff*.   To think otherwise is just pointless gatekeeping.

* Just realize that stuff does evolve and change with time. 

 

 

If Amtrak's human error track record, since they instituted their own training regimen, is any indicator your last two observations are inaccurate.

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Posted by Ulrich on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 12:04 PM

I look at the kids around me and the young people I encounter in my daily routine.. the future is in good hands. 

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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 7:37 PM

Ulrich

I look at the kids around me and the young people I encounter in my daily routine.. the future is in good hands. 

 

Yep.  I think that  older/past generations sometimes have a hard time dealing with the fact they are are not always as relevant as they once were.  Life (and in this example railroads) will continue to progress and move on without them.

And I speak as someone that's closer to the top of the roster than the bottom.  

  

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