A Little Bit About Railroad Dispatchers
Railroad dispatchers are skilled professionals who coordinate and maintain safe and efficient movement of trains within a designated area. With access to train schedules and routes, the dispatcher is responsible for making sure trains are running on certain tracks at a given time.
Because several trains may be on the move at once, dispatchers must have a knack for organization and logistics. Unlike cars that can easily maneuver while in traffic, trains can’t turn or swerve. Locomotives move as the tracks move, which is why it’s so important that a competent dispatcher is regulating the flow.
Not only do dispatchers manage the safety of the trains themselves but they are also directly responsible for the cargo and/or passengers on board. Trains frequently carry hazardous materials so it’s crucial that, no matter who or what the cars are carrying, the dispatcher doesn’t make any careless mistakes. Having the ability to handle stress and be mindful of details are the most important qualities in an effective train dispatcher.
Aside from having certain personal qualities, railroad dispatchers must go through extensive education and training to earn their positions. Railroad companies look for candidates with both theoretical and practical training focused on logistics, which makes MIAT’s Global Logistics and Dispatch program a solid choice for anyone hoping to enter the field. Once hired, dispatchers train heavily to learn company-specific computer software and safety processes. When the training period is complete, new dispatchers may have to take written or on-the-job exams in order to move into a regular schedule.
Fully trained and functioning railroad dispatchers work irregular hours and must be prepared to do so. When trains are running, so are dispatchers. This means that holidays, nights and early mornings are normal shifts for railroad employees. Especially in the early stages of a career, dispatchers aren’t likely to see much of what is considered a “normal” schedule, and may be on call 24 hours a day.
Though they may not have the most conventional position, railroad dispatchers serve an irreplaceable role in the transportation logistics industry. If interested, read more about what MIAT’s Global Logistics and Dispatch program could offer you.
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