Job Questions

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JHAWK

New Member
So I saw a job posting for DGNO (Rail America out of Richardson, TX) the other day and am very interested in it, but have a few questions.

1. What are the qualifications for this? Would I even have a shot since I do not have any experience (other than model trains when I was like 7:) ) And where would I go to get experience if that is the case?

2. What are the shifts like? Do they work so many on so many off or is it a set schedule?

3. Is everyone there happy or is it a horrible turn over rate?

4. What is average annual salary for someone just starting off?

5. If this is something I want to pursue (which as of right now it is) then should I just fill out the online application or call the office in Richardson?

Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks All.
 

railroadriggle

New Member
So I saw a job posting for DGNO (Rail America out of Richardson, TX) the other day and am very interested in it, but have a few questions.

1. What are the qualifications for this? Would I even have a shot since I do not have any experience (other than model trains when I was like 7:) ) And where would I go to get experience if that is the case?

2. What are the shifts like? Do they work so many on so many off or is it a set schedule?

3. Is everyone there happy or is it a horrible turn over rate?

4. What is average annual salary for someone just starting off?

5. If this is something I want to pursue (which as of right now it is) then should I just fill out the online application or call the office in Richardson?

Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks All.
I am also wandering about the dgno i live kinda far from the terminals but willing to relocate just wandering what the pay is like i use to work for a class I railroad regret i ever left but thinking of coming aboard with dgno or roughneckin lol just curious about the pay benefits and all that and what are the jobs like ????
 

Bruce Butler

_______________
I don't know anything about DGNO or Rail America so cannot give you any specific answers regarding their operation.

I do work for a shortline in Washington State, so I can give you some ideas based on my experience. I had 9 years of Class 1 RR experience many years (1960-1969) ago, followed by 37 years of non-railroad work. When I retired I became a one-man "extra board" for a shortline and have done this for 6 years.

Do a search on RailroadForums.com for "Employment". You will get 5 pages of threads with various discussions about RR employment. Spend some research time here and you will learn a lot.

If there is an online application, I would go ahead and fill it in. That is always the first step. If they like what they see on your app, they will contact you. If there is not an online application, download their form, and fill it in and mail it. IMPORTANT - FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! Incomplete or incorrectly filled applications are likely to hit the round file instantly. A lot of railroad operations is FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS and if you cannot do this with the application --- well, you get the point. Another important point - do not lie about anything on your application. They will likely figure out the truth and you will be immediately terminated.

Do not begin your discussions by asking about salary, benefits, etc. This information will be forthcoming soon enough as you move forward in the hiring process. Use your 6th sense when asking questions, as in "is this the appropriate time to ask this question?"

Shortline qualifications tend to mirror Class 1 requirements, although most shortlines generally are more flexible than the Class 1 RRds. They want people in good physical condition with good driving records. Military or heavy equipment experience is a plus. A willingness to work outdoors in all kinds of weather and and to be flexible regarding work days and hours are important.

Some shortlines do manage to operate on some sort of schedule, but many, including mine, operate strictly on the basis of customer requirements and when cars from the connecting railroad(s) arrive.

Most prospective employers will want a copy of your birth certificate, your drivers license and your social security card. I scanned mine into PDF files so I can easily email them as file attachments, or print copies if they need to go by snail mail.

Other tips:
---If you actually get called for an interview, dress neatly, but don't over do it. Suit & tie - NO! torn jeans & T shirt - NO!
---Being a Non-smoker and a Non-drinker is a plus.
---Be polite and careful about what comes out of your mouth. Be very conservative regarding the railfan stuff.
---all railroads, including shortlines, are very concerned about SAFETY! Railroad accidents are VERY EXPENSIVE. Try to communicate that you understand the importance of safety and are alert and aware of safety at all times.

Most shortlines (but not all) are good outfits to work for.

Good luck with your endeavors.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I'm a little late to the party, but Bruce gave some really great information. Read over it a couple times because it's a gold mine.

I would add to Bruce's emphasis on safety and echo that, because it's the foremost concern on the railroad. If you can emphasize safety in your previous job experience, do so. For example, "on such and such job site, we worked 180 days injury free." Or, "I was the safety coordinator for XYZ, Inc. as well as being the job foreman." If you have past experiences like those that apply, you should mention them. If not, DO NOT make something up. As Bruce said, you shouldn't lie (GCOR 1.6 comes to mind, and a violation is a termination event).

Prior military experience seems to be big with the Class 1 roads as many Afghanistan vets rotate back to the States. Following rules and orders is good experience for understanding and working with track authority. You will also deal with the occasional incompetent boss from time to time. You may be asked to break the rules by management. You must have the kind of character to not do that, even if your job is threatened (probably one of the best protections provided by a union).

Since you mentioned the DGNO, I suspect you are in or near the DFW metroplex. You might also consider the Alliance Terminal Railroad. They operate at the Alliance Intermodal Facility in north Fort Worth. TNER and Kiamichi are also Rail America properties that operate northeast of the DFW metro area, if you're located near Sherman, TX or Madill, OK. KCS also operates in the area, maybe out of Garland, and has a turn that transfers cars at BNSF Alliance Yard.

As far as schedules are concerned, as a junior employee, you will work the worst and lowest paying jobs. If you're on an extra board - which is a listing of available employees who can fill vacant yard jobs or trains, such as other employee's sick days or vacations - it will look like you are lined up to go to work tomorrow afternoon but when the rain or sleet starts coming down the call will come shortly after. There are swing jobs, which are yard jobs that cover two or three other yard jobs' days off, and those go pretty low in seniority. Say the 207 job has Wednesday and Thursday off, the 306 has Friday and Saturday off and the 304 has Sundays and Mondays off. The swing job might work Wednesday through Sunday covering those days off and you have Mondays and Tuesdays off. At first, it's no picnic, but it's a good job and you get used to it. It even gets in your blood and you can't imagine working anywhere else. After awhile, you can hold a second shift yard job. You know you're really old in seniority when you can hold a daylight job with weekends off!

Back to getting the job, you'll need to decide it's for you as much as the railroad deciding you will work out for them. The shortlines aren't as bad, but to a certain extent they're the same as the big ones. 24/7 isn't a slogan - it's reality. You will be gone during holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. BNSF really does stand for Better Not Start a Family, because you won't be around. Now, the family will be taken care of in terms of benefits and pay, but you won't see them as often as if you had a regular job. And you need to weigh the costs and benefits based on what you want out of life.

Another thing: foamers are roundly rejected by railroaders. If you always loved trains and thought if would be fun to play with the big trains, don't mention it in the interview. Probably a good idea to not mention it at all in your career, in fact. ;) The reason is things can happen quickly and people - including you - can get hurt or worse by the loss of focus. Foamers tend to be paying attention to everything except their job. When you wonder aloud "Hmm, is that an FMC or PS 4000 cubic foot coal gondola?" or exclaim "Man, look at that SD40-2 - it was part of N&W's last order of high noses!" others around you will fear you because your focus isn't where it should be. If you aren't paying attention while operating a meat slicer at a deli, you lose a finger in an instant. On the railroad, it's a limb. Or one of your crew members. Or even your own life. You will also get sick of trains pretty quick unless you have an insanely high tolerance for them. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle.
 




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