From “Just What is a Train Dispatcher?” Copyright © 1992 Thomas A. White

Train Dispatching is a discipline which, most simply stated, is a combination of Air Traffic Controller and the dictionary definition of Dispatcher, but is inadequately described by or associated with either term. Because of the connotations of the terms Dispatcher and Air Traffic Controller, train dispatchers have made some efforts at having the name of the profession changed to Rail Traffic Controllers, and are officially known as such in some places. Still, there remains doubt that the train dispatcher’s knowledge, responsibility, working environment and stress conditions could even remotely compare to that of an air traffic controller. The fact remains that, although Air Traffic Control deals with much greater speeds, the duties of the Train Dispatcher involve far more than preventing collisions, and even collision prevention is vastly different in the two fields.

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