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What is a Train Conductor?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered July 19 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
Train Conductors are responsible for the operation of trains as well as other forms of fixed-rail vehicles. They also work in public transportation, bringing passengers from one destination to another, or in the private sector, transporting cargo between cities or even countries.   
Train conductors can specialize in various train types, choosing to operate fuel oil, diesel, steam-powered, or electric models. The routes they travel can be fixed or change as often as every day, depending on the task at hand.  
Trains that run within cities or metropolitan areas are typically under the authority of a large city’s urban transportation systems. These transit systems often run underground and are commonly referred to as subways. The city’s municipal government oversees the maintenance and operation, hiring personnel accordingly to run each train. On the other hand, trains that run between cities, regions, or countries are usually managed by privately-owned for-profit transportation companies with full-time train conductors on their payroll. Like pilots, trains with a route covering long distances are staffed by more than one Train Conductor to avoid fatigue, which allows the team to switch tasks frequently and aid each other. In these cases, one Conductor will take on the role of Chief, while the second takes up the Assistant or Second Conductor position.  
Operating a train requires the Conductor to follow certain signs and orders and strict laws and regulations. The rules are designed to ensure time and energy efficiency while maintaining passenger safety. All train movements must be thoroughly calculated and coordinated to prevent accidents that could lead to disastrous consequences. 

Personality of a Train Conductor
  • They are observant 
Train conductors are extremely observant individuals. They understand that one wrong move can result in a more significant issue down the track, so they take great care in watching for signs of trouble to avoid any unnecessary accidents during the scheduled trip.  

  • They are personable
Conductors are personable and professional, maintaining authority on board while also using their approachable demeanor when speaking to passengers. This characteristic is also helpful when seeking employment, using charisma and a natural ability to connect with others to network for positions in this sometimes competitive industry.  

  • They are focused
Train Conductors require laser focus and heightened levels of alertness while on the job. The back and forth of scheduled routes could be repetitive for some and mentally draining, even more so for subway operators. The right candidate for this job should have a sharpened sense of attentiveness.    

  • They have an affinity for travel
Spending as much time as they do on the tracks makes a Train Conductor quite traveled. They learn more about cities and countries through their frequent trips. Though they haven’t seen the roads the same way a truck driver might, they have seen behind-the-scenes of the places they’ve been, with tracks often placed right through towns, forests, or empty fields.