"I got called into the office and they said we eliminated your position," he says. "They walked me to my locker like I was a criminal. I was too shocked to be upset."
Burns began looking for work. His age he says - he is currently 54 -put him at a disadvantage. "I thought I'd retire from my old job," he says. "I was too old to start this all over again."
Burns found some part time work driving a truck but as the father of two kids he needed a steady, full time job. "I was looking for a full time job for two years," he says. "There was nothing out there."
Then he heard about the $10.2 million stimulus project to upgrade the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line.
He interviewed for a job as a track man on the railroad and he soon found out he got it.
"It was like hitting the lottery," he says. "I'm very happy."