Norfolk Southern "railroad" Reviews | Glassdoor

Norfolk Southern Employee Reviews about "railroad"

Updated Oct 19, 2019

To filter reviews, or .

2.8
35%
Recommend to a Friend
36%
Approve of CEO
Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO James A. Squires
James A. Squires
191 Ratings
Pros
  • "Good pay and benefits for union employees(in 112 reviews)

  • "The pay and benefits are excellent considering the work that you must perform(in 68 reviews)

Cons
  • "I got the impression that work-life balance would be hard to maintain as the job can be quite demanding(in 72 reviews)

  • "Employees pay more into Railroad Retirement than other people pay into Social Security but(in 63 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "railroad"

Return to all Reviews
  1. "Norfolk Southern's Information Technology Department is a great place to work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Information Technology Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Norfolk Southern runs a broad selections of computer platforms. NS writes most of the transportation software used by the company. Great people!

    Cons

    The commute to mid-town Atlanta is not fun. Employees pay more into Railroad Retirement than other people pay into Social Security but Railroad Retirement pays more upon retirement.

    Norfolk Southern2018-02-09
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Worst company and career. Don't say people didn't tell you so. Horrible work culture and outlook moving forward."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Freight Conductor in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pros: Thinking you have a good job, being excited to start training etc, and put 2 weeks in at your old job. Marking up as a conductor and having superintendent tell you they don't "hire you to fire you". Which is the first of MANY lies you'll be told. The money is about the only pro.... but most likely it won’t last. They’ll come after you for your whole career and try and take every cent they can.

    Cons

    Management is the worst. The company seems to be ran by monkeys that have little to no clue what the f they are doing. They hire hundreds of conductors and then furlough all of them and then cut jobs and make changes to get rid of as many employees as possible so they can make it look like theyre doing well as a company to their shareholders, which is not the case. Freight is down, driving customers away, PSR... is working fantastic.... LOL. I hope NS goes bankrupt. They don't deserve the millions or billions in profit each year. Horrible home life / work life balance ( which we knew going in). Why work somewhere where they care NOTHING about you and will CUT YOU in a second with no sweat off their back? They claim safety is #1 priority lol. No, they just don’t want you to get hurt cus then you can’t work, which means they don’t have crews to move freight. You’re just a number, everyone out there cares about one thing, themselves. There is no job security in this career, you will be worried about your job every single day you go to work. If anyone says this is a good career or job, either they haven’t been working there very long or they’re lying. There isn't enough time for me to sit here and list out all the cons and bs. Just don't do it, trust me and the other 100 guys I know that were in training and no longer with NS and had to go find other jobs. I'm still barely hanging on from being furloughed after being employed over a year, but already have found other work. The railroad used to be a good place to work (all the old heads say this). But, it has become worse and worse as the years go and its only going to get worse. Cutting jobs, employees, going to one-man crews, its gonna happen. Just a matter of time. Worse job/company/employee moral I've ever been apart of.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Stop playing favorites and screwing newer conductors over for things that seasoned conductors do EVERYDAY working in the yard. You're all full of it and can't wait till you all go down with this company.

    Norfolk Southern2019-10-19
  3. "This place is bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Locomotive Engineer in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You make ok money....not near enough for what you put up with...there is health insurance....retirement is supposed to be good. Most workers are helpful and great to work with. Safety among workers is strong even though you will be told to break rules by management who will tell you they can't tell you to.

    Cons

    They're making all jobs 12hr...management has no feeling for family or family life . management will lie to you ,try to ..even if they have to make stuff up to fire you. The equipment you have to work with may or may not work or be safe daily...dont expect any maintenance to get done. You have to be in a union that is completely controlled by the company so any changes the company wants they get ..no matter how... stupid. There are no sick days no matter you work outside in all weather and now they're taking away holidays and meal times. They claim healthcare which was a benefit paid for by the company...is still a benefit even though you pay for it now. Also since we pay for healthcare now benefits have decreased dramatically and out of pocket expenses for employees has skyrocketed.....and the railroad is "self insured" due to the dangers of the job. This is not nearly all the cons of the job but it gives a good idea of what to expect....nothing but harassment, management with nothing better to do than fire you..and advancement if you know somebody higher up or something that a higher up doesn't want known.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Listen to workers, quit lying, get rid of most of you....especially the ones who have nothing to do but fire people who do the work. It would help if management knew how to do railroad work. Quit hiring and wasting money on outside companies to tell you how to run your own company when all you're going to do is cover up mistakes and doctor the results that they use to help your company grow.

    Norfolk Southern2019-10-19
  4. Helpful (3)

    "I enjoy working here, but we have our fair share of problems"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time

    Pros

    I enjoy working for the railroad, because the work we do every day moves the American economy, and in fact the global economy. Without a robust transportation system, America would never have become and remained so prosperous. Norfolk Southern continues to make commerce happen every day and touch the lives of hundreds of millions of people. I like being a very small piece of that. For sure, the best benefit at... NS is the triple retirement (401k with company match; company-funded pension; and railroad retirement instead of social security). It is very possible to have a higher income during retirement than you did while you were working. HR does regular surveys, and the retirement package is always the benefit that employees value most. The retirement here is *really* hard to beat. The other benefits are numerous. Of course we have comprehensive medical/dental/vision, but also some fringe benefits that are really nice: company match on your HSA contributions, on-site childcare (convenient but not free), pre-tax parking garage, discounts at various vendors, and company events/socials, and so forth. There is tremendous opportunity for growth at NS. People change roles internally quite often, which results in employees with experience in lots of different areas. So you, as an employee, get to develop a lot of different skills and make a lot of connections. Most people spend their entire careers working here – if you get bored, you can change to a completely different occupation without leaving the company. I’ve been very fortunate so far to have a great team of coworkers and mangers, but there are people here who I think I’d have a hard time working with/for.

    Show More

    Cons

    For non-union jobs, the more you get promoted, the more severely underpaid you become. Each promotion comes with a raise, of course. But the raise is a percentage of your salary, dictated by some archaic HR policy. Your new salary has absolutely nothing to do with your market value in your new position. Currently, I could do the exact same work somewhere else and make about 17% more money. The more promotions I... get, the bigger this gap will become. NS is pushing freight prices as high we can, trying to gain the maximum market value for the service we provide. But ironically, employees can’t get the full market value of the service we provide. NS really needs to pay people their market value if we want to attract and retain top talent. So, when you negotiate your starting salary, negotiate very hard. Get your base salary as high as absolutely possible. All of your future raises and bonuses will be a percentage of this initial salary. Yes, extra vacation or a signing bonus are nice. But 10 years from now you will wish you had negotiated a higher base salary. Furthermore, your job title and job description have nothing whatsoever to do with what you’ll actually do from day to day. I just so happen to love what I do, but I’d never have guessed that based on my title or job description. I’ve had 4 different job titles and 4 different job descriptions with NS, none of which were remotely close to describing my actual work, and all of which I could’ve earned a higher salary elsewhere. My management has never established any written, measurable performance goals for me. I have no idea how my performance will be evaluated. When it comes time for my performance review at the end of each year, it will be a complete surprise to find out whether I “need improvement,” am a “solid performer”, or an “exceptional performer.” Furthermore, I have no recourse if I disagree with my review, because it is not based on any measurable figures. My review is simply the arbitrary opinion of a group of leaders many levels of management above me, who have no idea what I do, much less whether I am doing it well. And everyone is judged to a different standard. I want so much to be exceptional, and I’m sure the company wants me to do exceptional work, but there is no way for me to know what it takes to be considered exceptional. Also on the subject of performance, the performance reviews are required to follow a bell curve. Meaning that a department can only give “exceptional” to a certain percentage of their top employees. Your performance review has little to do with how well you met your goals; it has to do with how well you met your goals relative to how well everyone else met their goals. I think NS could deliver much better results if we built teams of only high performers. It is especially frustrating because people’s annual bonus depends on their performance review. In order to get the bigger bonus, you have to be reviewed as exceptional. So even if you have a legitimate objection to your review, it just sounds like you are whining because you didn’t get a bigger bonus. If you are in a non-unionized field position, there can be lots of moving. I’ve talked with one guy who’s moved 12 times in 10 years. The company pays for the entire move; the employee never has to lift a finger. But that can be a very hard lifestyle. On the other hand, office jobs are almost all located in Atlanta, so if you’re taking a headquarters job there is very little moving. There is an expectation of constant work. Nights, weekends, even on vacation, people are checking and responding to emails and phone calls, and doing work. There is little separation between work and personal life. You’re in the office from 8-5, but the work never really stops. You’re given the flexibility to leave for doctor appointments, sick days, car repairs, and so forth. But in return, you have to be available 24/7. In my opinion, if one individual is so critical that they have to be reachable 24/7, then there is a fundamental flaw in the business structure. What happens if that person suddenly has a heart attack? We need to be able to detach ourselves after hours and decompress with our families. That is key to a long and successful career. NS is under constant pressure to please shareholders. One of the drawbacks of a publically-traded company, is that we are working at the whim of Wall Street. We have limited ability to make our own decisions about what is best for the long-term future of the company, we are only able to do what is best in the eyes of the investors – usually, that means short-term profits and an operating ratio lower than some other railroad. Some people walk around the office, glued to the stocks app on their phone. It is a rather sad way to exist.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the corporate bureaucracy and red tape. It stymies innovation and results. We need to be nimble, empowered to make our own decisions, take initiative, and deliver results. Executives need to be completely transparent. There are a lot of secrets held in the boardroom that are not shared with the rest of the employees. This creates distrust and lets the rumor mill run free, which creates more distrust. ... (Prime example: employees found out about Atlanta relocation in a newspaper article, the CEO didn’t announce this move to the employees until several days later). Provide a channel for suggestions, compliments, complaints, and questions, apart from the chain of management. Add and remove positions from teams based on the actual needs of the team and the value they deliver, not simply attrition/budget reduction goals. People can only increase their workload so much before they get frustrated and quit (or worse, they stick around and be unproductive or toxic). This company does not understand what the word “manager” means. We have a lot of “managers” who don’t have anyone reporting to them. In fact, at one point, I had two layers of managers above me, but I was the only worker under all of them. It felt very top-heavy to have so much management for just one employee.

    Show More
    Norfolk Southern2019-08-16
  5. Helpful (2)

    "Decent, until you get fired"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Railroad Conductor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Pay is good. Guaranteed extra board in many locations. If you were left alone by management, I would've probably never left.

    Cons

    It's not really a question of "if" you will get fired, more of a "when." Unlike other railroads, NS official's only real purpose is to try and find things to fire you for. I've personally seen on many occasions, train masters hiding in bushes, brush, and behind large mounds of rocks to try and catch you doing anything that they deem "against the rules." You might respond, "just don't break the rules," easier said... than done as the rulebook is written vaguely enough to justify any interpretation of a given rule. It is a very unforgiving and uncomfortable work environment with tension and a clear division between transportation employees and their managers.

    Show More
    Norfolk Southern2019-05-09
  6. Helpful (2)

    "Decent job out of College"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Terminal Supervisor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The staring salary and benefits were great. It

    Cons

    If you don't mind working nights weekends holidays its a job for you. 14-16 hour days weren't uncommon. After a 12 shift managers always found things that needed to be handled, plus your RP-1 packet. When trains got delayed, off days would be taken so we would become railroad zombies.

    Advice to Management

    Be straight forward when hiring explain the lack of work life balance. That said the job works for a lot of people.

    Norfolk Southern2019-04-12
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good Pay, Family and Lifestyle suffers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Train Dispatcher in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pay and Benifits are good

    Cons

    Other railroads pay more for the position Management finds ways to make things your fault, regardless of who may be responsible The work schedule is unpredictable until you have a set schedule No parking at the office, either have to use public transportation or pay in parking garages

    Advice to Management

    Take personal responsibility

    Norfolk Southern2019-02-06
  8. Helpful (2)

    "Dont work here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Railroad Conductor in Princeton, IN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Decent pay. Not really physically hard work. Good retirement

    Cons

    Lowest paid class 1. I know of a few class 2 railroads that pay better. You will be on call 24/7 365. I have currently been on call for 8 years. The company repeatedly shows that they dont care about their employees. They violate the agreement set between company and union. They dont let you off work when requested. They dont care about training you to do the job safely. I could give cons about this company until im... blue in the face. Conductors/engineers are the bottom of the barrel and it shows

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Take into account the work history of your employees before doling out punishment or giving them requested days off. Focus more on running trains efficiently than trying to get employees in trouble

    Norfolk Southern2019-02-06
  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great Stepping Stone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Revenue Analyst in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    This was my first job out of college and I was there almost two years. My coworkers made the job worth it. Great stepping stone because the railroad is highly respected industry.

    Cons

    Horrible work life balance. Railroad is very old school had a lot of people including management who hated their jobs but stayed for 30+ years.

    Advice to Management

    Employee morale is low.

    Norfolk Southern2018-10-28
  10. Helpful (2)

    "Horrible company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Conductor in Columbus, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    None at all, what so ever

    Cons

    This company does not care one bit for it's employees. They work you like a dog, which is kinda expected because it's the railroad. Management has no respect for the actual hardworking employees. We have individuals that have never run a train, let alone worked on one called "Train Masters" who are the epitome of the image where a well dressed boss says "I've never done your job before, but this book says you're... doing it wrong". They will literally hide and watch you work, just to see if you make one mistake, then write you up or fire you. Yet they will never tell you good job. There is a culture of bitterness and hatred that the company has never addressed, or attempted to rectify. They've only made it worse by disrespect. The unions (BLE, UTU) are worthless as well, in the companies pockets. Overall it's a terrible company to work for. They try to reply and say they care, but I swear on everything Holly and righteous that they don't.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    You all need replaced, top to bottom.

    Norfolk Southern2018-11-19
Found 63 reviews