why is a railroad hiring 6,500 new personnel?

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Monday night (11/09) , ABC News, Peter Jennings noted in passing that Southern Pacific was planning to hire 6,500 people. Maybe it was another railroad. Maybe it was a dream? But I remember shouting to my wife: Did you hear that? And she remembers my editorial interruption. Does anyone have any information on this?

-- Joseph Danison (JDanison@aol.com), November 10, 1998


I think SP is now defunct...Union Pacific's page had this to say however:


Current Vacancies

Due to the huge response as a result of the recent national newspaper articles, we have been overwhelmed by inquiries regarding future employment with Union Pacific Railroad Company.

The newspaper articles referred to the anticipated hiring as taking place over the next ten years. Currently, the vacancies that exist at this time include the following:

Diesel Mechanics Journeyman Electricians

hmmm...I don't see any demand for signalmen (signalpeople?) or programmers...

-- a (a@a.a), November 11, 1998.

Joseph, my local news reported this also. It was Union Pacific. They were looking for conductors and something else. I can't remember the other position, but both paid over $50,000 per year. I thought the same thing you did, because it would be the conductors who "flip the manual switches." :-)

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), November 11, 1998.

$50,000 dollars? where in the hell do I pick up an application?

-- ed (edrider007@aol.com), November 11, 1998.

$50,000 a year? I will weather even Northern Michigan Winters to flip manual switches for that kind of dough.


-- Rick Tansun (ricktansun@hotmail.com), November 11, 1998.

Railroads do pay well - have had friends who worked for them. They seem to have these huge spurts of employment every 12 years or so - have never had any idea of why.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), November 11, 1998.

What was that old song I used to hear as a kid the "Railroad runs through the middle of the house" or something, remember that along with the Big Rock Candy Mountain on Uncle Mac's Favourites (BBC radio).

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), November 11, 1998.

T'was engineers and conductors - cab riding positions.

Funny - they only go where the switches lead....maybe hire "switchpeople" later?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 11, 1998.

I heard this story on the radio. Between road noise in my little sub-compact and the two small children yammering away in the back seat, I didn't get all of the details, but there were three points I did hear that haven't come out in this discussion:

1. The railroad in question wan't looking to hire all of these people now. This was an anticipated increase in headcount over a period of several years. I believe the figure was 10 years, but I'm not sure.

2. The increased headcount was due to the fact that rail traffic is actually increasing for the first time in years and the few railroads that are left need to staff up to handle the load. It would seem that the modernization and marketing campaigns that the railroads have been pursuing for the last few years are finally paying off.

3. The article mentioned at least two types of positions that were expected to be most heavily recruited. I didn't hear what they were, but it sounds as if the growth in headcount was going to be focused in only a few areas.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), November 11, 1998.

Sorry, Robert. You had already mentioned that engineers and conductors were the positions talked about in the story. I hereby remove item three above from the list of "things not yet discussed."

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), November 11, 1998.

Ah, Richard...so many wonderful old "train songs". Woodie Guthrie made some comment about the love of trains...and maybe it was Bob Dylan who called one of my favorite songs "Love Of Train"...

City of New Orleans

Riding on the City of New Orleans,...Illinois Central, Monday morning rail. Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders, three conductors, and twenty-five sacks of mail.

Sorry for the interruption in the thread. Wouldn't it be nice though if all of them had musical accompaniment? Everything reminds me of a song. Mea maxima culpa.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), November 11, 1998.

Steve Goodman, a Chicago singer/songwriter, wrote "City of New Orleans". He passed away over 10 years ago from cancer I think. He had a number of other great songs.

-- Bill (bill@microsoft.com), November 12, 1998.

Haven't heard any romantic songs or otherwise about "Le Shuttle" or "Eurostar" (Channel Tunnel trains). Fairly efficient, in UK 50mph, in tunnel 60mph, in France (150mph). Apart from the pressure on the ears they are OK if you don't want to drive to Paris.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), November 12, 1998.

I seem to remember that the reason given was they have a lot of employees approaching retirement...

-- Gregory N. Osnaws (gnosnaws@att.worldnet.net), November 14, 1998.

You are absolutely correct about Steve Goodman, Bill....I remember feeling very sad at his death.

"Goodnight America, how are you? Don't you know me I'm your native son. I'm that train they call The City of New Orleans. I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done."

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), November 15, 1998.

Steve Goodman, I think, is also the guy who wrote "Seven Bridges Road"--the song the Eagles recorded.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), November 15, 1998.

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