Train dispatchers are responsible for authorizing train occupancy on tracks and side-tracks so that railway systems can operate properly and inspections and maintenance can be performed. Some employers may prefer applicants with prior experience, while others offer on-the-job training.
This job requires plenty of multitasking, so it is important to be able to focus on multiple duties at once and maintain a strong focus. Strong communication skills are also important in order to communicate with other dispatchers and train crew members and maintenance personnel.
Train dispatchers also rally instructions and information regarding where trains are moving and any orders that are given. Sometimes, they may need to work with outside parties, such as law enforcement, to help them resolve emergency situations. Strong record-keeping skills are also important in order to document regular train operations and any incidences that may occur and refer them to the appropriate parties.
Customer service skills are very important for train dispatchers, as they are expected to maintain a professional and friendly demeanor at all times. Strong computer skills, including typing and ten-key skills are beneficial for duties involving data entry. It is also important to have in-depth knowledge of railway operation rules and stay up-to-date on any changes that may occur. A high school diploma is generally a minimum requirement for this position, though some employers may prefer those who also have a college degree.
Train Dispatcher Tasks
Monitor train movements, crew availability and environmental conditions.
Communicate warnings, concerns, and appropriate information to those affected.
Document train movements and any movement violations.
Monitor for speed, performance, regulations, and safety.
Communicate with train operators and crews to improve efficiency.