Something you didn’t know about the railroads

The engineers of the trains have to be shuttled around to wherever the train is so they can swap out drivers. There are these little companies around the country that drive vans doing this. Often you will see them with reflective tape on the rear of the van and some sort of company name on the door.

I found this forum and the rail employees discussion of them revealed another side of the rail industry i hadn’t known about. Below is the conversation about one of these companies called PTI and some discussions of the other ones as well.

Working for Profession Transportation, Inc. (PTI)

by MathProf64

This is exactly a railroad job, but railroad related, so I think it’s ok to ask here.
A friend of mine is considering working for Profession Transportation, Inc. They have a branch here in town.
I was just curious to know what thoughts/opinions/suggestions you all might have about PTI.
Thanks

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by cifn2

They run you around the clock, every 8 hours, other then that I don’t know. They used to have a local division here in town also, but it closed and now they only have Evansville,IN and I think E. St. Louis.

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by frank502

PTI….Where do I start??
Things may have changed. I have not ridden in a PTI van in 5 years,since I left CSX. But here’s what I remember:
Most of the drivers are on call,just like a railroader.
They do have local/yard jobs,just like the railroad.
A PTI driver will work all hours,weekends & holidays and in all weather,just like a railroader.
The equipment is often ill maintained,just like on the railroad.
I’ve seen my share of PTI vans with bald tires.
However….unlike a railroader..a PTI employee is working for just over minium wage & has crap for benefits.
Observations about PTI:
There is a lot of turnover.
-If someone decent hires on,they are usually gone in a short amount of time.
-They will hire ANYONE that has a beating heart,a valid driver’s license & can almost speak English.
-Many PTI drivers “used to be tractor trailer drivers”. I guess they came to PTI for the money & great working conditions.
-PTI would be a place to start for someone coming off welfare or just getting released from prison.

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by slchub

Thanks Frank! Sounds about like every other carry-all around the country.
LOL

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by COEN77

That’s an acurite description of PTI. We use them and the employee turn over rate is faster than a roulette wheel. Those who work for PTI in smaller locations seem to do better. On weekends they can’t find drivers so we end up riding in taxi’s especially on their pay days. It seems a company that has a gold mine would be willing to pay a decent wage to keep drivers not PTI just like their predessors here in Richmond Beeline I & Beeline II their a cheap company they gouges the railroad on rates and pays their employees peanuts but expect them to be on call 24/7 for runs that can be just local to 1000+ miles round trip.

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by cifn2

when I worked for UP, they had a RailCrew Xpress and AAA Limo I am not sure which one of these it was, but 6 of us, 2 BIT’s, 2 conductors and 2 engineers were deadheading so they sent us 2 vans. First van left, 2nd van was delayed due an engineer or someone. Well the first van made it in nearly 1 hour ahead of the 2nd van which I was in.

The 2nd van driver made a stop for a “break” and screwed around, he was too ahead of schedule on time, and he took the highways instead of the interstates that ran right along it, he said it saved him miles that he had been losing on his check, anyways one of the guys in the van was a BLE president or something, he took the van drivers name and van ID, and filed a complaint, next time we got to the away from home terminal I heard a van driver saying they were told not to talk about company business with the railroaders.

They get cheated just like railroaders but have no union to back them or even try. They just have to take it as long as they can.

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by conrail_engineer

The PTI drivers around Willard were in with a union…that did about as much for them as our union does for us.

Mostly, the description of PTI and other van-shuttle companies is correct. I’ve had to travel with PTI, with Rentzenberger (“Rancidberger”), with Quad-A (AAAA) and the old D&T (Dumb & Tired).

Mostly, it’s the same drill…you got a pulse, you got a job. Quad-A has a LOT of elderly drivers that really can NOT stay awake; all the companies have head cases or hygiene cases.

It’s not really the transportation companys’ fault. From what I hear from reliable sources, the railroads really put the screws to the van companies. After all, the people who contract for transportation aren’t the ones who have to ride in the vans…so they don’t care that the vans are wrecks or the drivers a menace.

Right now, in the Ohio area, we’re transported by a company that actually tries to get good people and keep their equipment up. CBS Limousine has had the contract for about six years; the owner, Spanky, tried to do the best he could…

…but he died of a heart attack a week ago. I expect CBS to close soon.

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by frank502

I once had Spanky himself drive me & a coworker. He was a good guy & ran a decent business. CBS was much better than PTI or Rezenburger. It’s a shame, he didn’t seem like he was that old.

Conrailengineer…..Did you ever hear the story about a Rezenburger driver stealing a van in the summer of ’99?? It was allegedly a rented Chrysler minivan. Renz did not have enough vehicles for all the activity during the merger so they rented some brand new Chrysler vans & hired some new drivers. This supposedly happened at Collinwood. I remember hearing about this when I worked for CSX. I was there for the merger.

I’ve seen some PTI drivers that were so tired from working that a railroad employee had to drive home.

To the original poster……Your friend would be better off working at Home Depot,Lowes or Wal Mart. PTI is a bad deal.

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by conrail_engineer

frank502 wrote:
I once had Spanky himself drive me & a coworker. He was a good guy & ran a decent business. CBS was much better than PTI or Rezenburger. It’s a shame, he didn’t seem like he was that old.

Conrailengineer…..Did you ever hear the story about a Rezenburger driver stealing a van in the summer of ’99?? It was allegedly a rented Chrysler minivan. Renz did not have enough vehicles for all the activity during the merger so they rented some brand new Chrysler vans & hired some new drivers. This supposedly happened at Collinwood. I remember hearing about this when I worked for CSX. I was there for the merger.

I remember the rented minivansvans (I thought, man oh man would Enterprise be surprised when they got their nice new vans back!) and loose talk that one or several former D&T drivers had been arrested (remember Blondie, the cab dispatcher? She had a big mouth). But not the incident itself.

frank502 wrote:
I’ve seen some PTI drivers that were so tired from working that a railroad employee had to drive home.

Been there, done that. It actually was becoming pretty commonplace in the last months of Rancidburger’s contract.

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by frank502

Conrailengineer…..Yes..I remember Blondie.

I also remember when the union came to PTI in that region. The New Castle drivers were also represented. One driver told me that the pay raise was enough to cover union dues. He was a friend of mine…a decent guy. He left PTI for a better job & had hoped to get on with CSX. We both lived in & worked out of New Castle. (bg 52 if my memory serves me)

I do remember a PTI driver,a different guy, who did get hired by CSX.
He had the same lifestyle with a much bigger paycheck.

As far as Willard…A couple of those drivers were very very large.

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by IseeFurloughedPeople

Anybody ever worked for PTI while furloughed? I haven’t found anything else and heard they are needing a driver. Tired of drawing unemployment. Anybody know what they actually make?

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by scooterz66

peanuts
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by Dispatcher35

Everything that has been said is true at other companies too. From what I’ve read it doesn’t matter if it’s AAAA, Renzenberger, W&W, hire anyone with a drivers license, make him work mega hours (no such thing as HOS) and if he complains about being tired put him out of service, pay him a rate that won’t even buy a $1 burger at Mickey D’s and run vehicles that might make it from point A to point B.

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by esprrfan

IseeFurloughedPeople wrote:
Anybody ever worked for PTI while furloughed? I haven’t found anything else and heard they are needing a driver. Tired of drawing unemployment. Anybody know what they actually make?

Road driver 17 1/2 CENTS a mile, yes thats .17 a mile

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by 10more years

I imagine that most of us railroaders have a low opinion of most van companies. Most of our drivers in the Carolinas are retirees trying to supplement their income. They have absolutely no idea when they are likely to be called to work, and then might have a three hour trip in the middle of the night. Imagine getting a phone call at 11:00 p.m. telling you to make a 6-7 hour round trip for $50.00 in the middle of the night. The vans are, at best, poorly maintained and the most uncomfortable vehicles ever produced. Driver turnover is extremely high. You can always get a job. And its better than nothing. All you got to do is drive: any time, at low pay, in uncomfortable vehicles and you get to listen to railroaders complain (and these complainers are getting paid three times what you are for riding while you drive. Oh, and by the way, they don’t give you maps to tell you where you’re going: “And just how do I get to Delmar?”

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by COEN77

The only halfway decent jobs on PTI are the yard drivers. They get additional compensation if CSX needs anything above their normal duties like EOT’s ect…Road drivers pay stinks and their not paid total milage only one way when transporting crews. One would think that PTI who gets paid generously from CSX would pay better to keep decent drivers. The turnover of drivers in Richmond was non-stop. Even with the crappy pay on their payday everyone of them would mark off forcing long waits on train crews who ended up transported by Yellow Cabs at PTI’s expense. In fact on any weekend Yellow Cabs hang out on CSX property waiting in between regular cab fares to pick up railroad runs.

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