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Passenger Trains > Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?


Date: 09/15/20 12:05
Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: Lackawanna484

One new NJ Transit engineer, who has graduated from both, says learning to be an engineer is tougher.  A lot tougher...

https://www.nj.com/news/2020/09/covid-19-couldnt-derail-nj-transits-newest-engineer-class-from-graduating.html



Date: 09/15/20 14:47
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: TAW

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One new NJ Transit engineer, who has graduated
> from both, says learning to be an engineer is
> tougher.  A lot tougher...
>
> https://www.nj.com/news/2020/09/covid-19-couldnt-d
> erail-nj-transits-newest-engineer-class-from-gradu
> ating.html

There was a study done in the 60s that stated that a competent train dispatcher had an education that was equivalent to a PhD. It took years to accomplish that. For an short and intensive locomotive engineer program, yeah, I can believe that easily.

TAW



Date: 09/16/20 07:08
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: masterphots

Way back when,  to learn a home delivery 'scheme' at the post office was not so easy,  not sure how they do it today.  Then there's the London taxicab exam...



Date: 09/16/20 07:13
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: TAW

masterphots Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Way back when,  to learn a home delivery 'scheme'
> at the post office was not so easy,  not sure how
> they do it today.  Then there's the London
> taxicab exam...

I've heard of both. Neither is for the incompetent (as it should be for most disciplines in which competency is no longer a requirement).

TAW



Date: 09/16/20 09:27
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: BCutter

To get any college degree, all you have to do is be persistent and smart enough to pass the courses.  I had students take 6 to 8 years to get a Bachelor's degree while working full-time.  I had one student return after 15 years and finish her undergrad degree! Sure, there are grade requirements (usually a B average or better) to get into grad school but there are a lot of grad schools! The only real time constraint (I am personally aware of) was during the PhD program when you only had so many years following the qualifying exam to finish the research, and defend and publish the dissertation. I really expect that Choo-Choo U would be tougher since it seems to be time-limited.

Bruce
Retired college prof



Date: 09/16/20 14:24
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: ctillnc

I'm a former faculty member at a high-ranking engineering school. It was common for students with 1300+ SATs to flame out in the most demanding programs like physics, mathematics, and electrical engineering. (1300 is roughly the top one-eighth of persons who took the SAT.) It takes a truly exceptional student -- usually at or above the 97th percentile on the SAT -- to fly through those majors without breaking a sweat. I had some students like that. But overall, in the world I lived in, people simply could not go on cruise control and get the undergrad degree. The school also had a 7-year limit on validity of credits. If you didn't finish in 7 years of elapsed time, sorry, welcome to your freshman year. 

Grad school? No way.   



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/20 14:26 by ctillnc.



Date: 09/16/20 20:26
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: cewherry

I can't speak with authority regarding current requirements for successfully completing a railroad engineer's study course but
when I was personally involved with the process as a supervisor (fancy name for instructor) in SP's operation it seems to me
that written into the engineers promotion agreement with the, then, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (might have been the UTU,
time has blurred my memory on this), was a provision that a candidate (fancy name for fireman) who failed to 'pass' the examination
would not be allowed continued employment; (fancy name for being fired). 

In 1971 this was a new situation in that previous promotion agreements with the unions representing enginemen allowed a "failure" to stay on the
fireman's seniority roster, returning with one year's seniority and beginning the process of climbing the seniority ladder anew. As a side story,
I personally worked with a few of these men who for whatever reason either chose to decline engineer promotion when offered or, in fact, failed
to pass the required examinations as required. Prior to 1971 this action was not as catastrophic as it might seem at first glance since these agreements 
originated in steam days and a man could always simply stay as a fireman. It became a problem for the railroad after steam disappeared and
the companies were intent on removing as many bodies from their trains as possible.

Back to the issue of today. A candidate (fireman, trainee engineer; whatever) by the time they find themselves at a "Choo-Choo-U" have probably
invested at least a year, probably more, on the railroad and coupled with the knowledge that their failure to 'pass' means the next stop is the 'street',
it seems to me that the stress level can reach critical levels. I saw this played out on more than a few occasions while at SP.
If this railroad gig is their immediate goal, failure to 'pass' can be a tough bounce.

Charlie

 



Date: 09/17/20 05:40
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: Lackawanna484

An earlier thread on this subject suggested about half the NJT engineer students in some classes were conductors

That would suggest a familiarity with the work load, basic rail rules, etc . That could be a nice head start.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/17/20 05:49
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: bobwilcox

During scab school on the SP I discovered an aversion to large machinery.  I expect locomotive engineer training would be much harder than my BS from the University of Tennessee.

Bob Wilcox
Charlottesville, VA
My Flickr Shots



Date: 09/17/20 07:06
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: TAW

cewherry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't speak with authority regarding current
> requirements for successfully completing a
> railroad engineer's study course but
> when I was personally involved with the process as
> a supervisor (fancy name for instructor) in SP's
> operation it seems to me
> that written into the engineers promotion
> agreement with the, then, Brotherhood of
> Locomotive Engineers (might have been the UTU,
> time has blurred my memory on this), was a
> provision that a candidate (fancy name for
> fireman) who failed to 'pass' the examination
> would not be allowed continued employment; (fancy
> name for being fired). 

Somewhere in storage, I have an old Rio Grande agreement that contains a similar restriction. Any fireman who failed to qualify as an engineer after some amount of service would be dismissed. I also, somewhere, have a B&O mechanical test for firemen, I think 3d year but don't remember for sure. On B&O, it wasn't just qualify as engineer. As a fireman, there were periodic tests that had to be passed long before time to try for engineer. A fireman could be dismissed for failing any of the tests leading up to being qualified to train as engineer.

TAW



Date: 09/17/20 07:24
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: goneon66

i earned a business degree with a dual major in 4 years.  later in life i completed both dispatcher and locomotive engineer training programs.

for me, there was not one class i completed in dispatcher and engineer training that was as difficult as a few of the classes i took while earning my business degree (i.e. statistics).

that said, dispatcher and engineer training was NOT easy.  i had to apply myself and STUDY just like i did while earning my business degree. 

the big difference was that dispatcher and engineer training revolved around SAFETY and that was not a concern in earning a business degree. 

the need to learn and then SAFELY apply the rules you learned in dispatcher and engineer training sometimes created stress that i never experienced in earning my business degree.........  

66



Date: 09/17/20 07:59
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: BAB

Know that the private pilot exam can be a challange for highly educated people. I took mine with people who had all kinds of degrees most so they could work in robotics and the nuke field. I ended up with the thrid highes out of about 15 and all of my higher, after high school was in the mechaical field working on aircraft and vehicles. Flight test was a breeze for me but trying to take a train engineer exam think would be very much harder in both areas. 



Date: 09/17/20 08:59
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: trainjunkie

cewherry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> a candidate (fancy name for
> fireman) who failed to 'pass' the examination
> would not be allowed continued employment; (fancy
> name for being fired). 

Still the case Charlie. Same for promotion to Conductor from Brakeman. If you can't pass the tests you are terminated.

I've seen some amazingly intelligent people not be able to cut it. Even many who do pass, eventually wash out. It's not for everyone.

I can't comment on the comparison though. I have two degrees from a business school that I went to when I was in my 20s. I also went through UP's brakeman/conductor/hostler training in my 20s. For me, railroad training was much easier than business school but at the time you could fit your rule book, timetable, and time book in your back pocket. It was much more simple and less demanding and there was no Federal certification involved.

I've been through several railroad training programs in recent years and I'm now in my 50s. The paper version of all the rules, regulations, and procedural stuff you need to be fluent in (GCOR, AB&TH, Special Instructions, Timetable, RCO Manual, General Orders, General Notices, Hazmat, Terminal Bulletins, Track Charts, Job Aids, etc.) is as thick as several reams of paper stacked on top of one another. The territories one has to be familiarized and qualified on have expanded too. If you have to be qualified on a foreign railroad, you can effectively double that stack of paper.

Despite my age I've done well in my recent training programs, and I'm presently qualified on two railroads, but it was much more challenging than in the past. I don't know how I'd hold up in today's college environment, other than the fact I'd be angry all the time at the indoctrination of leftism that goes on. But railroad training programs today are quite rigorous and it's not uncommon for people to not make it all the way to the end, let alone pass the final exams and check rides. 



Date: 09/17/20 10:38
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: cewherry

goneon66 Wrote:

> "...the big difference was that dispatcher and
> engineer training revolved around SAFETY and that
> was not a concern in earning a business degree. 
>
> the need to learn and then SAFELY apply the rules
> you learned in dispatcher and engineer training
> sometimes created stress that i never experienced
> in earning my business degree........."  

The safety aspect of an operating crew's minute to minute involvement is, to my mind, the major difference between a
solely academic education and putting all the pieces in place and moving a train from point A to point B.

Often I was asked by fellow crew members or official visitors to my locomotive cab to recount what were the greatest satisfactions
that I took from my job. The answer was always the fact that when I stepped down to the ground at the end of my trip I knew exactly
what kind of day I had just experienced. In my world there was no need for a weekly, monthly or quarterly performance report; I knew 
immediately how I had done. Anyone who has spent a day in operations on the railroad knows this feeling. 

One of my co-workers at SP's simulator had a favorite reply when asked casually; 'How's it going?". His answer: "I don't know, no one's told me".
I didn't need that question; I knew.

Charlie
 



Date: 09/21/20 07:34
Re: Is Choo-Choo U tougher than business school?
Author: ns1000

cewherry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> goneon66 Wrote:
>
> > "...the big difference was that dispatcher and
> > engineer training revolved around SAFETY and
> that
> > was not a concern in earning a business
> degree. 
> >
> > the need to learn and then SAFELY apply the
> rules
> > you learned in dispatcher and engineer training
> > sometimes created stress that i never
> experienced
> > in earning my business degree........."  
>
> The safety aspect of an operating crew's minute to
> minute involvement is, to my mind, the major
> difference between a
> solely academic education and putting all the
> pieces in place and moving a train from point A to
> point B.

Safety is the MOST important thing. Letting down your guard even for one second could mean your LIFE or the missing of one of your limbs (I've seen this happen)....

Trainjunkie's analysis is quite correct. The training is meant to be difficult and is not for everyone.

With that being said, the job itself will continue to challenge your mind and body and you will be constantly learning something.

Posted from Android



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