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  1. #101
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Being a conductor is fun, providing your former military and can handle the life. I wouldn't trade railroading for any job in the world. You either love it or hate it.

  2. #102
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Quote Originally Posted by Dispatcher IB View Post
    Being a conductor is fun, providing your former military and can handle the life. I wouldn't trade railroading for any job in the world. You either love it or hate it.
    I would agree with that statement conditionally based on the working rules. I'll elaborate in my response to nhstadt. Also, from what I know of my buddies with CSX, I made a lot more than them, and the friends I have with MRL, a shortline, made even more than me, plus got 16.88% profit sharing, plus 5 weeks of vacation by year 2. Blew BNSF out of the water!


    Quote Originally Posted by nhstadt View Post
    How was being a conductor? That's one of those childhood dream jobs like crane operator, pilot, or policeman that seem like it might be fun as a kid, and has some redeemable qualities, but in actuality may suck. I have always wondered.
    Being a conductor was a great growing experience, but I would absolutely not go back to it. First off, the positive things:
    -I once went 15 days without working a single hour and still got paid my guarantee.
    -My guarantee was about $7000/month on the extraboard.
    -Williston provided housing and paid around $450-500/day as a brakeman, and I rarely had more than 3 hours of work to do.
    -Dispatcher SUG and EMA were AWESOME. As well as a guy named edited: I am pretty sure it was KLW. And I know his first name, and he is probably the best human on the face of the planet.

    Downsides...I'll not list the worst offenders, because they're total outliers and I honestly don't think you'd find them in 99% of the conductor positions:
    -PCL. Good dispatcher, total jerk much of the time.
    -Extraboard=no days off, on call 24/7/365. Expect to get off a train at 1100 hours, be in bed by 1300, and to be going hours later. The phone will go off. I had a 90-minute call. So I'd get called at, say, 2230, be there by 0000, and get off the train around 1200. Sometimes you'll wake up well rested and be scheduled for a train. You'll watch the lineup. It'll get delayed, pushed back, stuff will get switched around, and suddenly you've been up for 13 hours and are ready to go to bed. As soon as you do, you'll get a call. :P And then it's off you go to be awake for 14 more hours. And then the van driver will get lost...and you'll end up getting in bed after being awake for a day and a half.
    -My seniority district was closed and we dealt with the Bakken. Because of that, we had a hard time keeping employees. I was routinely denied my accrued days off. I also went over a month once and the company refused to pay me based on "union rules." The union where I was irritated me more than the company. I finally said I'd quit if I didn't get paid, and magically money appeared. :P
    -You don't even want to see the "motels" I got to stay in. Seriously. I got a room with cats and body fluids, then the SO burst in for a meth raid. :-/ I was often lied to and would show up and not have a room.
    -Furloughs happen and forced moves happen. I got to work all over out of hotels for months at a time.


    Anyway, that all sounds really negative, but honestly, it forced me to grow up, and I wouldn't trade if for the world. It just happened that my small district was very backward, but right down in Sheridan, WY, their working rules were awesome. If you want to be the world's highest-paid babysitter (easy job), get a cool experience, and learn to appreciate life (because you will be paid to not have a stable family life in some divisions), give it a whirl. I'd highly recommend researching the rules for the division though, because they vary wildly. Mine just happened to be the bottom of the barrel. I went in with a bunch of military guys. Every single one quit about a year before I did. A couple went to Montana Rail Link and loved it.

    It's not a horrible job, but I honestly can't recommend it to someone with a family, especially if you're a road conductor. However, when life gets tough or crappy, you can either conquer it and come out better on the other side...or not. So there is no way I would want to be Hal9000 without the experience I got with BNSF.

  3. #103
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Man, you guys have had some crappy experiences. I'm not sure what railroad you guys are working for but class 1 isn't that bad. In the couple of years I have been conducting I have been able to hold regular jobs but more often than not I'm on the extra board. I make good money even on the XB not working regularly i still pull in between 70-80k a year. When I do go over the road my trainmaster always deadheads me home. I also have a wife and our son who is 9 months old and yea the rail life can beat ya down but only if you let it. I work with a great bunch of guys and enjoy it. However the union as stated above friggin sucks. They don't protect you from anything, they just take your money and ignore your phone calls.

  4. #104
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Mine was because I was in a crappy BNSF division and we couldn't pay as much as the oilfields. Of 65 new hires, within 18 months 63 had quit. :P Now down in Sheridan, everyone was hanging around because it was a great job. If you ever want to feel better about your job, PM me and I can make that happen. : )

    Just FYI, if anyone is interested, Montana Rail Link is hiring dispatchers for Missoula, MT. It's a FANTASTIC company and way better than any of the Class 1s. Furthermore, they're not going to go out of business as BNSF signed a contract guaranteeing them pay for many, many years to come. They're a cash cow.

    They pay more than BNSF, have an awesome location, and are fantastic, small, and great to work with.

    Check it out here: Montana Rail Link - Current Position Openings

  5. #105
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    You need 3 years experience according to their job posting though.

  6. #106
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Well Ft. Worth has to get boring after a while. ; )

  7. #107
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Ya Hal9000 that's what I was thinking. I bet its nice getting to take in the scenery, especially up there where you are at. That's nice country. not something I'm looking at doing, was just curious. Just got my academy date to go work Air Traffic, I think I'll stick with my scopes haha.

  8. #108
    Hal9000's Avatar
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    nhstadt, you are wise beyond your years, sir. It is gorgeous country especially if you're a feral mountain boy like me. Hopefully I'll follow in your footsteps one day, as I just got hired a month ago to do ANG ATC out of CYS. Long road ahead for me before I can say, "Ya, I got credentials." Looking forward to it all, though! So long 10-MPH slow orders!

  9. #109
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Ya I'm a big outdoorsman, maybe one day I'll transfer to somewhere in the Rockies. I took the Army guard route, got me where I am today, best of luck to ya.

  10. #110
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    Re: Train dispatcher bnsf

    Train Dispatching is much easier than ATC but it sucks. I've done both. The cut throat ways of the railroad is what I don't like. The pay is great but not worth it. Especially since I am on the extra board...way of life is no fun.

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