Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

Description

Coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight trains. Yardmasters review train schedules and switching orders and coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains and yard switching.

Tasks

  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Keep records of the contents and destination of each train car, and make sure that cars are added or removed at proper points on routes.
  • Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
  • Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
  • Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
  • Observe yard traffic to determine tracks available to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Document and prepare reports of accidents, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Confirm routes and destination information for freight cars.
  • Supervise and coordinate crew activities to transport freight and passengers and to provide boarding, porter, maid, and meal services to passengers.
  • Supervise workers in the inspection and maintenance of mechanical equipment to ensure efficient and safe train operation.
  • Record departure and arrival times, messages, tickets and revenue collected, and passenger accommodations and destinations.
  • Inspect freight cars for compliance with sealing procedures and record car numbers and seal numbers.
  • Collect tickets, fares, or passes from passengers.
  • Verify accuracy of timekeeping instruments with engineers to ensure trains depart on time.
  • Instruct workers to regulate air conditioning, lighting, and heating in passenger cars to ensure passengers' comfort.

Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
History and Archeology
Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Skills

Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Interests

Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Agent
Brakeman
Car Chaser
Car Dispatcher
Car Distributor
Car Spotter
Centralized Traffic Control Operator (CTC Operator)
Conductor
Dispatch Manager
Dispatcher
Engineer
Freight Conductor
Locomotive Engineer
Motor Boss
Operations Manager
Passenger Car Conductor
Passenger Conductor
Pullman Conductor
Railroad Conductor
Railroad Dispatcher
Road Conductor
Road Freight Conductor
Roadmaster
Sleeping Car Conductor
Supervisor, Engines, Road
Switch Operators Supervisor
Switchman Supervisor
Ticket Collector
Traffic Control Operator
Train Conductor
Train Dispatcher
Trainman
Trainmaster
Trains Dispatcher Supervisor
Transportation Supervisor
Yard Conductor
Yard Manager
Yard Pilot
Yard Supervisor
Yardmaster

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$26.3 hourly, $54,700 annual.
Employment (2008):
42,740 employees