Lisbon teen realizes dream of becoming train conductor
By JIMMY LAWTON
LISBON -- A Lisbon Central School graduate is living his dream of working as a railroad conductor at age 19.
Matthew House, a 2013 graduate of LCS, is now conducting trains in Kansas City.House has been fascinated by trains since age 3 and even formed a model train club while attending school in Lisbon. He said working on the railroad was something he had always hoped to do and it’s hard for him to believe he has already achieved that goal.
“I am a conductor right now. That’s the person in charge of the train. The engineer is in charge of the engine. He is the driver, but the conductor is in charge of everything else,” House said.
House said the training was 13 weeks, with four taking place in the classroom and 9 weeks of on the job training.
House was employed shortly after graduating by BNSF Railway in Kansas City, Kansas. He said the yard he works out of is the second largest in the country. He said he is also among the youngest conductors in the country.
“It’s uncommon for someone near my age to be a conductor, because of the lack of experience,” he said.
House said the job allows him to work near trains and provides him with financial security.
“I feel lucky. It’s funny I was able to get this job a couple months training. It was a lot of work, but some people go to college for years and still struggle to find work. I am very fortunate,” he said.
House said the freighters he oversees run on diesel and often carry massive amounts of coal or other fuels. He said trains have a bright future in transporting large goods, because it is a far more efficient means of hauling heavy cargo.
“Some things are just to heavy to haul by truck. Coal weighs a lot. You just couldn’t do it without trains,” he said.
House said the train industry is actually growing.
“I think trains will be around for a long time. They aren’t going anywhere,” he said.
House offered appreciation to his family and friends, as well as his former employer Walmart, where the managers approved a leave of absence for him while he attended the conductor school.
“I really couldn’t have done it with out the great support I have had,” he said.