Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Railroad Conductor School: What It's Really Like

My husband has been in conductor school for six days now. He's a new hire with a Class One railroad, so he's getting paid to go to school. It has been a challenging but positive experience. There are about 24 people in his class. They meet from 8am until 5pm. There are homework and quizzes every day. When he gets home, he takes a break for dinner. Then he studies until about 1 a.m. He's been getting 100% on all of the quizzes and a 98% on the first test. The class is highly structured with lots of fill-in-the-blank type homework, but that is perfect for internalizing the myriad of rules that he needs to know to do his job well. My advice is this: If you get hired by a Class One RR, expect to work hard to study a lot. It's not rocket science, but it is a lot of material. If you do your work and study, you will probably pass. If you have to drive more than an hour to get to class every day, it may be worth it to get a motel room so that you can spend more time studying and less time driving. With BNSF you can't score below a 90% on any of the major tests and pass the course. I've also heard that BNSF requires a perfect score on the signals test. With UP you must get an 85% on every major test to pass. Oh, BTW, did I mention that there is random drug testing during the training phase as well?

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