What does a train conductor do?

Thinking to become a rail conductor? you might be curious how a day in the life of a train conductor looks like, more exactly.

What does a train conductor do?

Train conductors make a difference, they are responsible for shipments and related documentation. A conductor is the boss of a train crew.
“It doesn't matter which side of the tracks your from, the train still rolls the same.”
- Robert M. Hensel
Conductor’s duties differ, depending on whether they are assigned on freight or passenger trains.

So what does a train conductor do?


Their shift starts in the Booking-in Room with the Locomotive Engineer where they read and sign current Bulletins and Circulars, then gather up all the necessary paperwork.
The conductor ensures that the train has it’s proper authorizations and documentation to be on the track.
Afterwards, the conductor will job brief the rest of the crew on the authorities, documentation and safety hazards.
From there, the conductor will ensure that a physical inspection of the train has been performed. That means he needs to make sure that every car in the train is in good operating condition before starting out, that loads are secure, and that the air brakes are connected and working throughout the train.
As a conductor, you will communicate with the railroad's central office, by telephone, fax, or computer, receiving different orders. The information is regarding the cargo, train routes, scheduled stops.
While on-route, railroad conductors handle most of the routine radio traffic – dealing with the Traffic Coordinator, Rail Traffic Control and any track maintenance personnel they may encounter along the way. Now you know what a train conductor do, oh wait there is more!
Along its route, the Conductor may have to pick-up or drop-off freight cars. If there will be any mechanical problems the conductor will direct the engineer to stop and make the necessary repairs.
On passenger trains, railroad conductors have to check and collect tickets, or they can also sell tickets to anyone in need. They will provide passengers with information, assist them with anything. When the train stops at a station, the conductor must get off and monitor the exit and assisting with boarding.

Railroad worker pak

As the train approaches its destination, the Conductor calls the yard Traffic Coordinator to find out which receiving track to place the train on. Shift ends in the local Booking-in Room, where they submit any required documentation, complete their reports and enter their hours for payroll.
It's a very physical job, requiring that the train conductor be able to lift, push, and pull various weights in different weather conditions. This job may require you to be gone for certain period of time, may spend a great deal of time away from home.
Choosing a career path is an important decision. If you love traveling and seeing the beautiful country this may be a great job for you. Or if you were just curious what does a train conductor do, I hope I answered your question!