Railroad Conductors & Yardmasters
Also called: Conductor, Freight Conductor, Railroad Conductor, Yardmaster
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
Commuter trains gliding between stations… freight trains chugging across the heartland…. Every kind of train needs a steady, experienced locomotive engineer at the controls, and railroad conductors and yardmasters to keep track of passengers and cargo. Locomotive engineers drive freight or passenger trains between stations. They alter their methods and speed based on the type of freight they carry, weather conditions, and the quality of the rails themselves. These engineers monitor speed, air pressure, battery use, and other instruments to ensure that the locomotive runs smoothly. Keeping in contact with dispatchers over the radio helps them stay informed of delays and schedule changes. Railroad conductors help travelers onto the train, take tickets, make announcements, and stand by while the train is in the station. It’s their job to make sure people are safely aboard before signaling to the engineer to proceed. Conductors also coordinate the activities of the train’s crew, and on freight trains, if a yardmaster is not available, they oversee loading and unloading of cargo. Yardmasters stay at the station to oversee the activities of workers in the rail yard; moving cars for the right configuration of a train, loading freight, and making sure all equipment is safe. Especially before they gain seniority, these railroad workers work nights, weekends, and holidays. Most jobs require a high school diploma, along with several months of simulations and on-the-job training to get “on track” for a career on the rails.
What they do: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.
On the job, you would:
- Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
- Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
- Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
Safety and Government
- public safety and security
- law and government
- movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Education and Training
- teaching and course design
- keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
- talking to others
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
- thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
- figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
- order or arrange things
- pay attention to something without being distracted
- do two or more things at the same time
Hearing and Speech
- recognize spoken words
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Self Control
You might use software like this on the job:
Industrial control software
- Automated equipment identification AEI software
- RailComm DocYard
Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software
- Bourque Data Systems YardMaster
- Freight reservation software
Inventory management software
- Inventory tracking software
- Softrail AEI Rail & Road Manager
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.