Train conductors fulfil various duties and responsibilities to ensure the safe transport of cargo and passengers. This includes inspecting cars and freight, relaying information to passengers and co-workers, and performing safety and emergency protocol if necessary. The job requires keen observation, problem-solving abilities, excellent verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to work independently as well as collaborate effectively.
Before travelling, train conductors are given orders regarding their freight load and the scheduled train stops. These orders come directly from dispatch at the central office via telephone, fax machine or computer. It is the train conductor's responsibility to execute these orders and communicate them to train's crew.
Train conductors are responsible for the safety of their cars. Before each run, it is their duty to thoroughly inspect each car and its operating equipment. If they find that defective cars are beyond immediate repair, train conductors must instruct engineers to replace or remove them, and must reassign cargo accordingly.
Signal to Engineers
Train conductors signal to engineers when it is time to depart from train yards or scheduled stops.
Cargo Loading and Unloading
When trains pull into the station, it is the responsibility of the train conductor to direct the loading and unloading of cargo by deciding which cars should be removed or attached.
The presence of passengers places several additional duties on train conductors. They must take money, make change and issue tickets. They have to be knowledgeable regarding schedules, stops, common destinations or tourist attractions in order to answer any questions passengers may have.
Train conductors must travel between cars during travel to ensure all rules and regulations are being followed, and to maintain a safe environment for all passengers. In the event of an emergency, train conductors are responsible for instituting emergency protocol, including evacuation procedures, first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
Train conductors must submit reports about events that occurred during their shift. This may include reporting the number of passengers aboard, the amount of cargo carried and the condition of the cargo when it arrived at its destination. If the conductor dealt with anything out of the ordinary, such as a defective car, the need to map an alternate route, and unruly or injured passengers, this information should also be included in the report.
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