Engineer - Train Exhibitions A-B

Requisition Number: 
Visitor Events and Programs
Job Status: 
Perform daily operations and maintenance duties for the Model Railroad Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This is a seasonal, part-time position with an anticipated start date in April through an anticipated end date in October. The shift will be approximately five hours, one day a week.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America

The 7,500-square-foot Model Railroad Garden features trains running on 1,600 feet of track. The garden-scale trains are 1/29th the size of life-size trains. Train and garden enthusiasts, young and old, return year after year for the delightful sights and sounds of the miniature trains traversing high and low through tunnels, across bridges, and around buildings. All are intricately handcrafted with natural materials, including twigs, bark, leaves, acorns, and pebbles. More than 5,000 tiny trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowering plants of close to 300 varieties re-create the topographical landscape of America. Vignettes of tiny people and animals give the exhibit a storybook feel, while sound effects and a working geyser capture visitors’ imaginations.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Set up, operate, and take down trains for Model Railroad Garden.
  • Ensure exhibition buildings and props are in order each morning and throughout the day. Remove debris as necessary from tracks. Help keep footpaths and exhibition area clean.
  • Monitor exhibition for any breakdowns or derailments throughout the shift, correct the derailment problem and re-rail the rolling stock, while watching for any potential problems to report to the operating engineer.
  • Address electrical and mechanical problems as they arise whenever possible; communicate with operating and/or chief engineer about other problems or needed repairs. Assist with repairs or other projects as directed.
  • Direct the work of volunteer assistant engineers during assigned shift.
  • Attend periodic engineers’ meetings.
  • Assist with training new staff and volunteers as needed.
  • Assist with special Model Railroad Garden events as required.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Is welcoming and engaging with guests who visit the Model Railroad Garden.
  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances; strives for collaboration.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Background knowledge and technical expertise to operate G-scale trains, and track and control panels.
  • Excellent people skills; the ability to work with the public and in a team environment to create a five-star visitor experience. Evening and weekend work may be required; flexible schedule helpful.
Physical Demands: 
Must be able to bend, stoop, and lift moderate weight (approximately 15 pounds). Position requires standing and walking and some ladder climbing for much of the shift (approximately five hours).
Why Apply?: 

Seasonal positions generally have an assignment that are less than 9 months. Seasonals are offered a multitude of benefits which may include paid holidays with an additional generous flat amount premium for working on an actual holiday, Life Time Fitness subsidized discount, Garden Membership, Complimentary General Admission to other Cultural  Institutions such as the Art Institute and the Shedd, complimentary tickets to special Garden events (e.g. Orchid Show, Night of 1000 jack-o lanterns) special employee plus guest events, and more.

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.