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Western Railroad Discussion > BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?


Date: 12/13/03 16:45
BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: tolland

Is anyone in the Trainorders audience a recent hire and participant of the BNSF conductor training? I'm going to participate in that training in a few weeks and I'd be interested in comments as to what happens, example, how much classroom time compared to how much time on the road, time in a simulator, time away from your home base.

Thanks very much!
Jim Burrill
Loveland, Colorado



Date: 12/13/03 17:12
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: zchcsse

Hey, I too should be starting in a few weeks as well, although probably at a different location as you are.

However, I haven't heard a THING from BNSF since Mid November actually, and have been concerned.

So, have you heard anything recently? When in January are you supposed to start? I don't even know my exact start date yet, except that it should be in January.

E-mail me off list if you want at thomas-merritt@augustana.edu


Thanks,

Tom



Date: 12/13/03 17:20
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: OHRY

Not hearing a thing is surprisingly common. I didn't actually know if I had a job until 5:30 in the afternoon of the Friday I was supposed to show up. That's after I had been bugging them for a week for answer! The training isn't doing too hard. You'll spend three weeks in the classroom to begin with before spending a few in the yard. For us we had to travel around and train in Belen, Carlsbad, El Paso, Albuquerque, and of course Clovis. After your yard time you'll be in the classroom for another week before spending time out on the road. After all that the last week will be in the classroom. That Friday you'll take the big test. I don't know if they've started training new hires on RCO right off the bat yet. I've heard that was their new plan, at least around here.
Chris S.



Date: 12/13/03 17:51
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: tolland

I do know that the lady who I initially spoke with is off on maternity leave. I didn't hear anything until Friday afternoon, December 14, when the BNSF HR rep from Ft. Worth emailed me.

Jim Burrill
burrill@frii.com



Date: 12/13/03 18:18
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: bnsf100

OHRY,

When I was in Conductor Training class for the BNSF in
St. Louis, Missouri back in late May 2001, I (along with my fellow Conductor/Brakeman Traineers) only spent one
(YES, ONE!!!!) week in the classroom/training in the yard
in North St. Louis, MO and then was out in the field (I.E., actually working in Lindenwood Yard as a Utility Person the
second week and as a Helper the third week; The fourth week
was spent in Fenton, MO helping switch out the auto
plant there)for three weeks.

Unfortunately, I was let go without them giving me a proper
explanation as to why. To this day, that still makes me
mad; However, I've gotten over it and moved on.


Tolland:

I wish you the best of luck. Just two things to keep in mind:

One---If you attended Conductor Training Class at Johnson
County Community College (in Overland Park, Kansas) before
this recent job opening that you applied for, be careful. What
you learned at JCCC does not mean diddly when you actually
get out there and start working for the company. What I
mean by this is that you are essentially going to learn how to
railroad the way that the employees where you are going to be
working what you to railroad. They don't want smarty-artsy
know-it-alls coming in---it would be a big safety issue.

Two---Be prepared to spend some time after helping in the
railyard near the end of your shift learning about railroad
signals. If you memorize them, you will be fine on the final
exam.

Be safe out there. Keep us informed.


bnsf100



Date: 12/13/03 19:04
Re: BNSF Conductor training
Author: PumpkinHogger

In KC the program went like this:

2 weeks class
6 weeks in the yard on jobs
1 week class
4 weeks on the road 24/7
1 week class

Not sure if this is still followed or was a local thing. depending on the locale they may give you another week each of hostler or remote training. If the terminal was a place like Winslow say without hoslers or remotes you wouldn't get that, Denver you might.

PH



Date: 12/13/03 20:57
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: westsloperrfan

Jim

I too will be in your class. Looks as if we both made the first class. Look forward to working with you. Did you notice that they are hiring at Denver again? They must really need people.

Nick



Date: 12/13/03 21:18
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: rychenrail

I am also being hired for the Denver class. I'm suppose to do the strength training test on Monday. Can anyone tell me what to expect, or what this might consist of? Jim, and Nick, I look forward to meeting the both of you!
~ Doug Brown



Date: 12/13/03 22:23
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: westsloperrfan

Hi Doug

Wow, we are going to have a class of trainfans. ;-)

>I'm suppose to do the strength training test on Monday. Can anyone tell me what to expect, or what this might consist of?

Its not too bad. First thing is to wear comfortable clothes. Sweats or workout cloths work the best. They do two tests. The first was a leg test. You sit down and they strap your leg to a machine (just like an exercise machine for your thigh). As you push, the machine applies equal pressure. You push up and down and its messures your leg strength. The next test is your arm. you lay on your back and pull a handle up and down (from your leg to your head). Same thing, it measures your arm strength. The people at the facilty are nice and you go through the excerise before they take the test.

Best of luck, and can't wait to meet you
Nick



Date: 12/14/03 07:07
Re: BNSF Conductor training, what's it like?
Author: NORAC

Keep in mind if your hired by the BNSF that your are a tax write off to the railroad. They get their tax break for hiring and training you. After that you will be furloughed and probably won't work again in a time range of several months to a year or two. I know of folks who gave up waiting and went on to work at other jobs both in the railroad industry and outside of the industry who recieve a recall letter from the BNSF a year or two later.

You may fair a little better with the UP since they shot themselves in the foot and layed off too many people early this year and are now experiencing severe crew shortages at various places out west.




Date: 12/14/03 08:52
Re: Nick Lyon
Author: tolland

Hey Nick:

I remember seeing your paperwork laying on the "test machine" next to me when I took the physical strength test in downtown Denver. I suspect you were the next guy waiting after me. Congratulations to you and I'll look forward to crossing paths with you sometime.

I have had to take the March 29th class start due to my current employer's need to keep me until January 30. I'm really looking forward to this career change; My current employer of 24 years has outsourced my job to an Asian country and I need a change. I'm staying until the end of January to get a significant severence payment. When I applied for the job, my termination date was 10/31 but they discovered that the Asians weren't prepared to speak english well.

I kind of got the impression that part of the training might be away from Colorado. Again, I'm ready for a change and getting away from my current employer is mandated. I told them at the interview that I was ready for a change of scenery.

Happy holidays to all.
Jim Burrill



Date: 12/14/03 08:59
Re: Strength Test.
Author: tolland

I took the strength test at HealthSouth in a downtown Denver office. They put me on a machine and did repetitive motions of both arm and leg movement, 180 degree movement for the arms and 90 degree movement for the legs with a pre-determined level of force on the machine. I had to do as many movements as I could do in a specified amount of time.

Nick is correct, BNSF is apparently in need of people at this time. They've treated me a whole lot better than the UP HR person treated me. They've been negotiable about my start date.

Just for note of all, I told the UP HR lady from Omaha that I volunteered with the Cheyenne Steam crew. She replied: "Who are they?" Even the BNSF people knew who the Steam crew were. Would you say this woman was uninformed?

I'll look forward to seeing both of you guys down the road somewhere.



Date: 12/14/03 09:44
Re: Strength Test.
Author: UPRRPR

tolland Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>> Just for note of all, I told the UP HR lady from
> Omaha that I volunteered with the Cheyenne Steam
> crew. She replied: "Who are they?" Even the BNSF
> people knew who the Steam crew were. Would you say
> this woman was uninformed?

Jim: I got a kick out of your side note. :-) Anyway, best wishes to you on your railroad career. It looks like you are starting out on a positive note and that bodes well.
JB



Date: 12/16/03 02:43
And on the UP side of the isle...
Author: topper

Just as an aside, UP this week attempted to hire another Trainmen's class in Oakland, California.

16 people applied for the 20 advertised positions.

After the "orientation lecture", 6 people remained (the other 10 left after having been described as "suddenly coming to their senses").

After completing the required written test, of the 6 only 1 person remained.

However, that 1 person is currently living in a homeless shelter and has no means of transportation, and so, was eliminated.

(I'm not kidding about this!)




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