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Date: 04/02/06 13:17
csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: mttrainman

I know this has probably been posted on here before, but being a heritage member and unable to search old postings, I was wondering if anyone on here has gone to any of orientation/interview session to be a conductor through places like AMDG Inc. trying to hire out on CSX. I'm curious as to what goes on at these sessions and havent been able to find to many answers. Any input anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

thanks mt



Date: 04/02/06 13:30
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: railnuts

Friend of mine went through it, interviewed in Framingham...was accepted than down to Alanta for a couple of weeks.

He's working a local out of West Springfield now as a trainee, $4500.00 later



Date: 04/02/06 15:04
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: tkxet

You must fill out the application on line. Then schedual an interview from the list that they provide. After doing all this and assuming that you qualify you will take the Hogan personality test and an industrial reading test. You must pass both before going any further in the process or be considered for a training class. Also, the $4,500.00 fee is for the school only, it does NOT cover lodgeing or food. You are on your own for that.

Read more on there web site at www.amdg.ws.

Good luck!!



Date: 04/02/06 15:19
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: CR4122

They start out with an orientation that covers the aspects of the job (salary, working conditions, etc) and what is required to pass the course. Next comes the tests mentioned above and if you pass the next step is an interview to get into the course. If you pass the course you then have to be interviewed by CSX and take a physical. Passing the course does not guarantee you a jobÂ…Refunds arenÂ’t issued so you could pass the course and get nothing out of it.



Date: 04/02/06 16:34
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: ESPEEFAN

mttrainman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I know this has probably been posted on here
> before, but being a heritage member and unable to
> search old postings, I was wondering if anyone on
> here has gone to any of orientation/interview
> session to be a conductor through places like AMDG
> Inc. trying to hire out on CSX. I'm curious as to
> what goes on at these sessions and havent been
> able to find to many answers. Any input anyone has
> would be greatly appreciated.
>
> thanks mt

If you live near a NS terminal I would try them first before CSX. $4500 dollars is alot of money to spend just to find out this lifestyle is not for you. You may want to think this over before you go thru with it. Especially if you go the CSX route, they promise you everything you want. Then after they have the money, they change the ballgame. Some guys in Willard, Ohio have went thru con. school then started field training just to be told they can't go to the terminal they were promised and they were told to start at a term. hundreds of miles from their home. You may not want to relocate miles from home just to be on the bottom of the seniority roster and can't make any money. I don't know your situation, it's not my business, but if I were you I would think awhile about this one. Don't get me wrong, in eight years on CSX as a engineer, I still love my job. The problem is the people I work for make things hard.



Date: 04/02/06 16:50
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: tkxet

If you go the NS route, you will need to fill out your resume on their web-site as well. This is the only way they do it. They have for the most part done away with the traditional hiring session and now have invitation hiring sessions only where you submit the resume on line and if they like it they send you and invite to a session to take the Hogan test and one other test. Then they choose the people that did the best and keep them for an interview and send the rest packing.



Date: 04/02/06 16:56
Find out this too...
Author: fmw

In what city do you wish to locate? Ask here on TO what seniority district it lies in. If CSX sends you to another location in that district, you can transfer, although it may be difficult and/or take time. You can still do it, as long as it is in the same seniority region, e.g. B&O Western, which includes St. Louis and Chicago to Willard and Columbus, OH, and MI.

Try to hire out at a major terminal where there are yard and road jobs, so you can change your lifestyle when it suits you, after you get the seniority to do so.

Don't listen to the naysayers too much. I paid the 4 grand too, but my salary went from $30,000 at my old job to over $53,000 on the RR in one year, so it was a good investment overall. Now I make more than that and turn down some extra work.

Answer the personality test like you are a railroader. Give them the answers you would want to hear if you were hiring someone responsible for a $30 million dollar, 60 MPH piece of equipment over a mile long, rather than a snowboarder, for instance. Get in shape if you need to, and don't eat poppyseed muffins! Study up on decimals and fractions. That's the math test.

Good luck.



Date: 04/02/06 17:49
Re: Find out this too...
Author: tkxet

I think for the most part people are not "Naysayers", but trying to give honest answers to the question at hand. If a person has never been around a railroad or people associated with a railroad, how will he answer the questions on the Hogan test with what he thinks they want to hear? There are no wrong or right answers. It is up to the person reviewing the test to be the judge. And more often than not, he is looking for people that will answer the questions the same way he would. I have taken this test several times, and each time afterwards in talking with the person giving it I found that we had much in common. This is of course just my own personal opinion and own real life experience.



Date: 04/02/06 18:02
Re: Find out this too...
Author: CSX_ENG

We need good people in Chicago!! Head out this way!!!



Date: 04/02/06 18:15
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: TV-10

ESPEEFAN Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> If you live near a NS terminal I would try them
> first before CSX. $4500 dollars is alot of money
> to spend just to find out this lifestyle is not
> for you.



I've had friends spend more on IT certification boot camps and get nothing (no job) out of it. Every profession has its economic pitfalls.

What would be my greatest concern? The lack of emotional/educational uniformity in the rank-and-file coworkers. In the IT sector, if some dumb ass does something wrong, they fry equipment. In the rail industry, if something goes wrong, people die. Every profession, including IT, has its version of "Ricky Gates", but with the rails, its alot more life-and-death.



Date: 04/02/06 19:36
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: jalang

TV-10 Wrote:

> I've had friends spend more on IT certification
> boot camps and get nothing (no job) out of it.
> Every profession has its economic pitfalls.

There are plenty of people who spend even more on perfectly good Bachelor's degrees and get no job out of it, too.
It's a tough world out there.

-Alex, about to get a Masters and no better job out of it ;)



Date: 04/02/06 20:41
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: bioyans

jalang Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> There are plenty of people who spend even more on
> perfectly good Bachelor's degrees and get no job
> out of it, too.

I think the point was, why pay $4500 to train for a *possible* job with "Company A," when "Company B" will pay YOU to do the same exact thing?

Let's be honest here ... would you have handed over cash for your Masters degree, if another company offered you the same job, same benefits, and same work environment, but was going to pay you, including room and board, for your education?



Date: 04/03/06 06:11
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: fmw

Sure you can go to the NS for free, but if they do not run in the region or city you want, then the only other choice is CSX. Otherwise, you will spend a chunk of change to move, so what is the difference? A realtor might get more than $4,500 to sell your house. A college degree might cost you $15,000 to $200,000, only to work for less money.

You will be forced to engineer service on CSX. In fact, your engineer and conductor hire date will be the same. However, there is a flowback agreement that will allow you to return to train service, depending on staffing needs. Being drafted to engineer service is a UTU agreement that probably applies on NS as well, or will in the future. It keeps folks from turning down engineer service, then b**tching when younger men bid and get around them in seniority. It also protects you from getting hosed when CSX closes other teminals and some of those engineers come to your place, as we are seeing from Flint and Grand Rapids. Everybody hired after split date stays in the order of hire.

Are there sacrifices and downsides? Heck yes. Working on call for possibly your whole career is a major downside. But if you want to work on the rails and want a salary of between 45K-75K, and a reasonable amount of job security after the first couple of years, then go for it.

Regarding the personality test: There are questions that try to asses how much of a risk taker or rebel you might be. If the test asks if you like extreme sports like skydiving, answer no. If it asks that following rules is important to you, answer yes. If it asks whether your reputation among others is important to you, answer yes. That is what they are looking for in a railroader, IMHO. They are not hiring a spokesman for Mountain Dew. Trust me on that one. They want someone who is safe and complies with the rules.



Date: 04/03/06 07:07
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: hoydie17

Take this for what it's worth.

AMDG and the other colleges that run the conductor training program do not even start a class until they have a conductor's job identified within CSX or in some cases UP for them. In other words, say you want to work out of Selkirk? A conductor trainee position has to open up in Selkirk first, once it does, CSX forwards the quota to AMDG. AMDG in turn goes to their candidate pool (guys that have passed the tests/interviews) and invites them to school.

They may invite 5 or 6 people for one position, but the first person to pay is the one who gets the Selkirk seat. The others, if they still pay get the option to wait for another opening or attend and take assignment elsewhere. Ultimately, they only train enough people to fill the positions they are given to fill by CSX. I guess you could say the school really doesn't give CSX much choice in who they end up hiring, it comes down to how badly the RR really needs the people. That's not to say these people aren't quality individuals, but as with all things of this nature, you're bound to get a bad egg here and there. And the bad eggs manage to find a job too.

My friend Earl just went through the conductors school last summer, he tells me that 8 of the 16 students in his class actually FAILED the final exam. They were given the test immediately the NEXT DAY and never actually saw the results, they were just given their certificates of completion and told to be in Atlanta the following Monday. This doesn't say much for the school, or the screening practices of CSXT's HR department, but that's not what this is about either.

Ultimately everyone is his class was hired, save for one guy who tested positive for a recent date with Mary Jane, and Earl says he saw him working about 3 months ago. So if you can make it through the drug/alcohol screening and all the initial stuff to get in, chances are you're going to get on. As far as medical issues, he also tells me there were guys missing fingers, way overweight, back injuries, and a whole assortment of other, sometimes unbelievable medical issues, and they all still got hired.

That thing about not being able to guarantee a job is to protect the school from legal action if CSX happens to fill those positions internally vice external hires. IOW, if I tell you once you're in the doors of my schoolhouse that you're going to get a job, and CSX tells me a week before you're due to graduate that they've filled the position, what do you think happens next?


Sean



Date: 04/03/06 07:53
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: tkxet

Maybe someone out there in the know can explain why CSX only hires in this manner in the first place.



Date: 04/03/06 09:06
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: btr5353

In the mid 90s when CSX really started hiring a lot, they had a lot of guys who would get hired and then quit soon after because they didn't like the lifestyle. They fugired this way you have money invested in the job, so you're more likely to stick around. At least that is how our trainmaster described it to me when I hired out with CSX.



Date: 04/03/06 09:39
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: fmw

CSX has been hiring very heavily for several years. Every year here in Indy I think they have hired too many, but with retirements, people quitting, long term illnesses and the occasional new train, we seem to use everybody we hire.

About four years ago some of our new hires has to endure a three month layoff, mostly due to over hiring. But they all could have been used elsewhere on the district, like Chicago, if they wanted. The past few years have brought few layoffs, and only for a few weeks around January or February.

I think the future looks pretty good for RR employment in most parts of the country. Keep in mind that yardmasters, dispatchers and management also come from T&E ranks. We might see one man per train after several more years, but you will be safe by then. And transcontinental mergers will open up many new markets, creating a lot more train traffic coast to coast.



Date: 04/03/06 10:53
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: bioyans

btr5353 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the mid 90s when CSX really started hiring a
> lot, they had a lot of guys who would get hired
> and then quit soon after because they didn't like
> the lifestyle. They fugired this way you have
> money invested in the job, so you're more likely
> to stick around. At least that is how our
> trainmaster described it to me when I hired out
> with CSX.

In other words ... it's cheaper for CSX to find some sucker who's willing to shell out several thousand dollars to be trained, instead of the company paying he or she to learn the job.



Date: 04/03/06 20:28
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: OnTrack419

The following are my comments about CSX's pay-it-yourself conductor hiring practices.

It's hardly ideal from an employee's viewpoint, but it does serve several purposes in the cold-eyed world of today's railroad industry. The high turnover rate among new hire conductors made the expense of vetting, testing and training them internally cost prohibitive, so those tasks were outsourced to AMDG. The company also figured that if you paid for your own training, you would be more likely to work harder to get your money's worth out of it and therefore appreciate it more. And, you probably would stay on the job at least long enough to pay back the loan(s) you probably had to take out to cover your training, lodging and meal expenses. It would also get your time and labor at relatively low cost at the same time. Mercenary? Sure, but more and more companies in other industries are doing the same thing to cut their costs to stay alive in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Reality check: if you don't make it through the class, the OJT and/or probationary period as a conductor, CSX doesn't lose a penny. It's your problem and not theirs. It's also why newbies are watched closely, tested, grilled, drilled and sometimes terminated for seemingly minor infractions throughout that grueling process. It wants the survivors to be safe, smart and loyal T&E employees who love RR life (and a decent living wage with reasonably secure job security) despite the tough on-call lifestyle. And keep in mind that there are other internal career paths that may appeal to you for other reasons in the future. Generally, employees with T&E experience tend to be valued, selected and promoted faster than those hired off the street.

Personally, I found my AMDG instructors to be well-qualified and quality people who wanted us to succeed. As someone with transportation industry experience who had been an instructor, I could appreciate the course material, what was done with it and why. If I worked and studied hard, participated in class with a positive attitude and consistently passed the daily and weekly quizzes (and CSX knows and notes your GPA), they had my back and generously shared their old heads' wealth of "been there" knowledge. We still get together as friends for mutual feedback (although rarely now). The bottom line: they schooled me in what I needed to get hired, get my card and earn a decent rep as somebody good to work with. Thanks, guys.

Big hint: if you choose CSX to hire on with, download the pre-training material on the AMDG site for the block signals in your desired work region and start studying NOW. I pasted each one of mine on flash cards to recognize it on sight and then memorize its rule down to the commas and periods. You've got to know them cold not only to pass a test with 100% on them before the end of the course, but also to recognize and react to them instantly on the job. It's all about safety.

I hope my somewhat subjective comments are helpful to you. In the end, just do what feels right for YOU and you won't go wrong. Good luck in your chosen career and the RR you decide to go with.



Date: 04/03/06 20:45
Re: csx conductor training orientation/interview
Author: ESPEEFAN

I fully understand why CSX made people pay for school, but these people can give us back our money. They can give us $1000 bucks (tax free) for every year we've been with CSX until we are paid back full. As for the person who was wondering about the CSX hiring process, if you do decide to join CSX welcome aboard and good luck, but don't for one minute trust anything this company says until you see it for yourself and most importantly COVER YOUR BUTT while working!



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