Locomotive Engineers and Railroad Conductors Job Description video

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Commuter trains gliding between stations…subways running under city streets…freight trains chugging across the heartland…every kind of train needs a steady, experienced hand at the throttle…and on the brakes. Locomotive engineers are railroaders who have reached a cherished goal. Usually they have been chosen by the rail company from the ranks of experienced operations employees. After long hours of training, in the yard, in classrooms, and on simulators, a newly licensed engineer becomes an assistant engineer, moving on to handling trains in the railyard…and from there to longer runs. The engineer is responsible for every aspect of the train under way, from the condition of the engine to the signals up ahead… …but the engineer’s essential partner is the conductor. To the public, railroad conductors are the people who help them onto the train, take their tickets, and stand by the open door when the train is in the station. But a conductor has a lot more on his or her mind—and is trained by the railroad to be responsible for many aspects of every trip When a train is ready to leave the station, it’s up to the conductor to make sure people are safely aboard, and the doors are clear, before signaling to the engineer to proceed. The conductor also coordinates the activities of the train crew. While the train is under way, the conductor receives information about track conditions and train traffic, and relays that information to the engineer. Conductors on freight trains handle the waybills, and coordinate information about schedules, shipping and unloading. Especially when they’re low in seniority engineers and conductors often work nights, weekends and holidays. It’s a job that looks exciting from afar. Up close—it’s a lot of hard work. But the job attracts applicants who love working on the railroad. While a degree from a career school or college is a good start, most railroad companies train employees themselves. So it’s a good idea to contact the company directly to find out how you can get “on track” for a job on the rails.


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