• What is the best path to becoming an engineer for a Boston area transit company? (Freight or passenger)

  • General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.
General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.

Moderator: thebigc

  by rl.greenwood20
So I’ve spent the last 5 years working my way up through the bar industry. I started at 21 as a bouncer. Now at 26 I’m a manager/bartender. I honestly enjoy bartendering but I hate managing. I recently decided that I do NOT want to do this the rest of my life. Trains are pretty much the only non athletic obsession I’ve had since I was a kid. (My bedroom window was right next to the Worcester line). I had always planned on working for CSX when I was younger but of course the yard near me closed right before I became old enough to work so that goal just fell by the wayside.

The past few months I’ve been trying to take the first steps into the industry. I know that I’m not going to be hired and thrown into the cab of a locomotive. I’m willing to start from the bottom and work for years to get to that point though. I’m honestly pretty confused and hesitant on how to proceed (I don’t want to get a job that doesn’t lead to me being an engineer). I don’t personally know anyone in the industry to ask for advice. I’ve had my name in the MBTA lottery for years but at this point I think I have a better chance of hitting the actual lottery. I recently applied to Amtrak as a conductor trainee. I was excited when they sent me a test but I have not heard back in a week (starting to look bleak).

I imagine some of you here work in the industry. Do you have any advice on the best way to get a foot in the door? Like I said before I know it’s not any easy road but I’m willing to take whatever steps necessary.
  by CRail
Railroad and transit hiring processes are painfully slow. Usually, not hearing back right away is actually a good sign. You’re on the right path with Amtrak should that work out. There are exceptions, but engineers are usually hired from within the ranks of the train crew. Watch the Amtrak, Keolis, and Pan Am websites for job postings and keep applying. Sometimes it takes a couple years just to get in, don’t get discouraged by that.

Check nearby short lines for openings too like Mass Coastal, Grafton & Upton, and Providence & Worcester. It’s easier to get noticed by a class 1 with experience.
  by Acela150
rl.greenwood20 wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:06 am Thanks for the advice! Ive applied to Amtrak CSX and Pan Am as a conductor and all have since been filled. I didn't even get an interview with any of them, Pretty depressing so far but oh well. I can't expect much with 0 experience.
Honestly, CSX is not the way to go right now. Many Class I's have adopted "Precision Scheduled Railroading". In which layoffs have occurred by the thousands. Pan AM, Amtrak, Keolis are the way to go in the Boston area right now.

It took me years to just get an invite to a testing session. I think I went to about 5 different testing sessions before I got an interview. I had about a years worth of RR experience before Amtrak even offered me a testing session. So it's not an overnight process. My suggestion is to keep applying. It'll happen at the right time.