The Railroad Life · The Wife Life

What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Railroad Wife – Part Five

Okay, so this is the last post in this series. I’m sure I could go on and on about all the things I wish I knew but I’ll spare you for now. So I’ll leave this on a positive note because in reality not all things about the railroad are bad. As much as my railroader and I like to complain there have been some positives to being a railroad family.

Before my railroader was hired on with the railroad he was a post secondary student. In 2012, my railroader graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with the intent to go into the after degree Education program. Since there was a shortage of teaching positions and way too many teachers he decided to go a different route. He took a year off school then applied at our local college and was accepted into the Criminal Justice program. After being there a year, he was enjoying it but was feeling like he needed to get a full time job instead of being a full time student and only working part time. We had (at that time) 2 young children, one more on the way and student loan debt increasing.

I wish I had known before I became a railroad wife how good the pay cheques and benefits were. If I would have known how good they were I might have encouraged my railroader to apply earlier. Well, maybe?

The pay cheques are good…as they should be. Railroaders give up a lot to be at work and they work at all sorts of ungodly hours. They are away from their families; missing holidays and special occasions. They work up to 11 hours a day and in order to protect the guarantee wage they can only book 12 hours rest. For some railroaders they are entitled to a guaranteed wage but that comes with all sorts of rules…the railroad doesn’t want to hand out money for free so they put stipulations on whether you can claim it or not.

In the short time that my railroader has been working for the railroad we have paid off a significant amount of debt. We recently paid off the larger of his two student loans. We had nine years to pay it off and we did it in 3 years. Yeah us! Now with all that said, the railroad can be feast or famine when it comes to pay cheques. Some times these railroaders are working their butts off and sometimes they are sitting at home collecting their guarantee. Budgeting is a real joy!

Another benefit is that the railroad pension is really good. I’ve seen memes about this but never really knew if they were actually true or not. Most people don’t talk money but my railroader has had a few conversations with engineers who were close to retirement. And yes, if the pensions stays the same, it will be a nice benefit.

Other benefits are various corporate discounts my railroader gets as a railroad employee. We have tried to take advantage of as many as we can. We will often stay at hotels that offer rail employee discounts and we also bought our minivan brand new because the discount was too good to pass up. The railroad is saving us money and that’s something I will never complain about.

If you missed the first four parts of this series, read them here.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


4 thoughts on “What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Railroad Wife – Part Five

  1. I have been a railway wife for almost 12 years and all 5 parts of your series ring true. The whole “single” parent thing is hard but all the benefits out weigh the hard times.

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