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  1. #1

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    Train Engineers, special skills?

    Ok since I was about 5, I have always wanted to be an engineer on the Disneyland Railroad (wear the striped overalls, toot the horn). I know obviously that is a large piece of complex machinery, to get a job doing that do you have to have prior experience and knowledge or will they teach you? I have noticed that most of the engineeers are old men, which makes me think you need experience. Anybody know?
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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelade
    Ok since I was about 5, I have always wanted to be an engineer on the Disneyland Railroad (wear the striped overalls, toot the horn). I know obviously that is a large piece of complex machinery, to get a job doing that do you have to have prior experience and knowledge or will they teach you? I have noticed that most of the engineeers are old men, which makes me think you need experience. Anybody know?
    The locomotives are complex pieces of machinery, but Disney will provide training, if you need it. Experience certainly helps your chances of being cast in the role, though.

    If you were to ever attempt to apply for the position, you would want to study as much as you can about steam engines and their operation. Then, you may want to transfer from another department into the roundhouse. It's still an old boy's club to a certain extent, but reforms are slowly being made.

    You should be aware that the temperatures inside the cabs can reach upwards of 140 degrees and that you would start as a fireman before you become an engineer. (The engineer is responsible for the operation of the locomotive; the fireman is responsible for keeping the fires up in the machine.)

    You also should know that, if the fireman doesn't do his or her job properly, the locomotive explodes and takes-out the first few cars. So, you don't want to do that.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 07-24-2006 at 01:32 AM.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist
    You also should know that, if the fireman doesn't do his or her job properly, the locomotive explodes and takes-out the first few cars. So, you don't want to do that.
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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    This the job I want to do since I was also 5. Study how they work and operate. You apply when there are any openings as "Firer".

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    I also suggest getting the book, Welcome Aboard The Disneyland Railroad by MiceChatter Steve DeGaetano
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097...923140?ie=UTF8

    Which goes into great detail in operation, controls, and how the engines work. You could try getting a few Tender rides in getting familiar with what the controls look like and ask the Engineer and Fireman questions.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Pragmatic pretty much sums up the position well.

    In the "old" days, when one wanted to become an engineer on a real railroad, it would take years--sometimes decades--to properly learn all the techniques to become an engineer.

    Today, Disney will teach you those skills in a short amount of time. But with steam engines--as Pragmatic alluded to--it's not just a matter of learning by rote. To really apreciate the position, you need to have some real understanding of what's happening in that boiler. It's not like driving a car, when you really don't need to have any knowledge about how the car's engine operates in order for you to make it go.

    With steam, you need to know what's happening in order to run it. The fireman is actually "part" of the whole system, and that position is one of the most challengine to master. You have to balance the heat of the fire with the cold water in order to make just the right amount of steam. Too much, and safety valves open, spewing excess steam away (and the costly resources it took to make it). Too little steam, and the train doesn't move. Too much water, that will cool the boiler and there won't be enough steam; too little water, and the boiler explodes, hurling away from the chassis and wheels about 1/4 mile--with you in the cab (recently, safety devices have been installed to prevent this, but it's still a concern).

    Running (never "driving") the train from the engineer's seat is challenging as well. You need to be able to start the heavy train by pulling on a metal bar called the throttle. If you start too fast, you jerk the rear of the train, which causes jolting of the passengers at least, and could pull a coupler at most. Then, you need to watch your speed, and "shift gears" by using a manual reverse lever called the "Johnson Bar" (really). When you come into the stations, you need to know when to shut off the throttle, and when to apply the brakes, so you can virtually stop on a dime.

    You'll need to join a union, and be prepared to have winters off, and the cab, as Pragmatic mentions, can be nearly unbearably hot. But positions do open up. Your best bet is probably early spring, when training starts for the summer season. Good luck!
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 07-24-2006 at 01:05 PM.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano
    Pragmatic pretty much sums up the position well.

    In the "old" days, when one wanted to become an engineer on a real railroad, it would take years--sometimes decades--to properly learn all the techniques to become an engineer.

    Today, Disney will teach you those skills in a short amount of time. But with steam engines--as Pragmatic alluded to--it's not just a matter of learning by rote. To really apreciate the position, you need to have some real understanding of what's happening in that boiler. It's not like driving a car, when you really don't need to have any knowledge about how the car's engine operates in order for you to make it go.

    With steam, you need to know what's happening in order to run it. The fireman is actually "part" of the whole system, and that position is one of the most challengine to master. You have to balance the heat of the fire with the cold water in order to mkae just the right amount of steam. Too much, and safety valves open, spewing excess steam away (and the resources it took to make it). Too little steam, and the train doesn't move. Too much water, that will cool the boiler and there won't be enough steam; too little water, and the boiler explodes, hurling away from the chassis and wheels about 1/4 mile--with you in the cab (recently, safety devices have been installed to prevent this, but it's still a concern).

    Running (never "driving") the train from the engineer's seat is challenging as well. You need to be able to start the heavy train by pulling on a metal bar called the throttle. If you start too fast, you jerk the rear of the train, which causes jolting of the passengers at least, and could pull a coupler at most. Then, you need to watch your speed, and "shift gears" by using a manual reverse lever called the "Johnson Bar" (really). When you come into the stations, you need to know when to shut off the throttle, and when to apply the brakes, so you can virtually stop on a dime.

    You'll need to join a union, and be prepared to have winters off, and the cab, as Pragmatic mentions, can be nearly unbearably hot. But positions do open up. Your best bet is probably early spring, when training starts for the summer season. Good luck!
    Would going to Walts Barn at the Live steamers in Griffth Park give you a little insight on the workings of a steam train? I have been only once there and it was amazing how they operate those little steam trains. I just want to thank you for the wonderful book you have put out. I love steam trains and it is sad that most of them have gone due to progress. I am greatful for Disney for using these types of trains so we can see them today. Although I would have given most anything to see the UP's BIG BOY (LOS ANGELES FAIRPLEX) operate today or SP's Daylight Express. I know DLs trains are small steam engines compared to the ones that I mentioned but you can still sence the power of these old gaints. Your book Welcome Aboard The Disneyland Railroad is wonderful insight to DLRR. Thanks again.
    Jason

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Yes, going to Walt's barn can give you some insight. They have several small-scale live-steam engines on display, and by looking at them, you may be able to get some idea of how they operate. Same goes for Travel Town, right next door. By examining how the drive wheels operate, or how the plumbing and piping are routed, you will get some insights.

    You can get an even better education by talking to folks who actually run steam. Going to the LA Live Steamers and asking the folks there questions, you will get great answers from people who know. And, as has been mentioned, if you can swing a cab ride at Disneyland, the engine crews will certainly be more than happy to explain, in as much depth as you wish, the train's operation.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Just for fun, I dug out a printout I made of an on-line want-ad posted by Disney for "CR Firer - Locomotive." Some of the info got cut off on the edge when I printed it; I've put what it probably said in brackets. Hope this heps:

    Title: CR Firer - Locomotive US - CA - Anaheim

    RESPONSIBILITIES:
    Disneyland Resort has current openings for "Casual-Regular" (part-time) Firers on the Disneyland Railroad. Individuals in the "Firer - Locomotive" role are responsible for operating the steam locomotives while [providing safe] and reliable (on-time) service for Disneyland Guests. The position involves operational/functional [knowlege of boiler] systems and equipment

    Hours for the Casual-Regular status are not guaranteed and may range from 0 - 40 hours per week, [depending] on seasonal attendance demands at Disneyland.

    REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

    --Availability required for the off-season includes Friday nights and all day Saturdays and Sundays. [Must be] fully available for any day and shift during peak seasons, including Summer, Thanksgiving week, [and through the] winter and spring holiday seasons.

    --Working knowledge of basic mechanical systems and safety in an industrial environment.

    --Boiler or Operating Engineer experience is preferred.

    --Ability to sit, for prolonged periods, in a confined area at temperatures over 100 degrees farenheight [next to] a locomotive boiler.

    --Some physical ability and dexterity is needed to adjust valves and work with machinery.

    --Excellent Guest-service skills.

    Contact Information: Disneyland Resort

    Note that your weekly hours could start at 0! There was no mention of salary in the ad, and I can't find a date for when I printed it--it was probably spring of last year. It's still interesting, I think, and hope it helps.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    I think the qualifications generally are:

    1. Male
    2. Over 65.
    3. Retired from real job.
    4. Engineering background...preferably a former Boeing or McDonald Douglas employee!
    5. Loves trains!

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchYourHeadNStep
    I think the qualifications generally are:

    1. Male
    2. Over 65.
    3. Retired from real job.
    4. Engineering background...preferably a former Boeing or McDonald Douglas employee!
    5. Loves trains!

    I think they would take BNSF empolyee??
    Jason

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchYourHeadNStep
    I think the qualifications generally are:

    1. Male
    2. Over 65.
    3. Retired from real job.
    4. Engineering background...preferably a former Boeing or McDonald Douglas employee!
    5. Loves trains!
    Well I quailfy for 1. and 5.

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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    There are some women engineers also younger men.

    I think them for the work they do


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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    If you want some hands-on experience, check out the Orange Empire Railway Museum, in Perris, California. For a couple of pocketfuls of money,
    you can buy time to 'run one' in a steam engine or diesel locomotive.

    And don't expect a lot of wages from Disney; no matter how many hours.
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    Re: Train Engineers, special skills?

    I think they start at about $10 dollars an hour. But if...IF...(and I emphasize IF) you stick with it, You can make about $50,000/year or more.

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