What's the Difference Between a Railroad Conductor & Train Conductor?
Would you like to coordinate train operations? Have you wondered about the requirements to become a conductor? Railroad conductor and train conductor job titles are usually used interchangeably; however, freight and passenger conductors have different responsibilities. Schools offering Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Railroad and Train Conductor Duties
As a railroad or train conductor, you coordinate the trains that transport passengers and freight to destinations across the country. Your responsibilities include communicating with dispatch about switching tracks, signaling engineers about departing from the station and documenting any unscheduled stops, delays or accidents, as well as keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. Telecommunications and hand signals are used to communicate with other railroad employees. You also have to inspect each of the railway cars to ensure they are in proper condition.
Freight Train Conductor
As a freight train conductor, you'll keep track of schedules and shipping records involving cargo loading and unloading. You might be required to do some medium or heavy lifting. You'll also be responsible for ensuring the train's proper distribution of weight, as well as assisting in the coupling and uncoupling of freight cars.
Passenger Train Conductor
If you work as a passenger train conductor, you are responsible for collecting tickets from passengers, coordinating the activities of the train crew and helping ensure that passengers arrive safely to their location. You communicate with passengers and answer any questions they may have about departure times, delays or other issues that may arise.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a high school diploma is necessary to work for a railroad company. If you're just starting out as a conductor, you'll generally need to undertake on-the-job training through your employer or else complete a community college program (www.bls.gov). Community college programs for railroad conductors are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels, and they can prepare you to become either a freight or passenger train conductor. Courses cover topics such as field and mechanical operations, railroad history, railroad safety and the General Code of Operating Rules. Conductors will also be required to obtain certification as mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) starting in January 2012.
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