Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Yardmaster
  • Yard Supervisor
  • Yard Spotter
  • Yard Pilot
  • Yard Manager
  • Yard Conductor
  • Transportation Supervisor
  • Trains Dispatcher Supervisor
  • Trainman
  • Train Master
View All

What They Do

  • Instruct workers to regulate air conditioning, lighting, and heating in passenger cars to ensure passengers' comfort.
  • Collect tickets, fares, or passes from passengers.
  • Inspect freight cars for compliance with sealing procedures and record car numbers and seal numbers.
  • Record departure and arrival times, messages, tickets and revenue collected, and passenger accommodations and destinations.
  • Supervise and coordinate crew activities to transport freight and passengers and to provide boarding, porter, maid, and meal services to passengers.
  • Supervise workers in the inspection and maintenance of mechanical equipment to ensure efficient and safe train operation.
  • Observe yard traffic to determine tracks available to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Document and prepare reports of accidents, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Verify accuracy of timekeeping instruments with engineers to ensure trains depart on time.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: ERC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Enterprising interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Independence and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $54,330 with most people making between $35,270 and $77,160

Outlook

0.17%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 2,310 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,350 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 4 openings due to growth and about 86 replacement openings for approximately 90 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education