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Old 04-10-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Railroad Electrician vs. Inside Wireman

I am considering going through the diesel electrician apprenticeship for the railroad. How does their work compare to the work that JATC apprentices do? Do they learn all the same skills? I want to be a well rounded electrician in all aspects of the trade and am unsure if the railroad will give me that.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:21 AM   #2
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I have no clue, but diesel electricians in the service industry are in high demand.

A decent field to get into if you also learn the diesel end of the business.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:23 AM   #3
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I have no clue, but diesel electricians in the service industry are in high demand.

A decent field to get into if you also learn the diesel end of the business.
True that. There's a couple places in my area that have been trying for YEARS to hire to fully staff their diesel generator electricians.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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If you do land a railroad job, I really don't see the training you'll get as a potential obstacle. Guys generally work at the railroad until they retire. I have never heard of a guy who "used to work for the railroad", unless he's retired.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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What MD said.. You are not going to become a construction or commercial or maintenance electrician working for the railroad. You're going to be a railroad electrician. Probably work safer. Much more stable job. MUCH less competition. Probably a real retirement. If you don't want the job I'll take it.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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My Pa was a railroad electrician ten years before making the switch to commercial / industrial.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:21 PM   #7
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My buddy's Dad worked for the railroad and makes a bit more on his retirement then what he made while he was working, which was still nice.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:43 PM   #8
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I imagine you whould be working with DC, not AC. two VERY diffrent animals. I love being an inside wiremen, new challanges every day! chouldnt stand much of the same stuff every day.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:16 PM   #9
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If you do land a railroad job, I really don't see the training you'll get as a potential obstacle. Guys generally work at the railroad until they retire. I have never heard of a guy who "used to work for the railroad", unless he's retired.
I used to work for the railroad. I even served my apprenticeship there. Railroads do have lay offs just like any other industry. But you would be correct that anyone that gets on and does not get layed off usually makes a career of it.

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What MD said.. You are not going to become a construction or commercial or maintenance electrician working for the railroad. You're going to be a railroad electrician. Probably work safer. Much more stable job. MUCH less competition. Probably a real retirement. If you don't want the job I'll take it.
You are correct. Anyone offered a RR job in this economy would be extremely lucky to get hired.
The benefits are the best you can get, job security not so much. I would still be there had I not got layed off in 1980.

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I imagine you whould be working with DC, not AC. two VERY diffrent animals. I love being an inside wiremen, new challanges every day! chouldnt stand much of the same stuff every day.
You would be working with both. And whats so very different?
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:26 PM   #10
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I toured GE's locomotive plant in Erie PA about 10 yrs ago. Saw 2 sets of slip rings on the rotor for one of the loco engines. According to plant employee, one set was for DC, and the other for AC field. Wouldn't think that the engine is a constant speed application, and on those models there was only one engine per loco. Anyone familiar w/this?
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:02 PM   #11
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I worked for a commuter train in los angeles and on freight locomotives ..I spent 6 years being micro managed to death and never had a weekend off.Had to work 2nd shift ,had no life .I hated every minute ..Try taking a vacation or a couple days off?I would never go back?
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:07 PM   #12
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I worked for a commuter train in los angeles and on freight locomotives ..I spent 6 years being micro managed to death and never had a weekend off.Had to work 2nd shift ,had no life .I hated every minute ..Try taking a vacation or a couple days off?I would never go back?
You are one of the lucky ones, if you were un-happy, and left. A lot of people get "trapped" by the income.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:15 PM   #13
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You are one of the lucky ones, if you were un-happy, and left. A lot of people get "trapped" by the income.
BNSF, told me i would never find a better job?I was looking for a job when i found them? Moved on to greener pastures ?
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:18 PM   #14
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BNSF, told me i would never find a better job?I was looking for a job when i found them? Moved on to greener pastures ?
Good luck. If you are not happy, no job is worth it...unless you are supporting a family. I would stick with any job to do that.
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:16 AM   #15
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This was back in 1998 ..I HAVE NO KIDS BY DESIGN ,NEVER BECAME A HUMAN WALLET BY HAVING KIDS..My wife works as a nurse she gets no free ride NO KIDS, NO STRESS? Been at my current job 11 years
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:22 PM   #16
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. Saw 2 sets of slip rings on the rotor for one of the loco engines. According to plant employee, one set was for DC, and the other for AC field. Wouldn't think that the engine is a constant speed application, and on those models there was only one engine per loco. Anyone familiar w/this?
Are you talking about the main alternators exciter field? That is DC, the main output is AC. The prime mover is at constant rpm. Otherwise the freq. would be chaging with engine speed.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:09 PM   #17
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I worked as a railroad electrician (IBEW LU 817) for 11 years before I became a lineman . Working for the railroad is a good job BUT I worked for AMTRAK . They are a goverment railroad and you have no right to strike, So I was stuck under the same contract for 10 year with no raise. The job was based on seniority so you could end up on any shift at any time with 2 day off during the week. It took 4 years to get off the midnight shift, no night differential and about 15 years to get a day job with 1 weekend day off. I didn't stay that long. The pay scale is national so If you were making $15 in Florida where the cost of living made it a good pay rate. It was not a good pay rate for NYC or Chicago, L.A. At the time Amtrak was the lowest paying railroad in the country it still is. The moral is stay away from Amtrak but any other railroad ,freight or state run would be a decent job.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:22 PM   #18
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I worked as a railroad electrician (IBEW LU 817) for 11 years before I became a lineman . Working for the railroad is a good job BUT I worked for AMTRAK . They are a goverment railroad and you have no right to strike, So I was stuck under the same contract for 10 year with no raise. The job was based on seniority so you could end up on any shift at any time with 2 day off during the week. It took 4 years to get off the midnight shift, no night differential and about 15 years to get a day job with 1 weekend day off. I didn't stay that long. The pay scale is national so If you were making $15 in Florida where the cost of living made it a good pay rate. It was not a good pay rate for NYC or Chicago, L.A. At the time Amtrak was the lowest paying railroad in the country it still is. The moral is stay away from Amtrak but any other railroad ,freight or state run would be a decent job.
AMTRAK is a prime example of how the government runs everything. INTO THE GROUND.
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