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Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Chicago
Hello I'm new to the form. Hopefully someone can help with this. I just got and accepted a Passenger Engineer Trainee position with Amtrak in Chicago which I was told was Zone 4. Now I'm already a conducter with Norfolk Southern in Chicago going on eight years and I have a couple of questions any help will gladly be appreciated!

1. What signals govern Zone 4? I know N&W and NS signals are two of them because Amtrak runs on NS rail right by our 55th Street yard all day to get in and out of Union Station. I know CN is another one because we have to run on CN rail to deliver cars to the CN yard. I'm asking this because I know you need one hundred percent on the signals to pass no exceptions! So I wanted to know what signals I need to study.

2. How does the Chicago Engineer extra board work? What's the guarantee like?

3. How intense is the training in DE? I know it's way different from freight to passenger. I've been reading conflicting information.

Thanks in advance for any help
 
Joined
May 19, 2022
Messages
6
Location
Alliance, Ne
Hello I'm new to the form. Hopefully someone can help with this. I just got and accepted a Passenger Engineer Trainee position with Amtrak in Chicago which I was told was Zone 4. Now I'm already a conducter with Norfolk Southern in Chicago going on eight years and I have a couple of questions any help will gladly be appreciated!

1. What signals govern Zone 4? I know N&W and NS signals are two of them because Amtrak runs on NS rail right by our 55th Street yard all day to get in and out of Union Station. I know CN is another one because we have to run on CN rail to deliver cars to the CN yard. I'm asking this because I know you need one hundred percent on the signals to pass no exceptions! So I wanted to know what signals I need to study.

2. How does the Chicago Engineer extra board work? What's the guarantee like?

3. How intense is the training in DE? I know it's way different from freight to passenger. I've been reading conflicting information.

Thanks in advance for any help
Hey currently in engineer training for the NEC, BNSF engineer refugee.
1. Couldn't help ya with that.
2. Amtrak extraboards work like any other from what I understand but it's not uninterrupted rest like we are used too, i.e. they can call you in the middle of your rest to tell u ur called for when ur rest is up. Also it's 8 hours vs 10 like with frieght. Blows my mind how frieght has the better rest rules and passenger dosnt.
3. Don't worry about training, way easier than I expected. A lot of fluff that BNSF taught us was not included thank god cuz it was a lot of stuff that you didn't need to know unless you were mechanical. Partially cuz of how they do training and Partially by picking some of the best people there hasn't been a failure in some time. There is so much extra time built into the program finding time to study for signals isn't going to be a problem.
Message me if there is anything else.
Good Luck.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Chicago
Hey currently in engineer training for the NEC, BNSF engineer refugee.
1. Couldn't help ya with that.
2. Amtrak extraboards work like any other from what I understand but it's not uninterrupted rest like we are used too, i.e. they can call you in the middle of your rest to tell u ur called for when ur rest is up. Also it's 8 hours vs 10 like with frieght. Blows my mind how frieght has the better rest rules and passenger dosnt.
3. Don't worry about training, way easier than I expected. A lot of fluff that BNSF taught us was not included thank god cuz it was a lot of stuff that you didn't need to know unless you were mechanical. Partially cuz of how they do training and Partially by picking some of the best people there hasn't been a failure in some time. There is so much extra time built into the program finding time to study for signals isn't going to be a problem.
Message me if there is anything else.
Good Luck.
Thanks for the response. And yes you would think the rest rules would be better for passenger that's crazy! Also I've been totally working yards jobs (UB, and yard switching) for a few years so my signals are rusty lol. In the yards I work in Chicago there basically about four signals. Approach, Restricting, Slow Clear, and Stop (Lol) and going out the yard is rare so your not seeing all the signals on a daily basis.
 

Acela150

Super Buff
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
9,132
Location
Somewhere between here and there
My fiancé got a job offer for an engineer trainee position. He will be leaving on September 5th for their training program. We are trying to figure out what he needs to pack. During training do they wear uniforms or should he prepare to dress business casual, casual…

First off, please extend your other half Congratulations! Which crew base will he be working out of?

As for what to pack. Boots are number one, followed by note books, pens, pencils, etc. The Student Engineer program doesn't have a uniform. However, they'll send him details on what to wear etc. I can also suggest that depending on where he is coming luggage. Since I'm not sure, let me know and I can give some basic advice on that.

If he is not a current employee he should receive his Amtrak ID within the first week or first part of the second week. Once he receives that he shouldn't have any issues with being able to "flashpass" to go to Philly, NYC, DC, Boston, etc on the weekend. I can provide you more details on this through a PM if you'd like.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
 

Mardies Parchman

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
25
Location
Chicago
Amtrak has recently posted LSA and SA/TA OBS jobs for Chicago. I would send your HR contact an email and inquire.


So firstly, I want to thank you for the post. Because this gives me an idea on how things are run. I wish that I could say that I'm not surprised that things were a mess, however Amtrak hasn't done open hiring sessions like this in an unknown amount of time, possibly ever.

Stay in touch with someone from HR. But if you have any questions please feel free to send me a PM. I will gladly answer anything that I can for you.

Just curious though. Which city did you attend this event for?
Good Morning I applied for original position in May interviewed in May they sent an offer in june. Due to an email mixuo never recived it but was told my unfo would be retained when position opens up again. it is still under review recently the under review date changed to August is that a good thing I originally applied in May. they opened the position I applied for up again. So I am hopeful I will get called back soon.
 

Acela150

Super Buff
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
9,132
Location
Somewhere between here and there
Good Morning I applied for original position in May interviewed in May they sent an offer in june. Due to an email mixuo never recived it but was told my unfo would be retained when position opens up again. it is still under review recently the under review date changed to August is that a good thing I originally applied in May. they opened the position I applied for up again. So I am hopeful I will get called back soon.

My suggestion is to once again reach out to the HR recruiter who you interviewed with. They can help you in this case.
 

Maybrook Valley

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Northeast
Good Morning I applied for original position in May interviewed in May they sent an offer in june. Due to an email mixuo never recived it but was told my unfo would be retained when position opens up again. it is still under review recently the under review date changed to August is that a good thing I originally applied in May. they opened the position I applied for up again. So I am hopeful I will get called back soon.
If it’s anything like my experience, expect to be left in the dark. They gave me an informal offer over 4 months ago. Still haven’t heard anything since. Every email I’ve sent to the HR rep asking about the status has been ignored. Now I’ve just pretty much given up on ever hearing from them.
It’s a shame, because when I was at the hiring fair, I met so many lovely Amtrak employees and it made me even more excited to potentially start a career with them. Hopefully they’re more responsive with you. Good luck!
 

PaTrainFan

OBS Chief
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
869
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Here is an excellent story from today's Washington Post (apologies to those who cannot access it) on the push by employers to bring employees back into the office after Labor Day and the pushback by many who do not want to return. It points out that right now in the full employment and tough hiring environment that applicants have the upper hand. Many employees are looking to jump ship and move to companies with more fexible work environments. Obviously where Amtrak is concerned, mechanics and on board personnel cannot work from home. I have no idea what Amtrak's WFH policies are but this could be a deterrent for them in filling key management or support jobs, maybe even in HR.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,711
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Here is an excellent story from today's Washington Post (apologies to those who cannot access it) on the push by employers to bring employees back into the office after Labor Day and the pushback by many who do not want to return. It points out that right now in the full employment and tough hiring environment that applicants have the upper hand. Many employees are looking to jump ship and move to companies with more fexible work environments. Obviously where Amtrak is concerned, mechanics and on board personnel cannot work from home. I have no idea what Amtrak's WFH policies are but this could be a deterrent for them in filling key management or support jobs, maybe even in HR.
Unlocked copy: https://wapo.st/3PYU7jL
 

amtrakpass

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Messages
222
Purely anecdotal but did have a friend recently apply for Amtrak for entry level positions and was rejected by them before an interview despite getting multiple other interviews at other transportation companies and eventually landing one of those jobs. He also passed drug tests for several of those opportunuties so that was not a problem. There definitely is a nationwide shortage of workers for sure in some fields, but I think this one example may highlight there is an ongoing problem in Amtrak's hiring process with being overly selective or overly slow in the hiring process.
 

Arson451

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2022
Messages
21
Location
Washington D.C.
When I was going thru the process my HR liaison after 3 weeks of back and forth with the adjudication board, informed that they were all new. She actually filed a complaint with her boss because of how slow and ridiculous their requirements were towards new hires. In my case a 7 year old DUI was the deal breaker. I was all set to leave traditional chef life and Michelin awards to bring my talents to the rails. Amtrak thought otherwise so I’m back in a brick and mortar restaurant as the chef de cuisine. I still wish things would have turned out differently.
 

Maybrook Valley

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Northeast
Reading this thread its not wonder Amtrak will forever be short on staff.

I’ve been in the dark for over 4 months now. The one and only communication I received was when an HR recruiter sent an email introducing themselves and that they would be reaching out in the coming weeks to extend and offer. They left no phone number to reach them, and every subsequent email I’ve sent has been ignored.
A commuter railroad sent me an offer, which I’m accepting. I don’t know how long Amtrak expected me to wait.
 

JP1822

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
120
Sad that with such a shortage in labor and the fact the Amtrak needs labor, that there's not a better streamlined and efficient process. Even if there's a shortage in the HR hiring department, it can still be done. To hire people that have been interviewed, need to follow-up with them one way or another!
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
601
Location
Arlington, MA (near Boston)
At least you got a decline. I worked with HR for a major bank for a while, and we never sent out decline letters. We explained as politely as possible in the interview that non-acceptances would be "kept on file". If we could, we gave them a date after which they could assume that they hadn't received the posted job. I was told this was for legal reasons, that were we to decline someone we would have to state a reason and that would open us up to lawsuits. This was 30 years ago so mileage may vary.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,216
Location
Baltimore. MD
When I was going thru the process my HR liaison after 3 weeks of back and forth with the adjudication board, informed that they were all new. She actually filed a complaint with her boss because of how slow and ridiculous their requirements were towards new hires. In my case a 7 year old DUI was the deal breaker. I was all set to leave traditional chef life and Michelin awards to bring my talents to the rails. Amtrak thought otherwise so I’m back in a brick and mortar restaurant as the chef de cuisine. I still wish things would have turned out differently.
They're disqualifying potential chefs because they might have overindulged in alcohol at some point in their lives? They should read Anthony Bourdain's books and realize that if they disqualify because of drinking, they'll never be able to hire any chefs. I can't believe the FRA cares about past substance abuse or old DUIs of on-board service personnel. It's not like the chefs are driving the train or anything. If this is an FRA rule, it's idiotic and should be changed.
 
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