Before the days of advanced signaling systems, telephones, and the Internet train dispatching
required one to have an intimate knowledge of Morse Code and train
movements were hand written. Track warrants and train orders were given
to trains as they passed a railroad station/depot where the dispatcher
was located. To received the orders a conductor of the passing train
had to have a quick hand and fast reflexes, as the dispatcher used a
long pole with a big loop on the end to hoist the paper orders up to
him. During these early days there obviously was no centralized
dispatching centers and the dispatcher was known as a station agent.
As railroad signaling systems became more advanced, like centralized
traffic control (CTC), positive train control (PTC), and automatic block signals (ABS) there became less of a need for a dispatcher to be located out along the tracks and today the biggest railroads use either one main dispatching
building, or a small series of buildings around the system to keep
trains flowing safely and efficiently. Recently, the idea of a railroad
centralizing all of its dispatching has lost a bit of its luster as
companies like CSX Transportation have decided to break down the
department into regions. Ironically, centralizing was thought to be the
most efficient way to handle the practice but some railroads, anyway,
are now not so sure.
|Conrail C40-8W #6159 and two other units travel next to Happy Creek Road with NS stack train 213 at bucolic Front Royal, Virginia on the afternoon of September 11, 1998.|
While the position and hours of train dispatchers is not quite as hectic
as train crewmen it still comes with a lot stress so it is not exactly
for everyone. You must remain quite vigilant for the territory assigned
to you, knowing how to operate the computer programs you will use and how to decipher the dispatch board. Along with these tasks you must also stay in constant contact
with the many trains operating within your territory. A seasoned
dispatcher makes the task look easy but in reality it takes a very long
time to master.
To get an even better idea of what a train dispatcher does and what is required of the position here is a brief set of requirements Union Pacific expects:
We're looking for applicants with superior interpersonal and
analytical skills, able to speak clearly, read and understand operating
and safety rules, exercise good judgment, analyze problems and take
corrective action. Successful candidates will demonstrate a strong
aptitude for utilizing information systems and thrive in a fast-paced,
pressure-filled work environment with changing priorities.
Multi-tasking is a must. You must be able to identify and distinguish
colors displayed on a video monitor and video display in order to read
track labels, switch indicator lights and other safety sensitive
The most qualified applicants will possess a college degree or the equivalent in experience (Train Dispatcher or logistics line management). Strong preference will be given to a college degree in transportation, logistics, business administration, economics or engineering. A graduate degree and/or prior supervisory, transportation industry, military, or Air Traffic Controller experience is a definite plus. Minimum qualifications must be maintained during the training. This is a safety-sensitive position subject to toxicological testing.
In any event, if you're interested in searching for train dispatcher
positions in the railroad industry in your area please feel free to use
the search box below from Indeed.com, one of the leading online career
|Norfolk Southern's Office Car Special (OCS) led by F9A #4271 is tied down in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the night of May 20, 2008 before continuing on to Brownsville the next day.|