Maintenance Lead (Former Employee) – Hamel, MN – October 8, 2015
I worked on a main line grinder an it is extremely dirty. If you have a good crew it can be fun but 16 hour days are normal. At first it can be overwhelming but its not very hard. All manual labor so you need to be strong.
Plan on working 12-16 hours a day, everyday. Big paychecks and hard work. I was able to travel the country on the company dime, but do expect to be away from home, almost all of the time. This is not a position for someone with a family. If you are a 20 year old with nothing going on at home, this will be a dream job if you can handle the workload. Very dirty, very physical, very mentally demanding. I loved it.
Labour/ Mechanice (Former Employee) – Minnesota US – June 10, 2015
The money was good only because I worked 12 hours a day for 6-7 days a week. You lived on the train that you would fix and the dusty environment wasn't fun to olive in. The people you work with are ok but the boss doesn't listen to your concerns much. You're out for 7-8 weeks then home for 2 and you wouldn't want to go back out after your two weeks off.
Food, laundry, housing was free
you can't have a family or life, you'll never see them.
Assisted in setting up, bracing and rigging hoisting equipment. Notified supervisor of equipment defects or malfunctions. Assembled rigging to lift and move equipment and material in manufacturing plant, shipyard and on construction projects. Selected cables, ropes, pulleys, winches, blocks and sheaves, according to weight and size of load to be moved.
Work time starts at 7am or 8am. Flexible hours. Take lunch whenever. Just put in your 8 hours each day. Co-workers are helpful and friendly. Sometimes upper management will make decisions that don't make sense and they could do better. Great events and benefits.
Good environment with friendly co workers, diligent and engaged management seeing different scenery every other day. I've learned to be more patient and understanding along with learning how to operate the specialty machines that they have
Operator 1 (Current Employee) – South Eastern United States – January 23, 2014
These are reviews for different roles on a rail grinding crew
General Laborer: You will almost ALWAYS start on nights, if you are on nights your shift is from 6pm - 6am and will do nothing but maintenance work, if you are on days you will be on the operating crew and your shift would be from 5am - 6pm (This is not a typo, I'll explain later)
General Laborer night crew: You start your day changing grind stones (about 15-20 pound(s), donut shaped, stones, held together by fiberglass). Changing a stone includes holding the stone with an outreached arm loosening 3 bolts, discarding the used stone, putting a new stone on, threading the 3 bolts, and tightening them. Sound easy? Not at all, add in a 2 minute expectation (people have been fired for not being able to change a stone fast enough), built up slag on the 3 bolts, an occasional broken stone, and weather. I've changed stones in heat upwards of 100 degrees, pouring rain, snow, i've had to change stones while knee deep in water before. After the stone change you'll proceed to blow grind dust off the machine, change oil, blow grind dust out of the engines air filters, filling the water cars with as much water as you can, you will end up doing anything and everything that needs to be done to maintain the machine and ensure it runs properly for the operations crew. You will even learn how to do electrical work, you don't need any electrical work experience at all. You will have to manually grease the machine, you will ruin your clothing. You'll have to crawl under the machine, on top of the machine in and around the machine. Everythingmore... you do will be dangerous. You'll have a quick lunch, 20 minutes (if you're lucky enough to be given a break). The end of your night will be spent cleaning any tools you used, trying to clean yourself a little, and waiting for the supervisors to stop gossiping with one another in the back office so you can get to the hotel and maybe get 6-7 hours of sleep. You'll work 6-7 days a week for 6 weeks, then you'll have 2 weeks off.
No per diem, no respect, low pay (starting wage (as of 2014) $10.00/hour)
General Laborer operations crew: You'll start your day by doing a brake test, walking up and down the machine making sure the brakes work, picking up derails and wheel chocks. When you get up and grinding, your job would be to keep dust off the machine and change stones when needed. You will get to the machine and start this brake test around 5 am, while the night crew is still cleaning up. Your day will end anywhere between 5-7 pm. You'll end your shift by applying the brakes, cleaning yourself and waiting for the supervisors to stop gossiping so you can get to the hotel and maybe get 5-6 hours of sleep. You'll get about 30-60 minutes for lunch. You'll also man water cannons, shovels and axes as you put out fires created by the machine.
No per diem, no respect, low pay (starting wage (as of 2014) $10.00/hour)
Operator 1: You're trained to operate the machine, but need to be closely supervised. You will sit in a chair for 12-13 hours and stare at rail, moving anywhere between 5 - 11 mph, your bladder will be tested, trying to hold it for 5-6 hours at a time, making sure you don't grind on anything that you shouldn't. If anything goes wrong, YOU are responsible. You will be blamed for everything that happens on the machine. You will only grind when the main operator goes home, the rest of your time you will be treated as a general laborer and you will do all of the work outlined above. If you think you can operate and eat, then you can have lunch.
No per diem, treated a little better than a general laborer, low pay. You'll be given around $.50 - $1.50 raise.
Operator 2: You're someone who the office sees as trustworthy. You will sit in a chair for 12-13 hours and stare at rail, moving anywhere between 5 - 11 mph, your bladder will be tested, trying to hold it for 5-6 hours at a time, making sure you don't grind on anything that you shouldn't. If anything goes wrong, YOU are responsible. You will be blamed for everything that happens on the machine. You will operate most of the time. If you think you can operate and eat, then you can have lunch.
No per diem, treated a little better than an operator 1, low pay. You'll be given around $.25 - $1.00 raise.
Night Lead: Loram recently removed this title, even though we out in the field still use it. NIght lead = General laborer who's trusted with supervising the night crew without any extra pay. You get to decide who does what during the night
No per diem, treated a little better than a general laborer, low pay. You'll be given no raise.
Field Clerk: You'll drive around your location setting up hotel rooms, port o potty services, fuel services, you'll gather supplies for the machine, set up flights for people, you'll learn how to do expense reports.
No per diem, treated worse than anyone, low pay. You'll be about $1.00 raise.
Assistant Supervisor: Ever since Loram disbanded the Night Lead title, the Assistant Supervisor is supposed to supervise the night crew, but, they usually stay on operations, sit in the back and gossip with the Supervisor all day.
Per diem, treated better than an operator 2, salaried.
Supervisor: Supervisors get to sit in the rear office all day, make sure the rail gets greased with the auto rail greaser, and they tend to any office business that "needs" to be done.
Per diem, treated better than anyone, salaried.
Misc. notes: Grind dust is worse than breathing in coal. Grind dust consists of bits of rail, rock, and fiberglass. The office tells everyone that there's nothing harmful about breathing it, but they always try to find new ways to prevent us from breathing it. It's also semi-radioactive, not at a harmful level, but enough so that most junk yards won't take them.
You are disposable, everyone on the field is.
If you get hurt, Loram will "Find" a rule and say you broke it, so you're faced with losing your job, or just dealing with your injury.
Loram is a penny-pinching company, you will get the cheapest flights and the cheapest hotels.
Loram justifies the low pay by reminding you they pay for your flights and your hotels
Loram will hire anyone. The quitting rate for the first 3 months is over 90%. So they're almost always hiring.
Benefits are good, full health and dental, 401k is 110% match no caps.
People in the office will treat you horrifically, they will make sure you know you're disposable. Even though, without you, they wouldn't have a job. They think they know best, but most of them have never worked on the field.
You will get to travel, but you won't have any time for sightseeing.
Not a job for a family man, this job has destroy many relationships.
Almost every machine runs differently, these experiences may differ. But i doubt it.
I'm 19 years old, I couldn't afford college, and couldn't get a full time job anywhere else (not very many people will hire a 19 year old with no college experience), i'm technically homeless but this job keeps money in my pocket. I've been working here for a little over 6 months now, I'm an operator 1, I've passed all the exams to be an operator 2 but loram refused my promotion on the grounds of me being too "inexperienced".
They sent me a letter during christmas time, stating that they're pleased to have me and how they wanted to give me a little something for my hard work. They gave me a bonus of $0. For a company that pinches as many pennies as they can, they still decided to send me a letter stating I'll be receiving a bonus of $0. This is 1 of many examples of how the office doesn't care about the field employees. I wasn't expecting a bonus, I know I haven't worked there long enough to be eligible for one, but this letter is just a slap in the face for someone who's given 6 months of his life to a company.
Mechanic (Current Employee) – Hamel, MN – November 18, 2013
A typical day at work was 14 hours. I learned the specific systems on the piece of equipment. unfortunatley there was poor mangement. The co-workers were like family was the best part of the job. The hardest part was working through all weather conditions for 12 hours straight
its not fun work after 4th week attitude starts to change.
General Contractor Labor (Former Employee) – Hamel, MN – November 15, 2013
The grind dust is radioactive when you get lunch your eating grind dust when u don't want to. It's very dirty job after talking shower in ur hotel u steal feel dirty. You do meet good personality people/Coworkers but u need watch your back there are cut throat brown nose people that will try move up not the right way..
seeing the country
short breaks or no breacks most days, favorites move up faster. you don't get 30, 000 to 40, 000 first year more like 20, 000.
Great place to work and opportunity for advancement
Field OEM (Current Employee) – Midwest – October 25, 2013
If you don't mind being away from home for 6 weeks at a time, and you have good work ethics you will have no problem here. Low starting pay but if you prove yourself you will advance. Long hours, but that's what your out there to do is work. Coworkers are like family. Everyone looks out for each other. Some supes are good some are bad.
traveling, benefits, 2 weeks off every 6, stable job
long hours, you get dirty, not always the best hotels
Management would send work to production without finished engineering expecting production to troubleshoot engineering's errors. Management would also expect production to build something obviously wrong for no reason other than to frustrate production.
The first 120 days you are a probationary employee. Which means if a manager "whatever" they get rid of you. In your orientation, which you are expected to sign for upon completion, your manager just paraphrases some stuff about the union contract and unless you demand to see it they won't let you. Which also means that since you demanded to read the contract you are now considered combative even though you were required to sign for reviewing it. Also they have this elaborate, and I'll admit fair, disciplinary system that your manager discusses at length during your orientation. However, as a probationary employee it doesn't apply to you. As a matter of fact there is no review system for new employees. Your manager just decides some day, seamingly out of the blue, if he wants to keep you or get rid of you with no explanation nor discussion what-so-ever.
There is ZERO new employee training. You are expected to ask for and about everything even though you don't know what to ask about. If you don't ask or don't know what to ask, you did it wrong.
5S is what Management likes not what it is suppose to be, fitting the job to the worker. Your manager will not tell you the whole truth, they are deceptive.
It could be an outstanding place to work if: 1. There was new employee training. 2. Concrete procedures written down and handedmore... to new employees instead of tribal knowledge and verbal procedures. 3. New procedures implemented by Management need training and some time to get used to before you are written up or fired for not following them. 4. A discussion w/ a manager about an issue wasn't considered an invisible warning/discipline.less
You eat when you can. You sleep where you can. You wash off dirt, grease, metal shavings, and chemicals that cause cancer. You are barely recognizable after a ten to fourteen hour day. You work LONG hours to make up for the pay. You can't eat well, because of the circumstances of work.
I liked the traveling.
got to see lots of places.
was worked so much didn't have much free time to see anything.
Not to bad if you are single and don't care if you rarely get home
technician (Former Employee) – field – July 15, 2013
Not a bad place if you work in the office. However if you work in the field you are just a number with little chance of advancing. You will be worked 12 or more hours a day sometimes for 2 to 3 weeks at a time while being paid fast food restourant wages. You will get dirtier than you have ever been in your life and have almost no time for yourself. They like to talk safety but if it gets in the way you are on your own.
lots of overtime pretty good bennies
low low wages. field employees are nothing to them, your thoughts are not needed or wanted
General Laborer (Current Employee) – Hamel, MN – October 15, 2012
unusual hours sometimes working 24hrs strait 100% travel 6-12wks on the road 2wks home 75-80hr work weeks sometimes no days off for weeks on end hardest part of the job being away from family enjoyable part of the job repairing a $29 million dollar machine and operating it. coworkers are like family we live in the same hotel, eat together and spend off time with each other. management like every where else good bosses and bad bosses downer, starting pay only $9.00/hr upside everything over 40hrs is time and a half
Superintendent (Former Employee) – Hamel, MN – June 30, 2012
Typical day consits of 12-14 hours 6 days a week. I learned how to be a PLC, hydaulic, electrical, and mechanic techniction. I was able to learn to manage 12 to 13 man crew. The hardest thing about the job was probably just being away from home. Six weeks on the road hotel to hotel and then two weeks off. The travel was fun for the first two years. I enjoyed interaction with railroad and loved corrdinating travel with railroad. Great expierence day to day operations of the railroad.