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Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Job Description

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Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

The following job description describes the common responsibilities for this occupation.

Job Description

Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight train. Coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within yard of railroad, industrial plant, or similar location. Yardmasters coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains, yard switching, and review train schedules and switching orders.

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Conductor Job Description - Comments

Conductors are in charge of the inner operations of a train while in transit, including all staff and maintenance. A conductor is generally the most knowledgeable and experienced person on the train. Yardmasters serve a similar function with regards to overseeing staff, train movement, and train maintenance in a specific location.

A conductor job description includes managing various staff, from the porters to the engineers. For conductors of passenger trains, the job description involves making sure passengers are comfortable and safe. A conductor assures that the train is on schedule. He or she is also in charge of assuring that safety procedures are complied with, all technical checks (air brakes, electrical checks, etc.) are made by engineer staff, and all operational procedures are adhered to prior, during, and after arrival from one station to the next. Conductors may have varying hours whereas yardmasters tend to have fixed shifts. A yardmaster job description generally includes staying in constant contact with their staff, guiding trains through yard switches, issuing train orders, and overseeing hump operations (utilizing upgrades in the yard to move train cars using gravity). Both yardmaster and conductor jobs are often hired from within since there is very little competition in the rail industry. This means that seniority, performance, and ambition all play a role when it comes to succeeding in a conductor career.

According to the PayScale salary chart showing Conductor Job Salaries by Years Experience, a significant increase in salary can be expected over the course of a conductor career. When comparing the median Conductor Salary by State, you'll find wide variation in salary across the country, with California currently offering higher salaries than many other states. To see how different employers measure up, view the report on Conductor Salaries by Employer Name.

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