Difficult work culture. Decent pay, benefits, retirement.
Locomotive Engineer, Pittsburgh
I've been an employee for 13 plus years. Everyone in Train and Engine service(T&E) hires as a conductor. When the company needs more engineers you are required to go to Engine school(Locomotive Engine Training). If you fail any of the 4 final exams you are given a retest. If you fail that you are terminated. This is usually after 5 or more years. As a conductor you are the one on the ground directing the engineer to move the train forwards or backwards, by radio or hand signals. You are also responsible for throwing switches, proper lineup of the cars in the train, hazmat paperwork, and spotting car placement in industries. Plenty of walking and in all kinds of weather, day and night(more night than day)24/7. The conductors now are making less than they used to. Partially because NS has hired more so you don't work as much, and 12 hours rest is required which used to be only 8 hours. This is a good thing since the 8 hour rest was exhausting. The rules you must comply to are extensive, strict, and mandatory. They are necessary but sometimes are interpreted differently by trainmasters who actually hide and watch you work. A rule violation can and often does lead to suspension without pay. Conductors start at 80% of the wage scale and go to 100% after 5 years. Most make 45k first year. Not much for always on call, nights weekends , holidays.
As a locomotive engineer you are responsible for the safe movement of the engines and train. so
Long Term Contractors Infrastructure Project Manager
Norfolk Southern, NS, has many long term contractors. I was one of them. I was there for almost 8 years as project manager for 3 IT groups - Web Services/EDI and Database Groups, then the Enterprise Windows Services group for the last 6 years.
My typical day would include visits with various team members to get updates and remove roadblocks to their getting work done. I usually have about 2-4 project meeting per day and a weekly management meeting to provide update, issues and status of the several projects I managed concurrently. I was responsible for cross-functional teams for most of my projects, and I covers many miles in the office to work with them and get our projects completed.
I learned a lot and worked with some great technical resources. I manages maybe more than 30 projects in that time period, and built great teams, collaborated with other IT groups - Network, Security, Application Development, AIX, Accounting, Transportation, Administrative Services and several other departments to update their systems and provide the latest secure environment for their infrastructure.
I mentored, I went above and beyond to support my teams with what they needed to get the job done. I was called "PM extraordinaire" by the then director and now AVP. If my team had an issue getting what they needed to get the work done, I would used my strong and strategic relationships throughout the company to alleviate their roadblocks.
The culture was very interesting and varied
Do you want to be part of the 3000 employees they have promised to fire by next year?
I hired at Norfolk Southern in April, 2018. The hiring program included time at the present HQ in Norfolk, VA. The orientation program there was good. Next, I traveled to McDonough, GA, for "Conductor Boot Camp." That was a great experience. I earned conductor certification through the company's operating department.
Finally, I arrived at my home location, the Pocahontas Division, headquartered in Roanoke, VA. From there, it was confusion and chaos. There was little to no communication from the Roanoke office about anything. If it hadn't been for my local managers my training would have been worthless. It was like I was on a different planet. I was supposed to have a set amount of time to train but they constantly tried to undercut and shortcut on my time. A great deal of my training time, 6 months, was WASTED doing things totally irrelevant to the job I ended up being placed into.
When I first interviewed at NS, I was told that my position would be a "trainmaster," or "road manager." This held true for a few months, then it was changed without notice or warning. I was at a location that was terrible for a trainee. The experience went from bad to worse as changes happened in Norfolk. In December I was told that I was in "limbo," with no job in the location I had been training at. I was assured, however, that I would be transferred. This did not happen. They broke their word to me several times. In February, I was told again that I would be transferred to another NS loc
ProsI left CSX to go to NS and wanted to be there.
ConsDivision level managers who do NOT tell the truth, 12-18 hour days, EXTREME stress and pressure, very poorly managed training programs, no job stability right now, most positions are on call so when you leave after 12-18 hours you still have to answer the phone, dealing with disgruntled employees who HATE the company, antiquated facilities that are old, dirty, and not maintained.
The railroad is not a great place for a new family to be a part of if in transportation. Have to put in at least 5 years before you can breath and not worry about getting laid off and not having job from month to month. If I knew half of what i was getting into i would have never even applied. Now some may love it and if you do, you will have a great career if your not laid off, great pay, decent benifits, good retirement, easy work but be prepared for 30+ years of no schedule leaving your house a 2-3 am for 2 days at time. Management for me has been fairly good as long as you are on call and dont tear up anything they tend to leave you alone, but i have heard horror stories. This job on paper sounds amazing but once your actually working and know what its like its hard to get used to. Great career if you can take it mentally and are willing to sacrifice about 75% of your free time and forget about keeping friends or a healthy social life. Final point is that if you have never worked a job where you are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year or maybe military background( a lot of guys that work are ex military). I would think long and hard before applying. If you have a family with kids be prepared to go months without making any real money in the first years. Also the expensive dues to a union that is a shell of what it once was. you can go into management but then the company can relocate you anywhere they see fit at any time. Again great career and there are fewer and fewe
Prosgreat pay when work is there, good benefits, retirement, physically easy job
Consvery unstable work-comes and goes, live out of a hotel when busy
My job was as a dispatcher for 12 years. You are required to be in a union and doing a quality job is meaningless only seniority allows you to move ahead, so you could be the best dispatcher but least seniority, you will not get the job. While this part is not NS fault, NS does not allow adequate training in using a new dispatch system that was basically forced on all dispatchers and expected to learn on your own with little to no education on how to use it. Do not expect to have a life outside the railroad, you belong to the railroad once you are hired, mark up and get years under of seniority behind you before you get off the extra board and stand for a regular job. Even when you get that first regular job it will NOT be a Monday through Friday job on 1st shift. Respectful managers are far and few now under the company's new regime to centralize the dispatchers in their new Network Operations Center in Atlanta, you are looked at as a number and the only way to get any break is to mark off sick because so many have retired or quit in the last year since the centralization of dispatchers began. If you want a good paycheck and health benefits but could careless about seeing friends, family and having any outside life, this is the job for you. One thing about it, every day is different so expect variety, there is lots of stress as you are basically a railroad equivalent of a air traffic controller and lots and lots of responsibility. You are CONSTANTLY under scrutiny so
ConsStressful environment. No respect from management.
At nineteen I left home to go work on the railroad. Working in an all male environment I learned to appreciate sophomoric humor. The hazing was constant, and I discovered how to give it back in a respectful way. If your coworkers did not like you, they will not say anything to you. The company I worked for would not promote an employee without a four tear degree, so this started me back to college. I worked the 11 -7 shift and took classes early in the morning.
I had one supervisor that came up through the ranks that could not read the rule book. This rule book is forever in my mind because we would read two rules a day. Management was rough and gruff and I appreciated it. There was no mystery about their intent. I completed a three year apprenticeship on the shop track and before that an eight week training course in Mc Donough Georgia. The hardest part of the job was cleaning up derailment sites, and getting rail cars back on the tracks.This was overtime for hourly employees. I did one derailment, and then found a part time job for extra cash. Cleaning up derailments was dangerous, unpredictable work. I experienced a national strike. President George Bush put us back to work after one day and appointed an arbitrator. Another time the railroad locked us out of work due to the threat of a strike elsewhere. The courts said that they could not do that and we were paid for the one day we were out. The best time was working as a volunteer on the steam trains. I received the behi
Dynamic, challenging environment keeps you interested & involved.
Mentally/physically challenged/occupied from the beginning to the end of each tour of duty. You must learn patience and flexibility in such a dynamic environment. When you leave the crew room there is almost nonstop movement around you until the end of your tour. Be aware not only for yourself but for the safety of others and the equipment around you. Make decisions based on training & experience not impulse & haste.
Management changes regularly but co-workers rarely do. Be flexible/understanding. Remember that everyone works with different pace & perception. Perhaps a person is working to the best of his/her ability when others feel they are not.
The hardest things about my job were leaving the house knowing that you may not return for twenty to forty hours & becoming complacent which could lead to acting without thinking,a dangerous habit. Each day at work presented new challenges,interaction with supervisors,train dispatchers,yardmasters,co-workers,different crafts & their restrictions as they relate to you and conditions including the changing weather. It was a daunting task each day and truthfully
I LOVED IT! I had a terrific job,never boring,constantly changing. Traveling by train through the countryside mostly following the rivers through forested land,encountering wildlife in their habitat and witnessing the beauty of nature. Meeting new people in different cities and towns and experiencing their different ways of life. You learn that to many,myself included,ra
Things you must be willing to do succeed as CO @ ns - accept that you will not be able to make plans, accept that you will miss holidays and Family events, accept that unless you hired @ 18 years you will never hold the good day light jobs , ever . Accept even if you scheduled the day off you may be stuck in another City and not get it . Accept that you are just a # .
The training is on point , I was in the short 90 day program , but I was able to pick it up without issue. Its an easy job but mistakes have dire consequence’s. So those who have been dismissed for rules violation no matter how small , its warranted. I think Ns sets ppl up for failure somewhat by hiring people without the mental capacity to see a the big picture that every action has a reaction. If you take the wrong action PPL can die. I'm very Leary around new CO's and wont entrust my life to anyone out here , Zero tolerance for safety infractions is great policy when dealing with 10000 ton trains .
I do like my job , most of the ppl you work with are good folks. The job is not challenging what so ever. Its rather boring without an interesting co- worker to talk to . Like its been said in other reviews the hardest part is staying alert after being up for 20+ hours. The pay is decent , its not the most i ever made but for what i do its acceptable even @ 80% .
I'm currently evaluating a position I was offered in engineering @ another company , Its probably the toughest the decision I w
ProsEasy work, decent pay, good people
Cons24/7 365 job, rain sleet ice heat xtreme cold your working, unable to make any plans .
PLEASE READ! 0 WORK / LIFE BALANCE. Good money to be made/ training pay is terrible for the hours you work / good benefits
I had to try it out. I saw the pay. I thought of all the goals I could hit with the income and got tunnel vision with the money to be made. You don’t really realize how much you take a schedule for granted until you don’t have one.
There is 0 work/life balance. The railroad becomes your life and that’s all you will ever hear from the people you work with / instructors. That’s why it pays the way it does. The hardest part is that it’s not just a job it is a lifestyle and you convince yourself it’s worth it when you look at the money to be made.
Never have I met so many divorced men, balding young men, or older men with nothing outside of work. (no family, no significant other, no kids)
If you’re single, no significant other, don’t mind not seeing your significant other, family or kids for days at a time every week, and don’t mind not knowing when your shift is / being called at any hour of the day any day to come in then this is the job for you.
It didn’t work out for me because I’m a family man. For me there’s always another job out there, but the one thing we never get back is TIME and that’s what the railroad demands. Not just hours but days away every week, and you never know what day or time you’re gonna be gone.
My first day they didn’t even tell me which yard to report to. And when I finally did find the right yard because I flagged an employee truck down I explained to the engineer and conductor what happened and all they did was laugh and said “welcome to the
Decent wages...great retirement....no thanks to ns....poor management
You will be paid decently, the retirement is great for a blue collar worker.....until norfolk southern can figure out how to go to as many contractors as possible....so they don't have to pay a decent wage....offer healthcare....or pay into retirement....so all you contractors are morons for working for less than reasonable wages and struggle paying for family to survive....and beg obama for healthcare handouts. Norfolk Southern is a company that will demand safety as long as they are around....but when they are not around....push for you to get the job done any way possible....and when you get hurt.....expect to be pulled out of service and accused of breaking a rule....this happens everyday! They're is an alternative....cover up the injury.....and management will play hear no evil.....see no evil! The government needs to get more involed and people like myself will continue to urge congress and the union to put a stop to this practice by this southern railroad mentality! It's a great job....but as you can read.....there are some critical downfalls! I pray for a more honest and family friendly railroad....but i wont hold my breathe....ih by the way the railroad gives 2 dirty nickles of care for military....so don't let them blow steam your way....i urge you to research and talk to railroad employees and find out for yourself. They put in management that really aren't fit mentally and physically to do the job....but the railroad knows they are 2 dumb to question what
If you were in charge, what would you do to make Norfolk Southern Corp a better place to work?
Asked Nov 11, 2019
Management that understands the job.
Answered Nov 8, 2020
Care about the employees and ACTUALLY be concerned with safety
Answered Oct 28, 2020
What is the best part of working at Norfolk Southern Corp?
Asked Nov 26, 2019
Nothing...greedy company...upper management is top heavy and does not support front line supervisors...non existant work-life balance
Answered Jun 26, 2022
Coworkers usaly are funny and friendly
Answered Jun 20, 2022
What is a typical day like for you at Norfolk Southern Corp?
Asked Apr 26, 2020
Norfolk southern is understaffed. Management is expecting more with less but still requires you to follow every safety rule and think it will go faster. They have to write you up if the don’t write up at least one person a quarter management is reprimanded and docked pay. Management watches you like a hawk and doesn’t know or care what your job requires.
Answered Nov 8, 2020
No straight answer to the days work. No real sense of an ending time
Answered Oct 16, 2020
How flexible are your working hours at Norfolk Southern Corp?
Asked Mar 22, 2020
You have no life outside the railroad.
Answered Nov 8, 2020
Not flexible, seniority based and most jobs in the beginning are on call
Answered Oct 28, 2020
What tips or advice would you give to someone interviewing at Norfolk Southern Corp?
Asked Apr 13, 2019
RUN Forest, RUN!!!!!
JUST SAY NO!
Do NOT do it!
For the sake of your family, your life, your sanity, and your work-life ratio, don't do it!