RAILROADTRAINING wrote:does anybody know who the largest short line railroad is, and who the best short line railroad is to work for, since im looking into going with a shortline to get the feel of the rails, and get experience to join a class 1 railroad such as bnsf, and go with a shortline for about 2 years, and im looking for a short line with good equipment, good tracks, large amount of route miles, and good pay?
I work for a fairly large shortline, and i can tell you that if they find out that you are just there for the training, you won't get hired. And your experience will mean very little to a Class 1, might give you a little bit of an edge, but nowhere near what you might imagine! Not trying to be an a-hole, just the truth. With the way regulations and company policies are today, you will have to go through the Class 1's conductor class unless you can show that you have previous class 1 experience. Several guys I have worked with have gone to the CPRS, CSXT, AMTK and all have had to redo their training, even with 10 plus years under their belts. This even applies to regional s and non-independent shortlines, like PanAm and the NECR for example. A rule of thumb is, if you want to make money, go big. If you want a life, however small, stay small.
As a potential new hire, you have to think of what the RR lifestyle really means. Even on a shortline, the hours are long, the work can be mind numbingly boring, and a few minutes later, intensively active and physically punishing. You will be working at all hours of the day, in any kind of weather possible, alone on the ground, responsible for all the actions taken by yourself and the engineer. It took me a little while to get used to what I have described, but once I crested that hill, there has been no looking back. Another way to put it, there is the glamorized view of "Oh boy, you work for the RR, how cool!" And then there is the reality, which very rarely lives up to the glamor side of things. I know this makes me sound like I don't like the job, but it is the oppisite actually! I love it! there are those moments when the hype and reality come together, and it is awesome! When you realise that you are in control of 18000 horsepower (6 GP 40's) with a 10000+ ton train behind you, clawing you way up a steep grade under a full moon on a cold, crisp night, notched out, turbos and flanges screaming, a nice, mournful horn echoing off the surrounding hills, how can you not enjoy that!