Past and Present Railroad Job Descriptions
Dispatching Center Personnel
Schedules and monitors all train movements, responsible for traffic control and for communicating routine and unforeseen phenomena which may affect the flow of rail traffic.
- Freight Traffic Manager
Oversees freight traffic.
Oversees train operations.
Oversees switching and yard operations where trains are "made up" or prepared for their next service, and schedules maintenance of trains.
- Division Superintendent
Individual with authority over a section, i.e., North Platte to Cheyenne. Responsible for track maintenance and oversees scheduling and other duties contributing to smooth traffic flow between destinations.
- Tower Operator
Controls switching in and out of yards.
Responsible for sending, receiving and routing messages by electric transmission over wire via coded signals.
- Special Agent
Passenger Train Personnel
- Station Master/Depot Agent
Oversees operations connected with railroad building adjacent to tracks, where passengers and freight may be located.
- Passenger Director
Directs and manages passenger traffic, provides information relating to passenger travel.
One employed to carry baggage for and assist patrons at rail terminals; a car attendant who waits on passengers and makes up berths.
One who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers.
In the UP passenger system, the stewardess was often a registered nurse who attended the medical needs of travelers.
- Car Attendant
One whose duties combine those of the porter and steward on modern passenger trains.
One who prepares main entrees on passenger trains.
- Pantry Chef
One who assists the cook, responsible mainly for side dishes, breads and desserts.
- Ticket Clerk
Stationed at the ticket window, this person provides tickets and tour information to passengers.
- Baggage Clerk
Responsible for tagging baggage, loading, unloading and routing baggage en route between destinations.
- RPO Clerk
Railroad postal clerk.
Survey and Construction Personnel
- Civil Engineer
An engineer whose training or occupation is in the designing and construction of public or private works, such as railroads.
One who applies geometry and trigonometry to determine the area of any portion of the earth's surface, the lengths and directions of the bounding lines, and the contour of the surface, and accurately delineates the whole on paper.
Surveyor's assistant, one who holds the leveling rod.
Surveyor's assistant, one who signals with a flag.
Works with the surveyor, cuts the surveyor's stakes.
- Track Layer
One who lays the rails in place on the rail bed.
Grades and shapes the continuous, level, raised bed on which tracks and ties are laid.
One who drives a team of horses, mules or other draft animals. Precursor to the Teamster's Union.
Manager and tender of livestock.
Responsible for operating the locomotive.
In charge of train in its entirety, and of the train crew at large.
Inspects the train, assists the conductor, operates the brakes and assists in switching.
Steam locomotive crew who feeds the firebox with fuel. On diesel locomotives, the firemen would monitor controls and assist the engineer.
Yard or Field Operations
Attends the switch in a railroad yard, switching trains from one track to another.
- Signal Maintainer
Maintains signals, including those of hot box detectors, dragging equipment detectors, railroading crossings, CTC and formerly telegraph lines.
- Section Foreman
Individual in authority over group of workers.
- Section Crew
Group of workers responsible for assisting in yard operations.