Car Repair Class

Eastern Lackawanna County 
Agricultural and Technical University
Division of Continuing Education 
School of Railroad Crafts Technology, Scranton, Pa.
Freight And Passenger Car Repair Training Program

With the ever expanding traffic base of today's modern railroads, hundreds of passenger and freight car repairmen are needed immediately to repair and maintain the hundreds of thousands of freight cars that ply the nation's railroads every day. Keeping the freight and passenger car fleet running has become the number one priority of railroad traffic managers and mechanical departments alike. If you have the skills and technical knowledge or are willing to pay large amounts of money to some Podunk junior college to acquire these skills and knowledge, you may be on your way to a high paying and personally rewarding job on one of North America's premier railroads.

The freight and passenger car repairman is a highly skilled, highly paid craftsman and a vital part of any railroad's mechanical department. The freight and passenger car repairman is responsible for maintaining the railroad's huge fleet of freight and passengers cars, making sure that the car bodies are secure and tight to prevent damage to cargo and that the train's brakes are working properly to provide a safe, smooth ride over the intricate network that is today's railroads.

The Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program is offered by the Eastern Lackawanna County Agricultural and Technical University, in cooperation with the Lackawanna Terminal Railway and other fine railroad companies, to impart to the program candidate the knowledge and skills necessary to compete successfully against other job seekers in the highly specialized field of freight and passenger car repair. At the end of the program graduates will have earned a Certificate of Completion of The Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program and as such are qualified to work as welders and freight and passenger car repairmen in any AAR certified, or qualifying railroad, repair shop.

All candidates for the Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program Certificate will receive an empty tool box at the beginning of the course. As the course progresses all tools that the student learns to use will be placed in the tool box. At the end of the completed course the student will be allowed to keep all the tools as well as his tool box. All tools are of high quality material specially sand caste for this course in the country of Rwanda.

Successful completion  of this course in no way guarantees the graduate of employment with any railroad. We have, however, been working closely with railroad human resources personnel at the various railroads to establish an employment connection with our graduates. Typically the Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program student's resume, along with a personal check from the student, made out to "cash", is sent to approximately 80 human resource contact people at the
 various railroads throughout North America. We have found through experience that the greater the amount of the check, the better the chances that the applicant will be accepted for employment with the desired railroad. Although locating a position with a railroad has been and will continue to be the responsibility of the Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program graduate, we attempt to utilize as many of our resources as possible to help the program graduate find a position compatible with his or her interest and monetary resources. 

Course Curriculum

Week One: The history of freight car design and construction 
Location: ELCA&TU Campus
 Time consumed: 40 hours

In this intensive course, the student learns the history of freight and passenger car design and construction from the converted stage coach to the ultra modern high speed passenger and freight cars of today. The requirements for working in an AAR approved shop are explained and alternatives discussed.

Working together as a team is emphasized in this class and the students are shown examples of collective achievement in action as video tapes of WWF tag team matches are watched and analyzed. Episodes of Mission Impossible are included for advanced students with an strong aptitude for working closely with others where time constraints and complex tasks are common.

Week two: Shop Safety Location: ELCA&TU campus Time consumed: 40 hours

This highly intensive course includes all the basic industrial safety procedures required to prevent on the job injuries as well as CPR, advanced First Aid and use of cardiac resuscitation techniques and equipment. The student also learns to drive an ambulance along with appropriate radio procedures and proper operation of the siren. A day is spent learning to fill out medical forms and  applying for company and government sickness and injury benefits.

Completion of this course qualifies the participant to be certified as an EMT in the state of Pennsylvania so that the graduate can find work while looking for that first all important high paying job in freight and passenger car repair.

Week three: The basics of freight car construction Location ELCA&TU campus and Lackawanna Terminal Railway Car Repair Facility Time consumed: 40 hours

The student is introduced to all the basic components of a freight car including car body design and function, freight car trucks, couplers, and air brake systems. Center sill construction as it pertains to the cargo carried is thoroughly investigated. Techniques used in huck bolting and the advantages of the standard "True Value" bolt versus the more costly "Grade 8" bolt are discussed as well as the multiple uses of the all important "clevis pin".

The design of damage preventing interior bulkheads and bracing devices are studied, repaired, and replaced during the second phase of this class so that all students have a practical knowledge of freight car design.

Week four: Basics of air Brakes Location: Lackawanna Terminal Railway Car Repair Facility Time consumed: 40 hours

Students learn the operation of freight and passenger car air brake systems and how each part interacts with the others. Rebuilding of air brake control valves is included in the curriculum as well as proper procedures for performing single car and whole train terminal and intermediate brake tests. The proper preparation of FRA required reports and forms is included in this class. The class includes all the Westinghouse brake system variants including WABCO PACs and the  Electro/Pneumatic braking system used in modern passenger cars.

New York Air Brake Company products are also studied and then discarded.

Week Five: Basic Welding Location: Lackawanna County Vocational Technical School, Scranton, Pa. Time consumed: 40 hours

The candidates for certification in this course learn basic welding techniques and equipment and get lots of  practice time using the cutting torch, oxygen/acetylene and arc welding equipment under the tutelage of Lackawanna Terminal Railway Master Welders. Students are graded on welding projects completed during this course and successful students go on to the Advanced Welding course. Unsuccessful students are dropped from the course and automatically enrolled in the Animal Husbandry or Horticultural and Landscaping Technology curriculums.

Week six: Advanced welding Location: Lackawanna Terminal Car Shop Time consumed: 40 hours

Advanced welding students get to work on real freight cars making repairs under the guidance of Lackawanna Terminal Railway car repairmen while the rest of the shop forces sit around and drink coffee and eat doughnuts, go for long lunches, or go home early. All types of freight cars and the various welding problems are investigated and solved by the faculty/student teams. Heliarc and Mig welding and welding on special metals is taught and practiced.

An advanced class in welding nonferrous and flammable liquids is also taught for those students who show a special aptitude for welding.

A Certificate of Achievement in Railroad Welding is awarded to all students who pass the final exam in this class.

Week seven: Electrical circuits in passenger cars Location: ELCA&TU and the Lackawanna Terminal Railway Car Shop Time consumed: 40 hours

A class in electron theory and basic wiring introduces the student to this class in passenger car electrical systems. This intensive course includes conventional passenger car electric lighting and heating, axle generators, car batteries, and circuit breaker panels as well as HEP powered hotel service. Practical aspects of this course are taught by completely rewiring passenger cars and converting them from a conventional wiring configuration to a Head End Power supplied wiring configuration. Graduates of this course are rewarded with a ride on an inspection train composed of all the newly rebuilt cars. Students will be resplendent in their crisp white uniforms with matching gloves as they serve drinks and canapés to the invited guests.

Week eight: Car repair and the Environment Location: ELCA&TU campus Time consumed: 40 hours

In this final course of the Freight and Passenger Car Repair Program the student is introduced to the hazards of working with volatile materials, toxic chemicals, their fumes and their effect on the environment and the individual worker's shortened life span. Paint fumes and smoke from cutting, welding, electrical fires, and battery explosions are broken down into their component parts and studies of contaminated lab rats are conducted to show the results of toxic chemical ingestion into the lungs and through the skin. Retired shop employees are wheeled into class to testify to the hazards of car repair. Operation of respiratory aids are demonstrated and the manual versus motor driven wheel chair controversy is discussed.

Methods of hiding improperly disposed of hazardous waste are demonstrated and discussed. In the final exam each student is given a 55 gallon drum of toxic waste of unknown origin and content. The student is to dispose of the contents of the drum in such a way as to be undiscovered until it seeps into the surrounding ground water and shows up in the city water supply. Certificate candidates who fail this portion of the class will continue their vocational training at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility in Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Instructor: Vinnie "The Snitch" Tatulli

Financial Aid

The Freight and Passenger car Repair Training Program is a component of the Associate of
 Science Degree in Railroad Management. You may be eligible to apply for Federal financial aid, veterans education benefits, other scholarships or low interest loans to help pay a part of the cost of tuition and fees. Active duty military personnel may be eligible to apply for military tuition assistance if they are able to complete the program while on terminal leave. Application and approval for financial aid often will take up to three months. Financial aid forms should be submitted well ahead of the start date of the program. Call (717) 555-3978 or 3917 if you have questions about applying for financial aid. The Railroad Conductor Training Program is no longer eligible for Title IV funding.

Monetary considerations paid to ELCA&TU employees to enhance the chances for acceptance to
 any School of Railroad Crafts Technology program are not tax deductible under any IRS code.

Please check the 
financial section of the Railroad School Home Page for further information concerning financial aid for students. 

To obtain more information about the Freight and Passenger Car Repair Training Program and job opportunities in the railroad industry, please contact the following people or the human resources department of the railroad of your choice.

Gabrielle Botchalewsky
Human Resources Director 
Lackawanna Terminal Railway 
1 Lackawanna Plaza 
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503 
Tel: (717) 555-6537

Office of the Dean of Admissions
Eastern Lackawanna County Agricultural and Technical University 
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503 
Tel: (717) 555-7400, ex. 565

© Steven Kay 2013