Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

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.

Median Annual Wage: $54,770

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (86%); Post-secondary certificate (8%); Associate's degree (6%)

Projected Growth: Decline (-3% or lower)

Related Job Titles: Conductor; Agent; Train Master; Yardmaster; Trainman; Railroad Conductor; Freight Conductor; Conductor and Engineer; Conductor, Freight; Conductor/Brakeman

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters.

More Transportation and Material Moving Careers

  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
  • Keep records of the contents and destination of each train car, and make sure that cars are added or removed at proper points on routes.
  • Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
  • Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
  • Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
  • Confirm routes and destination information for freight cars.
  • Verify accuracy of timekeeping instruments with engineers to ensure trains depart on time.
  • Document and prepare reports of accidents, unscheduled stops, or delays.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters.

  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • 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.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • 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.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters.

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