There was some wierd Union shit too ... if you were on a out-of-town run and your 12-hour maximum shift ended, you had to get off the train and wait for a van to come get you! It sounded like during the busy times ("grain rushes", pre-Xmas deliveries, etc.) you could pretty much count on working 12 hours, going home for 8, but being called at 6 hours to come back out. PLUS, the locations were all "out there" ... so you'd probably have to GO (if the weather was bad) at 6 hours to make sure you got to the yard on time.
On the plus side, they indicated that the Chicago operation was always busy, so the odds of getting laid off for more than a few weeks at any point were pretty slim ... and the actual work sounded interesting (taking apart a several-hundred-car train and sorting the cars according to where they were having to go, using remote control driving things!). However, at this point in my life, it aint' gonna happen. I stayed out there for the orientation, picked up my paperwork, but figured it didn't make any sense to stay for the test (and possible interviews, which could also have been tomorrow or Saturday), given the realities of the gig.
Oh, well ... I guess I won't be working on the railroad all the live-long day afterall.