Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Trainspotter

Take This Job and Love It

Recommended Posts

New York Underground

Take This Job and Love It

By ALEX MINDLIN

Published: May 27, 2007

 

EVERY few months on Rider Diaries, an online forum for New York transit buffs, someone posts a message with a subject line like “I’VE BEEN CALLED!!!!” That particular exclamation appeared in October 2005; its writer, a skinny 20-year-old named Jason Brown, crowed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had “finally reached my number.”

 

Congratulations poured in. “This is the biggest news of today!” one enthusiast wrote. Another added, “I wish I was in your seat.”

 

Mr. Brown had just gotten the subway fan’s equivalent of a Broadway callback. A year and a half earlier, he had taken the examination to be a conductor, and now he was being called in for a medical exam and an interview.

 

Had Mr. Brown scored lower, he might have waited even longer. The current list of conductor candidates, which is based on the 2004 exam, had 21,749 names on it in 2005. If previous lists are any guide, only about a third of those names will have been called by the time the list expires in 2009.

 

This wait is frustrating enough for ordinary applicants. But it is agonizing for subway buffs, the people who linger in stations waiting for a rare new-model test car to pass, stay up for 24 hours trying to travel every inch of the city’s tracks, or speculate online about how conductors relieve themselves in an emergency.

 

Some passengers may not want a starry-eyed hobbyist at the wheel of their train, but for a transit buff the chance to drive a subway car is a dream come true, a dizzying intersection of the workaday world and the realm of fantasy.

 

“When I was a kid, I’d always had a crazy little dream to drive a subway train,” said Vincent Sbano, 48, a retired tax lawyer from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, who took the exam in 2003 and started as a trainee train operator on April 30.

 

To pass the time, buffs give the transit authority’s hiring process the same obsessive analysis they bring to bear on a new train model or an unfamiliar track signal. “This arcane, Talmudic discussion” is how Mr. Sbano described the online chatter.

 

In one installment, a computer network administrator wanted to know what his chances were of ultimately landing a job. “My list number is 2678 with a score of 94,” he wrote on Rider Diaries. “Let’s face it, I’ll probably never be called.” There followed an exhaustive discussion of the man’s odds, with much back-and-forth about the size of the candidate pool, the pace of hiring and the number of applications from veterans and transit workers, groups that both receive priority.

 

Mr. Sbano does not consider himself a through-and-through subway buff, but he confirmed a piece of advice widely dispensed to job candidates on Rider Diaries: When applying for a job with the M.T.A., keep your subway enthusiasms to yourself.

 

The transportation authority denies that it discriminates against train fans, but on Rider Diaries the idea is alive and well. As a fellow transit fan wrote to Mr. Brown: “Don’t even hint you are a buff.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured they would like subway buffs to take the jobs. I guess not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW! That many on the C/Rs list. The O/C T/O list has only about 6800 (IIRC). If your are at the 7,000 mark on that C/Rs list, better put in for the next one, or put in for another position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When this thread was created this forum had about 6 or 7 members total. Glad to see it brought back to life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When this thread was created this forum had about 6 or 7 members total. Glad to see it brought back to life.

Damn. Shows how fast this forum really grew and still growing and growing strong at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Damn. Shows how fast this forum really grew and still growing and growing strong at that.

 

yes it has and I'm glad I'm a part of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
maybe they think they will screw around on the job.

 

I took the first test in 2000 i came from "Off The Street".

 

My List Number was 788 scored a 94 got called in a year.

 

I can tell you this some railbuffs are pretty good T/O's and C/R's.

 

Im doing fine,Pelham Bay Dave,NorthEastern are having a grand old time..

 

Now the "overzealous" railfans(or which some call foamers) are the ones who have trouble with the job, beacuse they think they know everything and they dont.If they dont weed them out in Schooclar(i seen them they are the ones who have an answer for every question, get a 100 on every test) they will weed them out while they are on probation.

 

The training is more than "how high a score you can get on a test" you have the pracital part of the job learning how the train moves, how it breakes, how the signals respond to your train which signal does what what it means.Some of my own classmates got 100's on all the quizes and tests knew what part of the train did what, but for thier life couldnt stop that train the right way at all.

 

Its more than "lets see how fast i can move the trains" thats something the MTA learned with the first Open Competitve Test the failure rate was almost 50% of New T/O not making past Schoolcar, or past thier probation. Thats bad real bad.

 

Those are the ones who screwed up so much they totally changed Schoolcar beacuse of it. Made it a bit harder for T/O's and C/R's who dont take the job serious enough to get through it beacuse you will get found out.

 

Dont let my speech deter you now its a great job and you can be a railfan and do a good job, just follow the rules..:D:o;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I took the first test in 2000 i came from "Off The Street".

 

My List Number was 788 scored a 94 got called in a year.

 

I can tell you this some railbuffs are pretty good T/O's and C/R's.

 

Im doing fine,Pelham Bay Dave,NorthEastern are having a grand old time..

 

Now the "overzealous" railfans(or which some call foamers) are the ones who have trouble with the job, beacuse they think they know everything and they dont.If they dont weed them out in Schooclar(i seen them they are the ones who have an answer for every question, get a 100 on every test) they will weed them out while they are on probation.

 

The training is more than "how high a score you can get on a test" you have the pracital part of the job learning how the train moves, how it breakes, how the signals respond to your train which signal does what what it means.Some of my own classmates got 100's on all the quizes and tests knew what part of the train did what, but for thier life couldnt stop that train the right way at all.

 

Its more than "lets see how fast i can move the trains" thats something the MTA learned with the first Open Competitve Test the failure rate was almost 50% of New T/O not making past Schoolcar, or past thier probation. Thats bad real bad.

 

Those are the ones who screwed up so much they totally changed Schoolcar beacuse of it. Made it a bit harder for T/O's and C/R's who dont take the job serious enough to get through it beacuse you will get found out.

 

Dont let my speech deter you now its a great job and you can be a railfan and do a good job, just follow the rules..:D:o;)

 

I took the Conductor test in February 2003 or 2004? forgot. Boy, I thought an 87.5 was a high grade. When I saw my list number was 11,427, I was sick:eek:.

 

As for the "foamer" related portion, Yeah RTO, your absolutely right. They do think they know everything; on the flip side of the coin, maybe it serves them right to fail out of schoolcar, show them that operating a train means business and responsible for tens or hundreds of thousands of lives a day; not whether if I can cruise between stations doing 50 with an R160B (B)ravo:eek:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I took the Conductor test in February 2003 or 2004? forgot. Boy, I thought an 87.5 was a high grade. When I saw my list number was 11,427, I was sick:eek:.

 

Better find out who is ahead of you and......all I will say is cyanide can be friend or foe. With a number that far back.....geez. Might still have a slight chance. If you had a number to MTA employment you could find out where they are at on that list, and what is the possibility of you being called.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Better find out who is ahead of you and......all I will say is cyanide can be friend or foe. With a number that far back.....geez. Might still have a slight chance. If you had a number to MTA employment you could find out where they are at on that list, and what is the possibility of you being called.

 

Ive taken 8 other tests, so Im sure one will hit sooner or later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ive taken 8 other tests, so Im sure one will hit sooner or later.

 

Was O/C T/O one? Are some in the DOB?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Better find out who is ahead of you and......all I will say is cyanide can be friend or foe. With a number that far back.....geez. Might still have a slight chance. If you had a number to MTA employment you could find out where they are at on that list, and what is the possibility of you being called.

 

Tell me about it since soo many people with the first test got a score like me(94) they went by Filing Date for seniority..

 

Which jacked up me beacuse if i filed sooner i would have even better RDO Relief Jobs on the (;),(D) and (N) Lines...

 

ONE file number lower than your can make or brake your pick seen it done , had it done to me...

 

I did it to somebody else for once when i picked over to the B Div..

 

He picked last that day he had everybody figured out(they was his classmates) except for me..:cool::cool:

 

They all wanted Queens or Brooklyn in the South or Brooklyn in the North he wanted the South AM's Uptown..

 

That wasnt my frist choice but i wasnt reporting to work anymore after 1600 hrs and that what was mostly left so it was option two..

 

Needless to say the look on his face when he SEEN what i picked was er "priceless":):o

 

Of coruse with him standing thier with his arms folded i ask him..

 

"What's wrong dude?"

 

"You Picked everything i wanted"

 

"Um excuse me whats your file number again?"

 

Soon as he said 2768 i said..

 

"You will get over it "...

 

Mines is 2758 BTW...:D:rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tell me about it since soo many people with the first test got a score like me(94) they went by Filing Date for seniority..

 

Which jacked up me beacuse if i filed sooner i would have even better RDO Relief Jobs on the (B),(D) and (N) Lines...

 

ONE file number lower than your can make or brake your pick seen it done , had it done to me...

 

I did it to somebody else for once when i picked over to the B Div..

 

He picked last that day he had everybody figured out(they was his classmates) except for me..:cool::cool:

 

They all wanted Queens or Brooklyn in the South or Brooklyn in the North he wanted the South AM's Uptown..

 

That wasnt my frist choice but i wasnt reporting to work anymore after 1600 hrs and that what was mostly left so it was option two..

 

Needless to say the look on his face when he SEEN what i picked was er "priceless":):)

 

Of coruse with him standing thier with his arms folded i ask him..

 

"What's wrong dude?"

 

"You Picked everything i wanted"

 

"Um excuse me whats your file number again?"

 

Soon as he said 2768 i said..

 

"You will get over it "...

 

Mines is 2758 BTW...:P:rolleyes:

 

That's why when my classmates ask, what are you gonna pick, I lie about what I am gonna pick. I look at the entire board, feel what I can get, and when it comes down to what's left, I tell them I'm looking at another line, but already know what I am going to pick. The look on their face when they say "I though you said you was going to that line", is priceless when I tell them I lied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So... I take it there's a lot of competition. Reading over the morsels of conductor information in my book, I find many a thing I do not know. My one question for you guys is how much of this test is where things in NY are? There were quite a lot of things I had no idea about... kinda freaked my out. I want to be a CR, and I don't know everything, but I absorb this information on the subway like a sponge absorbs water in the desert. So realistically, what are my chances?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So... I take it there's a lot of competition. Reading over the morsels of conductor information in my book, I find many a thing I do not know. My one question for you guys is how much of this test is where things in NY are? There were quite a lot of things I had no idea about... kinda freaked my out. I want to be a CR, and I don't know everything, but I absorb this information on the subway like a sponge absorbs water in the desert. So realistically, what are my chances?

Dunno until you take the exam and then once you get called in. If theres a book for the exam, study it, thats all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So... I take it there's a lot of competition. Reading over the morsels of conductor information in my book, I find many a thing I do not know. My one question for you guys is how much of this test is where things in NY are? There were quite a lot of things I had no idea about... kinda freaked my out. I want to be a CR, and I don't know everything, but I absorb this information on the subway like a sponge absorbs water in the desert. So realistically, what are my chances?

 

So you got the book? Was it from the links I posted from Barnes and Nobles, when you asked for the info, on study materials?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My one question for you guys is how much of this test is where things in NY are?

 

If that is included in the test, which I doubt, you should start looking into that. Learning where things are in New York will be easy. There's plenty of maps and guides going around that'll do the trick. Also, you can always ask here if you can't figure something out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If that is included in the test, which I doubt, you should start looking into that. Learning where things are in New York will be easy. There's plenty of maps and guides going around that'll do the trick. Also, you can always ask here if you can't figure something out.

 

I heard they do ask questions on landmarks. Where is the Empire State Building, and what lines go there, etc......P.B. Dave would know, and he would have the answer. He was a C/R first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I heard they do ask questions on landmarks. Where is the Empire State Building, and what lines go there, etc......P.B. Dave would know, and he would have the answer. He was a C/R first.

 

True that most likely is the case. A conductor is always asked questions on where things are when pulled into a station. If it is, we should be able to pitch in and help as well as the wealth of information on the internet. I think that's something he shouldn't worry about too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So you got the book? Was it from the links I posted from Barnes and Nobles, when you asked for the info, on study materials?

 

That's them. Gave me some nice reading on my flight out of NY. Though there is more BO than CR in the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.