Train Conductors are in charge of driving and operating trains and other forms of fixed-railing vehicles in order to transport passengers and cargo from one location to another. The trains they operate can run on fuel oil, diesel, steam, or electricity; and the distances covered can vary from within a city’s limits to interstate and international routes.
Trains running inside cities or metropolitan areas are usually part of the city’s urban transportation systems and are widely known as subways. The Conductors operating them are hired by the city’s municipal government. Trains running from one city to another, whether on different provinces or countries, are usually managed by private transportation companies with their own Conductors. Furthermore, trains covering long distances usually have more than one conductor, so they can switch tasks in order to avoid fatigue and provide assistance to each other. In these cases, one of the Train Conductors is referred to as the Chief, while the other one takes up the Assistant or Second Conductor position.
Operating a train requires the Conductor to follow certain signs, orders, and follow strict laws and regulations designed to ensure time and energy efficiency and, above all, passenger safety. All train activities must be thoroughly calculated and coordinated in order to prevent accidents which could lead to disastrous consequences.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Train Conductors are required to complete.
- Operating train engines:
- Transporting passengers and cargo between stations;
- receiving and interpreting information from headquarters, acting according to signals and orders;
- starting the engine when signaled;
- following procedures to stop at a station;
- operating train doors to let passengers in and out;
- following tight time schedules; and
- switching tasks with the Second Conductor to avoid fatigue.
- Inspecting locomotive and systems prior to departure:
- Checking all systems are functioning;
- verifying fuel, air, and water levels;
- testing break systems; and
- reporting any malfunction.
- Supervising the loading and unloading of cargo and boarding and unboarding of passengers.
- Good physical condition and stamina:
- Being able to endure long routes;
- enduring different types of climate and weather conditions; and
- having the necessary physical strength to operate a vehicle, as well as to load and unload packages.
- Being aware of train systems and following security measures during journeys:
- Monitoring lights indicating systems’ condition;
- monitoring gauges to check temperature, amperage, fuel, air, and water;
- observing railways to identify possible obstructions;
- checking vehicle speed and location; and
- watching out for dashboard and railway signals.
- Responding accordingly to emergency situations and breakdowns:
- Reporting incidents to headquarters;
- assisting passengers with evacuation procedures when necessary;
- following procedures and instructions in case of emergencies; and
- performing minor repairs on the train, if possible.
- Checking train condition prior to departure and monitoring all systems during journeys.
- Liaising with station and headquarters personnel to check schedules and cargo list.
- Making announcements to passengers regarding stops and schedules.
- Observing tracks for possible obstructions and looking out for route signals.
- Relaying information to stations and headquarters.
- Monitoring train speed and location to adhere to schedules.
- Following procedure and adhering to laws and regulations at all times.
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