Train Dispatcher Job Description
A train dispatcher is a person who controls, monitors and oversees the movement of trains within an assigned territory to ensure traffic safety on railways. Train dispatchers operate and monitor railway signaling systems and use radios to communicate with trains and workers maintaining railroads so as to coordinate the movement of trains and other activities on railway tracks and prevent collisions or accidents. Train dispatchers are also known as train controllers or rail traffic controllers.
A train dispatcher should be well organized, safety-conscious, conscientious, confident and calm, and have the ability to think quickly, make good decisions, and communicate effectively. They should be able to manage stress, maintain good concentration for long periods and cope with several tasks at once.
What does a Train Dispatcher do?
Train dispatchers may do some or all of the following:
- operate and monitor railroad signaling systems
- check traffic signals and radio train drivers and rail track workers
- initiate and manage emergency procedures in the case of an incident
- record train arrival and departure times
- provide help and assistance to rail passengers
Where does a Train Dispatcher work?
Train dispatchers may work shifts that include early mornings, late nights, weekends and public holidays. They work in network control offices, using computerized network control systems to control and coordinate the running of trains. Their work may be stressful due to the high level of concentration needed to be maintained for long periods.
What is Required to Become a Train Dispatcher ?
To become a train dispatcher, a degree in logistics, transportation or engineering is helpful. Train dispatchers receive on the job training.
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Train dispatchers need to have:
- confidence and assertiveness
- good memory
- good timekeeping skills
- good interpersonal skills
- organizational skills
- computer skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to concentrate for long periods
- the ability to make good decisions quickly
- the ability to commuicate effectively
- the ability to cope with several tasks at once
- knowledge of train operations and railway signaling
- knowledge of the geography of their railroad territory
- knowledge of transportation and logistics
- knowledge of railway dispatcher rules and procedures
Should I be a Train Dispatcher ?
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