Railroad Conductors and Yardmaster Career

Job 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.


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Railroad Conductors and Yardmaster Career

What Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters do:

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

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Holland Code Chart for a Railroad Conductors and Yardmaster