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

To be qualified to handle these responsibilities, train dispatchers must pass, just as must other railroad operating employees, regular examinations on the rules of operation; the safety and operating procedures used by all employees operating trains or equipment or working on the track. Dispatchers must also pass, as must others in railroad operation, examinations in rules and procedures specific to their craft. Unlike others though, train dispatchers must pass examinations on or at least be fully conversant with rules that apply specifically to train or engine employees and track maintenance employees. Beyond that, train dispatchers must be familiar with and enforce several hundred pages of the Code of Federal Regulations title 49, which applies to railroad operation, as well as state and local laws governing operation on their territory and, as mentioned earlier, procedures for the handling of hazardous material incidents. For its strategic and tactical value as well as for its value in analyzing situations to ensure absolute safety, train dispatchers must be at least familiar with the operation of locomotives and of air brakes, of the theory and operation of the signal system and various communications systems, the construction and maintenance of track structure, the theory and practice of switching cars to sort them for further movement and placement at customer tracks or in trains, labor agreements of each of the various crafts involved in train operation or track and equipment maintenance, the use of data processing systems and the general theory and practice of the operation and economics of rail transportation.

Next Page - Previous Page - Beginning