NARS - National Academy of Railroad Sciences

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NARS - National Academy of Railroad Sciences

Postby cchoate83 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:30 pm

I am interested in having a career with the railroad. I was wondering if it is best to attend NARS and try to get on, or if I should try to get hired on first without the program. I have heard some say you should wait to get hired on, but my problem is not being able to get my foot in the door. My biggest fear with attending NARS is not finding a job afterward. I have read on here about being furloughed or unable to find a job. Any advice??
cchoate83
 

Re: NARS?

Postby BigWeb » Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:28 am

cchoate83 wrote:I am interested in having a career with the railroad. I was wondering if it is best to attend NARS and try to get on, or if I should try to get hired on first without the program. I have heard some say you should wait to get hired on, but my problem is not being able to get my foot in the door. My biggest fear with attending NARS is not finding a job afterward. I have read on here about being furloughed or unable to find a job. Any advice??


You're going to get many different opinions to your question. Guys that went to NARS or any other RR school, and got a job are going to say that it's a great investment.

I myself think that it's a ripoff, but I was hired off the street. There's no use to pay the money for school, when the RR's will pay you in their own conductor class. You will end up spending $5000 plus lodging and food, be out of work for however long the course is, and then come out of there with a RR tech certificate which does you absolutely no good unless you get a job on the RR. Then if you do get a Class 1 job, you still have to go through their conductor training courses, a repeat of what you just went through. Also, there is always the chance of being furloughed, that means that you have the bills from the class to pay for on top of your other bills.

I hired on about two years ago. At our hiring session there were 25 guys. 1 of the 25 went to NARS, and he made sure that everyone at the hiring session made sure they knew. Anyway, he wasn't one of the six that was hired.

There's no need in trying to "buy" your job. If you have a good work history, good background, and a good head on your shoulders, you'll get on somewhere. It may take a while. Good luck man.
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Postby kickum » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:15 am

I would have to agree with BigWeb, but I may be a bit biased as I also came off the street. I think that NARS is a big waste of money. I would suggest getting your foot in the door hiring on with a short line then after 6-12 months apply with a class 1. A little bit of "on your own" experience should make you more qualified then the NARS guys who have been babysat. No pun intended but I've had my share of NARS graduates.

Just my take. Good luck.
kickum
 

Postby rwallace2fan1 » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:30 am

As a graduate of NARS in Sep 06 I would say that it was a waste of money, unless you do not live in the KC area, and do not mind moving. There are too many people that go through the school that are from the KC area so the list is very long. I only had a few guys hired out of my class with the BN, mainly to the northern region(no system seniority) or down in Texas(primary recall) I would definetly try getting on without paying the cash, and don't forget that if you do not live here tack on an extra 2k for lodging and food.
Last edited by rwallace2fan1 on Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sugarhill1978 » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:33 pm

As a graduate of NARS in Sep 07 I would say that it was a waste of money, unless you do not live in the KC area, and do not mind moving. There are too many people that go through the school that are from the KC area so the list is very long. I only had a few guys hired out of my class with the BN, mainly to the northern region(no system seniority) or down in Texas(primary recall) I would definetly try getting on without paying the cash, and don't forget that if you do not live here tack on an extra 2k for lodging and food.


yes u are right I hired for that very last class for kansas city it was surposed to be 4-23-07 but they cancelled my class, oh also i'm from Kansas city area, so they offer me Galveston, OK city, Beaumont, or Ft Worth so I chose Ft Worth and under primary recall. Your right no BN because they know u can run right after u get trained. cchoate83 tell them what said with your favorite place first second favorite 2nd, this is the way I said it, First choice: Kansas City, Second choice: Lincoln, Ne, Third Choice: Any place but Northwest seniority district (where u can't transfer your seniority back home) and nowhere in California. I say u got alot better chances that way. I Graduated in March 07 I had people in my class that graduated early 06 becuase they played that waiting game. Listen man the BNSF is based on system wide seniority as a conductor so u better get in where u fit in just to get a date. 2months after i graduated i was in fort worth class becoming a switchman/conductor but there were people in my class that graduated 1 year ago just because they were playing that waiting game. I could have waited for KC. I've been working here 7 months and still no KC class. True enough I'm under primary recall for 5 years but u don't have to wait the whole 5 yrs just wait until u get a few classes under you then can leave for good, I'm going to leave in about a year because they will be 3 classes under me by then, so if they recall people back it will get them before it gets me. I think its a waste of money if u plan on living in a certain place but if you willing to leave for a little while and hire out where they need people then transfer back home in a year or two. U see in KC I would be cut off right now but in Fort Worth i'm working. The good thing is when u decide to go home after a couple of years u be able to hold better jobs their than if when u started their at first. Good Luck man and if u go tell them your open to going other places if they can't give u what u want, it gives u alot better shot :-D
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Postby jz441 » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:44 am

It's hard to say weather NARS is a waste of time and money... When RR's are in need of people, they will hire anyone with a beating hart and ability to pass the drug test... :-D
However, in times like these, when there are hundreds of furloughs nationwide, railroads get cocky and picky. If there is a need in certain area, one railroad will hire furloughs from another railroad. This happened in LA about 8 years ago. UP furloughed new class of conductors, and BNSF hired them right away. In times like these experience and qualifications do count and I would say that NARS would help you get hired, but there is no guarantee that you won't get furloughed.
Good luck!
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Postby Ironman » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:55 pm

No one really wants to spend $5,000 to "buy" their job. A lot of people, like myself, had no choice but to pay AMDG because at the time it was the only way to get in.

Most railroads have gone back to hiring directly, and paying you during the whole training period. I did'nt start getting paid untill I got out of AMDG.

I don't think that I wasted my money, or "bought" my job, but if you don't have to pay anymore, why would you?
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Postby emtwalls » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:02 pm

A huge waste of time and money. Take it from someone who spent the time and money and still cant get a job with a Class 1 a year later. Preferential Consideration is BS, they are going to hire who they want to hire. And I have nothing on my employment history or background to disqualify me. But I do have a pretty piece of paper that says im a conductor trainee graduate that cost me 10K.
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Postby cchoate83 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:52 pm

Thank you all. This has really helped me make my decision. Right now, I think it's best if I keep trying to get on with a railroad first.
cchoate83
 

A different opinion

Postby SantaFeGuy » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:30 am

I'd tend to disagree. If you note the guys who were most outspoken saying it was a waste had to characteristics which I think you should consider.

1 - They were hired a couple years ago when business was on a steep upswing.

2 - few of them went to NARS so they don't actually KNOW if it helps or not. They assume that because they got hired it's not relevant.

As far as "buying" a job, do attorneys "buy" their job, or accountants, or car mechanics. In general you pay to get training to a level to break in to the work. These train crew jobs are the last of the good blue collar jobs and as time goes on you'll find that you have to do something to stand out.

Right now with the economy trying to decide if it will go into a recession and hence with business down, railroads will hire but it will not be like it was several years ago. It would appear that even if we don't go into a recession, mid to late 2009 will be the SOONEST that business will start to turn up. Until, then if you'd don't have some qualification that makes you stand out your wait could be a long one. While there is not assurance you'll get a job, if you go to NARS and get 90% or better on the tests then you will get interviewed and put on the new hire list. When BNSF has openings, you'll get preference and that's the fact of the matter.

On the class that I got in on, and you should note, BNSF did not have many classes last year, everyone was NARS, no off the street. Now in Denver I understand they did hire off the street because they didn't have enough NARS candidates, but if they had them, then no one from off the street would have made it.

Don't get me wrong, $5000 is a lot of money if you're not from the KC area, but if you get hired a year earlier than you would otherwise, calculate the difference between what your 1st year railroad income would be (at least $40000) and what you make now. Presumably you don't make near that or you wouldn't be looking to make this move.

If it's more than $5000, then you need to be thinking about it, because the second reality is that seniority is EVERYTHING on the railroad and the earlier you get started the better shot you have at the better jobs or for engineer training.

Just some things to think about. I'm sure now some of these guys will got postal and start screaming, but if you take time to think about it, you'll see there are choices and some make sense if you think it out analytically.
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A different opinion

Postby SantaFeGuy » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:30 am

I'd tend to disagree. If you note the guys who were most outspoken saying it was a waste had to characteristics which I think you should consider.

1 - They were hired a couple years ago when business was on a steep upswing.

2 - few of them went to NARS so they don't actually KNOW if it helps or not. They assume that because they got hired it's not relevant.

As far as "buying" a job, do attorneys "buy" their job, or accountants, or car mechanics. In general you pay to get training to a level to break in to the work. These train crew jobs are the last of the good blue collar jobs and as time goes on you'll find that you have to do something to stand out.

Right now with the economy trying to decide if it will go into a recession and hence with business down, railroads will hire but it will not be like it was several years ago. It would appear that even if we don't go into a recession, mid to late 2009 will be the SOONEST that business will start to turn up. Until, then if you'd don't have some qualification that makes you stand out your wait could be a long one. While there is not assurance you'll get a job, if you go to NARS and get 90% or better on the tests then you will get interviewed and put on the new hire list. When BNSF has openings, you'll get preference and that's the fact of the matter.

On the class that I got in on, and you should note, BNSF did not have many classes last year, everyone was NARS, no off the street. Now in Denver I understand they did hire off the street because they didn't have enough NARS candidates, but if they had them, then no one from off the street would have made it.

Don't get me wrong, $5000 is a lot of money if you're not from the KC area, but if you get hired a year earlier than you would otherwise, calculate the difference between what your 1st year railroad income would be (at least $40000) and what you make now. Presumably you don't make near that or you wouldn't be looking to make this move.

If it's more than $5000, then you need to be thinking about it, because the second reality is that seniority is EVERYTHING on the railroad and the earlier you get started the better shot you have at the better jobs or for engineer training.

Just some things to think about. I'm sure now some of these guys will got postal and start screaming, but if you take time to think about it, you'll see there are choices and some make sense if you think it out analytically.
SantaFeGuy
 

Postby Ironman » Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:53 am

I think you make some good points, SantaFeGuy. I guess it all depends on what railroad.

I know that for CSX, NARS would be a waste of money.
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Postby jz441 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:55 pm

Ironman wrote:I think you make some good points, SantaFeGuy. I guess it all depends on what railroad.

I know that for CSX, NARS would be a waste of money.


You are right... NARS is a GCOR program, and CSX uses their own rule book.
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Postby emtwalls » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:12 pm

Dont get the impression that just because you go to NARS BNSF will hire you. Only 2 people out of my class of 21 who graduated from NARS in Feb 2007 have been hired by BNSF. Me and another NARS graduate were recently passed over for 2 non NARS applicants due to a minority hiring quota that BNSF has. Im lucky enough to have a job with a shortline but the moneys not as good as Class 1 pay and he is hiring on with UP in Ft Worth. Its a common misconception that just because you go to NARS your a shoe in for a job with BNSF. Not hardly the case.
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Postby freshmeat » Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:33 pm

The thing that really p---es me off about NARS is that BNSF dangles this carrot out there in their job postings, then they don't hire a majority from NARS. They need to either make up their mind. Hire everyone from NARS, or no one. It isn't fair for a guy that shelled out $6,000+ expenses to be hired and then go through training with someone that didn't go to the school. If it is so darn important that they put it in their job announcements, then put your (BNSF's) money where their mouth is.

For my money, it isn't worth it.

If you get an interview, just remember, safety, safety and patience with your fellow man. That's all they want to hear.
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