Questions about becoming OBS Trainee

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Joined
Nov 9, 2011
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Long Island, NY
In order not to start a new thread I'm going to piggyback off this one as 1sgt used to say. I recently interview for an OBS position, but after the interview I received an email to do a physical for LSA. Since I was expecting to be considered for this position I didn't ask any questions in regards to it. What exactly does the LSA do? I would be based out of Washington D.C. if that helps. Thank you everyone for your help and this thread along with the website in general has been beyond helpful!
LSA means Lead Service Attendant, which means you will be involved in Food Service including the collection of money and Paperwork/computer sales reports. Not all LSA positions involve money, for example working in First Class in the NE Corridor it just involves food preparation and service as well as the paperwork. Your trips could vary such as (from DC) just to NY and back same day or to Boston and back same day. To Boston or Springfield Mass., St Albans VT, stay overnight and back next day, or a 3 day trip To Chicago and back. Working in First Class you will work with another LSA in the FC car, most other positions you work by yourself. You will have approx. 2 weeks of classroom training after which you will make several training trips working with the regularly assigned person on various trains and will be shown/coached on the realities of getting the job done well.

Hope this helps, I was an LSA for 31 years, now retired. Ask anything else I can assist with! Good Luck!
 

Arson451

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Washington D.C.
LSA means Lead Service Attendant, which means you will be involved in Food Service including the collection of money and Paperwork/computer sales reports. Not all LSA positions involve money, for example working in First Class in the NE Corridor it just involves food preparation and service as well as the paperwork. Your trips could vary such as (from DC) just to NY and back same day or to Boston and back same day. To Boston or Springfield Mass., St Albans VT, stay overnight and back next day, or a 3 day trip To Chicago and back. Working in First Class you will work with another LSA in the FC car, most other positions you work by yourself. You will have approx. 2 weeks of classroom training after which you will make several training trips working with the regularly assigned person on various trains and will be shown/coached on the realities of getting the job done well.

Hope this helps, I was an LSA for 31 years, now retired. Ask anything else I can assist with! Good Luck!
Thank you!
 

Arson451

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Washington D.C.
@pennyk , can you also explain how time off works for LSA if you’re traveling 100% while working? As well as PTO? Also how do the travel benefits work? I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’m just trying to get a complete picture of the whole operations and benefits. Thank you!
 

pennyk

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@pennyk , can you also explain how time off works for LSA if you’re traveling 100% while working? As well as PTO? Also how do the travel benefits work? I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’m just trying to get a complete picture of the whole operations and benefits. Thank you!
I am not an Amtrak employee so I can only guess. @OBS can explain (or other Amtrak employees, of which there are a few who are members here).
From what I have seen on the Florida trains, the LSA works 4 days and gets 3 days off. They get a room on the train and can sleep on the train, spend one night in NYC and return to MIA. However, an LSA on the NEC would have a different schedule.
 
Joined
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T
@pennyk , can you also explain how time off works for LSA if you’re traveling 100% while working? As well as PTO? Also how do the travel benefits work? I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’m just trying to get a complete picture of the whole operations and benefits. Thank you!
There is no paid time off other than Vacation and a monthly Guarantee that you work or be paid 150 hours in a month if you don't break the guarantee. The guarantee is not important because you will never work less than 150 hours a month. When you start you will be an Extra board (on call) employee. You will be given a certain call period (say 6:30-8:30 am). You have to be available by phone during those hours for a call. The call will usually be an assignment for the next day,, but could be a same day assignment. If you don't get a call at all you then must be available from 5-7 pm for a possible call, usually for next day. When you complete a trip, you call to mark back up to the extra board and you usually have the number of hours off that you worked (paid hours) before you go on call again. Thus, if you were paid (worked) a 12 hour trip you have 12 hours off and then go on call the next AM/PM call period after that. You are supposed to be guaranteed 4 days off a month.

Travel benefits...You (and immediate family) can basically ride in the NEC all you want by showing your pass to Conductor before boarding (exception is some Acela's).
For longer travel you can book sleepers at 20% discount and if sleeper does not sell out you get that money refunded 3 months later. You also receive 10(?) buddy passes each year but I think they must travel with you.

ETA ...If you mean time off during your trip, there isn't much during daytime trips. You will get short break while stopped in NY. On the Vermonter the Conductor will close cafe for a meal break during VT portion of the trip. On Chicago trip you will close for short dinner break and then have sleeper to retire to between approx. 11pm and 6 am and those hours are unpaid.
 
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Arson451

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Washington D.C.
T

There is no paid time off other than Vacation and a monthly Guarantee that you work or be paid 150 hours in a month if you don't break the guarantee. The guarantee is not important because you will never work less than 150 hours a month. When you start you will be an Extra board (on call) employee. You will be given a certain call period (say 6:30-8:30 am). You have to be available by phone during those hours for a call. The call will usually be an assignment for the next day,, but could be a same day assignment. If you don't get a call at all you then must be available from 5-7 pm for a possible call, usually for next day. When you complete a trip, you call to mark back up to the extra board and you usually have the number of hours off that you worked (paid hours) before you go on call again. Thus, if you were paid (worked) a 12 hour trip you have 12 hours off and then go on call the next AM/PM call period after that. You are supposed to be guaranteed 4 days off a month.

Travel benefits...You (and immediate family) can basically ride in the NEC all you want by showing your pass to Conductor before boarding (exception is some Acela's).
For longer travel you can book sleepers at 20% discount and if sleeper does not sell out you get that money refunded 3 months later. You also receive 10(?) buddy passes each year but I think they must travel with you.

ETA ...If you mean time off during your trip, there isn't much during daytime trips. You will get short break while stopped in NY. On the Vermonter the Conductor will close cafe for a meal break during VT portion of the trip. On Chicago trip you will close for short dinner break and then have sleeper to retire to between approx. 11pm and 6 am and those hours are unpaid.
Thank you so much! I can’t thank you enough for sharing all this information.
 

John from RI

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 6, 2021
Messages
66
Location
Bloomfield NJ
I know Amtrak as a train rider. I want to say thanks for your attitude. No doubt you will have days when you've worked a lot of hours and are tired. No doubt you will meet us members of the Amtrak public who are not at our best. No doubt the best for some of us was not very good in the first place. Still, we too are human beings and our comfort depends on people like you. I can only wish I might ride a train where you would be my OBS.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
1
Location
New Orleans
LSA means Lead Service Attendant, which means you will be involved in Food Service including the collection of money and Paperwork/computer sales reports. Not all LSA positions involve money, for example working in First Class in the NE Corridor it just involves food preparation and service as well as the paperwork. Your trips could vary such as (from DC) just to NY and back same day or to Boston and back same day. To Boston or Springfield Mass., St Albans VT, stay overnight and back next day, or a 3 day trip To Chicago and back. Working in First Class you will work with another LSA in the FC car, most other positions you work by yourself. You will have approx. 2 weeks of classroom training after which you will make several training trips working with the regularly assigned person on various trains and will be shown/coached on the realities of getting the job done well.

Hope this helps, I was an LSA for 31 years, now retired. Ask anything else I can assist with! Good Luck!
How does training go ? I was told I would be training for 3 weeks in New York. Where will we stay ? Do you share rooms ?
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
13
Location
Chicago
Hello everyone, my name is DJ and I'm new to the site. I just finished the process to become a OBS Trainee, all that's left is the background and drug test. Trying to get as much info as I can before I sign. If there's anyone out there who could enlighten me on the job, the conditions, the hours and anything else that may be helpful would be much appreciated. I come from working 40 hours a week full time and I heard that you're allotted a certain amount of hours each month, is that true? Also, there is 3 week training and that the pay would be $21.00 hourly for the 3 weeks, but what happens after that? Does the pay remain the same or does it change? I'm sorry, but I still don't know how the system works. How steady is the work, and during the interview they had mentioned something about a extra board and I would have to bid on jobs. I think they said if I'm not on the train I'm not working so I don't get paid. That concept is for most jobs unless you have sick/vacation time. I also know the hours vary by day or by the route that I'm on which really shouldn't be a problem, I've worked crazy hours before. I would really appreciate if any of you could give me some clarification on the position, it would really help me out. Thank again. Oh, by the way, it's a Los Angeles position.
I interviewed for the obs trainee on board trainattendant almost two months ago app still says under review. Should I assume they went with diff candidate? How was the recruitment process when you took position?
 
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