Train dispatcher bnsf

Buck

Junior Member
Sep 23, 2008
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Current controller here, been waiting for the FAA longer than I wanted, exploring new options. Have some questions from CURRENT train dispatchers. How many hours a week do you work on average? What kind of benefits are offered? Pension, healthcare? How's the work environment? Might use the GI bill to pay for the course in Ft. Worth if it sounds worthwhile. My wife is a controller too so we may both jump into it.
 

ATC_MacGyver

MacGyver
Dec 19, 2008
609
6
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with the bears.
if you interview and get hired you get paid about 64k a year to take the classes. then you're paid about 80k a year after you complete training and work x amount of solo shifts.

no pension. unless you get into management. good luck bud.
 

BennyPops

Trusted Contributor
Aug 18, 2010
502
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if you interview and get hired you get paid about 64k a year to take the classes. then you're paid about 80k a year after you complete training and work x amount of solo shifts.

no pension. unless you get into management. good luck bud.

No pension for floor working dispatchers?!?! Guess I made the right decision after all, thought I was missing out. Guess not..
 

Buck

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Sep 23, 2008
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I guess my biggest question is how many hours weekly you work? I've heard that it could be way more than 40 hours a week. Is that true? I'm specifically referring to BNSF in Fort Worth.
 

ATCpilot12

Rookie
Jun 9, 2010
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Railroads like to work the hell out of their employess. You will most likely work no less than 40 hours, and expect to have to work more. Also Dont be surprised if they lay you off for no reason after training. And yes Im talking about BNSF in FT.Worth. If you really are looking into working for them Im about 99% sure they are the highest paying which is a plus. Got my info from a BNSF dispatcher.
 

Buck

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Sep 23, 2008
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That's what I'm hearing and it's looking less and less like something I'm gonna embark on. I'll continue with the contract world while I wait for FAA/DoD. Thanks for the info everyone.
 

jrlinds1

Newcomer
Feb 17, 2011
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I applied to this last round of hiring by BNSF because my unit (National Guard) is dragging its feet on getting me a CTO and I need to be making money at a real job and not bumming around shitty job to shitty job waiting on them to send me somewhere to finish out my ATC training.

/ventoff

I got it and I can answer a few of these questions.

How many hours a week do you work on average?
You work no more than 9 hours a day. That ninth hour is always paid as time and a half even if it's your first 8 hours of the work week. Anything over 40 hours a week is time and a half. How many hours you work a week is dependant on how you want to shift your schedule around. My buddy just worked two weeks straight (14 days) so that he could get off for drill one weekend. He said he typically works at LEAST 5 days a week and sometimes 6-7. It all depends. But they will NOT work you more than 9 hours a day, so it's not so bad.

What kind of benefits are offered? Pension, healthcare?
They have health insurance that they'll take outta your check. I believe it was $300 a month, but you can get your own insurance. Like me, I use Tri-Care because full coverage is only like $70 a month. :)

I don't know about pensions. They weren't mentioned in my orientation, so I doubt it. We pay Railway Retriement instead of Social Security. You pay in MORE than you do into SS, but you KNOW you'll get it back when you retire, unlike SS...sooo...yeah.

How's the work environment?
Haven't started the job just yet, but my buddy says it's nice. If you're former military it's supposed to be just like that. Be on time to where you're supposed to be and they love you. Be a slacker and life will get real hard, real fast.

Might use the GI bill to pay for the course in Ft. Worth if it sounds worthwhile.
If you get hired under a Dispatcher Trainee position THEY send you to the course, put you in a hotel while you take it, and pay you while you're there.

Pay is $244 a day while you're "in training." That's roughly $30 an hour, so overtime is around $38 an hour. Once you're actually on the job you continue at $244 a day until you've worked 60 solo days (could take 6-8 months because they want to train you on as many desks as possible). When you've worked your 60 solo days you move up to $305 a day. Also, any solo days you work while "in training" are $305 a day. This is because the 244 is 80% pay and the 305 is 100%, so a solo day nets you 100% while a training day gets you 80%.

I'm excited about starting the job. BNSF is the only railroad I've seen to offer a TRAINEE Dispatcher position. The rest require you to have previous Dispatching experience or the course BNSF PAYS YOU TO TAKE. It's a sweet set-up.

Hope this helps! I'll know more when I start class in Sept.!
 

BX172

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2009
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Are you starting with the Sep military class?



I applied to this last round of hiring by BNSF because my unit (National Guard) is dragging its feet on getting me a CTO and I need to be making money at a real job and not bumming around shitty job to shitty job waiting on them to send me somewhere to finish out my ATC training.

/ventoff

I got it and I can answer a few of these questions.


You work no more than 9 hours a day. That ninth hour is always paid as time and a half even if it's your first 8 hours of the work week. Anything over 40 hours a week is time and a half. How many hours you work a week is dependant on how you want to shift your schedule around. My buddy just worked two weeks straight (14 days) so that he could get off for drill one weekend. He said he typically works at LEAST 5 days a week and sometimes 6-7. It all depends. But they will NOT work you more than 9 hours a day, so it's not so bad.


They have health insurance that they'll take outta your check. I believe it was $300 a month, but you can get your own insurance. Like me, I use Tri-Care because full coverage is only like $70 a month. :)

I don't know about pensions. They weren't mentioned in my orientation, so I doubt it. We pay Railway Retriement instead of Social Security. You pay in MORE than you do into SS, but you KNOW you'll get it back when you retire, unlike SS...sooo...yeah.


Haven't started the job just yet, but my buddy says it's nice. If you're former military it's supposed to be just like that. Be on time to where you're supposed to be and they love you. Be a slacker and life will get real hard, real fast.


If you get hired under a Dispatcher Trainee position THEY send you to the course, put you in a hotel while you take it, and pay you while you're there.

Pay is $244 a day while you're "in training." That's roughly $30 an hour, so overtime is around $38 an hour. Once you're actually on the job you continue at $244 a day until you've worked 60 solo days (could take 6-8 months because they want to train you on as many desks as possible). When you've worked your 60 solo days you move up to $305 a day. Also, any solo days you work while "in training" are $305 a day. This is because the 244 is 80% pay and the 305 is 100%, so a solo day nets you 100% while a training day gets you 80%.

I'm excited about starting the job. BNSF is the only railroad I've seen to offer a TRAINEE Dispatcher position. The rest require you to have previous Dispatching experience or the course BNSF PAYS YOU TO TAKE. It's a sweet set-up.

Hope this helps! I'll know more when I start class in Sept.!
 

VBeachR32

Junior Member
Nov 10, 2008
85
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6
that job sucked, i did it in Sept of 2008 till Nov 2008 after I got out of the Navy and waiting on the FAA. It worked out for me tho, they pay u per diem, ur normal salary and they pay for ur lodging at a hotel while u go to school. The FAA called me after I finished the class and was getting ready to quit so it was perfect timing. Fort Worth is nice tho

PS Everyone i was in class with save 3 have all either quit or been fired
 

SierraZulu

Trusted Member
Aug 2, 2008
369
5
18
that job sucked, i did it in Sept of 2008 till Nov 2008 after I got out of the Navy and waiting on the FAA. It worked out for me tho, they pay u per diem, ur normal salary and they pay for ur lodging at a hotel while u go to school. The FAA called me after I finished the class and was getting ready to quit so it was perfect timing. Fort Worth is nice tho

PS Everyone i was in class with save 3 have all either quit or been fired
Are you able to elaborate on why it sucked? Why do people quit or get fired?
 

hunter43g

Newcomer
Sep 1, 2010
4
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1
I applied for the recent announcement but i still havent heard anything.... hope to hear something soon
 

jrlinds1

Newcomer
Feb 17, 2011
19
0
1
34
Mississippi
I'd shovel horse jizz for $300 a day...just applied
Don't listen to the guy above me. If he was only in from Sept. to Oct. then he has no clue what the job itself is like. He never made it out of class.

So far class is fun. It's different from ATC, but in a cool way. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. We take our mid-term on Friday so we'll see where me and my classmates stand after that!

All in all, I like it and my friends that work as dispatchers already still like it. It's definitely worth seeing if it's your thing!